By BARBARA DARGATZ
It is our turn. The levy to keep Blaine Manor's extended-care facility open until Croy Canyon Ranch is ready is imperative. A community's reputation for livability is judged by how it treats its elderly citizens.
The aging population of Blaine County—which has faithfully voted and paid for amenities to benefit our youth and young adults—is now asking the voters to consider the seniors. The bike paths, swimming pools, tennis courts, along with the modern schools, are taken for granted. Soon, there will be new rodeo and events facilities, an ice rink and winter sports arena. We have all helped pay for those amenities, some of us for more than 40 years. We consider those taxes minimal against the pride we feel in providing these community assets for recreation and education.
Why a levy? The costs of operating Blaine Manor and absorbing the shortfall between income and expense have been part of the Blaine County budget. The county is now experiencing severe budget restraints and must seek a broader base to cover those costs until Croy Canyon Ranch, the new planned continuum-of-care facility, is completed. This levy will be sufficient to cover the shortfall for three years but will cost our taxpayers for only two years. Taxes on our homes will increase by $9.40 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for each of the two years. The county is planning to sell Blaine Manor after the Ranch is completed, apply the proceeds to the Croy Canyon Ranch project and move the Blaine Manor residents into the new facility.
That $9.40 is a bargain considering the exceptional staff that cares for residents every day, almost one-on-one for the most fragile individuals. They serve nutritious meals, keep beds comfortable and clean and plan activities such as Alba Arndt's terrific 100th birthday party. Alba has designated me as one of her personal representatives; hence, I see her regularly. I had never been in Blaine Manor before and I am amazed at the personal attention and care residents receive, all with good cheer and willingness.
Try to imagine what might happen if the levy does not pass, especially if you are a family with an aging member who needs personal attention to take their medicine, bathe regularly, use the bathroom, and in the case of blindness, assistance in eating.
Present residents would have to be sent to facilities out of Blaine County, which means if you have a friend or family member in need of skilled nursing care, you would be making frequent trips to that facility. In fact, one of us might find ourselves residing in another county if we need skilled care or even temporary rehabilitative care should we, in our advanced age, break a leg or require major surgery.
Please do not confuse Blaine Manor on Main Street with the Blaine County Senior Center on Third Street; they each serve a different population. Blaine Manor is the only skilled-nursing facility in Blaine County and is Medicare- and Medicaid-certified. Residents pay room, board and incidentals with their personal savings and/or Medicare or Medicaid coverage. The proposed levy is a must if we are to fulfill our obligation to the aging population that has given much to maintain quality of life in our valley.
Help us fulfill "Our Turn" so that we can continue to enjoy that quality of life until the day when Croy Canyon Ranch is ready for us.
Barbara Dargatz lives in Hailey.