Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — Orleans County is moving forward with plans to transfer The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center to a new local development corporation that would market the county-owned nursing home for sale to a private enterprise.
Legislators approved the immediate creation of the Orleans County Health Facilities Corporation and the transfer of the nursing home, its assets and employees to the new entity by a five-to-one vote Wednesday.
The board’s action followed an hour and 15 minutes of pleas from nursing home staff and relatives of current and former residents in opposition to the transfer plan. While calls to forestall the vote or reverse course completely did not alter the board’s vote, legislators expressed grief over their decisions.
“I cried a lot of over this. I’m torn,” said Legislator Henry Smith Jr., who voted for the transfer along with Callard and Legislators Bill Eick, Kenneth Rush and Lynne Johnson. “But we must do what’s best for the county.”
While Legislator George Bower said he couldn’t support the transfer, he noted that the facility’s ongoing financial difficulties would have imperiled the future of a county-owned municipality.
“We all want to keep it county owned, but there might be a time when we’d have to do thing we don’t want to do,” Bower said, daring not to reference past public fears that the facility faced closure.
County Administrative Officer Chuck Nesbitt repeated Wednesday that the Villages will have a $2.4 million operating deficit this year, an issue that he didn’t see being lessened by the state or federal governments.
Legislature Chairman David Callard has been designated as the leader of the new entity, which will manage the transfer of The Villages to a private operator.
Callard said following the meeting that he intends to publicly announce the board’s membership in the near future. The full transfer of the facility expected to take at least two years.