Hope Creek Advisory Question
November 19, 2013
Residents of Rock Island County may help decide the future of the Hope Creek nursing home early next year. Several members of the county board have proposed putting an advisory question on the ballot in March, asking whether the county should continue to own and operate the facility in East Moline. Originally the board considered asking for a tax hike in March to support Hope Creek, but then decided to postpone that vote until next November (2014).
Drue Mielke, from Coal Valley and District 22, says results of the advisory question would help the board decide whether to ask for a tax hike.
"We've got a serious issue. We can't wait until November if it comes out that the public is more in favor of doing something else, then wewant to know. But the best way to do it is this advisory referendum - "shall we continue operation and maintenance of the home ?"
County officials say Hope Creek is losing money due to the high number of Medicaid residents, and falling reimbursements for them from the state. It could be 1.5 million dollars in "the red" by early next year, and 3 million in debt by the fall.
Also backing the advisory question is Ron Oeke from Andulusia and District 24.
"You can keep pouring tax dollars into Hope Creek but if you haven't taken steps to control costs and look at other avenues to get the home on balance, then one thing isn't going to do it."
Oelke and Mielke say the Rock Island County board could decide at its meeting next month whether to put the advisory question on the March ballot - but a decision has to be made by the end of December.
(photo: (left to right) Chris Filbert (R-District 1), Drue Mielke (R-District 22), Ron Oelke (R-District 24)