VALE – Pioneer Place officials hope a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 16, will capture ideas from the public to help solve the care center’s financial woes and avoid a worst-case scenario: closure.
The session runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Vale Senior Center.
Pioneer Place furnishes skilled nursing, assisted living and rehabilitation services. The facility is funded by a local taxing district but, by law, that money can’t be used for operating expenses.
Pioneer Place has struggled with funding challenges since 2019 and suffered financial shortfalls during Covid when state restrictions forced the facility to stop accepting new patients.
To meet the funding challenges triggered by Covid, officials drained $300,000 from Pioneer Place’s emergency fund and pulled another $75,000 from its building fund.
Also last year officials asked for financial help from the county. The Malheur County Court eventually awarded $150,000 but Pioneer Place officials confirmed the money would only cover one month of payroll expenses.
Pioneer Place employs about 80 people and carries an annual payroll of about $3 million.
Officials said now the facility is losing about $497,000 a year, or around $40,000 a month.
Pioneer Place must contend with a series of fixed costs – such as wages, salaries and benefits – and often struggles to find qualified employees such as nurses.
The format for the session will include a history of the facility, along with an explanation by Corey Crismon, the administrator at Pioneer Place, of the financial status of the care center. Crismon will also explain how much tax revenue Pioneer Place uses and for what services and he will describe why costs continue to climb.
John Nalivka, a Pioneer Place board member, will then review the steps Pioneer Place utilized in the past regarding its finances and outline as the best options for the facility for the future.
After Nalivka’s presentation, the board will listen to suggestions from the public.
Les Zaitz, the publisher of the Malheur Enterprise, will moderate the event.
The meeting is important, said Tom Vialpando, Vale mayor.
“It is a valuable resource we can’t afford to lose,” he said.
Dennis Buttice, chair of the Pioneer Place board, said he believes there will be a large crowd at the session. He said people are “very concerned about Pioneer Place.”
“I am pretty sure there is a solution out there that we can come up with,” he said.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]
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