MAYVILLE - A matching grant to provide a $1 million revenue stream for the Chautauqua County Home has hit a snag in committees.
The news comes as the home's financial officer announced Thursday the Dunkirk nursing facility will run out of cash by the middle of next year.
A resolution to appropriate $500,000 out of the county's fund balance to match a federal grant failed to pass Wednesday's Human Services Committee meeting and was tabled during Thursday's Audit and Control Committee meeting.
The resolution was signed by Minority Leader Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown, and will head to the legislature floor during next week's full-body meeting.
Largely, legislators in both committees agreed funding would help the cash-strapped County Home, however, neither group would commit to providing taxpayer money until a study was complete on the financial stability of the facility.
An ad-hoc committee, chaired by Legislator John Runkle, R-Stockton, has tapped the Center for Governmental Research to perform the viability study.
The potential revenue stream has the backing of several legislators and County Executive Greg Edwards, who called the funding a "smart business move" for the county.
"I think that this is a great opportunity to give back a little money to the County Home," Victoria James, D-Jamestown, said Wednesday.
The resolution was drafted after the county's 2011 budget yielded almost $10 million in excess funds through reconciliation.
George Borrello, R-Irving, suggested tabling the resolution in order to secure more information - which includes possibly fronting more money to obtain additional IGT funds. The federal government requires a local share for the IGT funds, usually for a dollar-to-dollar match.
Borrello said even if the County Home were to be sold or leased, the county would still be on the hook to subsidize the home should the facility deplete its own fund balance.
"It's still going to take at least a year to 18 months to happen," Borrello said of a possible sale. "So no matter what decision is made, we're going to be in the County Home business for at least the next year. So this money and the matching funds from the federal government can only help us. It can only help our deficit situation next year."
The County Home, which has been marketed by the firm Marcus & Millichap, could receive up to $3.6 million if the maximum amount were sought.
Not all legislators, however, were in favor of fronting the money out of the county's fund balance to supplement the home's fund balance.
"I think it is very premature to spend $500,000 to try to get an IGT match that will not be realized and will do really nothing for the home other than being a balance sheet item," Vincent Horrigan, R-Bemus Point, said Wednesday.
Horrigan said if the commissioned study shows the County Home could continue financially on its own, he would support funding a government match in next year's budget.
"We can allocate these funds through the budget process next year," he said. "And maybe it's more, maybe it's less, but we'll put IGT considerations right in line with the other budget priorities."
Colleen Wright, the County Home's financial officer, said the County Home will run out of money by the middle of next year unless more revenue is secured. The home is expected to face a $3.75 million deficit next year, which would all but deplete its fund balance.
Wright said there is enough cash in its accounts for the home to make it through this year.
Kitty Crow, county budget director, said the legislature has until June 20 to make its local share payment to the federal government. If the payment is not received by then, the County Home would not receive IGT dollars for the current round of funding - currently in the state's 2010-2011 fiscal year.
Crow acknowledged there was some confusion over the payment schedule in connection to the state's fiscal year. Last October, the home received a $3.2 million payment in IGT funds from the state's 2009-2010 year.
However, she affirmed payments from the county go toward the year IGT funds are doled out to the County Home.