The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

October 27, 2012

Nursing home future decided by Nov. 6 ballot

DANVILLE — Residents have the power next month to determine the next move for county leaders considering the future of Vermilion Manor Nursing Home.

A referendum on the Nov. 6 general election ballot poses the question to voters: “Shall Vermilion County, Illinois be authorized to sell the county nursing home known as Vermilion Manor Nursing Home?”

County board members voted earlier this year to put the question on the November ballot. Chairman Jim McMahon said, if the referendum passes, the county has several options — not just selling the county-owned facility.

“Would we actively check our options? Yes,” he said. “Because we have to know what are options are based on the authority of the voters. We need to know what options we have.”

 “It doesn’t mean we’ll seek to sell immediately,” he said. “There are people interested in both ways: buying outright or a partnership scenario.”

At last count, the county has been in conversation — not negotiations — with not less than four firms that have shown interest in the nursing home. McMahon said there are two firms who want to come in and remodel and take over and two others that could be interested in running it in a partnership with the county.

The referendum was considered and eventually placed on the ballot after the county faced delinquent Medicare payments from the state that topped, at one point, $2 million. Just less than 50 percent of Vermilion Manor’s income comes from state payments.

The proposed FY 2012-13 budget for the county predicts for a $1 million loss at Vermilion Manor in the upcoming year. The final budget has not been passed by the county board.

If the Vermilion Manor referendum passes, McMahon said the option to be pursued will be decided, in part, by the representatives who are elected to the county board. Each of the 27 seats in the board’s nine districts is on the ballot, with four of the races contested.

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