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 Democrat incumbent Tony Jasenski said the best option for the county is to construct a new home, because costs are ever increasing in the current facility due to needed repairs, which can’t be easily done.
Republican Wade Abbott said the nursing home is a difficult issue to tackle, because the home is in rough shape, but yet doing nothing is not the answer. He said he was concerned discussions over plans for the home haven’t been as transparent as they should have been.
“I have serious concerns with the funding, because we are currently facing a 2 percent tax cap and that will make things more difficult to fund and I believe in essence that is a good thing,” Abbott said. “I think government should have to make difficult decisions when it comes to raising taxes and not automatically go to that.”
Abbott also was convinced state funding would come through as much as expected.
Fellow Republican candidate Stanley Marchinkowski also said the discussion process hasn’t been transparent enough.
“I think we are almost committed to building a new nursing home, but the question is how do we pay for it?” asked Marchinkowski.
Democrat incumbent Angelo Santabarbara said the county nursing home does serve a “unique mission” in the county, because it takes a lot of patients other nursing homes won’t take.
“It keeps families together, because you are able to have your relative nearby rather than sending them somewhere out of state and not being able to see them, or only seeing them once a month,” Santabarbara said. “The existing home is very old and it does need upgrading … a large portion is covered by state and the rest of it is going to be covered by … increasing rate to market level.”
Voters head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 8.