MAYVILLE – A team representing the potential buyers of the Chautauqua County Home answered questions from members of the County Legislature at a special meeting Wednesday evening in the legislative chambers.
Edward Farbenblum, principal of the company that would be called Dunkirk Realty Holdings, speaking on behalf of the group, said it made an offer of $16.5 million to County Executive Gregory Edwards in August when a previous deal to sell the home fell through.
Farbenblum said his group also owns a skilled nursing facility in Broome County and recently purchased another facility in Ulster County. He said the company’s policies are to provide a range of services, including rehabilitation and day services. He said that he and his family have interests in several facilities.
Legislature Chairman Jay Gould said a vote on the potential sale will take place at the Legislature’s Oct. 30 meeting.
Legislator Bill Coughlin, D-Fredonia, asked if the vote could be delayed and asked why it was being held prior to the November election.
Farbenblum said the timetable was negotiated with Edwards and the county attorney.
Members of the real estate group toured the county home, located in Dunkirk, on Wednesday. Farbenblum and his staff answered questions about staffing, wages and benefits.
He said he could not guarantee that all employees would be hired but said in the recent purchase of the county-owned home in Ulster County, about 90 percent of the staff was offered positions.
He said he would negotiate with the union that represents the workers at the home.
Farbenblum and his staff said that staffing levels would be about the same but may increase in the area of physical therapy. He said they would look towards offering outpatient physical therapy at the location.
He said that in the long term, other services would be added to the 30-acre site of the county home, possibly including an assisted living center.
“We like to have people in the least restrictive environment possible,” he said. An assisted living center has less restrictions than a skilled nursing facility, which is the current classification of the home.
He also indicated that home health care and adult day care services may be added.
Coughlin asked if the offer would be voided after 30 days and said he did not think that the members of the Legislature had enough time to research the proposal. Farbenblum said he would consider an extension but wanted to know about the vote. “We are buying another nursing home in New York this year and if this is not going to be it, I want to know,” he said.
The $16.5 million offer does not include the new buyer taking over any old debts owed to the county. This amounts to about $1.3 million. The offer would include the building and assets.