I wrote the email below on 11/18/10. This is an update.
Some more misinformation has been forthcoming since 4 plus months ago. Our administrator and soon to be City Manager, was quoted in the JS on 3/29/2011, as saying "BelWood bottomed out in 2004 so the county took a referendum to the voters. We have improved financially every year since then... Yes, because since 2004-2009, BW collected over $17 million in direct and indirect property taxes while receiving two subsidies from other county funds of over $500,000.00. In addition, the county received $237,000.00 of grant money that was to be used for a new sprinkler system but was used instead to pay for consultants, engineers, estimators, etc., for a new building.
Fact was that the referendum asking an increase "Annual tax rate from 0.25 (voted in in 1983), to .06%, was voted on in April of 2003, not 2004. Nowhere in the 2002-3 promotion of this referendum by the county was it mentioned that BW had a $4.1 million debt. Nor did the referendum mention the need for a NEW $50+ (actually $70+ million with interest for 30 years) million county owned nursing home.
It was only after this additional new property tax money came in that the county decided to pick up BW's indirect expenses which deducted $1,220,636.00 in 2008 alone.
Yet board members continued to say BW had to "compete" against the private sector while claiming they were a safety net for the poor!
The referendum and all promotions of the referendum never mentioned the county could build a new nursing home. It also said inpromotion of the referendum, "BW requires short-term OPERATIONAL assistance but in the long-term is and can return to a self-sufficient financial base."
On 1/20/2003, in a headline in the JS, "Peoria County Makes Case for Bel-Wood", no mention was made of this debt. Board member Budzinski was quoted as saying "they could close a wwing (BW has 6 wings) or they could sell it" and Board member Kennedy said "keeping BW rates low helps keep competion's prices low".
Good grief, keep BW's prices low to drive out private nursing homnes not financed by taxes?? Who actully PAY proert taxes and evidently make enough money to stay in business. When BW was losing money every year?? Only in the last few months did the board decide to drop "compete" from its promotional language.
Here is my email of 11/18/2010.
Misinformation about BW is and has been, rampant. Facts have basically been ignored or thought non-relevant.
Start with sprinkler system that had to be installed by year 2010. (Quotes of Lynn Pearson, Matt Neukirk, BW Administrator and the JS)
Fact is that the county need only show that a sprinkler system is in its plans by August, 2013.
The cost of the new BW "would be around $45 million and would be covered by an existing tax that county residents pay to support the facility, so said the JSEB on June 7, 2010. On 6/2/10, Karen McDonald reiterated in the JS, "The county plans to use money from an existing property tax levy that supports the nursing home to cover project costs." If so why a new $45 million 30 year bond?
Fact is that this tax started in 2004, over $17 million collected by BW since its enactment, a property tax that brought in $3.2 million in 2009, is used to cover the losses incurred yearly by the current BW.
Fact is that no way can the 2003 tax levy passed in 2003 cover the "nursing home project costs" as claimed by the Journal Star and its reporter.
Fact is that the County Board approved the borrowing of up to $51 million in soft and hard costs, including estimate of $1.6 million for demolition and $4+ million for site preparation for the new building. The JS last week reported that the project was around $40 million.
Fact is that census at 300 bed BW has been steadily decreasing, last report issued shows the census at a probable all time low of 214.
Fact is that many privately owned and funded and property tax paying nursing homes have dementia units, such as Skyline Apostolic Christian and Eureka Apostolic. Skyline offers home service for people with diseases like Alzheimer's with companions 24 hours a day.
The JSEB says that federal stimulus bonds will save the county $10 million over the term of the 20 year bonds.
Fact is that I question the $10 million savings (JSEB, June 7, 2010) and contend that this savings will at the expense of taxpayers somewhere. There are no free lunches when when the government claims to save you money. Someone pays for it. Also, the last I heard the bonds are going to be repaid over 30 years not 20.
The estimate on remodeling was $12.5 million in 2007. It rose in increments as the cost of the new building rose. The estimate to remodel or rebuild was done by the same company which cause some contractors in Peoria to "raise their eyebrows".
Fact is that the SA office says "there are always ongoing lawsuits in the nursing home business". I am aware of approximately $700,000. being paid by the county and its insurance company in the past few years.
Fact is administration circulated pictures of the rundown condition of BW to the media. A contractor friend of mine said he would do all the corrective work for $25,000. If you recall, the referendum of was to "maintain" BW yet maintenance was told starting around 2007 to "do only life-safety issue" maintenance. The maintenance work was then done and I have heard of no new issuances of violation K-tags in the past 6-8 months.
Fact is that administration proposed that $1.6 million of the new BW bonds could be used for dead record storage. Fact is that once the new structure is built, administration does not need to ask the board where records could be stored. With all the vacant space in downtown Peoria, much closer to the courthouse.
Fact is that if all of these dead records are destroyed, there are 2 copies available elsewhere Outside of the courthouse records maintenance would be costly as two people would have to make the trip each time as no single person should be allowed access to all other department records. The county would risk damaging lawsuits for accidently taken or pilfered confidential records.
Fact is according to admission records over 20 BW residents come form OUTSIDE the county which means that Peoria County taxpayers support nun-residents with no additional charges assessed.
Fact is that Peoria is one of a handful of county owned nursing homes and Sangamon and McLean County, closed their homes years ago with no noticeable effect on health care.
Fact is that when the taxpayers approved the increased tax levy for BW the majority believed it was to maintain the existing structure. They also did not know that BW was over $4 million in debt at the time, that BW accepted residents from other counties, nor did they know that BW could have been totally remodeled for $9 million, including interest on the loan in year 2000. Now the interest alone on the loan over 30 years will approach way over what the entire project would have cost in 2000.
Fact is as late as 2007, a resident was allowed to run up $147,000 in expenses before any effort was made to correct the situation. BW has had more than 4 administrators over the past 10 years. BW has taken excessive administrative time and will continue to do as BW has over 160 union employees. A few years ago, a BW union boss was alleged to have been caught sleeping with a resident. The matter was apparently hushed up.
Fact is that many siblings sell off their parents assets 3 year before filing for Medicaid. BW has approximately 160 Medicaid residents.
Fact is that our governmental bodies have no real idea how how Medicaid will be financed in the future and more of the nursing home costs, especially in 30 years, could become the responsibility of the area providing the service.
End of my 2010 email.