The infirmary costs
Before the county purchases the building at Eisenhower and Hughes road, officials should follow commissioner Eldridge's suggestion that the county determine if the County Infirmary is viable in the long term. If occupancy at the infirmary is down to 65 percent, and it is more and more difficult and expensive to maintain required staff levels, maybe it is time to close the infirmary and use the facility to house other county offices. The cost of renovating the infirmary may be as much as the cost of renovating this building, but the county would not have any acquisition costs.
Since the county is preparing the 2001 budget, commissioners should be able to determine within 60 days if it is in the county's best interest to continue subsidizing the infirmary. The 2000 subsidy is $234,110, when occupancy is falling, operating costs are increasing and the daily charge is $10 a day less than the Medicaid reimbursement rate. Should Leavenworth County increase property taxes more and more to keep the infirmary open? Or is it best to close the infirmary, use the annual subsidy to support other county operations which would otherwise require property tax increases and use the infirmary facility to meet the county's space needs?
David A. Greenamyre, Lawrence
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