Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blaine Manor leaves $480,000 surplus

County finalizes operations to close Hailey facility

Express Staff Writer

    Blaine County’s administration of the Blaine Manor nursing home in Hailey will be leaving a surplus of about $480,000 to the county following transfer of the facility’s operations to a private company in October and closing-up expenses since then.
    That’s the figure that Interim Administrator and Director of Finances Stephanie Jaskowski gave the county commissioners at the conclusion of a fiscal 2013 audit report presented Tuesday at the Old Blaine County Courthouse in Hailey.
    Management of Blaine Manor was transferred to Pocatello-based Safe Haven Health Care at the beginning of the current fiscal year on Oct. 1. The private company is operating the nursing home, now called Bell Mountain Village and Care Center, until it moves the patients there to its new facility that’s under construction in Bellevue.
    The audit, conducted by Dingus, Zarecor & Associates from Spokane, Wash., shows Blaine Manor and Blaine County’s Manor-related expenses leaving a balance of $496,858 at the end of the fiscal year. Jaskowski said that figure has risen to $528,000 due to additional revenues and expenses accumulated since then, but will be somewhat reduced by the time she finishes her job there Friday.
    The remaining funds represent a significant portion of a $1.9 million two-year property-tax levy approved by voters in November 2010.
    “It was a really banner year for being able to cut our expenses,” Jaskowski said in an interview.
    The audit also gave a clean pass to Blaine Manor’s financial operations during the last year of management by Blaine County. Accounting firm partner Tom Dingus said he had found no significant deficiencies in internal financial controls.
    “I think it indicates that the staff and the board have done a good job,” County Commissioner Angenie McCleary said.

It was a really banner year for being able to cut our expenses.”
Stephanie Jaskowski
Blaine Manor

    The audit also shows a write-off of $1 million that had been advanced to the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation in anticipation of the foundation’s raising enough money to build a nonprofit senior-care facility on property it bought just west of Hailey.
    “The likelihood of their being able to pay this back is not high,” Dingus said.
    Commissioner Larry Schoen said he hoped the money could be retrieved through the sale of the Blaine Manor property and the foundation’s 20-acre parcel.
    The county claims that an agreement between the county and the foundation obligates the foundation to turn over the property if no senior-care center is built there. The foundation disputes that claim.
    Following the finances presentation, Jaskowski read a departing letter to the county commissioners in which she described accomplishments at the facility since she began working there in November 2000.
    “Little did I know of the life experiences I would gain working through the challenges of staffing and financial management while meeting the physical and emotional needs of the most interesting human beings during their most vulnerable time of their life,” she said.
    “They in turn taught us with grace and dignity many lessons we could only hope to remember when we too begin our own crossings… .
    “These last 13 years for me were unforgettable. It was an honor to serve this community. It was a great run.”
    Jaskowski’s words brought tears to the eyes of several of those present, and McCleary called her “a tremendous asset to the organization.”
Greg Moore:

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