MAYVILLE – More details are coming out about the proposed sale of the Chautauqua County Home that will go before county lawmakers next month in Mayville.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan announced on Wednesday that he has signed an asset purchase agreement to begin the process of selling the county-owned skilled nursing facility in Dunkirk to two corporations formed last year by VestraCare of Roslyn, N.Y.
According to Horrigan, VestraCare’s latest offer is for a purchase price of $16 million as compared to its $16.5 million dollar offer last September. However, the new agreement includes a provision confirming that VestraCare is considering up to $1,000,000 in capital improvements to the County Home.
The Chautauqua County Legislature will be holding a special meeting on February 5 to have a presentation and question and answer session with representatives of VestraCare. The purchase is then scheduled to go up to a vote for the legislature during its monthly meeting on Feb. 26, where it would need 13 of 19 votes to be approved.
During an interview with WRFA earlier this month, Horrigan said that even if the sale does go forward, it would still take some time before the sale is completed. “If the county legislature approves privatization, there is a process called ‘Certificate of Need.’ This is where the state health department does a complete review. They review the potential buyer, they review all the details… and they also look at the need for the number of skilled nursing beds in Chautauqua County, at that relates to the Medicaid piece.”
Horrigan says that in all, it could take anywhere from a few months to nearly a year for the review process to be completed. “During that time i want to make sure that we are very carefully taking care of the employees, taking care of the residents and continuing to operate a very top-quality nursing home.”
According to the county executive, VestraCare’s current offer to purchase the County Home will expire on February 27 – a day after it is slated to go up for a vote.
VestraCare, which would be doing business as Dunkirk Reality Holdings LLC and Dunkirk Operating LLC, first showed interest in the Chautauqua County Home in August 2013. This will be VestraCare’s second attempt to purchase the home. The first purchase offer fell one vote short of approval by the County Legislature last October. Several of those who voted against the sale, including former legislature minority leader Bob Whitney, Jamestown’s Lori Cornell, Brocton’s Tom DeJoe and Fredonia’s Billy Coughlin – are no longer on the legislature.
Proponents say that selling the home will alleviate the county’s growing property tax burden by reducing expenditure’s in the annual operating budget. Those who want the county to keep operating the home say that the quality of service for residents in the home will diminish if it were to be privatized.