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Cascade Medical Center bond fails

While a majority of residents voted in favor of the bond, it failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to pass; nearly 57% voted in favor and 43% were against.
Credit: cascade medical center

CASCADE, Idaho — The proposed Cascade Medical Center bond failed to get a 66% majority in the primary election Tuesday and did not pass.

If the bond had passed, it would have designated $19 million over the course of the next 30 years, using tax dollars from Cascade residents.

While a majority of residents voted in favor of the bond, it failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass; almost 57% voted in favor, while 43% were against the measure.

"Asking taxpayers to help fund the expansion is not a decision we take lightly.  But it is our responsibility as an appointed and elected Health District Board of Trustees to do what we feel is in the best interest of the health and wellness of our community," Trustee and Chairperson of the Finance Committee, Jacque Zemlicka said. " Assuring access to current and added health services locally, in our hometown, is an outcome worthy of additional investment." 

In addition to tax funds, the project would have also used reserve funds saved in anticipation of the need for a new facility, loans and grants, and bond revenue. The Cascade Medical Center's Board projected that half of the building cost would have come from those funds.

The new Cascade Medical Center was first proposed in November as a way to replace the current facility and better meet community needs. 

"The current hospital building is 50 years old, small, and outdated," George Greenfield, past Chairman of the Board, said.

In 2020, an independent healthcare consulting firm was hired to assess the practicality of a new medical center. That study, along with a community survey, found that in order to meet the current needs and anticipated increase in demand for services over the next 5 to 20 years, a facility three times the current size would be needed. 

"Our staff has done a tremendous job of providing an outstanding level of care within the confines of our current facility," said Tom Reinhardt, CEO of Cascade Medical Center. "We need a medical center that can sustain our commitment to providing independent, quality healthcare close to home, now and for generations to come."

The Board was prepared to acquire property just north of Cascade on the west side of Highway 55 between the Catholic Church and the ITD road maintenance facility for the medical center. Had the bond been approved, the medical campus could have been completed as soon as 2025. 

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