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Changes in store at Horace Nye

ELIZABETHTOWN - While Essex County officials don't entirely agree on what should be done with the Horace Nye Nursing Home, the sentiment they do share is something needs to change.

The Horace Nye task force committee met Sept. 17, and outlined the next steps in an ongoing process to ease the facility's burden on the county budget, either through privatization or a significant overhaul of operations.

Ultimately, they decided to continue their strategy thus far: explore possibilities for privatization while simultaneously considering how the facility can operate more cost effectively under county ownership.

Committee chair Roby Politi, supervisor of North Elba, stressed the need to take decisive action after having gleaned information from a number of sources showing the difficulty in getting a publicly-owned nursing home to operate in the black.

"It's a very difficult decision," Politi said. "It's something that nobody wants to discuss, but it has to be done now."

Politi outlined five options for the committee to consider, the first of which would be to rebuild the facility in a new location, allowing for new rates to be established and for the ability to add new services that could potentially bring in additional revenue.

"The cost will be in the millions of dollars," Politi said, "and I don't think it's something we can justify in these times."

In the committee's previous meeting Aug. 30, representatives from the Florida-based firm Traditions Management presented their proposal to act as a private operator of the county-owned facility, lowering costs significantly in exchange for five percent of the home's gross revenues.

The proposal, which drew a lukewarm response from county officials, was the only bid submitted in response to a request for proposals seeking to determine interest in the facility among private entities.

Politi said the second option would be to consider accepting this proposal, which would keep the home in county hands with a month-by-month contract for management services.

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