Six unsolicited inquiries have been made to lease the financially troubled Hope Creek nursing home in East Moline.
The county-owned facility could face a 2.5 million dollar deficit by next year. In November 2013, board members refused to gather proposals for Hope Creek’s potential lease.
Now, the head of the committee that oversees the home says six private businesses have expressed interest in leasing Hope Creek, and he will bring that to the attention of the board at next month’s meeting.
“I plan to re-present to the board in January the possibility of seeking proposals for leases. We have 6 unsolicited inquiries presently that I feel should be brought to the Board’s attention,” said Steve Meersman. He did not specify where the inquiries came from.
On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, Meersman plans to meet with a consultant to line up an appraisal of Hope Creek to apply for a short-term loan to keep the home afloat.
The board right now doesn’t plan to ask voters about a tax hike until November.
At a subcommittee meeting Monday, December 9, board member Drue Mielke proposed an advisory referendum for March, seeking the public’s opinion on whether or not the county should remain in the nursing home business. The proposal failed to pass.
“I wanted the public to have some input now, there are some people out there that feel the county should not be in the nursing home business. That’s not my feeling, but I want to give people a voice. Why wait until November with a tax increase question?” Mielke said.
In November, the board voted down even considering investigating the possibility of private operators for the struggling home, saying no to a request to gather proposals for Hope Creek’s potential lease.
The union at the nursing home is fighting against the home’s sale or lease.