Sunday, October 12, 2014

Peoria County - How Did it Get in Dire Financial Straits??

Peoria County is controlled by Democrats. A majority of the Board are Democrats. The past administrator and the current administrator are Democrats. They voted to abandon BelWood Nursing Home and build a new $53 million new nursing home. (The Democrats said County owned nursing homes are "safety nets" for the poor). The new home, Heddington Oaks lost $900,000.00 in the first half of 2014. It was supposed to be self-sustaining. You recall that Heddington Oaks, like BelWood is also supported yearly by approximately $3 million of property taxpayer money.

Approximately $49 million of the $53 million to build Heddington Oaks is borrowed money to be paid back in 20-30 years with interest. In the meantime, the old nursing home, BelWood must be maintained of demolished. Estimates are $1.5 million to demolish.

Peoria County is one of the few counties, 7 at last count in 2O10, to publicly own nursing homes. The County now owns the Peoria Riverfront Museum, a museum that does not come close to meeting projections in attendance.

Peoria County also unwisely accepted the closed Correction Center on Rt. 116. The only use of the area is for old record storage. And at least one board member has the key or combination to the enclosed deteriorating 42 acre complex. To visit the records storage, two people must be present. More waste of time since the round trip is around 32 miles.

Now, Peoria County wants to cut 40 jobs, either through early retirement offering those accepting a check for $10,000.00 and $25,000.00 in extra health care benefits. Most of the cuts are to come from the Sheriff's Dept. according to the Journal Star, which makes one wonder if the county was over-staffed. No public comment yet from Republican Sheriff  McCoy.

I recall back in the mid-2000's, cuts were made in county employment yet I heard personally of no complaints by the public. I also learned that most of the positions cut were eventually filled.

In the meantime, complaints are coming from the rural area about the condition of county roads. Less and less information about what is happening to taxpayer dollars spent in the public sector is coming from our main local paper and local TV Stations. Saturday's front page of the JS had 7 FULL page ads out of 13 pages and the few reporters left at the paper are writing columns "outside" their area of history and overall knowledge. 

A good example is my next blog.

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