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Horace Nye: It’s time to sell

Editorial

The time has come for the Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown to no longer be the responsibility of the Essex County taxpayer.

The county-owned facility has been operating at a loss for more than the past decade, draining money from the county coffers and adding to a tax levy that is now made tighter by the restriction of the two-percent cap.

It is clear that the most appropriate business decision is to cut the county’s losses and get out of the nursing home business, either through the sale of the facility to one of three interested bidders (Centers for Specialty Care out of New York City; Gerald Woods CPA, out of Nassau County; and Elliot Management Group out of Rockland County), or by shutting down the facility entirely.

Since 2001, the Horace Nye Nursing Home has been over $21 million in the red, not good for a facility that was set up with the express purpose to make money for the county under an Enterprise Fund. It has not been enterprising at all.

Washington County, which is similar in size to Essex, has already made the leap and is currently in negotiations for the sale of both its health care services and the Pleasant Valley Nursing Facility to National Health Care Associates Inc. The firm bid $6.56 million for both county health care packages. In Essex County, the home is the only item on the table, and has received three, matching, $4 million bids. Warren County is also discussing the issue as they face major budget decisions.

While $4 million may be nothing compared to the $21 million in losses, at least it is something compared to the tax hole that would be sitting in Elizabethtown if the facility were to close its doors entirely.

Don’t think that option is not on the table.

Comments may be directed to denpubs@denpubs.com.

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