Faced with a need to pare down the hospital building project to be in line with available funding, the Board of Directors of the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District met Jan. 2 in a special meeting to consider seven options outlined by Chief Financial Officer William Van Noy.
As explained by CEO Alan Burgess earlier, the delay of the project has caused its price to rise above available funding, and the board must resolve this issue before accepting bids.
Van Noy presented a breakdown of each of the options available to enable the new hospital project to move forward making up for the shortfall between the bond money available, the additional funds needed for construction, and the funds needed for equipment above the costs of construction.
After much discussion, the board decided to go with an option that would begin building the hospital, but not complete the obstetrics (maternity) unit until such time as funds become available in the future.
However, following the board's action, former project manager Norm Clendenin of Tehachapi, who was involved with the project until his resignation last year, questioned removing completion of an obstetrics unit and what that action might mean for the district.
In an email to the Tehachapi News, Clendenin asked, "Why isn't the district complying to the Statement of Offering to the voters as attached." He included a copy of the ballot measure passed in November 2009, which authorized $50 million in bonds to build the hospital and included the statement that the project would expand "intensive care and maternity services."
"Eliminating any part of the project ... can be protested to the State Attorney General," Clendenin said.
Burgess told the Tehachapi News he will look into Clendenin's concern.
The board directed Van Noy to proceed to obtain final written proposals and terms from the potential leasing companies and bank line of credit or loan options to cover the construction funding shortfall.
The board members will have until the regular board meeting on Jan. 16 to further review the issues. At that time they will have to make a decision in order to let the contracts for construction and hold the current bid prices.
The regular board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Jan. 16 at the Golden Hills CSD building 21415 Reeves Street.