The Heffernan Memorial Hospital District board has taken quite a few shots from this newspaper over the years for, among other things, its seemingly ineffective leadership and inability to provide the residents of Calexico with much-needed medical services.
However, the district's current bid to refinance the $9.235 million bond issuance and its concurrent effort to restructure the district's debt payment to free up money to fund some sort of medical institution in the vacant Calexico Hospital is a noble effort that could work.
The Calexico Special Financing Authority, a body comprised of two Calexico City Council members and two hospital board members set up to purchase the bonds in 1996, has already approved the bond refinancing, a move that will take the current interest rate of the bond issuance from 7.4 percent to as low as 4.2 percent.
The next step is the restructuring, and that may be the tricky part. The bonds are now being paid off by a voter-approved half-cent sales tax. However, there are a number of other debts strapping the hospital district that are not covered by that tax revenue. Instead, those funds are being paid off by property tax money the hospital receives, as well as some $250,000 in sales tax money that was supposed to be used for medical services.