Making the Case for the Hope Creek Care Referendum - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Making the Case for the Hope Creek Care Referendum

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A questionable future for the Hope Creek Care Center in Rock Island County. Wednesday night there was another chance for voters to learn more about the referendum on the November ballot that would raise property taxes.

If passed the proposed tax increase is only temporary. It expires after four years. Many think it would buy time to find another means of funding and, while some options have been kicked around, the county is far from figuring it out.

Chris Baker's 88-year old father is a resident at Hope Creek Care Center. He was forced to leave a previous nursing home which didn't accept Medicaid. "We need to continue speaking for those who can no longer speak for themselves. Hope Creek takes care of them," said Baker.

At the town hall meeting members of a group called KISS, or Keep It Supported for Seniors, made their case for the proposed property tax increase. They say it's been 13 years since the county has asked the public for additional support for the nursing home.

Right now Hope Creek loses about $70 per patient daily because of state funding shortfalls which comes close to $10,000 a day. But even others with relatives in the home recognize it's a hard sell for the average taxpayer.

"If she wasn't there I don't know that i'd be as concerned about it right now I probably would vote yes knowing the dollar amounts we're talking about," said Shelli Norris whose mother lives at Hope Creek.

It's about $50 more per year for a home valued $100,000. But even if voters agree to the increase taxes for four years something more has to happen.

"The county will have to have plan B and plan C, something on the back burner whether that's getting a management company, a lease company, a sale," said Trudy Whittington, Administrator for Hope Creek Care Center.

Donald Lind's idea is a lottery ticket to benefit county nursing homes throughout the state. He has contacted legislators and has more than 450 signatures on a petition and hopes this could be the ticket to save the county-run nursing home.

"This is a long term solution and this is working with the community and I understand raising property taxes but to me that's an easy way out," said Lind.

The Hope Creek referendum committee plans to hold one or two public meetings a month on up until the November election.

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