By Susan Chiappone
MAYVILLE – A company interested in buying the Chautauqua County Home was introduced to members of the County Legislature on Wednesday.
Edward Farbenblum spoke on behalf of the group. His father, Martin, and Shannon Sayea, a licensed nursing home administrator, were also introduced.
Farbenblum said the group made an offer of $16.5 million to County Executive Gregory Edwards on Monday. “We have worked with local governments before, we know it can be a lengthy process,” he said.
Farbenblum said his group also owns a skilled nursing facility in Broome County and recently purchased a facility in Ulster County. He said the company provides a range of services, including rehabilitation and day services.
Members of the group recently toured the county home in Dunkirk.
A previous buyer’s contract was cancelled last week when the buyer failed to produce $1.6 million to secure the contract. Farbenblum said the $1.6 million payment was not a problem for his group.
No action was taken on the proposed sale at Wednesday’s meeting, and Farbenblum offered to attend any county committee meetings prior to having the issue of sale go before the Legislature.
Legislators also heard from some members of the Civil Service Employees Association who oppose the sale of the home.
In another matter, Attorney James Subjack spoke on behalf of the association of funeral directors in the county. He said the directors receive only $984 for a funeral for a person considered indigent and asked that the fee be raised to $1,400. Subjack said the fee was $1,400 in 1999 and has been decreased since then.
Subjack said the directors to whom he spoke may decline to bury persons for the current rate starting Jan. 1. He said the issue could cause funerals of local residents to go to out of town agencies.
The county authorizes the fee for persons who do not have a spouse or parent with the ability to pay for funeral expenses. About 125 funerals each year are billed to the county for these cases, he said.
In other action, legislators approved a local law that will prohibit tobacco use and electronic cigarettes on county-owned property. Herbal cigarettes and chewing tobacco are included in the law.
A proposal to require businesses to hire local labor for projects receiving funding from county sources was tabled. It was recommended that the issue be reviewed by committees and checked for constitutionality before placement on the next agenda.
Lawmakers also heard a presentation on the Northern Chautauqua Regional Water System plan, which would combine water services for several communities including Dunkirk, Brocton, Sheridan, Pomfret and others.
The combined project to distribute water is estimated to cost $30 million. Individual projects in each of the communities was estimated at $70 million. The plan is seeking funding through the Consolidated Funding Application process.