The Pullman Regional Hospital Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to explore placing an expansion of the hospital’s taxing district on the November general election ballot.

The hospital would still need to go through several additional steps before it makes the ballot item official, such as holding a public hearing in the next several months.

“There’s definitely more details to work out before it would appear on the ballot,” Commissioner Tricia Grantham said.

A PRH strategic planning committee recommends that the hospital taxing district be expanded to coincide with the current boundaries of the Pullman School District and Palouse School District. The new boundary would not overlap with the Whitman Hospital taxing district.

The voters living in this proposed new taxing district would vote on the ballot item in November.

The taxing district currently only includes property owners within the city limits of Pullman.

The hospital began having conversations about changing the tax district after the hospital’s second attempt to pass a $29 million bond failed in the 2019 fall election.

That bond would have funded what the hospital calls its “Next Era of Excellence,” which includes a family medicine residency program, an electronic medical record system and additional facility space on its campus.

In the leadup to the fall 2019 election, some questioned why only Pullman residents shoulder the tax burden when people outside the district also use PRH’s services.

A tentative schedule of PRH board meetings shows a public hearing on the issue would take place in June. A resolution would be considered in July.

In other PRH news, CEO Scott Adams said the hospital has entered into a partnership with Washington State University to test wastewater for COVID-19. Testing began this month and will continue through June.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.

Recommended for you