Those with loved ones living at Boyd Cottages Assisted Living, along with Boyd Cottages employees, breathed a sigh of relief last Monday when the Wayne County Commission voted to sell the facility to the highest bidder, the partnership of Jerry Hollis and Tim Franks.
Everyone agrees that Boyd Cottages has been a great asset to our community since its inception. Many have loved ones who have lived there or are living there now. It is a facility where the residents can enjoy the feeling of still being able to live on their own, or to enjoy the company of other residents whenever they so desire. The nursing staff is also part of what makes the facility great by being there to meet the residents’ medical needs at any time.
As much of an asset to the community that Boyd Cottages is, the fact remains that the facility has struggled greatly with finances and has had to depend on the County to cover payroll many times.
A disaster of freezing temperatures and water lines at the facility on Christmas Day, 2022, brought about many questions about the ownership and management of the facility. Boyd Cottages endured days of frozen and burst water pipes, along with the cleanup that followed. Fortunately, most of the residents were able to remain in their homes while employees and volunteers pitched in to fix the situation.
“I immediately started trying to find out how to fix the problem as soon as I became aware of the water issue at Boyd Cottages,” said Wayne County Executive Jim Mangubat at the time. “The first estimate I received for the repairs was in the amount of $24,000.00.00. This far exceeded the $5,000 spending limit the state has set for the County Executive without full commission approval.”
County Executive Mangubat said that after he emailed all the County Commissioners with the estimate amount, he told them that they must convene a meeting as soon as possible to address the issue. With the residents and their loved ones feeling that they were left hanging in an uncertain and unacceptable situation, Mangubat said that he was finally able to speak with the State Comptroller about the water issue two days after the burst pipe incident. The Comptroller clarified that the situation with the water would be classified as an emergency, therefore, the County Executive was allowed to authorize the amount needed to get the water immediately running again, both hot and cold.
Fast forward to the present. After some investigation, The News was able to verify that the facility itself (the building and the property) is owned by the county. The facility is also operated by the county, more specifically, a board whose structure was defined in a law passed in 1961. Although the law reads as if it is in reference only to the hospital, it was more clearly defined in 1970 to include nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The original five-member “hospital board” that was described now solely oversees operations at Boyd Cottages, while a different 15-member “hospital board,” which includes the original five-member board, oversees operations at the hospital.
After lengthy discussions and much uncertainty over many months, all the Assisted Living Committee members said that they strongly support Boyd Cottages as a much-needed facility in our county, but the county simply cannot continue to financially support them as they have in the past.
The facility was put out for bids, and the partnership of Jerry Hollis and Tim Franks submitted the high bid of $1,250,000. On Monday, September 11, the Assisted Living Committee first voted to accept the bid, and the full Wayne County Commission followed by voting yes on the bid as well.
“Jerry and I agree that the assisted living facility is a valuable asset to our community,” said Tim Franks. “We both have had family members that lived there, and may have more in the future. We see the value of the facility and hope to continue to run it as closely as possible to what it is now.”
Franks explained the process of acquiring the facility, which has already begun with a letter of intent and the approval of the County Commission. Franks and Hollis will apply to the state for a license to run the facility, and then conduct inspections of the facility to identify any problems.
“We are aware that the building has some problems, but hopefully they are all small issues that can be addressed quickly,” Franks continued. “While this is our first foray into healthcare, Jerry and I believe that we possess the skills to make this all work.”
Franks said that ideally, the contract will be signed and the deal will close within 90 days.