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Carbon paying out $1.5 million to keep Weatherwood afloat

Published June 25. 2010 05:00PM

With the sale of Weatherwood, the Carbon County Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Weatherly, scheduled to take place at the end of the month, Carbon County officials are paying out $1.5 million to keep the sinking facility afloat.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board approved two transactions to Weatherwood. One, which was labeled "loan number 3," was in the amount of $900,000. The other, labeled Weatherwood Fund, was in the amount of $619,030.81.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said that the two large transactions were because "Weatherwood doesn't have enough resources to meet expenses at this time."

County controller Robert Crampsie added to O'Gurek's explanation, stating "$619,000 was for bills for this past week and the fund was short $480,000 so we had to send up money to cover the bills. Next week, we're looking at payroll, which is another $300,000, and also whatever the bills are for next week.

"The $900,000 sent up this week will be used up in a matter of a few days."

This loan is not the first Carbon has had to give Weatherwood.

Over the course of last year, the county loaned the facility more than $2.5 million to offset rising costs. This is the major reason the board chose to sell the nursing home.

O'Gurek explained loans have come out of the county's "carry-over fund," which at one time was $8 million but is now down to near $3 million.

He added that if the board chose not to act as it did, and instead continued to fund Weatherwood's $3 million deficit, the extra funds would have been depleted and the county would have been forced to raise taxes by two or three mills.

Crampsie noted that the $3.4 million will be repaid to the county fund following the sale.

In a related matter, Carbon County officials have announced that non-union employees, employed by Weatherwood, will receive the same payouts for vacation, sick, and personal time as union employees following the sale of the facility.

O'Gurek explained the board felt it was the "fair" thing to do.

"In the interest of treating everyone the same, we established a condition of benefits so we are able to pay non-union employees similarly," he said.

All employees who have days in these categories will receive payment, according to the same terms as the union agreements, within 30 days of the sale.

The county also signed a resolution that covered health care coverage payouts, uniform allowance, and bonuses.

According to the resolution, all employees, union and non-union, who have declined county health care coverage for the year 2010 will receive a $750 payment within 30 days of the sale. This represents a 50 percent payout.

Union employees in both OPEIU and AFSCME, who are eligible for a uniform allowance and have not received their 2010 allowance will receive a $150 payment within 30 days of the sale.

OPEIU members who are eligible for a $100 bonus, which was to be paid July 1, will receive the bonus within 30 days of the sale.

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