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BATAVIA – Genesee County’s 2013 budget – $145 million, with a slight increase in the property tax – was unveiled Tuesday along with a review of a major drain on expenses: the county nursing home.
The budget’s increase of $3.2 million is caused in part by nursing home operating losses.
The tax rate will climb 8 cents, to $9.97 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The slight increase for a second year follows a rate that had remained at $9.82 per $1,000 for four years until the current year’s hike of 7 cents.
The general fund of about $100 million is about $2.7 million more than the current budget. The property tax levy will remain near $26.2 million.
The 240-bed nursing home, which opened in 1974, has needed county funds to operate since 2007. The annual deficit has ranged from $520,000 to this year’s $2.7 million. A further drain has been a domiciliary care unit of 80 adult beds whose occupancy rate has hovered around 40 percent the past two years.
With most patients on Medicaid, the daily cost of $260 gets reimbursement of only $170.
In addition, nursing pension costs for a full-time staff of 215 are rising up to 20 percent per year, county officials said.
Legislators have been clear that the county’s 180-year tradition of institutional long-term care is not at risk, although marketing and sale options could be considered.
“The deck is stacked against county-owned and -operated long-term care facilities from ever operating in the black,” Budget Director Jay A. Gsell said.
He also noted that a private operator would pay property taxes.
The budget will have its public hearing Nov. 8 at the county’s Office for the Aging, 2 Bank St.
Adoption could come later next month.