Nursing Home Referendum Proposal Dropped
Backers of a pair of referenda on the future of the Champaign County Nursing Home say they're giving up on their proposal, and pulling it from the agenda at Tuesday night's Champaign County Board Committee of the Whole meeting.
One referendum would have authorized the county board to raise property taxes for additional funding for the nursing home. The other ballot question would have authorized the board to consider selling or leasing the facility.
The referenda proposal was sponsored by County Board members Chris Alix and Brendan McGinty (both D-Urbana) and Ron Bensyl (R-Royal). Alix said they wanted the county board to have the authority to take drastic action, if necessary.
"These were intended to be contingency plans," Alix said. "There were no immediate plans to do either, and there still aren't. But as we got further into the discussion, and heard a number of useful comments from other members of the board, it was pretty clear that a majority of the board is satisfied with the way things are going, and doesn't see the need to take action at this point."
Meanwhile, the referenda also failed to win support from the Champaign County Nursing Home Board of Directors. Chair Mary Ellen O'Shaughnessey wrote in a letter to the county board that the nursing home has gone four years without needing extra funds and did not require a tax increase. She added asking voters to consider selling or leasing the home could create uncertainty about the facility's future, making it harder to attract residents.
Alix said despite their decision to drop the referenda, the Champaign County Board needs to remain attentive to the nursing home's finances in the long term, because of its reliance on Medicaid funds for much of its operations.
Meanwhile, voters in neighboring Vermilion County will vote in November on a referendum on whether to sell the county-owned Vermilion Manor Nursing Home.