Judge: Nursing home question belongs on ballot

URBANA — A public policy question about the sale or disposal of the Champaign County Nursing Home will appear on the April 4 ballot, Circuit Judge Michael Jones ruled Friday morning.

Jones dismissed a lawsuit filed by members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees that said that the ballot question was not validly adopted by the county board at its Jan. 10 meeting because the board did not follow Robert’s Rules of Order.

The ruling means that two separate nursing home questions will be on the April 4 countywide ballot: one to raise property taxes for the nursing home to help it meet operating costs and the second to allow the county board to sell or dispose of the east Urbana institution.

Mark Stein, the Chicago attorney who represented AFSCME employees Michael Wilmore and David Beck in the lawsuit against the county board, said after the hearing that he would not appeal Jones’ ruling.

“I think this is it. This means that there will be a referendum,” said Stein.

In the hourlong hearing Friday Jones asserted that county board members were not confused when they approved the resolution putting the nursing home sales or disposal question on the ballot.

“There’s no allegation that any member was confused about what they were voting on,” Jones said.

If he had allowed the lawsuit, Jones said, “Tens of thousands of voters would be deprived of their…

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