Pelican Valley levy is $750,000, spread across seven townships, two cities

The new year started early—and happier—for the Pelican Valley Senior Living operation. 

Revenues were $60,000 over projections, occupancy at the assisted living centers was near 100 percent; and expenses were at or below expectations in almost all departments. 

“It’s amazing what census counts will do,” said Pelican Valley Board Chair Richard Bratlien, at the Nov. 22 Pelican Valley board meeting. “Census” counts at Pelican Valley facilities are closely watched by the administration board, and reported monthly at the board meetings.

By late November, 28 of the 30 units in the full service nursing home were scheduled for occupants. By December, the Riverfront on Main is expected to be full, noted Tyler Ahlf, administrator. 

Pelican Valley operates on an October to October fiscal year, so November was the “new year” month for 2021-22.

So far, the message is “Happy New Year,” from Pelican Valley.

Like everybody in the long term care and health care field in general, putting 2020-21 in the rear view mirror is a joyful “out with the old” feeling. 

Pelican Valley has struggled on numerous fronts during the COVID pandemic, including resident vacancies, staff retention and recruitment. 

Employees have received various incentives, including some $40,000 in pandemic bonuses in late 2020. Christmas bonuses were paid in 2020, and are also anticipated for 2021. 

Vaccinations, which have been an issue for several Pelican Valley board members and resident families, have been encouraged by more than $13,000 in “vaccination bonuses,” noted Ahlf. 

Earlier in November, the board approved a vaccination mandate for staff in the more labor intensive, patient contact nursing h0me. But the vaccination mandate does not apply to Pelican Valley’s two assisted living complexes. 

Family visitations are also “open door” to families, but visitors will be screened at the door. 

With revenues up substantially the first month of the new year, the board hopes the trend will continue. 

The nursing home and assisted living residents are for the most part “local,” with connections to Pelican Rapids and the surrounding townships. However, residents have come from a wider area if there are vacancies, noted Ahlf.

“We look to meet local needs first, and look beyond if there are openings,” said Ahlf. 

Pelican Valley has begun actively sending vacancy and availability information to nearby hospitals and care facilities as an outreach, with the goal of maintaining occupancy.

Taxpayers in the Pelican Valley Senior Living District are pitching in operational costs of the assisted living and nursing home center—through the district-wide levy. 

The board held the total levy at $750,000, the same as last year. 

The sum is spread across the entire district, which includes property tax payers in nine jurisdictions—seven townships and two cities. 

As part of the Pelican Valley District, the facility is governed by an elected board of directors. Board meetings are held on the fourth Monday of the month at 6:15 p.m. in the upstairs conference room of Pelican Valley Care Center. However, most of the meetings have been by “Zoom” during the COVID pandemic. 

 Each elected member serves a four-year term. The board of directors consists of the following members:

• Richard Bratlien, Chairman – City of Erhard

• Mark Sjostrom, Vice Chairman – Erhards Grove Township

• Mary Williams – City of Pelican Rapids

• David Slotten, Treasurer – Dunn Township

• Dave Ellison – Pelican Township

• Shannon Erickson – Member at Large

• Les Rotz, Secretary – Scambler Township

• Brian Evenson – Maplewood Township

• Bradley Knorr – Norwegian Grove Township