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Country View care center in Waterloo.

WATERLOO — At least three companies have expressed interest in acquiring the cash-strapped Country View care center.

Black Hawk County, which owns and operates the 168-bed nursing and mental health care center north of Waterloo, received letters of intent from firms initially offering to buy it for $5.4 million to $5.6 million.

The Board of Supervisors meet in executive session Tuesday to discuss the proposals and a potential fourth offer, which was not among the preliminary bids.

“I was really surprised we had three, probably four (bids),” said Supervisor Tom Little. “But until we get to the fine tuning you really don’t what we’ll come up with.”

Supervisor Linda Laylin added, “The devil’s in the details.”

The supervisors voted 4-1 in March to hire national real estate brokers Marcus & Millichap to market Country View for possible sale. The center is one of just two county-run nursing homes in Iowa and has been running a $2 million operating deficit subsidized by property taxes.

Preliminary proposals were received from Pritok Capital of Skokie, Ill., at $5.6 million; Beacon Health Management of Tampa, Fla., at $5.5 million; and GS Holdings based in the Chicago area, at $5.4 million.

Marcus & Millichap is expected to perform due diligence reviews on the firms, which are required to visit Country View. Final bids are scheduled to be opened at a May 29 public hearing.

A group of Country View employees has been leading a petition drive asking the supervisors to stop the sale, putting up more than 100 signs around the county and picking up more than 2,000 signatures.

Supervisor Chris Schwartz is also opposed to the sale, favoring a plan to retain county ownership and county employees while working to reduce the subsidy.

The request for proposals requires bidders to maintain Country View as a skilled nursing facility for a minimum of 10 years, while giving admission preference to Black Hawk County residents, allowing existing qualified residents to stay at Country View and keeping at least 50 percent of the beds for Medicaid payees.

County officials have said Country View’s financial struggles are largely due to its large percentage of clients with mental health care needs and a large number of clients on Medicaid, which is not being fully funded by the state and federal government.

Marcus & Millichap representatives have said Country View’s overall personnel costs, including benefits, far exceed those provided at other area nursing centers.

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Waterloo City Reporter

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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