Schenectady County Legislature candidates faced off during a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters on Oct. 12 at Niskayuna Town Hall. Sitting from left is Cathryn Bern-Smith, James Buhrmaster, Thomas Constantine, Michael Dieterich, and Kurt Semon. Not pictured is Democrat candidate Catherine Gatta, who was unable to attend the forum.
Photo by John Purcell.
continued She said the home is also an “economic engine,” because it provides jobs. Also, she said some residents who are harder to place would be at a disadvantage if the county nursing home weren’t available.
Dieterich conceded that people do need the jobs, but argued the county needs to spend money wisely and needs to look at how to get those employees “other jobs.” He also questioned the price of $50 million and stated it could be built for “substantially less” than proposed.
Republican incumbent James Buhrmaster said the discussion over the home has been going on for several years, but in 2009 a $50 million bond was approved to construct the home. He said he didn’t approve the county passing the bond without architectural plans. He said surrounding counties have been getting out of the nursing home business as Schenectady County is bonding to build a new home.
“We can’t afford to spend the money, $50 million, for the 184 people that are in there right now,” Buhrmaster said. “Our private sector is out there trying to take this burden away from the county taxpayers and I think we need to look at it again before we spend $50 million of your money.”
Democrat candidate Thomas Constantine said the population is aging and the need to provide the service is present. He did agree to revisit the funding of the home.
“I know where my parents will be staying in another 15 to 20 years, but not everybody has that access to assisting their parents,” Constantine said. “I will agree to look at the bonding and the funding if I am elected and I will no way support any nursing home if it is going to take away money from other areas.”
District 4 tackles nursing home
County Legislature District 4 hopefuls also addressed the proposed nursing home plan at a separate candidate forum.