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Fate of Mercer County Hospital and Nursing home in voters hands

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Tomorrow Mercer County voters will have plenty of choices at the polls. Among them an offer from Genesis Health System to buy the county's hospital and nursing home for 1.75 million dollars.

"Where we do have a number of facilities in Iowa this is a new market for us, that's the benefit to Genesis," says Ted Rogalski Mercer County Administrator.

If the sale is approved Genesis has promised to invest more than 15 million dollars into the current Mercer County facilities. They also argue selling the hospital and nursing will relieve tax payers of more than a million dollars in debt, and a growing pension burden.

"To me that's the biggest issue on the table for the voters do you still want to continue to have that tax which only continues to go up year after year," says Rogalski.

If it passes Genesis says it could make the facilities profitable by streamlining operations, and increasing fees. But as you can imagine there are those who're against the sale.

"This is a bad deal for the tax payers of Mercer County," says Jason Soseman of the Mercer County Concerned Citizens group.

They argue Genesis' 1.75 million dollar offer is way to low. According to his numbers the hospital and nursing home an excess of 4.5 million dollars.

"Most people in this county know that you don't buy a business that's going to lose money, you buy a business to make money," says Soseman.

He and his fellow concerned citizens aren't against selling the facilities, their problem is with the current offer. In short they say the offer is too small, and it's being pushed through too quickly.

"If the voters vote no right now we can revisit this in November, this can be put on the ballot for discussion again in November," Soseman adds.

If the approval is given tomorrow for the sale of Mercer County's hospital and nursing home -- a two thirds margin by the county board is needed to finalize it.

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