Auditor approves hospital petition

Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office has certified Grays Harbor Community Hospital’s petition to place its measure to become a public hospital district before voters in August.

Auditor Vern Spatz issued a “Certificate of Sufficiency” to the county commissioners Wednesday afternoon. The hospital presented 3,159 signatures to the office, which said it reviewed 2,239 of those signatures, “finding 1,616 valid signatures,” at which point they stopped, after having met “more than the minimum required 10 percent” of signatures of voters of the proposed district who also voted in the last General Election.

Quite a few more steps must take place before Friday, May 9, when the Auditor’s Office must receive everything in order for the item to be placed on the August ballot — which is the hospital’s goal.

If the process is incomplete by then, the request will have to be on the November ballot, according to Spatz.

At their Monday meeting, the County Commissioners will now set a public hearing to approve publishing the petition information — which they must do for a full two weeks prior to hosting the required four public meetings. They may publish in either The Daily World or The Vidette, according to the commissioners’ office. State law says they must then hold up to four public hearings, though Spatz said they could potentially hold all of the meetings the same day, spacing them will give the public — some of whom currently have questions or concerns regarding the potential hospital district, among other points of contention accompanying the potential change — appropriate time to attend and speak.

The currently proposed district boundaries include all of Grays Harbor aside from Oakville, because it does not use the hospital as its primary hospital, according the hospital’s Director of Public Relations David Quigg, or Elma and McCleary, which are already part of their own public hospital district.

The hospital’s steering committee for the formation of the public hospital district has decided that the newly formed hospital board will be comprised of five members elected by the public. Candidates, which will eventually be placed on the August ballot alongside the request to become a public district, will serve six year terms. Currently, the hospital’s board of directors consists of 12 volunteer members.


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