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Sheriff's 2011 budget reviewed by county commission

Disappointment expressed about new commissioner's attendance

November 18, 2010
OSSIPEE — "I am disappointed the newly elected commissioner is not here to listen to the budgets, especially the nursing home. Chip attended all the meetings after he was elected. You would expect someone to show up to have an understanding of what is going on," said County Commissioner David Sorensen who was clearly upset with newly elected Commissioner Asha Kenney.

Commissioner-elect Kenney did attend at least part of the Nov. 11 meeting, arriving for the 8 a.m. meeting at 8:57 a.m. and leaving at 9:41 a.m. without removing her coat or asking any questions. When she entered the commissioner's meeting room Wednesday morning nearly everyone in the room glanced at the clock.

Kenney defeated Albee in the Nov. 2 election and will officially take her commissioner's seat Jan. 1.

Sheriff Chris Conley's sheriff and dispatch department budgets were accepted but Conley was asked to provide a more detailed breakdown on several lines. He agreed to bring the information back to commissioners as he did not have it readily available at the meeting and had to simply admit, "I'm not sure," when asked about specifics in the budget.

Some highlights of the budget include: a savings in administrative salaries due to the retirement of Lt. Domenic Richardi, a position that Conley said will not be filled; a minimum of three dispatchers working on each shift with part-time employees helping to augment the full-time staff rather than hiring more full-time employees; and relying more on the state surplus program for acquiring needed equipment.

Conley pointed out that his overall budget is up just one and a half percent, well in line with the guidance given by commissioners at the onset of budget season.

Nursing Home news

In nursing home news, commissioners voted 2-1 in agreement with Administrator Sandi McKenzie to raise the daily private pay rate from $254 to $262 per day. Albee pointed out that with the increase in the costs of supplies and food for the home, the three percent increase is warranted. Commissioner Dorothy Solomon voted in favor while Sorensen voted against raising the rate.

McKenzie told commissioners the 103-bed home is currently full and has a "very healthy waiting list." The new nursing home, scheduled to be completed next summer, will also have 103 beds, which is the limit set by the state, according to commissioners.

The nursing home budget presented by McKenzie and Office Manager Paula Coates, shows an expense increase of 4.8 percent mostly due to salary and health insurance increases but that amount is offset by an increase in anticipated revenue of 6.3 percent.

All nursing home equipment purchases over $500 are presented to the commissioners for approval first. This week the commissioners approved purchasing some pieces of equipment – a Hoyer lift used to transfer patients into bed or wheelchair, a laundry labeling machine, and oxygen equipment that had been previously leased – but held off on approving 12 new computers with a total price tag for purchase and set-up of $16,000.

Coates explained that the 12 machines to be replaced are at least six years old or older; all purchased between 2002 and 2006 and are not able to keep up with the full-time daily use. The proposal was sent back as commissioners would like to see at least two more quotes.

Albee continues to meet weekly with the contractors who are building the new nursing home and said there are currently 66 workers at the job site. For those who have Facebook.com access, frequent construction updates and pictures from the construction site are being added on the nursing home page that can be found by searching "Mountain View Nursing Home."

All preliminary 2011 budgets have been received and commissioners were set to meet Nov. 16 for a budget workshop to fine tune them for presentation to the county delegation Dec. 13.

Martin Lord Osman
Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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