Eden Township eyes potential parcel tax to prop up struggling hospitals

A potential parcel tax might split revenues
between St. Rose and San Leandro Hospitals.

Healthcare district looked at parcel tax in 2012

EDEN TOWNSHIP | Two struggling East Bay hospitals may need the help of voters next year with a parcel tax. The embattled Eden Township Healthcare District is taking the first steps toward exploring whether a district-wide parcel tax is feasible — and whether it has the legal authority to pursue a ballot measure.

Although the Eden Township District no longer oversees any hospitals, the parcel tax proceeds would benefit one of the hospitals it used to run: San Leandro Hospital. The district, which stretches between San Leandro and Union City and includes portions of unincorporated Alameda County, also used to operate Eden Hospital in Castro Valley.

Alameda County Supervisor
Richard Valle

In recent months, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan and the San Leandro City Council have urged the Eden Township District to pay more toward helping the financially strapped San Leandro Hospital. Officials from Alameda Health System, which now operate the hospital, said the facility lost $12 million last year and expects another shortfall of around $4.7 million this fiscal year. San Leandro Hospital Administrator James Jackson, though, boasted recently to the San Leandro City Council that he would improve on estimates for this year, a fact that may undermine the need for taxpayers’ help next year.

Last week, Chan said her office is currently seeking local and state legislators to sign on to her plan calling for Sutter Health and the Eden Township Healthcare District to contribute a yearly total subsidy of $4 million over five years to San Leandro Hospital.

But a split among members of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors over how to prop up the hospital was revealed at an Eden Township District board meeting Wednesday when Supervisor Richard Valle offered strong support for pursuing a potential hospital parcel tax. Any parcel tax, however, must be evenly split between two hospitals: San Leandro Hospital and St. Rose Hospital in Hayward, said Valle. In fact, St. Rose is arguably in worse financial shape than San Leandro Hospital and still owes the Eden Township more than $1 million for short-term loan to replenish its cash flow. “I think at the end of the day, if we all know it will benefit these two hospitals,” said Valle, “I think we’ll stand up because we know it’s going to be a big lift, we all know that.”

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT EAST BAY EXPRESS

Advertisements