‘Numbers Wizards’ not telling whole story of nursing home finances

Posted 24 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Dear Editor:

Our County Legislature uses numbers to make their case for washing their hands of a 180-year commitment to some of our neediest and most deserving County residents. If you believe the six who support selling our Four-Star County Nursing Home, the responsible sacrifices our ancestors made are too much for us to bear.

For most of us, these “sacrifices” amount to a third of what we spend on mandated garbage disposal!  The amount we paid on a $100,000 assessment in 2013 was $51.14.  Garbage disposal costs each one of us $185/ year!

Your Legislature trumpeted a guessed at $1.1 million dollar loss for 2011 early that same year.  By October, Mr. Callard decided to pull the announced intention to sell Our County Nursing Home off the table before the election because, “The financials are looking better than expected.” Of course he denied ever intending to sell, even though residents’ families received a letter a year earlier telling them that the Home was to be sold!

If the Federal government sent us $4.6 million to offset Nursing Home costs after the election, and a Nursing Home “reserve” was created with $1.6 million in it, where did the remaining $3 million go?  That $3 million would have wiped out the three previous years’ losses. But we never heard anything about it.

This year, County leaders guessed we would be short $2.4 million.  The $1.6 million “reserve” had been created with federal dollars, leaving a guessed at $835,000 for taxpayers to pay (5.3% of the property tax levy).  Our leaders could choose to take 6% of 2012 sales tax revenue to pay off the $835,000 but choose not to.  Why is that?
And will the 2013 guessed at loss be adjusted two years from now when reimbursement normally arrives?  Or, will the final numbers remain a secret?

The manner in which reimbursements are received for long-term care services makes it very difficult to track what is actually happening.  They are normally received two years after expenses are incurred. And so, numbers games can be played, and they are.

Sincerely yours,

Gary F. Kent
Albion, NY