MAYVILLE – A resolution to approve the sale of the Chautauqua County Home is headed to the full County Legislature next week despite the opposition of two lawmakers.
Legislators Janet Keefe, D-Fredonia, and Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia, voted against the action at Wednesday’s meeting of the Human Services Committee.
The proposed sale, which will be on next Wednesday’s agenda, had the support of Legislators Ron Lemon, R-Frewsburg, and Dave Wilfong, R-Jamestown.
At stake is a $16 million offer from VestraCare, which formed Dunkirk Realty Holdings and Dunkirk Operating to purchase the home in Dunkirk.
The firm is the fourth to offer to purchase the home in the last year since the Legislature started to look for prospective buyers. A previous offer of $16.5 million from VestraCare failed at a legislative meeting in October. The Legislature had 25 members last year and was reduced to 19 members after the November elections, and the majority became Republican.
Lemon, the committee chairman, said he understood that VestraCare changed the offer because it realized that it would need to invest at least $1 million in improvements.
“They wanted to offer even less,” County Executive Vincent W. Horrigan said, adding that he would not accept a lower offer.
Horrigan offered a chart of nursing home sales throughout New York State, pointing to the prices paid in other areas for similar homes. He also urged the legislators to consider that the county would no longer have to pay the benefits package to the employees.
At the last informational session, it was disclosed that county workers at the home get 90 percent paid health insurance, along with retirement and other benefits. They said the total was about 18 percent of their salaries, or about $1.3 million annually.
Horrigan said county workers who pass background checks and physical exams will be eligible to reapply if the private corporation takes over.