Scanty turnout passes items in St. Charles

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Managing Editor

LULING — St. Charles Parish voters turned out in a tiny volume to approve by a two-to-one margin two propositions for St. Charles Parish Hospital on Saturday.

Only 5 percent of eligible St. Charles Parish voters participated in the election.

Hospital Administrator Fred Martinez said, &#8220We were really pleased with the results. It really does demonstrate that the community is behind the hospital and wants to have quality health care.”

In Proposition One, for voter approval to borrow $5.5 million to cover construction costs for a new wing and land acquisition for an assisted living center, the vote total was 1,148 in favor and 575 in opposition, 66.63 percent to 33.37 percent.

That project, part of an $18.5 million expansion, is for a new hospital wing, including new intensive care unit, new patient rooms, dialysis center and other amenities. Part is also earmarked for a new assisted living center.

Prior to Katrina, the hospital had sufficient funds, but bids came in far beyond budget, and this loan will cover the increased construction costs.

&#8220We’re going to rebid the project pretty quickly,” Martinez said Monday, &#8220and select the site for the assisted living center.”

In Proposition Two, to extend the existing property tax of 2.48 mills to 2015 for operations and maintenance, the vote total came to 1,107 in favor and 594 in opposition, 65.08 percent to 34.92 percent.

&#8220It helps stabilize everything as we move more into the expansion,” Martinez said.

He said of all the improvements and expansion, &#8220I think they’ll be pleased with the new expansion.”

Out of 32,483 registered voters, eligible to vote in Saturday’s election, only 1,731 came to the polls, a total of 5.32 percent.