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Green light given to county home rate hikes

By Carol McIntire

It’s going to cost more to live at the Carroll Golden Age Retreat (GAR) beginning in January 2013.

County commissioners approved a rate increase during a meeting last Thursday that will increase the rates in three steps. The first will increase the rate from $1,600 to $2,100 per month Jan. 1, 2013, to $2,350 on Jan. 1, 2014 and to $2,600 Jan. 1, 2015. The last rate increase was in 1996, according to Hawkins.

Discussion on a rate increase at the SR 9 facility began earlier this year when GAR Superintendent Ollie Hawkins and commissioners were in discussions over proceeds from the oil and gas lease on land that was known as the county home farm.

At that time, Hawkins visited commissioners to review her 2012 budget and talk about funding for 2013. Hawkins said her budget lacks permanent improvement money and asked for at least a portion of the oil and gas bonus payment.

When commissioners were not permitted by law to place the money in a trust fund, they asked Hawkins when the last time the rates were increased and to provide information on the resident pay scale.

She replied that the maximum monthly rate was $1,600 and it operated on a sliding scale backwards based on ability to pay. At that time (April 11) she said the rate would have to be $2,700 per month for the facility to “break even.”

“So even if someone can afford to pay $2,700 to stay there, they are only paying $1,600 per month?” Commissioners Jeff Ohler asked her during that session.

When Hawkins replied, “Yes,” Ohler said, “If someone can afford to pay $2,700 then they should be paying that amount if they want to live there.”

Commissioner Tom Wheaton stated during that session that the goal was to keep the GAR open as long as possible and if a rate increase was in line, then it should be initiated.

Hawkins was asked to return with a recommendation for a rate increase.

She and Dr. Keith Burgett, president of the GAR Auxiliary Board, presented the proposed rate increases, which were approved by the Auxiliary Board.

“The county home (GAR) serves the residents who live there very well,” Burgett stated. “It is an obligation of the community to take care of these people.”

He noted that in 1993, county commissioners felt the county home was draining the general fund and placed a levy on the ballot (which passed and continues to be supported by the voters) to help fund the county home.

Hawkins said, even with the increase to $2,100, the daily rate be about $70 per day, which is significantly lower than what most other nursing facilities charge, which is $150 per day and up.

In other business, commissioners:
-ACCEPTED the quote of AEP Energy to provide electricity to the county for 6.331 cents/kw hour for three years. First Energy supplied a quote of 6.99 cents/kw hour for seven years.

-ACCEPTED the bid of Aero-Mark Inc. of Streetsboro for pavement center line markings on county roadways at a cost of $44,068.57 for polyester paint.

-DISCUSSED repairs to the courthouse clock once again with local historian Aaron Dodds. Dodds previously discussed a grant available from the E. Howard Clock Company, the makers of the clock. However Dodds said it is to restore the clock to its original state, which is most likely not possible. He said a 60/40 matching grant up to $20,000 is available called the History Fund Grant. The deadline to apply is the end of October. The grant does not require the clock to be restored to its original state. Dodds already has two quotes for the restoration work. He will look further into the grant.

-APPROVED a contract with Bleckman and Associates of North Canton to provide professional services for the administration of the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) FY 2012 in the amount of $112,000.

-RECEIVED the third quarter investment report from Treasurer Jeff Yeager showing the county received interest income of $1,632.47 on investments of $12.4 million during the third quarter. Yeager noted four Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are coming due in December which will bolster the county’s interest income for the year from $8,560.45 in the third quarter to over $34,000.

-VOTED 2-1 to transfer $10,000 from the auditor’s general fund salary line into a retirement account under the auditor’s control. Commissioner Doyle Hawk voted no.

-RECEIVED a letter from the Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District recommending having an Ohio State University Extension Educator in Carroll County. Commissioners said they will discuss the matter.

-RECEIVED the weekly dog pound report showing 10 dogs impounded, 10 tagged and two redeemed. There were five citations issued for owners without a proper dog license.

ANNOUNCED the courthouse will be closed Oct. 8 in observance of Columbus Day.

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