Hospital measure worthy of support

"Half of the people who will vote in the Sept. 19 primary election have already received their absentee ballots in the mail, so it's not too early to start talking about the most important item on the ballot: the Whidbey Public Hospital District bond issue.The district operates Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville, Whidbey General South in Clinton, clinics in Freeland and Oak Harbor, and the islandwide ambulance service. The board wants to issue just over $5 million in bonds to pay for expansion and remodeling of the hospital in Coupeville.If approved, property owners won't see a hike in their tax bills. An existing bond that is about to expire will simply be continued until the year 2011. So for no increase in taxes, the people of Whidbey Island will receive a vastly improved hospital.Money from the bond sale will be used to add 6,000 square feet to the hospital building and to remodel about 20,000 square feet of existing facilities. Patients receiving physical rehabilitation services, cancer therapy, heart therapy, diagnostic imaging services, and pediatric care will see much-needed improvements.Whidbey Islanders seem to be solidly behind their hospital, which grows more crucial as the years go by. We need a modern medical facility to care for our growing population and increased number of elderly. The hospital bond proposal has no public detractors. Supporters searched for someone to write something negative about it in the local voters pamphlet published by the Island County Auditor's Office, but found no one willing to come out against it.Hospital improvements are needed and the bond issue is affordable, so it makes no sense to vote against the bond issue. The only threats are ignorance and apathy. Informed voters will vote yes to the hospital district proposal. "

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