Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava, left, and Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow, right, were speakers at the Save Horace Nye rally June 2 in Elizabethtown. Event organizer Celeste Beeman watches.
Community members held their own public forum to make their voices heard after the county denied a public meeting to discuss the sale of Horace Nye Nursing Home.
Not even the weather could stop the forum as the Day of Support For Horace Nye on Saturday, June 2 was moved into the nursing home cafeteria. The room was filled with residents, community members, staff and family of residents to voice their opinion if Horace Nye should remain pubic or stay private.
Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava and Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow and event organizer and RN Celeste Beeman spoke to ralliers during the event, calling for the home to remain county owned.
“It’s not about dollars and cents; it’s about keeping it open for the people who need it,” Morrow said.
Morrow and Scozzafava talked about their struggles in the county to support not just Horace Nye, but to support all county departments.
“The question becomes can the tax payers of Essex County continue to support the services that we have,” Scozzafava said.
Of the $100 million budget, the county supports the nursing home for $2.1 million. Scozzafava said the county also supports North Country Community College for $5 million, the County Jail for $5 million, a $12 million communication system that will be constructed this year and many other programs.
“Never in 25 years of office have I had a taxpayer come to me and say they didn’t want to pay taxes to support the nursing home,” Scozzafava said. “It’s a sad day when we take better care of our inmates and criminals that our elderly.”
For Barbara Paye, the daughter of resident Harris Young, Horace Nye is a home that her father deserves. After serving as a veteran counselor in the Army, she said it's time the county took care of him in return.
"He has helped so many veterans in this country," Paye said. "If we can't educate our young, take care of our veterans and our elderly, we've lost our humanity."
Scozzafava voiced concern over the possible job losses the nursing home could see under new ownership.
"If we sell the only public facility in the county, we will regret it, maybe not right away but down the road we will," Scozzafava said.
With 100 beds in Horace Nye and being one of the only facilities to take on patients who will need long-term rehabilitation and dialysis treatment, Scozzafava said many people have voiced concern that the patients will no longer be a priority with private administrators.
"You don't come here because you want to; you come here because you have to," Morrow said. "Private companies, they will pick and choose their patients."
Beeman said the people at Horace Nye have worked hard all of their life and deserve to remain at there with the same care they are currently receiving.
"There are veterans living here, mothers of veterans, and taxpayers here, how can we turn our backs on them?" Paye said.
“This is the right thing to do,” Morrow said. "I am unhappy that I have to fight for this. As a supervisor for 19 years, never have I found one tax dollar wasted supporting Horace Nye.”
The forum included performances by Stan Oliva, who performed his original song “The Crawl.”