Hope Creek Care Center at 4343 Kennedy Drive in East Moline.

ROCK ISLAND -- Rock Island County Administrator Jim Snider called the financial status of Hope Creek Care Center "sobering."

Snider spoke about the many hurdles the facility is facing after the Rock Island County Board's Committee-of-the-whole meeting Wednesday night.

"I think the reality is we have a big financial challenge to overcome," We have a lot of vendor debt, we have quite a bit of debt to our inner-funding area, and so it's gonna take a big shovel to get out of this." Snider said. "It's always  important to make decisions strategically and not just emotionally." 

At the start of April, an accounting firm will review more than 4,000 pages of documents from the center.

"Hopefully we will find clarity here in the next couple of months and we will move forward," Snider said.

Currently the facility is running with an interim director after former director Cassie Baker stepped down. Snider said they will likely wait until after the audits have been conducted before they move forward with naming a permanent director.

In other business:

• Rock Island County Treasurer Louisa Ewert said the county received $349, 892.53 in sales tax revenue for December 2018. She said that is down $23,389.90 from 2016 numbers, but ahead $68,447.09.

"The fact that some of the stores are closing does not look like we are taking a huge, huge hit yet," Ewert said.  

• Rock Island County Auditor April Palmer reported expenses at Hope Creek are down by nearly $800,000 versus last year.

"If we were getting every dollar, on time, what was expected, we would be ok," Palmer said.

Only 136 of the 210 beds available are filled. Of that, 65 percent is paid by Medicaid. 

• Vice Chair Mia Mayberry asked Palmer if "all of the funds are where they are supposed to be and under budget?" 

"As far as budgetary standing is concerned, yes," Palmer said. "Everyone is very fiscally careful with their money and do not spend, especially at this time of the year when we do not have property tax dollars, they really really try to hold off. This is very apparent in these reports."

• Board member Cecilia O'Brien asked Palmer why the $450,000 owed to the county by the Public Building Commission had not been paid yet. 

Palmer said $400,000 of the money has now been paid back in the last week; however, it was not reflected in the packet because the numbers only go through the end of February. 

Palmer said she and County Administrator Jim Snider are working out some discrepancies and to help them understand the billing that was sent.

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