Champaign County Board members approved a new three-year contract with Management Performance Associates to manage the county nursing home, but not before an unusually long discussion.
URBANA — Champaign County Board members approved a new three-year contract with Management Performance Associates to manage the county nursing home, but not before an unusually long discussion.
Under the contract, which was approved 17-2, MPA of Chesterfield, Mo., will be paid $295,944 annually for general management services, business office management and compliance services. The contract also provides for an annual inflation-based adjustment, and for the county to cover the nursing home administrator's salary and benefits, estimated at more than $122,000 a year.
A clause added to the contract provides that either party can terminate it with a 180-day written notice.
Champaign Democrat Pattsi Petrie said she thought the nursing home could be run "in a much more organized and financially frugal manner," and noted that other expenses could be incurred by MPA that are not included in the contract.
But another Champaign Democrat, Rachel Schwartz, said that before MPA's arrival in 2007, the nursing home had been losing millions of dollars a year, which in turn drained the county's general corporate fund.
"Even though the overall industry conditions have become much worse ... this is still self-supported by what the home's budget is," she said. "We have not given a penny to the nursing home from general corp. since 2008."
Josh Hartke, another Champaign Democrat, said that MPA "has done a fantastic job. They turned around ... something that was losing millions of dollars to what is in the black currently. That's what everybody wanted from MPA when they came on, to put our financial house in order."
Urbana Democrat James Quisenberry noted that the county's voters have voiced support for the nursing home in referendums.
"I believe we have a mandate from the people of the county to do this, and I think that MPA has shown itself to be able to do this without incurring additional costs," Quisenberry said.
Sadorus area Republican Jon Schroeder said that "from a regulatory standpoint they have really helped us out because we were really going down a bad way from regulations, if we kept running that thing. We'd be in a heap big mess right now if we did."
Also Thursday, Hensley Township Supervisor Kelly Dillard implored the board to work with the township, the city of Champaign and the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District on a "coordinated effort" to repair streets in the unincorporated area north of Interstate 74 between Mattis and Prospect avenues.
"The cost to repair these streets — just to repair them — is $300,000 to $400,000. To replace them, which is what really needs to be done, is closer to a million-plus," Dillard told the board. "In Hensley Township, we only collect $13,000 a year from the taxpayers in this area and we spend about $15,000 to $20,000 just patching potholes, plowing snow, salting streets, fixing sewers, just trying to keep up with the situation there.
"There's no way our budget can handle major repairs to the streets."
Dillard asked the board "to start some kind of coordinated effort" to improve the substandard streets in the area, most of which were built before 1970.
County board Chairman Al Kurtz said he was willing to look into the matter but didn't make any promises of financial support.
"It sounds like they're in dire need, and I'm willing to see if there's anything we can do," Kurtz said.
Board members also approved three separate three-year contracts with the Fraternal Order of Police for court security officers and sergeants in the county sheriff's office, as well as county probation officers.
The board also approved the appointment of former Champaign Park District director Bobbie Herakovich to the Champaign County Forest Preserve District.
Four board members were absent from Thursday's meeting: Democrats Ralph Langenheim, Lorraine Cowart and Giraldo Rosales, and Republican Jeff Kibler.