Here we go again!
Two committees of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors met on Thursday at a special meeting. The topic: The growing losses at the Wayne County Nursing Home. This may sound like a broken record to some. You see, a bunch of years ago the old Board of Supervisors decided to build a new nursing home to replace one built back in the 1970s. The idea was that with the increased State reimbursement rates, the home would probably pay for itself.
I fought tooth and nail at the time, along with County Treasurer Tom Warnick, stating the idea was full of hooey and the reimbursement figures were little but smoke and mirrors. This was at a time when many counties were getting out of the public nursing home business.
It was obvious to me, if not the goofy Board at the time that things were changing in the industry and the trend was to try to keep older family members at home with home aid services lending a much needed helping hand.
As the old Board dallied around figures for justification, costs began climbing, but hey, the County would at least break even, or make a little money. I recall impassioned pleas by Board members touting the great care at the County owned facility, compared to private nursing homes.
Well, guess what? The figures were smoke and mirrors. There is a swing by government to keep the aging population at home much longer by supplementing home care costs. It seems that is much cheaper than supporting county-run facilities.
It came as no surprise to anybody with a brain that wages, benefits and especially state retirement packages for County run facilities are higher, making the public facilities less competitive. This is not to say the staff does not provide great service for the residents, or that the facility itself is not first rate.
Gee, go figure, the Board now has to deal with millions of dollars in subsidies to keep the County-run Nursing Home afloat and it promises to get much worse in the years to come.
Instead, we are going to rehash the cost cutting that cannot be done to meet losses. The elephant was in the room, but no one admitted it. The County Administration and Board members know it is time to cut our losses and try to find a buyer for the County-owned nursing home, before it is too late.
Another topic discussed at committee meetings this week was the once called “Port of Lyons”. That name failed miserably and became a joke around the County. Thinking barges would use the canal to ship goods to ‘God knows where’ was stupid at best.
Now the repackaged “Wayne County Freight Village”, with unnamed costs to taxpayers, has resurfaced. The idea is to have a currently abandoned rail line reborn to give the “Freight Village” a pathway to more competitive rail rates for all the stuff that could be possibly shipped out and into the County. Of course they could use the main line already in existence, but that would be too easy.
Could Wayne County succeed in getting into the railroad business? Why not, we did such a great job with a County run Nursing Home.