Private firm interested in Pinecrest

IRON MOUNTAIN — Dickinson County is willing to listen to an offer from a private company to acquire Pinecrest Medical Care Facility in Powers, although at least one of the tri-county facility’s co-owners is against the idea.

The county board voted 4-1 Monday to request a proposal from Pritok Capital to purchase Pinecrest, a 140-bed facility that provides medical care, Alzheimer’s care, and physical, occupational and speech therapy.

“Pritok contacted us,” said County Controller Brian Bousley, adding, “Delta County does not approve of this.”

Pinecrest, which serves Dickinson, Menominee and Delta counties, wants a new tax levy to help meet building, transportation and information technology needs. However, no measure was placed on the Aug. 7 ballot after the Dickinson board said it would prefer a November vote.

Pritok, based in Skokie, Ill., was founded in 2012 with a focus on acquiring senior care properties nationwide. Over the past five years, it has acquired 17 skilled nursing and assisted living properties in eight states, totaling more than $140 million and 2,000 beds.

The current portfolio consists of facilities in Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas.

Commissioner John Degenaer Jr. voted against inviting an offer from Pritok. Other commissioners said there is nothing binding in allowing a proposal.

Bousley said it appears Menominee County is willing to hear an offer, but Delta County believes Pinecrest should remain public.

The suggested Pinecrest levy for Dickinson County was 0.57 mills, or 57 cents per $1,000 of taxable value. Both Menominee and Delta counties were ready to vote on millages in August but the plan was removed from ballots after the Dickinson board nixed it last month.

Pinecrest has about 350 employees.

In other action Monday, the Dickinson board:

— Adopted a resolution opposing proposed changes to the statewide septic code as detailed in House Bills 5752 and 5753. According to the board, the legislation would place additional financial burdens on local authorities without adequate funding from the state.

— Also opposed House Bill 6049 and Senate Bill 1025, legislation that would update property-assessing laws to specify minimum quality standards every city, township or county assessing office must meet. Sid Bray, the county’s equalization director, said both the Michigan Townships Association and Michigan Association of Counties are against the legislation as written. Funding is inadequate and the changes likely would shrink the pool of assessors — the opposite of what’s intended, Bray said.

“This is Lansing again telling us what we have to do without paying for it,” Commissioner Joe Stevens remarked.

— Learned from Bousley that plans in the Legislature to again address Personal Property Tax reform could be locally costly, as there is talk of reducing Community Stabilization Fund payments, mainly to Dickinson and Delta counties. Dickinson’s projected payment this year is $534,900.

— Heard Bousley report that because bids are higher than expected, a plan to repave the taxiway at Ford Airport may be put on hold, pending the engineer’s input. The project had been estimated at $1.8 million to $2.5 million.

— Heard Stevens compliment Frank Lombard for coordinating the Veterans Assistance Fair on June 2 at Bay West in Iron Mountain. Lombard is the Upper Peninsula regional coordinator for the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and Michigan Association of Counties.

— Appointed Stevens to the new U.P. Legislative Coalition formed by the U.P. Association of County Commissioners.

— Approved a $200 donation to the Sons of the American Legion for the Independence Day fireworks display from Millie Hill in Iron Mountain.