Portion of Valley View proceeds to pay off debt

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Blair County commissioners have agreed that $3.85 million of the proceeds from the sale of the Valley View Home will be used to cover debt the home owed to the county’s general fund.

For the long-term financial stability of the county, it’s a good move, Blair County Commissioner Diane Meling said Tuesday.

When Blair County owned Valley View Home, the county’s general fund covered the home’s expenses when the facility failed to break even, and at one time, the county’s general fund paid insurance premiums for the home’s employees.

The latest calculation on the amount owed to the general fund by Valley View Home is $3.85 million, county Finance Director Robert Kuntz said Tuesday.

Commissioners, who have already designated $8 million from sale proceeds toward the county’s underfunded pension plan, unanimously supported the proposal to pay back the general fund.

“Those were expenses Valley View should have been paying, independent of the county’s general fund,” Commissioner Terry Tomassetti said.

Kuntz recommended the transfer as a way to address debt reported annually in the county’s audit and included in county’s fund balance. But unless the debt is paid, Kuntz said that money isn’t available to the county.

“At some point, we’ll need cash to pay bills,” Kuntz said.

And the county can’t pay bills with an IOU, Tomassetti said.

Meling said commissioners will discuss ideas in the coming weeks for use of the remaining Valley View Home sale proceeds, estimated at about $4 million to $4.5 million on the $16.5 million sale price. Commissioner Ted Beam Jr. previously said he’d like to see some of the money used for new window frames on the older portion of the courthouse.