The Transmittal (Balanced Budget) Letter to the County Board from our County Administration contains the following paragraph:
"One major issue on the County's short and long term horizon, is the Bel-Wood Nursing Home capital project. Currently, the plans call for a 214-bed facility. While staff have developed a conservative capital plan that affords the county the opportunity to construct a new nursing home without increasing the overall property tax rate, the uncertainty surrounding health care reform and a declining census necessitates a reexamination of the size of the project. County staff will be working with the the project team to present to the County Board in the coming months options regarding the appropriate size of the facility."
If you have been following the JS and my blogs on BelWood, you will have noted that I was the only one on the board who felt we had more than two options: remodel or rebuild. The third option never presented by County Administration was to sell the home and get out of the health care business as Tazewell, Sangamon and Livingston Counties have done. To name three out of the roughly 90 counties in Illinois not in the nursing home business.
Somehow, Medicaid patients in these 90 counties have survived. In 2009, property tax payers subsidized $3,200,000 of Bel-Wood costs or over $18 million starting with 2004.
In 2007, the County had a paid study done to remodel the existing home. The price was $12,500,000. After a consulting company was brought in and RiverCity Contruction was called in to make an estimate, the cost of remodeling rose to $21 million and then $26+ million. RiverCity Construction also gave the County an estimate, and continues to estimate now under contract with the County, to build a new BW housing around 224 patients. As time transpired, the new BW costs rose from $29 million to $54+ million, while the census at BW shrunk from 280 to the current 216-18.
Administration claims to have the possibility of contributing $15 million. This is unusual as of less than a few months ago, the County claimed to have only 3-5 million available with $50 million borrowed money. It is my understanding and belief that some of these millions will be borrowed from another County fund at a lower interest rate.
See my preceding blog. Originally I was the only no vote on spending this amount of money for largely Medicaid patients, but recently i have been joined in the no voting by all Republicans except Baietto.