County releases contract, operating budget of Craighead Nursing Center

County releases contract, operating budget of Craighead Nursing Center

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Following a quorum court meeting in early February that questioned the operation of the Craighead Nursing Center, Tony Thomas, assistant to the county judge, released a copy of the original contract and financial documents associated with the center.

According to Tony Thomas, the judge's office discovered the material following a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Region 8 News.

According to financial statements from 2014 and 2015, the Craighead Nursing Center has an operating budget of more than $7-million.

During the Feb. 8 meeting, Justice Josh Longmire asked about the agreement between the county and the nursing center.

Documents provided to Region 8 News clarifies the agreement.

According to an audit, the nursing center is a non-profit organization established in 1967. The facility is used to take care of "aged, sick and needy citizens of Craighead County".

Thomas said the county owns the building and the property and allows the non-profit to operate.

The audit also clarifies that the center's board of directors is appointed by the county judge and confirmed by the quorum court for five-year terms.

According to an independent audit in 2014, the nursing center spent approximately $2.8 million in salaries for "direct care" and $1.3 million in salaries for "administrative and operating costs".

The building, located at 5101 Harrisburg Road, has been operated as a nursing center since 1960, when the county signed an agreement with Edward O. Cherry. Cherry rented the property for $1.00 per year. The contract between the county and Cherry allowed for the operation of a "Convalescent Home for the aged, disabled and/or blind."

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