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County leaders spent $2M trying to shove Taj Mahal nursing home down our throat

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A letter from the Republican caucus to move forward with our concerns and open discussion was given to the Commissioners Feb. 3. They waited until March 7 - more than a month - to respond to our letter and almost three months since the failed vote. (Cour
Some thoughts on the concocted Strafford County master plan by Commissioner George Maglaras and his failure to get us a new nursing home.
The three legged stool - New nursing home, solar farm, transitional housing conversion of the existing nursing home - is often referred to as the "County Master Plan."
Yet this so-called master plan has had no public hearings or meetings for public input from county residents. No way to hear their concerns and ideas or get their approval.
Is converting the existing nursing home to a transitional/homeless shelter the best re-purpose? Who knows. Again, we have never had a real discussion or real public hearings on this idea to allow the citizens to be included and informed.
As far as I know, only meetings with the mayors of the three cities of the county have taken place, completely ignoring the ten towns and people that also make up Strafford County.
Think about this. The new nursing home project has gone nowhere in two years. The County has spent approximately $1.9 million dollars with nothing to show for it except two failed conceptual plans. Extravagant plans county leaders were warned of well in advance that would not receive the votes necessary for bonding. Was anything done to prevent this train wreck?
No! The building committee only met twice in two years. The last Delegation action, a failed bonding vote, took place in December 2023.
A letter from the Republican caucus to move forward with our concerns and open discussion was given to the Commissioners Feb. 3. They waited until March 7 - more than a month - to respond to our letter and almost three months since the failed vote.
Their response letter was, in my opinion, a "nothing burger."
I can only speak for myself. I have been in favor of a new nursing home and am on record as such (read the letter from the Commissioners dated March 7, 2024). I trusted Commissioner Maglaras and Administrator Ray Bower, who have more than 60 years rest home experience between them, to give us a doable new nursing home plan.
They let me down with two overpriced conceptual plans they should have known would not get the needed votes for the bonding. They wasted two years and $1.9 million dollars of the good people of Strafford
County's money.... FOR NOTHING!
It's time to try something different. I believe that a new nursing home can be built for much less than $200 million. Ask the Commissioners and Strafford Delegation Chair Peter Schmidt to stop their obstruction and come to the table so that we may get a new, affordable nursing home for Strafford County.
Cliff Newton is a lifelong Rochester resident and state rep for Strafford District 6.
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