(8-29-19) Mercer County residents will vote to renew a 1-mill five year operating levy for the Mercer County Home in November. It will be the fourth time (2004, 2009 and 2014) that Mercer County residents will vote on this particular issue.
Prior to 2004, the county home was operated as a nonprofit entity, receiving financial support from the county’s general fund at the discretion of the county commissioners. In 2004, voters approved the first 1-mill property tax levy for the home.
The county home, located on 29 West, was built in 1865 (last year of the Civil War) and is not handicap accessible, they do not have a medical staff on site and no regular planned activities are scheduled.
33 of Ohio’s 88 counties provide a county home, half of them are certified under both Medicare and Medicaid, the Mercer County Home is not one of them and does not qualify as a nursing home or as an assisted living facility.
The home presently (2019) serves 14 people and has a capacity for 40 residents, out of 42,000 residents that live in the Mercer County. In 2003 (December) there were 21 residents, in 2014 approximately 20 residents.
Residents that live in the home cannot live on their own without some level of daily or hourly support. One or more of the activities of daily living are met with support from the staff of the Home from proper meals/diet, assistance in personal hygiene, monitoring of medicines or appointments. Medical assessments are done every 3 months (or as needed) for all County Home residents. If their care changes to a point that the home can no longer provide adequate care, other arrangements are made. Lengths of stay vary, from several months to several years.
Present residents have an average age of 45. Any resident of Mercer County can be admitted regardless of their financial situation.
Residents that live at the home are disqualified from receiving Medicaid because they live in a facility owned by the County.
The county is reimbursed a small amount by some residents. The resident can provide financial support for their stay, which presently $40 a day ($14,600 for a year), but they are not required to do so. The current cost for each resident works out to over $64,000 per year. In the past residents who receive social security or disability payments must turn over those funds to the county as payment.
The commissioners took the county home out of their budget and put up a levy in 2004, the commissioners appear to control most of the accounting and details of expenditures.
The total budget for this year is is $924,523.80 with 2019 Y-T-D expenses at $558,123.63, $750,000 of the revenue is received from the levy. The 2003 budget was $642,000.
The levy collects money from approximately 29,000 parcels of property in the county.
They have 12 full time and two part time employees, The staff to resident ratio is 1 to 1 and is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days/ a week. In 2003 14 full-time and three part-time employees staffed the home.
Salary expense for home employees is approximately $400,000.
Salary expense went from $225,000 in 2012 to $405,000 in 2017.
Benefits for home employees are approximately $200,000, included in those benefits is Health care at a cost of approximately $130,000 per year, over $10,000 per full time employee
The average salary and benefits for all 14 current employees is around $42,000.
Information sources include-
- Mercer County Home’s future in question (2003 Daily Standard)
- Issues pass in Auglaize, Mercer counties (2009 Daily Standard)
- Officials ask voters to OK county home tax renewal (2014 Daily Standard)
- Mercer County Home website
- Ohio County Home Association