News Local/State

Raise Taxes For Champaign County Nursing Home Or Sell It? This Man Says Sell


Champaign County voters will see two referendums about the county nursing home on the April 4th ballot --- one to raise property tax rates to support the home --- the other, to sell or close it. Now, a group has formed to promote a nursing home sale.

When the county board voted in January to put the two referendums on the ballot, Republican member Jack Anderson told the News-Gazette that the referendum to sell the nursing home was put on the ballot mainly to show voters that selling the home was the likely alternative to raising taxes. Anderson said he did not expect any organized efforts to promote a sale.

When that report appeared in the News-Gazette website, Scott Tapley wrote in the comments section: “If no one else is going to organize an effort to support the same of CCNH, I may just have to do it myself.”

And that is what the former Champaign County Board member has done. Tapley, a Savoy Republican is one of the organizers of the group, “Save CCNH – Vote To Sell”. The group is active on social media, with a Facebook page and Twitter account.

The tax referendum would raise the existing tax rate for the nursing home of 3.25 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to nearly 10 cents. That’s estimated to add an additional $30 to the annual property tax bill for a $150,000 home.

Meanwhile, the referendum to close the county nursing home is not a binding one. It would give the Champaign County Board permission to sell or otherwise “dispose” of the facility

Tapley says the nursing home’s record financial problems over the years are reason enough for Champaign County voters to reject the tax increase, and allow the county board to let a private company buy the facility.

“And the best thing for the Champaign County taxpayers, for the residents of CCNH and for the other employees of the county, who are having their resources drained away by just the perpetual problems that the Champaign County Nursing Home has, is to sell it to a private entity and to move on,” said Tapley.

Tapley says Champaign County failed to keep nursing home expenses within the limits of a 2002 property tax referendum --- and he predicts the same would happen with this April’s tax question. In his view, a private owner would do a better job of running the nursing home than a government entity.  

“Only a private enterprise that has the ability to be nimble, take risks, make changes to adapt to a rapidly changing environment is going to survive”, said Tapley. “And right now, Champaign County’s still reacting to changes that happened a decade ago, trying to figure out what to do, let alone what’s happening right now.“

Tapley says the “Save CCNH – Vote to Sell” group hopes to participate in any public forums where the nursing home referendums will be discussed.