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Council Approves Letter of Support for Proposed Nursing Home

Municipal Offices in Lamar

 

The Lamar City Council voted to sign a letter of support for the proposed Sage Brush Meadows Nursing Home during the council’s April 23rd meeting. This is one step among several the organizing group needs to move the project forward to a November ballot.  Anne-Marie Crampton, councilwoman, recommended the group begin gathering a minimum of 200 signatures from citizens who favor the project, along with a 1% sales tax initiative for purchases within the city limits.  “That will go a long way to helping the council refer the measure to the ballot in November,” she explained.

One important hurdle for the group will be to receive approval from the state for additional Medicaid Bed Certificates. If those aren’t allowed, the new nursing home will be stalled.  If the measure isn’t put on this November’s ballot, it won’t be able to be introduced again until 2020.  Brooke explained that the waivers can be granted from the State Health Care Police and Finances organization based on the number and quality of innovative programs the nursing home will create.  Brooke explained the nursing home, planned on ten donated acres north of Spreading Antlers Golf Course, will feature from 54 to 64 private rooms in four neighborhoods of operation, creating large and small units.  A therapy pool has been planned, residents can take part in creating meals in a central kitchen and features will include facilities for memory care.

The financing for bonds will be through a one percent tax on sales within the Lamar city limits. Brooke admitted that will have to be explained to local residents using ballot language which is identical to an initiative passed by La Junta voters last November.  “It has already been legally vetted,” he explained and Attorney Darla Scranton Specht has helped create an overview of their goals in a service plan.  Brooke said the sales tax proposal would register more favorably with voters than going through a mill levy increase which would impact only property owners in the newly created district.  “A report from the Buxton group showed that at least 63% of credit card purchases within the city are done from persons outside our specific zip code,” he stated.

The ballot will consist of four questions. One is for the creation of a Lamar Health District, which modeled after the City of La Junta’s used last year for their nursing home funding project, the second pertains to a TABOR question for taxation up to $16M with a maximum repayment cost of $35M at 1% on purchases with the limits of the City of Lamar until all debt has been satisfied.  Two other questions deal with creation of a board of directors to the Lamar Health District with two directors to be selected to serve two year terms and three directors selected to serve three year terms.  Brooke said the letter of support will have to be submitted for consideration by May 30th at the latest.

By Russ Baldwin

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