MAYVILLE The dust from Wednesday's legislature meeting is settling as County Executive Greg Edwards looks to the future of the Chautauqua County Home.
Wednesday, the legislature did not come up with the 17 votes required to sell the County Home to William (Avi) Rothner of Altitude Health Services. Instead, it came up just one vote shy of the number. However, 18 legislators said they would be in favor of selling the home to the right purchaser. And, although the resolution passed with the majority vote, County Attorney Steve Abdella made it clear that if the sale of the home should come up again, it would still need a supermajority vote in order to be sold.
"If there is another contract presented for sale, pursuant to local law 775 as it stands right now, it will require a two-thirds vote," Abdella said.
Following the meeting, Edwards said he planned to speak with Marcus & Millichap, the firm marketing the County Home, to let them know the decision of the legislature. However, he said the window of opportunity is getting smaller.
"I think it gets harder and harder. When we first did this, we had one buyer. One offer to buy," Edwards said. "As costs continue to go up, as New York gets to be a harder and harder place to deliver medical care, as New York gets closer and closer to managed Medicare and Medicaid, then that has a process of closing that window, because all those all increase costs."
Marcus & Millichap is under contract with the county through the end of the year.
Edwards said he will continue to work with the company in order to find a purchaser legislators will deem appropriate.
"I know that they're committed to trying to help us accomplish the goal that was set out for them," Edwards said. "That was finding buyers and putting together a deal that could enable us to privatize the County Home and eliminate this $3 million loss per year."
Edwards expressed concern over the amount of time and money that will be associated with keeping the home. He said that between Wednesday and the legislature's February meeting, the home will lose substantial amounts of money.
"For every 30 days that goes by, it is another $250,000 in taxpayer dollars that gets spent to provide care for what the purchaser was willing to do, cost us nothing and, in fact, pay property tax on and pay sales tax for all the purchases that he makes," Edwards said. "It is discouraging, but I believe it's the right decision, so we'll continue to find ways to present this in a way that we can get this matter concluded."