Neighbors of Dunn County loses $500,000 in 2017 — smallest loss in four years

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE — While The Neighbors of Dunn County lost $500,000 in 2017, the deficit was the smallest in four years.

According to the audit report presented to the Dunn County Board at the September 19 meeting by April Larson of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, The Neighbors posted a loss of $500,228 in 2017, which compares to a loss of $869,244 in 2016.

The biggest loss in four years was $1,048,814 in 2015, while The Neighbors lost $755,155 in 2014.

The Neighbors’ current ratio calculation, which includes cash and investments, accounts receivable, current liabilities and “due to other funds” balances is .71; a current ratio of 1+ is the desired ratio, Anderson said.

In 2016, The Neighbors had a ratio of .17, and in 2015, The Neighbors had a ratio of .25, compared to a ratio of .55 in 2014.

Dunn County hired a new nursing home administrator earlier this year, Carmen Flunker.

Flunker replaced Tony Manzella, who retired after serving as the administrator for more than ten years, first for the Dunn County Health Care Center and then for The Neighbors of Dunn County.

The Neighbors of Dunn County is an “enterprise fund.”

Enterprise funds are used for operations financed and operated like a private business enterprise in which the cost of providing the services is recovered from those using the services.

The highway department and the transit commission also are enterprise funds.

Part of the deficit for The Neighbors is due to the low Medicaid reimbursement rate from the state of Wisconsin.

Nursing homes in Wisconsin are reimbursed for 65 percent of the cost of caring for a resident, and Wisconsin has the lowest reimbursement rate for nursing homes in the United States.

In addition to the decline in Medicaid reimbursement rates, Medicare reimbursement also is declining because of the federal sequestration

An austerity fiscal policy, the federal Budget Control Act of 2011 which went into effect in 2013, reduced Medicare payments by 2 percent per year.

The federal Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 extended Medicare sequestration until 2025 and continues to decrease Medicare provider and plan payments by 2 percent each year.

Medicare covers a better portion of the cost of nursing home care, but Medicare only covers short-term stays.

General fund

Dunn County has a general fund balance of unassigned funds in the amount of $9,077,777, representing 44.3 percent of unassigned fund balance to general fund expenditures.

The recommended amount is 25 percent to 33 percent of unassigned fund balance to general fund expenditures, Anderson said.

In 2016, the unassigned fund balance to general fund expenditures was 77.6 percent, while in 2015 it was 75.6 percent and in 2014 it was 73.1 percent.

While Dunn County has an acceptable percentage of unassigned fund balance to general fund expenditures, the percentage is much smaller than in previous years, Anderson said.

Last year, $1.1 million of the general fund balance was used to cover the budget deficit, she noted.

In 2016 and 2015, the unassigned fund balance was $14.7 million, and in 2014 it was $14.5 million.

Highway department

The highway department had an unrestricted fund balance of $3.96 million in 2017, compared to an unrestricted fund balance of $3.73 million in 2016, $3.98 million in 2015 and $3.15 million in 2014.

The ratio calculation of cash and investments, accounts receivable, current liabilities and due-to-other-fund balances was 4.45 in 2017 and was 5.55 in 2016, was 7.96 in 2015 and was 6.13 in 2014.

The highway department fund had a surplus of $732,846 in 2017, a deficit of $666,042 in 2016, a surplus of $297,174 in 2015 and a surplus of $619,500 in 2014.

Transit commission

The transit commission had an unrestricted fund balance of $90,666 in 2017 and a cash and investments, accounts receivable, current liabilities and due-to-other-fund balances ratio of 9.24.

In 2016, the transit commission had an unrestricted fund balance of $46,668 and a ratio of 5.02, and in 2015 had an unrestricted fund balance of $107,702 and a ratio of 2.38, and an unrestricted fund balance of $144,141 in 2014 with a ratio of 6.8.

The transit commission had a deficit of $26,001 in 2017, and surpluses in the previous years of $433,902, $473,646 and $137,246. 

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