Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bel-Wood Safety Net - Or Local Nursing Home Competitor? Part 2

Last night, the County Board approved by a 16-2 vote to build a $37 million new BelWood. Yet JS newspaper reporter, Karen McDonald, keeps writing the project will cost the property tax payer $26-29 million; sorry, Karen, it's $34-37 million by estimate. Since the county only has $2 million of the estimated cost, administration plans to borrow the money paying it back over 30 years with an ACTUAL cost of $62-80 million. Not including the subsidies (property taxes and IMRF, FICA, Social Security. etc., totaling over $3 million that BW receives annually and growing. This information is all a matter of record. Karen also said I made the motion to defer committing more taxpayer dollars until after we work out our CURRENT DEFICIT. Pat Hidden made the motion and I seconded it. Karen, check last night's board minutes. Small stuff, I know, but we are all obligated to get right what we print for others to read.

Over at least the past 10 years Bel-Wood Nursing Home has had a very poor track record. We have gone through at least 8 administrators, interim administrators; one interim, was our States Attorney, and management groups. Our current BW administrator was hired on On May 19, 07. Our outside Project Management & Coordinator (MPA, from Chesterfield, Missouri, who is charging Peoria County $1,300,000 plus, who wrote to our County Administrator that to renovate the existing 40 year old facility would cost $21,000,000 (this cost varies depending on which report you wish to believe, it's now up to $27-29 million) including lost revenue from patient transfer. Also, that the existing building would not have a COMPETITIVE dementia facility. Competitive against who? Bel-Wood is being sold by the consultants, the administration and the board as a SAFETY NET FOR POOR PEOPLE. In several places throughout the consultants recommendations is wording that Bel-Wood would not be "competitive" unless we built a new nursing home.

The administration and the board are compassionate board members looking out for the poor while the county uses a tax collecting nursing home to compete against the tax paying local nursing homes?

The construction company, different from the Project Manager, will receive 4.5% of the total cost of the facility. The same construction company did the renovation cost and the new build cost. They will send out the bids and recommend to the board the contractors to do the the construction. It was pointed out by our project consultant that "low bid would not necessarily be the one the contract is awarded".

Since a voters referendum was approved in 2003 to MAINTAIN Bel-Wood through tax rate hikes, BW collected over $14,500,000 in property taxes and used that money to pay off $4 million in previous debts and most of the balance to make up yearly BW deficits. The county also paid roughly $1 million a year ($1.2 million in 2008) in retirement, FICA, Social Security and Medicare payments totaling over $4 million more in subsidies but still evidently didn't have enough taxpayer dollars to make the necessary repairs as needed to properly maintain the nursing home. (7/04/09 CORRECTION) Figure of "$4 million more" should be a total $2,3871,568.00 from property tax subsidies. Sorry, I added direct and indirect taxes and then added indirect taxes again.

Board member Allen Mayer insisted that BW is making a profit. But then Allen is a Democrat working down in Springfield. Probably on the states budget? Hmmmmmm. So why didn't we do the maintaining of BW instead like we do the County Courthouse, part of the courthouse or Caterpillar headquarters built before BW was built...??

Republican Board Member Carol Trumpe also stated the BW was making a profit. Now you see my dilemma on the County Board and why both Democrats and Republicans have trouble getting things right in Springfield and DC.

OK, more competition to the private sector who PAY taxes rather than COLLECT them.

Hold your hat because in a few more years, Peoria will be right up their with the highest property taxed citizens in the nation.

Stay tuned.

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