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New ideas emerge for Westmount as sale terms are blasted

Warren County Supervisor Mark Westcott of Queensbury talks to citizens gathered at a ‘Town Hall’ meeting he co-sponsored to discuss the pending sale of county-owned Westmount nursing home to Specialty Care Group of Manhattan. He urged that the county abandon a cogeneration operation at the home and solicit new purchase offers.

Warren County Supervisor Mark Westcott of Queensbury talks to citizens gathered at a ‘Town Hall’ meeting he co-sponsored to discuss the pending sale of county-owned Westmount nursing home to Specialty Care Group of Manhattan. He urged that the county abandon a cogeneration operation at the home and solicit new purchase offers. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Past and present area political leaders were criticized for their handling of the cogeneration operation at Westmount nursing home — and the facility’s pending sale — at a public meeting held May 1 by three Warren County supervisors who have opposed the sale procedure and its proposed terms.

Several new ideas on the sale of Westmount, however were heard among the many criticisms aired at the meeting, held in Crandall Library by Mark Westcott and Doug Beaty of Queensbury and Peter McDevitt of Glens Falls. For months, Westcott and Beaty have been critical of the pending proposal of the Warren County Board of Supervisors to sell the home and its cogeneration operation to Specialty Care Group of Manhattan.

Beaty and Westcott have denounced the bid and negotiation processes, as well as the price of Specialty Care’s pending offer. They’ve also opposed selling the money-losing cogeneration operation along with the nursing home, citing that doing so may be depressing the sale price. They’ve also contended that a purchase offer received from Fort Hudson Health Systems of Fort Edward — a trusted local enterprise which employs many people from Warren and Washington counties — may not have been appropriately pursued.

At a Board of Supervisors meeting April 18, questions raised by Beaty, Westcott and several others prompted the board to vote “No” by a weighted vote of 501 to 499 on a motion to proceed with the planned sale to Specialty Care. This proposed sale involved the county guaranteeing Specialty Care reimbursement from the state for cogeneration costs — a provision that could cost county taxpayers up to $1.26 million over the next seven years.

Two supervisors believed to be supportive of the sale, however, were not present for the vote. Since then, county leaders scheduled a special board of supervisors meeting May 7, and a re-vote was expected to occur at the meeting.

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