DOBSON — The Surry County Board of Commissioners cast a vote Monday night that, after months of study, finalized the sale of the county’s home health care services.
The action came as the board convened its regular meeting at the Surry County Government Center.
County Attorney Ed Woltz noted that county staff has been working on the sale for most of the year.
“On March 6, the county entered into an agreement with a consultant to study the possibility to spin off the county’s home health agency,” Woltz said, noting that shortly after entering into the agreement with the consultant a committee was formed to identify a viable buyer.
After receiving six offers for the agency, the committee recommended the county privatize the services by selecting United Home Care Inc., a Georgia company, for $2.5 million.
Woltz told the board Monday night that the proposal from United Home Care stands out for several reasons including the employment of the county’s existing staff, their reputation for delivering quality service and the fact that they offered the most money for the agency.
“For those reasons, I would ask that the board consider the resolution (that makes the sale a reality) and execute the asset purchase agreement,” he said.
Following a motion by Commissioner Paul Johnson and with a second by Vice Chairman Eddie Harris, the board unanimously passed the motion executing the sale, a move that was met with a smattering of applause by some in the audience.
The board voted earlier this year to cease providing the services following years of the county running in the red.
Over the past few years, the costs of providing the services has cost the taxpayers in the county hundreds of thousands of dollars, the commissioners have said.
As of this past March, providing the services had run up a deficit of more than $650,000, a nearly 16 percent increase over the 2010-2011 deficit of $550,000.
After employees balked at the proposal, the board voted to approve a severance package for the affected workers that included educational opportunities and two weeks’ salary.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.