Petersburg’s borough assembly Tuesday approved the first of three readings for an increase in rents at the borough’s assisted living facility at Mountain View Manor. The change would also start charging for the highest level of care and increase service charges for all levels of care.

Petersburg last year hired a consultant to look into the bottom line at the assisted living facility, which opened in 2004 and is an addition to the elderly housing building at Mountain View Manor.

In general that report found all appropriate steps are being taken to control expenses and recommended no changes to operations or systems at assisted living. It did raise some possibilities for bringing in more money.

Assembly member Jeff Meucci thought the proposed rent and service charge increases are a good step.

“You know I think a few of these items are some of the ideas that the group that we had look at the Mountain View Manor and give us some suggestions about making things a little more cost effective up there,” Meucci said.

Last year’s report noted that the Manor was already boosting rates on a regular basis to keep up with inflation and cost increases. However, it actually recommended against additional rate hikes outside of that practice, noting that rates here were comparable with others in the state. Rates and charges were last adjusted in June of 2018.

This proposed ordinance would boost rents 100 dollars each year for three years starting in 2021. That would put rents at 1400 dollars a month by 2023. On top of that, the charge for basic care, and three additional levels of care, would go up 180 dollars. Those charges put the cost of basic care currently at 6,150 dollars including rent and food. That would increase to $6,330. The proposed ordinance would also add a fourth level of care to Petersburg’s pricing sheet. That’s for patients who need the most help in their daily lives and it was a possibility raised by the consultant last year.

Manor director Shelyn Bell called additional category of service a logical step. She answered questions about the change from mayor Mark Jensen.

“Yeah and it’s something that’s actually already happening,” Bells told the assembly. “We’re already providing that care, we’re just not charging for it.”

“The Tier 4 level?” Jensen asked.

“Correct,” Bell responded.

“And so with that being said we have the staff on hand, this wouldn’t require more personnel?” Jensen asked.

“Yes,” she answered.

“It’s just to get us more in line with what other facilities charge around the state?” Jensen asked.

“Yeah, to be charging for people who require total care, we’re doing everything for them, they’re basically not participating and that’s things that we’ve been doing, because we didn’t have that level,” Bell responded.

She estimated the rate increases could bring in around 55,000 dollars additional revenue a year. That would cover a little over one third of the 150,000 dollar payment the borough’s tax supported general fund has been paying to cover an operating loss at assisted living. The vote was unanimous to approve the ordinance in its first reading. It requires two more approvals before taking effect on April 1st this year.