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Voters Reject Gracedale Sale

County can't sell nursing home for the next five years.

Northampton County's nursing home still belongs to Northampton County.

With 100 percent of the returns in, voters approved a referendum Tuesday that bars the county from selling the home for five years by a margin of 19,384 to 7,302. 

The vote followed an by the families of residents and union employees to keep the home out of private hands, arguing the county had a moral responsibility to continue running Gracedale.

The county had hoped to sell Gracedale to a for $35 million, and had argued it could no longer keep the home under . 

But this just closes one chapter on Gracedale. Now that it won't be sold, the county has to figure out how to pay for it for the rest of the year. Anticipating a sale, the county only budgeted enough money for the home for the first half of the year. That would mean a tax increase, County Executive John Stoffa has said.

The county is also expected to start looking for a new management team to oversee the home. 

Eastward May 18, 2011 at 05:05 PM
To even allow this come to vote is bogus. This is what the county commissioners are supposed to decide - not voters or a judge who allows it to come to vote. This, in time, will prove to be a big mistake.
William May 18, 2011 at 07:03 PM
The county budgets only one year of funding based on an expected sale of Gracedale. They then, in a vote 5-3, decide the people should determine the fate knowing the potential outcomes could greatly impact the masses during the current poor economic times. To top it off the campaign succeeded in confusing the voters on whether yes meant to keep or to sell. Unbelievable mismanagement and planning that will ultimately lead to a tax increase as high as 30%. Again, the squeaky wheel gets the grease regardless of overall impact of those who live in Northampton County. It makes me wonder if a single budget item such as this could potentially impact our taxes by as much as 30%...what would a line item that has greater value do?
Scott May 18, 2011 at 08:15 PM
There seems to be some dissent among the members of county council with regard to this issue. Some are claiming that it would require a 30% tax increase. Lamont McClure says the county made two million from gracedale........which is it? From what I have read on the issue they can't agree.
Tom Coombe (Editor) May 18, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Scott: The county apparently has made money from Gracedale in the past. The 30 percent figure sounds high, but from what I understand, a tax increase would be necessary. I'm actually writing this from a county committee meeting; we'll likely hear more about this later.
93GEO-Metro May 18, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Gracedale sits on 365 acreas. Put in solar panels/windmills like every one else is, that has any sizable property and start generating power both to operate on and sell back to the power companies. Back in the early years, they used to grow crops people could eat. How many of us eat field corn and soybeans?

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