Time to regroup
Chase County voters left little doubt Tuesday that they didn’t favor issuing $20.5 million in bonds to pay for a new hospital facility addition to the existing speciality and medical clinics.
While the vote gave a clear answer on the proposed facility, it gave no direction on what the future of our hospital in Chase County should be.
A two year-old study showed the cost to remodel the 40-year-old facility ranged from $20-23 million. No doubt, those costs have already escalated. Costs for building a new facility are going up 5-6% per year.
It’s fair to say that no, our hospital won’t be closing as a result of this vote. By the same token, the same issues the board was trying to alleviate with a new facility still remain.
One of the biggest concerns expressed frequently was the burden it would place on our farmers. No arguments there.
One farmer told me it would be a lot easier to take if corn was $5 per bushel versus $3.50. Several noted they would like to see other ways to pay for the facility. I’m confident those issues resulted in the decisive margin by which the bond was defeated.
I also had farmers tell me they saw a need for a new facility and were going to vote for it, regardless.
At this point, it’s time to regroup and see what people will support. I’m convinced that we as a county will continue to move forward and make the right decisions to keep Chase County Community Hospital a viable entity to meet our needs today and in the future for generations to come.