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Heritage Place at any price not a good deal for borough

Posted: Monday, April 10, 2006

Despite the borough’s dismal financial outlook, it’s looking to buy Heritage Place. It’s such a good deal, we just can’t pass it up, so they say. Rather than controlling spending, they are on the fast track to purchase another liability that taxpayers will be responsible for. Although the tax-exempt, nonprofit hospital will run it, taxpayer money will buy it, upgrade it and maintain it for as long as the borough owns it.

The hospital is a good example. Every time the hospital administration wants something new or remodeled, they ask the assembly for money, and usually get it. It’s called redistribution of wealth. They take money from all classes of people and give it to an organization that is tax-exempt and nonprofit.

When has your hospital bill ever looked like they aren’t making a profit? And does any of that money come back to the owners (taxpayers) in any way? After all, it is an asset, and assets make money. Liabilities don’t. I certainly haven’t seen a financial return on my “investment.”

How many other health care companies have been offered such a steal on HP? My guess would be none, but I’d be willing to bet some would fight for the opportunity to purchase it, especially at such a bargain price. If a private company bought it, it would remain on the tax rolls, actually making money for the borough. What a concept!

Instead, we are about to play a shell game where we’ll rob Peter to pay Paul. Mr. Gilbreath says taxes won’t need to be raised (as if he controls taxation) because money has already been appropriated for some other purpose. It will just be spent for something other than what it was intended.

New property assessments were recently sent out. Some jumped at little as $20,000, and that’s with no improvements, or so much as an inspection. Others along the Kenai and Kasilof rivers had theirs double, some even tripled. But taxes won’t need to be raised, remember? Some of us were born at night, but not last night. It’s all taxpayer money, one way or another if the borough is involved.

In their final hours, it’s important to care for the elderly, but it’s not the responsibility of the local government. Let the nonprofit organization running the hospital get a loan to purchase, remodel, and maintain HP on their own. This borough needs to cease competing with private enterprise and stick to the business of controlling their spending. Taxpayers, take notice and watch your wallet!

Allen Nichols

Soldotna



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