Before the idea gets too advanced, I need to voice my opposition to building a county-owned nursing home in Keene.
One of my concerns is about property taxes. Keene is the hub of Cheshire County and offers citizens a bounty of services, the arts, entertainment, government-built infrastructure and many other cultural opportunities. But, with every one of those opportunities comes a cost to the taxpayer of the city. Current governmental, educational, charitable and religious properties which are off the city tax roles amounts to more than a half of a billion dollars of assessed value. Using our current tax rate, that amounts to a $17.76 million annual subsidy paid for by Keene property tax payers. We cannot afford to add even more.
Another concern I have is the unintentional, but real possibility that many county citizens would get left out of the mix if the current plan being considered goes through. We can’t forget how nursing homes were conceived of in the first place. They were created by county governments to meet a need that the for-profit private sector will never be able to meet. Hard-working low and middle income citizens will not be included if we allow market forces to have a seat at the table.
I fully appreciate the county delegation task force’s difficult job of finding a solution to the aging Maplewood Nursing Home and agree that in order to give adequate care to our ever-growing number of seniors we must do something, but the answer isn’t going to be found in Keene.
Terry M. Clark
14 Barrett Ave.