Supervisors balk on sale of Horace Nye

ELIZABETHTOWN - County officials voted to forego a plan to seek sale offers for Horace Nye Nursing Home as supporters of the facility urged them to keep its operation in public hands.

At their regular board meeting Nov. 1, Essex County supervisors voted 10-4 against a resolution to contract with a real estate broker to seek private buyers for the home, effectively putting a halt to efforts to privatize it.

The same meeting opened with two guest speakers, both of whom presented strong cases for keeping the facility public.

First to speak was Willsboro resident Barbara Paye, who brought along her father, Harris Young, an 87-year-old World War II veteran, who has been a resident at Horace Nye for the past nine years.

As a partial Medicaid recipient, Young suffered from Alzheimer's and was initially placed in a private nursing home, Paye said, but moved to Horace Nye after management there made plans to transfer him to a facility in Massachusetts because they could not effectively care for him.

"I firmly believe that the same high level of care cannot be received at a private nursing home facility," said Paye.

Katrinka Trombley, a registered nurse at Horace Nye, also attested to its superior quality of care compared to the private facilities she's also worked at during her 35-year career.

"Horace Nye not only meets state standards, it exceeds state standards," she said. "Private facilities struggle to meet state standards."

Having received three separate offers to broker the possible sale of the nursing home, supervisors debated a plan to let the Marcus & Millichap firm put the facility up for sale at a price of roughly $4.5 million.

The agreement would provide for a 3.25-percent commission to the broker, roughly $157,000, which the county would have to pay should any offer come in at the asking price, regardless of whether they ultimately approved the sale.

Many supervisors spoke against the resolution, arguing more should be done first to try to cut costs at Horace Nye, one of the few non-mandated services that's included in a 2011 tentative budget that amounts to a 30-percent tax levy increase.

Jay supervisor Randy Douglas, Wilmington supervisor Randy Preston, North Elba supervisor Roby Politi, and Newcomb supervisor George Canon each voted in favor of the resolution with the other 10 supervisors present voting against it.

St. Armand supervisor Joyce Morency, Minerva supervisor Sue Montgomery-Corey, Elizabethtown supervisor Noel Merrihew, and Schroon supervisor Cathy Moses were all absent for the vote.

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