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The nursing home saga continues

New county exec. pushes for change, but disagreements persist

— “I think any other option leaves a lot to be desired and I’m concerned that the people who would be at the mercy of the private industry would find themselves shipped out of our state like we’ve done time and time again, living in a foreign place,” said Morse.

Mendick, though, thinks the Legislature should explore those other options.

“It is clear that history has shown us that Albany County as a public entity is not adept at running a nursing home and that is substantiated by the sizable deficits that we’ve run over the years,” said Mendick. “… The legislature’s inability to get their arms around the numbers may be the strongest indication that we should not be in the nursing home business.”

Mendick said the Legislature should look at the option that will serve the most Albany County seniors while not breaking taxpayers’ banks.

“I believe that we have to look … at the best solution that’s going to provide the greatest possible benefit to the entire senior population at the least cost to the taxpayer,” said Mendick. “If the taxpayers have spoken through the ballot box and put Mr. Cuomo in the governorship, very clearly they’re looking for some tax relief.”

Mendick said legislative actions during the budget process suggest the body won’t be implementing a taxpayer-friendly nursing home plan.

“The legislature … voted to override the 2 percent tax cap. That gives the indication that the majority of the legislators are willing to pay the nursing home tab regardless of the cost,” said Mendick.

But Morse challenged the sentiment that footing the nursing home bill directly correlates to raising taxes.

“Raising taxes is just a scare tactic. We have more than just one service in the county government and if that means we have to balance the ability to fund all the services with less money, that may be an option. The other option is maybe we have enough money with these ancillary settings on our campus that generate revenues and offset the cost rather than have to raise taxes,” said Morse.

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