ALEDO, Ill. — Voters in Mercer County will be asked next week for permission to sell the Mercer County Nursing Home and to expand the Mercer Carnegie Library.
Last fall, the Mercer County Board approved putting the nursing home question on Tuesday’s primary ballot. The board needs approval from the voters to move forward with a sale to Genesis Health System, based in Davenport.
Genesis wants to buy the operation for $1.75 million and has committed to making about $1 million in capital improvements to the building adjacent to Mercer County Hospital. Genesis began managing the nursing home last year and has been managing the hospital for more than three years. The hospital group also is interested in assuming ownership of the hospital and has pledged to make $12.5 million in improvements to that facility.
Hospital CEO Ted Rogalski said Genesis has a similar model in DeWitt, Iowa, that is working well. He estimates the Genesis purchase could save Mercer County taxpayers about $1 million by taking the nursing home and hospital employees off the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund rolls, to which the county contributes.
Also on Tuesday’s ballot, another attempt is being made to pass a building bond referendum for the Mercer Carnegie Library. Voters in Mercer and Millersburg townships will be asked to approve a $2.8 million question. Similar proposals were turned down in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Last year’s question was turned down by a vote of 53 percent against and 47 percent in favor.
The 97-year-old library has not been expanded or remodeled structurally since it was built in 1915 with $10,000 provided by industrialist Andrew Carnegie. The library board said the upgrades are needed to improve handicapped accessibility. The existing library collection and services are housed in about 1,900 square feet. The proposed addition would increase the finished operating area of the library by about 6,000 square feet.
The library district serves about 5,000 residents. The bond issue would raise taxes by 41 cents per $100 assessed valuation.