Thursday, July 09, 2009

Hospital Referendum Could Cost $1.2 Million

Star business columnist John Ketzenberger takes a look at the four referenda that will be on a special election ballot in Marion County this fall. He says the Election Board is trying to determine whether the Marion Co. Health & Hospital Corporation should pay all or a part of the $1.2 million cost for its referendum on constructing a new $900 million hospital to replace Wishard Hospital. It's not like it makes a big difference to taxpayers, who either way wind up footing the bill.

In addition to the hospital referendum, Beech Grove and Franklin Township will have referenda on school construction projects. Perry Township is still in the process of certifying a ballot referendum for a school construction project.

Ketzenberger talks about Indiana becoming more like California, where voters frequently vote on a wide variety of public questions. What he doesn't focus on is the fact that these issues are being decided in a completely unnecessary special election. The additional costs would be largely avoided if these questions were put to voters during a regularly-scheduled election. Proponents of these measures wanted the special election option because they believe most people will ignore the election and not come out to vote, allowing special interest groups with a vested interest in the outcome a larger influence and thereby improve chances of passage.


Downtown Indy said...

Interestingly, Beech Grove will soon have an empty hospital campus that could be employed as a 'Wishard South' if they would only consider it.

But I'm fairly certain the plans are for a much fancier new Wishard and old St Francis would not be to their liking. Hospitals are all about esthetics these days.

artfuggins said...

I will vote no in the referendum and urge my friends to just because of the demand that it be held during a non election time and the waste of taxpayer money. If they have this little regard for taxpayer money then what would they do in building a new hospital. NO FOR A NEW WISHARD.

Melyssa said...

Gary, How do we fight this and force them to move it to a regular election?

Paul K. Ogden said...


I'll have to check out the language of the bill, but if the legislature did not build in any flexibility to decide when the election will take place, or said it will take place in November of 2009, we're stuck. The only way to change it is if the legislature went back into session and a bill was passed repealing it.