Watsonville Hospital
Watsonville Community Hospital. Pajaronian file photo

A recent survey of potential voters signals strong support of a property tax that would allow for the purchase of Watsonville Community Hospital’s building and surrounding property, along with upgrades to its facilities.

The questions now for Pajaro Valley Health Care District (PVHCD) are how much to ask for and whether to place it on the ballot for the March 2024 election, or wait until the November general election.

“It’s very good news out of the gate,” said John Isom, whose company Isom Advisors is helping PVHCD determine the feasibility of bringing a bond measure to the public to help raise money for the $40 million purchase.

Isom presented the information during the Aug. 30 PVHCD meeting.

The survey of 400 people gauged their attitude toward PVHCD, tax rates in general and their opinions on a wide range of projects a bond measure would pay for.

Gathering such information in advance is important, Isom said, since tax measures require 67% to pass. 

With 75.5% of those surveyed indicating they would vote yes—and another 2% saying they were leaning that way—PVHCD has a good chance of passing one, Isom said.

“This is about perception, and ultimately this is about an ask of the community,” he said. “And if the community is willing to support you, they tend to do so more if they like you and if they think you’re doing a good job.”

In the survey, 85% said they want to see the emergency department expanded and renovated, while a majority also said they support upgrading the imaging systems.

Respondents also strongly support purchasing the building and its grounds, a move that would save $4 million per year.

“I thought that was pretty monumental, because that would be a game-changer for the district,” Isom said.

The survey also showed likely voters want the roofs, HVAC and plumbing systems updated.

Respondents were somewhat less enthusiastic when asked about specific numbers.

Just 54% said they would support paying $24 per $100,000 of assessed value on their property tax bills, while 61% showed support when that number decreased to $19.

“So far, they love the project, they love the idea of doing a measure,” Isom said. “They would be supportive of it. They like the hospital and they like the Health Care District. But there is a little bit of tax sensitivity when talking about a dollar amount on an annual basis.”

The next step, Isom said, should be engaging with the public and delving deeper about their attitudes toward a ballot measure and when to bring it forward.

There was no public comment, and little discussion from the board.

In other news, PVHCD Board Chair John Friel said they have selected a new CEO, with a public announcement coming “in the very near future.”

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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/


  1. So now they want to add hospital funding tax along with school funding tax to property owners? I’d rather vote to add a bigger sales tax so everyone shares the pain, and leave property owners out of it. We just can’t keep paying more taxes while our incomes aren’t going up. I will vote NO on any measure jacking up my property taxes again. Increasing the sales tax, so all the people using the hospital who don’t pay for their services have to pay in some way. Way too many people freeloading in society while others are stuck with the tab. I see people crying poverty while they drive new cars to get free food, medical and housing. The people living in subsidized housing on Lincoln Street don’t even have to wash their own windows as we taxpayers pay for a window cleaning service for them. The halfway house on Madison Street next to church, touted as a great help to society, paid for by taxpayers, was claimed to not hurt property values when presented to planning dept, was destroyed by the druggies who lived there. Totally destroyed and now boarded up.
    Vote NO on all new property tax measures. Enough is enough.,

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    • I’m with “Pa Watsonville”. Many homeowners are on fixed income and this places a burden on them. A general sales tax for all would be my vote. We already pay toward schools and city employees retirement., and more. I agree VOTE NO on all new property tax measures. Yes, enough is enough. BTW…no one surveyed me or anyone else that I know.

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  2. Well said by both Pa Watsonville and Madhu. Share the pain and make it more equitable with a sales tax increase. Stop putting the burden on homeowners, they are not all rich or greedy landlords. The term “Property rich but cash poor” applies to a fair amount of them in this area.

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    • I nor any of my friends were asked if we support another tax increase. No one I know supports it. PVUSD got a tax increase of 150 million to repair schools a few years ago and the bond still hasn’t been paid for nor have Cabrillo bonds been paid for and they still want more. WHS got a new gym and then spend millions renovating the old one. I think many bad decisions are being made as to how the money is being spent by city and school districts. I wonder why Minte White school was open during summer vacation when school wasn’t in session. Why is part of EA Hall school being used for free food distr. Are these non-school businesses paying rent to school? I think it’s time for a full accounting of PVSD and city to see where our tax dollars are going.

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      • I agree but they are smart they know we cannot increase rents because of rent control but trust me I WILL find a way to pass this cost to my tenants one way or another

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  3. Why ask the taxpayers to fund a hospital that has been run into bancrupacy time and time again for decades???
    All of a sudden it’s going to be run well once taxpayers can cover poor management???

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  4. Why was old hospital on Green Valley Road deemed unsafe for hospital to use, but safe for PVUSD to then use? I always thought it was sort of crooked that a new hospital had to be built (and poorly built) while the PVUSD safely works in this “unsafe” building. I think there was some graft involved.

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