PCOB cost-sharing discussed

The sharing of utility and maintenance costs at the Piatt County Office Building was discussed by the county board finance committee on Jan. 16. The discussion revolved around whether the adjoined Piatt County Nursing Home should be billed for more costs since they use 13 offices in the PCOB, including the laundry room.

The nursing home already pays the county $3,600 a month to cover the cost of running its laundry operation, which consists of three commercial washers and three dryers. Committee members talked about more indirect costs to the building, such as more frequent maintenance on the building’s air filters and air handling system due to lint generated by the laundry.

“This is uncharted waters for all of us,” said Nursing Home Administrator Karla Bradley. The office building was purchased by the county in 2011 and several agencies moved to the building by spring of last year.

The nursing home also pays for repairs and maintenance done in the laundry room itself.

If the county opted to bill for more of the utilities and upkeep, Bradley said they would need to account for it in their books, including signing off on PCOB repairs.

Committee member Randy Jo Keith suggested a flat rent for the long-term care facility. That seemed to go over with the remainder of the committee. The main problem is figuring out what that cost will be.

It was decided that the county would continue to bill the $3,600 for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends Dec. 1, and keep track of the indirect costs that are a result of the laundry. A rent will then be established for the 2013-14 budget year.

John Lyons encouraged his fellow committee members to make the rent “as reasonable, and low as possible,” saying the nursing home was a service the county provided.

“We have always supported the nursing home. Can we absorb this cost into our maintenance?” asked Lyons. He noted that other county agencies are not charged rent at the office building.

“Our big problem is experience,” said Dick Wilkin, pointing out the county doesn’t even have a year’s worth of costs in which to base any opinion.

The nursing home is also paid for doing laundry for other entities, including Kirby Medical Center.

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