Maintenance and Operations Levy 

Local health care is on the ballot

For the first time ever, the Board of Commissioners of Public Hospital District No. 1, Skagit Regional Health will place a maintenance and operations levy request before the voters of the public hospital district on the April 25, 2023 special election ballot.

The Board unanimously approved placing the levy on the ballot at a February 13 public meeting.

Skagit Regional Health is a public health system that has served the community for nearly 65 years. It is owned by the community and operates on a non-profit basis.

Proceeds from the levy will support operational improvements to continue to provide access to safe, quality care, including primary, specialty, surgical, emergency and urgent care.

“Patient needs have changed over the past several years and healthcare needs to change to meet those needs. The past three years of the COVID-19 pandemic have been challenging as Skagit Regional Health has experienced high demand for care and services,” said Chief Executive Officer Brian Ivie, noting healthcare in the region has also faced staffing challenges, high supply costs and financial losses due to the mandated pause in surgeries related to the pandemic.

“Throughout these trying times, our healthcare team has continued to provide excellent care to the people we serve,” Ivie said. “Our public hospital district has never asked for a levy before. However, with the current situation, it is the right time to put the request to voters.”

The ballot measure requests a levy amount of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, to be collected starting in 2024. Based on the assessed value of property within the district for 2023, this equates to $16.65 per month or $200 per year for property with an assessed value of $400,000.

 “This represents a continued investment in access to high quality healthcare for our community,” said Gary Shand, President of the Public Hospital District No. 1 Board of Commissioners. “The public hospital district board is committed to providing high quality care and services for the District.”

Pediatric Hospitalist at Skagit Valley Hospital

While Skagit Regional Health has never requested a maintenance and operations levy, residents of the district currently pay taxes to pay the debt service on voter-approved bonds that were issued in 2004 to help pay for the major expansion of Skagit Valley Hospital. The tax levy to pay those bonds will end in 2028 when the bonds are paid off.

The public hospital district was formed by the voters in 1955 and the healthcare system’s first facility, Skagit Valley Hospital, opened in 1958. The system has since grown to include nearly 30 clinics and operations of Cascade Valley Hospital.

Ballots will be mailed to voters in the first week of April. The boundaries of public hospital district include most of the City of Mount Vernon, except a sliver of the eastern edge which lies in an adjacent hospital district. It extends south to the Snohomish County line, west to approximately Bradshaw Road and east to roughly Lake Cavanaugh and includes the Big Lake area.