But Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava isn't buying the Horace Nye argument.
"I've never had anyone complain about paying for the nursing home," Scozzafava said.
Horace Nye costs about $4 million a year to run.
Palmer said the continued operation of the 100 bed facility all but assures at-least a 20 percent hike in taxes.
Even with a $3 million fund balance buy-down, county taxpayers face up to a 30 percent tax hike if significant cuts aren't made.
Essex County typically relies on about $21 million in sales tax to keep its two-dollar-per-thousand property tax rate at the lowest level in the state. But the most recent year's return fell $600,000 short of 2008 levels.
Officials said staffing reductions may be eminent and are considering adopting a retirement incentive program.