December 28, 2012

Joint garage may draw in Franklin County


---- — MALONE — Municipal and school officials are discussing a combined highway/bus garage, and Franklin County has a parcel of land for it behind the County Nursing Home.

County Manager Thomas Leitz said he and County Legislator Guy “Tim” Smith (D-Fort Covington) met with representatives from the Malone town and village governments and Malone Central School District administration to discuss possibilities for a land purchase.

The timing coincides with news about the state-mandated installation of fire-suppression equipment at the Nursing Home, an issue legislators have been delaying because of the planned merger of that facility with Alice Hyde Medical Center’s nursing home.

The county’s and Alice Hyde’s nursing homes were built in 1968, and the idea is to develop a combined 135-bed skilled-nursing facility that will have 30 assisted-living beds.

The County Nursing Home on Finney Boulevard has 80 beds, 76 full-time employees and 47 per-diem workers, and Alice Hyde Nursing Home has 75 beds and 73 full-time equivalent employees.

The hospital was awarded $9 million to develop a plan and will borrow most of the $35 million to build the new combined facility.


The county will pay Alice Hyde $10 million in $1 million increments for 10 years for its portion of the merger.

In the meantime, the county is under order to install the sprinkler system before an Aug. 13 deadline.

Legislators have held off, hoping for a deadline extension because of the pending merger.

But with no reprieve in sight, they decided to use $400,000 from a fund-balance account to have the work done in 2013.

Leitz said bids go out in January, and construction is expected to begin May 1.

The work will take six weeks, which he said still leaves plenty of time to beat the August deadline, even if there are setbacks or delays.

Also, legislators have no firm plans for reuse of the nursing-home building once it’s empty.

Some have suggested moving offices like the Department of Social Services out of the County Courthouse to that building, while others thought selling it without the new sprinkler upgrade made more sense.

But that was preliminary talk, so no final decisions were made.

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