TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) --The outside walls of the new five-story building for the Tulare Regional Medical Center are complete, but a lot of work still needs to be done on the inside.
Doctor Benny Benzeevi is the chairman with health Care Conglomerate Associates overseeing the project.
"The town, the community, passed an initial bond to get the exterior of the building done and that's been done. And now has come the time to get the rest of the building completed."
Work was paid for by an $85 million bond measure approved by voters in 2005, but the money ran out before the project was completed. So worked stopped in 2013 before it was picked up again two years ago.
"So we've have been carrying the fix-up cost of a 65-year-old building that we're operating under, while at the same time continuing the construction here because we don't want to lose our permit," said Dr. Benzeevi.
To keep moving forward the hospital is counting on Measure I. The bond would increase property taxes by an average of $30 a year. Dr. Benzeevi said this is part of the first bond.
"Those original documents spoke very clearly to the need for an additional bond to complete the building. So now we're at that last step of requiring an additional bond of $55 million to get this building completed."
Measure I ballots for the mail-only election will be sent out on August 1st and counted on August 30th. It requires two-thirds approval to pass.
But the no on Measure I campaign has concerns over the use of the bond money. In a statement from hospitalaccountability.com they say, "Don't be fooled by the board and management who threaten us with scare tactics by saying the hospital will close-- that's ludicrous. The cost of this project will burden property owners and their tenants unnecessarily. Landlords will be forced to pass along these extra property tax costs to tenants, and rents will be raised."
Dr. Benzeevi said this is an investment for the city of Tulare that will keep the hospital open and save lives.
"We're operating in an ER that's decades old to a town that's grown by 500-percent in the ensuing years. So we need this space."
When completed the new hospital will have its first a helicopter landing pad, new ER, and new birthing center.