MAYVILLE - The Chautauqua County Home is one step closer to getting its lifeline payment.
In fact, the skilled nursing facility may get even more than first anticipated.
During an Audit and Control Committee meeting Thursday, legislators agreed to amend a resolution to fund a local share payment out of the county's fund balance to match an intergovernmental transfer.
Committee proposes $1.4M local share for matching grant
The original resolution, which was tabled last month, sought a $500,000 appropriation; the amendment now calls for a $1.4 million local-share payment toward the matching grant and will head to the legislature floor for a possible vote next week. With that approval, the County Home would receive a $3.6 million IGT payment.
Colleen Wright, County Home financial officer, and Mark Deas, county financial analyst, broke down the home's finances and discussed IGT funding levels. Wright was tasked last month by the committee to draft the financial report.
Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, said he supports the County for looking at its options in handling the home, including the possible private sale or lease of the facility; however, he noted, there needs to be financial support of the nursing facility if the county continues running it as an asset.
Colleen Wright, second from left, discusses County Home finances during an Audit and Control Committee meeting Thursday in Mayville. The committee agreed to amend a resolution to front more money toward a federal matching grant.
P-J photo by Eric Tichy
"Without the IGT, we just heard, for 2011 that they received $3.1 million in funding," Nazzaro said. "Without that, they would have had a $3 million loss."
"I still think that any enterprise fund, which the County Home is, whether it's the County Home or the sewer district or whatever, should operate on its own," he continued. "... But we need the funds to operate."
The local share payment is possible due to recent reconciliations in the 2011 county budget, which freed up millions of dollars. As a result, a little more than $10 million will find its way into the county's fund balance.
A $450,000 IGT payment was included in County Executive Greg Edwards's 2012 budget, however, legislators were forced to cut it during negotiations due to tax-cap worries.
Meanwhile, one legislator warned Thursday that now is not the time to sit on the surplus, when subsidizing the County Home may become a reality.
"I think we need to move ahead," said George Borrello, R-Irving. "Whether it's finding efficiencies, whether it's concessions from the union which we have not yet seen, or whether it's privatizing the home, we need to move forward and make this home operate as close to break-even as possible."
According to projections from Wright, without any IGT or future funding revenue streams, the home will deplete its fund balance by next year; its cash accounts will run dry even sooner.
Beyond 2013, the home will run deficits in the millions of dollars. Through early projections, the facility is expected to run a $4 million deficit in 2014 and 2015; its cash accounts will be $8 million and $12 million in the red, respectively.
Rose Conti, CSEA Unit 6300 president, said she was relieved by the resolution's amendment and passage.
"I'm encouraged that they've taken a look at the IGT and the benefit of the county receiving those types of funds," Conti said to The Post-Journal. "Where else in county government do you get that kind of money?"
"I don't believe anyone should just sit back and wait now," she added. "I think that it gives us again that breathing period as we explore what is the best way to maintain the County Home."