Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Voters should pass levy for nursing home

Local voters need to be generous and practical by voting next Tuesday, Aug. 3, to approve the temporary $1.9 million property tax levy that Blaine Manor needs to keep its doors open for two years until a self-sustaining facility can be built.

Times are hard in the Sun Valley area, but they will never be as hard as the times experienced by disabled residents who need the care of skilled nurses.

The nursing home's finances are hopelessly stark and unforgiving. Blaine County has subsidized its operations for years, but the subsidies are rapidly eating into the county's required reserves.

The nursing home receives income from private payers, Medicare and Medicaid, but its $1.7 million in revenues cannot keep up with $2.4 million in costs. This year's deficit is predicted to be $700,000.

Blaine County commissioners say the county cannot continue subsidies because its reserves simply will not last.

Thus, they are asking taxpayers to make up the difference for a short time to give the private, nonprofit Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation a chance to finish raising enough money to build a self-sustaining living center for retirees and those in need of skilled-nursing care.

It's hard for healthy people who've never had a loved one in a nursing home to imagine what happens when people become unable to care for themselves.

Without a nursing home in Blaine County, the old, sick and disabled will have no choice but to seek care far away from families and friends and to sustain the greater injury inflicted by distance.

Anyone who thinks they will never need a nursing home should think again. It should go without saying, but even in a place like the Sun Valley area where vigor infuses life, everyone grows old and people become disabled.

The levy question is more than a matter of the $9.40 to be taxed for every $100,000 of property value. It's a question of kindness. It's a question of sensible planning. And, it's a question of self-interest.

If the levy fails, the only thing missing from the area's high quality of life will be a nursing home. That should concern every taxpayer that calls this area home—especially aging Baby Boomers who number more than any other generation in the area today.

Should people who have spent their lives here be forced to leave the place they love and the people they love when the going gets rough?

We think not.

The temporary, two-year levy is a sensible and humane way to give ourselves a chance to build a state-of-the-art care facility before we have no choice but to send away the old and infirm.

It's the right thing to do.

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