Public Hearing Set for September 4 for New Nursing Home

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The Prowers County Commissioners discussed the format options for the public hearing during their August 27 meeting.  The central issues are to create a PID, or Public Improvement District within the county and to develop a $14 million bond to finance the project.  The hearing is required to move ahead with the proposed purchase of Juniper Village Nursing Home in Lamar and construct a new, 60 bed facility on land owned and donated by High Plains Community Health Center.  The public hearing will begin at 6pm on Wednesday, September 4 at the Lamar Resource and Senior Center on East Olive Street in Lamar. 

The committee seeking to develop Sage Brush Meadows will present their outline to the public for discussion.  The commissioners need to approve the committee’s two ballot issues for the project to move forward.  Earlier this month, the committee said the owners of Juniper Village Communities responded favorably to the “Letter of Intent” to purchase the facility on South 10th Street in Lamar.  The committee has secured the necessary signatures of 200 “qualified electors” as required by state statutes for the commissioners to approve a resolution to conduct a public hearing. 

The two ballot issues which could go before voters in the November 5 General Election are:

#1 To create a Public Improvement District (PID).  As defined in the petition, it will consist of the Lamar, Wiley and Granada School Districts.  As Holly has their own nursing home, the community was excluded from being put into the PID.

#2   $14 Million – General Obligation Bond – for the acquisition of Juniper Village and to construct a replacement “skilled care” facility.   

Finances are of prime concern to all parties in this venture.  The annual estimated payment on the $14 million bond is, according to the committees Pro Forma submission, $1,030,000 with an estimated Bond Mill Levy of 8.288 based on the assessed property value in Prowers County of $105,637,721.  The estimated annual property tax impact would be for residential property $75.66 per $100,000 market value home.  For commercial property the annual tax payment would be $276.40 per $100,000 market value property.  Agriculture land (per quarter section) is listed at $7.39 for grazing land, $25.01 for dry farm land, $213.04 for irrigated – flood land and $69.31 for irrigated – sprinkler land. 

The Prowers County Commissioners will have until Friday, September 6 to make a determination to allow the two questions on the November ballot. Any income will be directly tied to the number of beds filled in the new facility.  Plans call for 60 private rooms to accommodate that number of residents, who would be transferred from Juniper to the new home upon its completion.  Earlier this month, just over 40 beds in double occupancy rooms at Juniper were filled.  The commissioners will have the authority to appoint aboard to oversee operations at the new nursing home.  The commissioners have expressed concern that the county could be held liable for any financial losses that occur in the not- for- profit facility which will be owned by the county’s taxpayers in the newly formed district.  Wendy Buxton-Andrade said that if the bond and the sale pass, the loss of Juniper Village will also mean the loss of property tax revenue to the county.  County Attorney, John Lefferdink said a determination is needed to see if a nursing home can qualify for a Public Improvement District when traditionally, they are used for such basics as roads, utilities, education, landfill, water or sewer development.  Lefferdink said he’s contacted a bond attorney who can help make a determination on the question. 

Local attorney, Darla Scranton Specht has been retained to serve as the public hearing officer who will facilitate the meeting.  The county is also supplying a public hearing secretary for the September 4 discussion.  Notices of the meeting were sent to an estimated 6,000 voters and just under 500 property owners in the county last week by the County Clerk and Recorders office.

By Russ Baldwin



Filed Under: BusinessCommissionerscommunityEconomyEmploymentFeaturedHealthLamarProwers County


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