Champaign County Board OKs two more loans for nursing home

Champaign County Board OKs two more loans for nursing home

URBANA — As the saga of the sale of the Champaign County Nursing Home continues for yet another month, a divided county board voted to authorize two more loans to help pay the bills.

Following a 67-minute closed session Thursday, the board voted 12-10 on two separate but similar issues: the first grants the county executive and treasurer authority to cover any shortfall in the nursing home's accounts payable for March with a loan for up to $200,000; the second authorizes them to use a loan to make up for any March payroll issues.

Money to repay the first loan would come from proceeds of the sale or future nursing home revenue, while the second would be repaid with those future revenues.

"There has to be money to run the home," county board member Stephanie Fortado said. "The first revenues that come in to the nursing home are used to repay that loan."

Finance Committee Chair Jim Goss, who opposed both votes, argued that the actions were not loans at all.

"This is getting ridiculous," Goss said. "It is a gift because there is no money to pay it back. We spent money this year that we didn't have. I am telling you as finance chairman of this county board, this money doesn't exist."

"It matters because every month it is $200,000 more. It's $1.2 million more. It's write off $4.1 million more," board member Jon Rector said. "It is more money every month, every month, every month. It's got to stop sometime. It is embarrassing. We have not done our job.

"When it comes to your re-entry program, when you want the money for the sheriff to get a new data analyst, we've spent it all. We've spent millions of dollars the last two years trying to keep this open," he said.

The county board originally approved the sale of the nursing home for $11 million last May, with plans to complete the sale in August.

But closing on the sale has proved to be elusive.

The latest state-imposed deadline to close the transaction expires at the end of February, but regulators are seeking another extension until the end of March.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board could vote on the extension request  March 5.

In other business, the county board voted unanimously to award a contract to Scanlon Excavating and Concrete Inc. for the construction of the Art Bartell sidewalk project.

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