The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 3, 2013

County board makes the right decision


Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Vermilion County Board members made one of their most difficult decisions in years last week when they agreed to sell Vermilion Manor Nursing Home.

The nursing homes traces its origins for years into county history. But the inability of the Illinois Legislature to put the state’s financial house in order and pay bills on time, a decline in revue from local property taxes and an increase in medical costs combined to create a tough fiscal situation for the nursing home,

Voters — and this newspaper — supported an increase in the county’s [property tax rate to support Vermilion Manor. Limits on that amount, however, left county board members with basically two options: sell the nursing home or eventually face the need to close it.

County board members decided to sell the facility to FNR Healthcare Group, which agreed to spend more than $2 million to improve the nursing home and to pay the county $3.5 million in the sale.

FNR Healthcare Group already operates a number of nursing homes, including one in Savoy in Champaign County. County board members visited that site before their vote to gain a sense of the way FNR does business.

It’s easy to understand why county board members did not initially want to sell Vermilion Manor. The nursing home has seen its ups and downs in recent years in regard to care of its residents, but the operation has long been a part of the county.

County board members deserve credit for seeing the future was not good for Vermilion Manor and for doing their homework to select a buyer that looks like the best option for residents as well as the county.