The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

August 30, 2013

Villages a topic in Legislature's open forum

Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Villages of Orleans continued to be a hot topic on Wednesday in Orleans County.

As has become practice, a group of protesters lined the street in front of the County Building voicing their support for the nursing home to remain public.

Meanwhile, during an open discussion portion of the legislature meeting, Chairman Dave Callard cited a recently published report by the Center for Governmental Research. The report, Callard said, “confirms what we’ve been saying all along” about the financial plight of the nursing home. Last year the county budget showed the nursing home operating in the red, and Callard said the report found that things would only get worse.

One resident cautioned the county to not consider a public to private sale as a magic cure-all though.

“Sometimes privatization works out, and sometimes it doesn’t,” he said, adding that a private corporation that purchases a public entity could also conceivably do so a less than market value.

“There are examples of going private not working because the goals are different,” the citizen said.

Callard said it is the county’s responsibility to approach the issue in a “businesslike manner.” He explained, “We, as property owners, are being taxed directly for the operation of the nursing home.

“The medical business is difficult to run no matter who runs it,” he added. “Plus, there’s the philosophical question of whether government should run a business other than itself.”

Callard concluded his remarks by again citing the CGR report, saying, “The costs will continue to grow and the study says its impossible for us to make money…but it is possible for us to to stop burdening the residents of the Orleans County.”

In other legislature news, the county renewed its sales tax at eight percent.

Also, lease agreements were approved with Clarendon and Medina to allow the county to construct radio towers.