Fall Tax Referendum May Decide Future of Hope Creek

April  16, 2014

A local group wants Rock Island County to continue to own and operate Hope Creek Care Center. At last night's county board meeting, the Keep It Supported for Seniors Committee, or KISS, encouraged the board to place a tax referendum on the November ballot. And all but one board member voted to do just that.

President of KISS, Chris Baker, says even if the nursing home in East Moline can't sustain itself financially, Rock Island County should continue to own and operate it. "It's our job to take care of the elderly and sick. It would cost an average $3.83 per month for homeowners. The average value is $103,000 in the county, I believe."

Baker's 88-year-old father has dementia and has been living at Hope Creek for two years. She says members of the KISS Committee include residents, family members, employees, and others. We're trying to find a financial solution. It's not just don't close Hope Creek. One of our members is working on a lottery that would go only for nursing homes. Mike Smiddy is handling that. We should know in May whether it will pass."

The current maximum levy for Hope Creek is $0.10 per $1,000 assessed value, and if the referendum is approved, the maximum rate would rise to $0.25. 

Last fall, Rock Island County Board leaders considered leasing or selling the nursing home because of escalating costs, plus late payments from the state and declining reimbursements. But the board decided not to. Then in January, the county took out a line of credit to help pay expenses, including bills at Hope Creek.