Muskegon County can no longer afford to keep the doors of Brookhaven Medical Care Facility open. The county-owned and -operated nursing home has been hammered recently by state-imposed fines and penalties totaling approximately $350,000, according to The Muskegon Chronicle, and these are not its only troubles.

Even without the penalties, Brookhaven was expecting to finish the year with a deficit, which would mean that the county would have to subsidize its operation through a general fund appropriation. The general fund is the portion of the budget over which county officials have the most discretion. After Brookhaven was cited for safety violations by the state, the county facility took five months to correct them, resulting in the loss of state health program reimbursements.

Several county officials have argued that general fund subsidies are worthwhile because the facility provides care to indigents who may not otherwise have access to such nursing homes. Local public human services officials are considering ways to generate more revenue to keep the doors open.