MCDH Parcel Tax proposal needs work!
Editorial by Marianne McGee, MA/ABS
Note: MCDH parcel tax and survey links do work, it must be my laptop and I was in a hurry to get it up, SORRY!
While not officially on the agenda, the potential parcel tax was clearly on the minds of MCDH Finance Committee members and a vocal audience at the Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) Finance meeting on February 20, 2018! The MCDH Board of Directors will decide on February 22 whether or not they will submit a $144 parcel tax on the June Ballot.
The proposed parcel tax was addressed by a variety of concerns including:
- The Survey information has come out late, the Planning Committee got it the day they had to vote! https://mendocinotv.com/2018/02/14/mcdh-planning-committee-meeting-february-13-2018/
- The Survey indicated barely enough support, relying on “leaning” responses to pass the 67% yes vote!
- The survey showed only 22% support MCDH administration and 16% believe the MCDH Board is doing an excellent/good job, both down from the 2015 survey, although more people felt better informed about MCDH! (Mendocino TV is proud of that!)
- There is not enough time to do a proper education or political campaign to garner enough support to pass it this quickly, as it needs a 67% super-majority to pass.
- There is no known Campaign Committee to work on it, as MCDH staff can only educate, although there have been references to secret committees that are baffling!
- If it fails in June, it may poison any efforts to try and pass it at the General Election in November.
- Resistance to delaying the vote until the November election is because money will not be received until January 2020, rather than January 2019.
- The 911 reference on the ballot measure is inflammatory, misleading and manipulative, so it needs to go.
- The items list in the measure appear to be meaningless generalities, based only by the way the survey questions were worded, which were not as clear as the 2015 survey, which clearly identified Emergency Room and Obstetrics & Delivery as the priorities!
- Obstetrics & Delivery are still not protected in this parcel tax measure!
- MCDH still needs to deal with the lack of trust and transparency many in the Community still have! It appears newer residents are more supportive of the parcel tax.
- There is a need to honestly deal with these real community concerns, not just more misleading, manipulative marketing.
- The separate Oversight Committee does not encourage transparency; it looks like the Board is not doing its job!
- It appears that this $144 per parcel number is based on what they think they can pass, rather than the true needs, which are probably much higher!
- The parcel tax needs to clearly identify, specifically, what will be done with this money!
- MCDH financials are very complex and difficult for the public to fully understand, so information needs to be clear.
- The more conservative accounting approach may appear to be even worse than it is, although the budget is only an estimate and it all works out with the same numbers at year’s end.
- While the MCDH Planning Committee was told by Lund and Edwards, it was imperative this pass in June, rather than November, we still do not have a clear answer of why and if that is entirely true!
- Threatening the taxpayers that if it fails, the hospital will close, is disingenuous and we have no proof it is true on a 55 million dollar budget!
- Many are concerned that if it fails Obstetrics will be on the chopping block again!
There was a breath of fresh air as Chair Dr. Lucas Campos accurately following the Brown Act, encouraging participation from the community, which has previously been a major issue with those attending not being able to speak until the meeting was finished.
While the Financials still indicate a $2.5 million loss year to date, Interim CFO John Parigi is using a more conservative accounting model, aging the Accounts Receivables differently, which has made the current loss appear to be larger. He is confident it will begin to improve with his recommendations and especially focusing on correct billing codes, timely cost reports and aggressively following up on accounts receivable. Mr. Parigi predicts it will take 1 year to stabilize the budget with his new processes.
This year’s budget was also severely impacted by the 1.1 million dollar correction after the Annual Audit, which means MCDH ended the year with a $700,000 loss rather than the $400,000 positive bottom line that Wade Sturgeon reported. This appears to be the result of an accounting change which required the entire bond expenses from last year’s bond restructuring had to be all charged to the 2017 expenses, not annually over the life of the bond.
It is time to look at both income and EXPENSES! You can see all MCDH 2016 staff salaries, although not for contractors like the physicians, on several websites and it is a bit shocking! Many of us took huge salary reductions to live here; although it does not appear to be true at MCDH, where they top two salaries is $600,000. Now is the critical time for people to educate themselves and be active participants to ensure the ongoing health of the hospital and the community. It is critical that we have access to basic levels of care, like an Emergency Room & Obstetrics, available here publicpay.ca.gov or transparentcalifornia.com. Watch the videos of the MCDH meetings on www.mendocinotv.com and decide for yourselves what is happening and what needs to be done!