The Herkimer County Legislature voted Wednesday evening to amend the resolution to sell the Country Manor adult care home to Advanced Healthcare Management.
The amendment, which specifies the property is “no longer needed for public use,” passed 15-2.
County Administrator James Wallace said the added wording clarifies language included in the first resolution and makes the county’s case for selling the facility stronger.
“This amendment simply dusts up the language included in the first resolution to fit the state’s needs,” said Legislator Dennis Korce, R - Mohawk. “It does not change the aspects of the sale.”
The legislature in September 2012 approved the sale of Country Manor to Advanced Healthcare. The offer would allow the business to purchase the facility for $335,000 over a five-year term, however, there are several points within the purchase price some legislators have taken issue with.
The purchase price owed to Herkimer County from Advanced Healthcare, if the sale goes through, would decrease each year Country Manor remains open. If the facility were to close within one year, Advanced Healthcare would have to pay the county $335,000, however, if it remains open for five years or more, the company would owe the county nothing. The county also has to pay Advanced Healthcare a transition fee of $18,000 per month during the first year of purchase.
“If they walk away after five years, we will have paid them $216,000, they will have paid us zero for the real estate valued at $335,000 and its contents, and they will have walked away with the property and an additional $216,000 cash profit,” said Legislator Gary Hartman, D - Herkimer.
“Furthermore, the county’s hastily drafted assisted living beds application that we submitted on the purchaser’s behalf has been denied by the state Department of Health. Valley Health Services already has approval for 36 assisted living beds. We should be concentrating on helping Valley Health Services and Herkimer County Community College move forward with their elder care partnership. If that is successful, the tenants of Country Manor could have a new modern home,” he added.
Legislator Helen Rose, D - Herkimer, said residents currently living in Country Manor may be moved elsewhere if they need a higher level of care than what Advanced Healthcare can provide.
“If Advanced Healthcare can’t provide the level of care needed by the current residents, it’s possible they will receive the facility with even less than the current population,” she said.
Legislator Patrick Russell, R - Old Forge, said specific language was included in the original offer made to Advanced Healthcare to ensure the current residents will be taken care of.
“The purpose of this action is to provide a home for people and to keep them there,” he said.
“Whatever seems like a huge financial loss, our concern was with the residents,” added Korce.
Page 2 of 2 - Legislator Robert Schrader, R - Herkimer, said he supported the amendment to preserve jobs.
“If the sale goes through, then there is the possibility for jobs. If there is no sale and the facility is closed, then there is no possibility for jobs,” he said. “That’s what it comes down to.”
The county was served with a lawsuit on Jan. 17 that claimed Country Manor is needed for the county. Assistant County Attorney James Franchi said Civil Service Employees Association Unit No. 7100 filed the complaint against the county. Union President JoAnne LeClair said her understanding was union attorneys said the sale is in violation of the law regarding public property.
“It’s public property and can’t be sold without a public referendum,” she said.
Contributing: GateHouse News Service