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August 2, 2011

Essex supervisors table vote on Horace Nye broker

â Board puts off move to seek broker for Nursing Home

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County supervisors have tabled a move to market Horace Nye Nursing Home.

The resolution emerged in a recent Property Tax Cap subcommittee meeting, and it put the contentious issue of how to afford public elder care back into fierce debate.

Supported by taxpayer money, Horace Nye owes Essex County's general fund nearly $6 million, about $2.5 million of which is due from the federal government this year.

County Manager Dan Palmer said the facility consumes $1.7 million of the tax levy and then some.

But Essex County has not received federal Intergovernmental Transfer Funds from Medicaid for Horace Nye since 2008.

NO FOLLOW-UP ON STUDY

An hour-long discussion went around the supervisors' tables at Monday's full session with some 20 citizens watching from the gallery, including Horace Nye workers, Nursing Home Director Deborah Gifford and several elder residents in wheelchairs.

A decision to hire a broker would lock the county into a formal request to sell, County Attorney Dan Manning said.

Although supervisors could turn down any offer, the proposed sale price — set by brokers Marcus and Millichap at $4.5 million — includes a 3.5-percent commission, a cost Palmer said is about $146,000.

Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) asked if there had been a second appraisal done on the property from a firm other than the broker who wants the contract.

Manning said no, laws governing sale of public property do not require two appraisals, but it is the norm to have a second appraisal conducted.

Scozzafava asked the board why recommendations from the Horace Nye study done in 2006 weren't put into action.

One of those, he said afterward, was to establish an assisted-living wing at Horace Nye to increase reimbursement rates.

The county receives about $144 per day in reimbursement from Medicaid, Palmer said.

Actual costs for care, Palmer said after the meeting, amount to about $260 per day.

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