An $887.4 million bond measure to pay for retrofitting and new construction at 93-year-old San Francisco General Hospital would cost homeowners an additional $289 in property taxes on a home priced at $500,000, according to a report by the Budget Analyst’s Office.
For years, city leaders have discussed putting a funding measure before voters to raise the needed funds for the hospital rebuild. During his re-election victory speech in November, Mayor Gavin Newsom said that passing such a bond would be one of his top priorities.
California law requires a number of seismically vulnerable hospitals, including San Francisco General Hospital, to construct for acute-care patients new buildings that can better withstand earthquakes. Hospitals that don’t meet the requirement by early 2015 could be stripped of their intensive-care licenses.
Passage of the bond would require a two-thirds majority.
If voters never approve bond funds for the project, San Francisco General Hospital would be forced to close, CEO Gene O’Connell told the Board of Supervisors Budget and Audit Oversight Committee on Monday.
"In other cities, public hospitals have closed because bonds didn’t pass," O’Connell said. "This hospital is so important to everyone in The City."
Plans to put the measure before voters have earned the support of every San Francisco supervisor but Sean Elsbernd. If approved, construction would kick off in January of 2010 and the new hospital would open in 2015.
The mayor has also championed the bond measure and considers SFGH "the heart of our health care delivery system, and a key part of our universal-care program," spokesman Nathan Ballard said.
SFGH, San Francisco’s only trauma center, sees 15,000 ambulance runs and 20 percent of The City’s acute-care cases per year, said O’Connell. The hospital treats roughly 100,000 patients annually.
The San FranciscoPlanning Commission on June 19 certified an environmental impact report for the hospital, which would include a new 442,000-square-foot rounded building with 284 acute-care and intensive-care beds.
However, the commission found that the construction would harm the historic integrity of the site and bring more gridlock to the Highway 101 interchange with Potrero Avenue and Cesar Chavez Street, City Planner Devyani Jain said.
"I think we’re bringing something to voters that is not half-baked, but fully baked," Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said.
Supervisors will decide July 15 whether the measure should go before voters in November.
If voters pass the $887.4 million bond to rebuild San Francisco General Hospital this November, here's how much it could cost each homeowner:
Without homeowner's exemption:
» $176.32 on a $300,000 home
» $235.09 on a $400,000 home
» $293.89 on a $500,000 home
With homeowner's exemption:
» $172.20 on a $300,000 home
» $230.98 on a $400,000 home
» $289.75 on a $500,000 home
* Source: San Francisco Budget Analyst's Office