The Essex County Board of Supervisors’ Ways and Means Committee has moved along a resolution to explore the future of the Horace Nye Nursing Home to the full board to vote on next Monday, Nov. 7.
The vote to allow real estate investment services group Marcus & Millichap to explore the market for the potential to buy and/or lease the facility passed with 13 supervisors voting for the measure, four voting against and one absent.
The vote came after a presentation by Marcus and Millichap associate Joshua Jandris, one of the organization’s members who specializes in nursing home sales.
“Because of the upside, the potential and the value of ownership in a market like this, there is definitely an upside,” Jandris said. “We have built a database of about 18,000 contacts throughout the country. When we market a county home, we market it to the entire country. There will be a high level of interest, whether it is a lease or a purchase. You will get a lot of interest from local and national interested parties.”
County Manager Daniel Palmer said that the resolution gave the county a chance to explore their options, not to make a sale.
“Four-point-one million dollars out of the county budget will be needed to support the nursing home,” Palmer said. “All I have been saying is that we need to go out and find out what the interest is. This process does not say that you are going to sell the nursing home, and it does not say that you are going to lease the nursing home. It is just saying that we are going to look at our options and find out what is in the best interests of the taxpayers.”
The four dissenting votes included Moriah Supervisor Thomas “Tom” Scozzafava, Chesterfield’s Gerald “Gerry” Morrow, Essex’s Sharon Boisen and Willsboro’s Ed Hatch.
“I am trying to base my opinion on facts,” Scozzafava said. “There are some residents that could come in the future that are left in a lurch later on. We are going to be impacting ourselves and our families that may come to need those services in the future.”
“I have never had anyone come to me and say that they are tired of paying for the nursing home,” Morrow said.
“I have also had no constituents complain about the nursing home,” Keene Supervisor William “Bill” Ferebee said. Ferebee voted for the resolution.
Schroon Supervisor Cathy Moses, who was unable to attend the vote on the resolution, was on hand for the presentation and said that it was informative.
“I commend our board for at least taking a look at this during these critical times,” Moses said. “At least now we can have better answers for our constituents.”
Jandris agreed that the county should take the time to explore all of the options, and that the sale or lease of the facility should be seen as a last resort.
“I think that there would be a pretty drastic line between those that were doing it quickly just to get out from under it and those who do their due diligence,” Jandris said.
St. Armand Supervisor Joyce Morency said that she felt the time to act was past due.
“It has bothered me over the years and continues to bother me,” Morency said. “We all have our concerns, but I feel that is our responsibility to move forward and look at the options that we have. We can’t get an answer and we can’t move forward before we look at our options.”
Based on the weighted vote, the resolution currently has 1,945 (68.4 percent) weighted votes in favor of the resolution and 756 (26.6 percent) in opposition, along with 142 (5 percent) that were not present from the town of Schroon.
The monthly meeting of the board of supervisor is scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 7.