There is some disagreement over those numbers, which demonstrates the poor state this decision-making process is in. Shawn Morse, chairman of the Legislature, says the projection is grossly inaccurate and figures the county could stand to trim $3 million from the current yearly deficit by building a new home, which is still a pretty big hole.
Let’s all hope the Legislature will take all its options seriously, and not forge blindly ahead on a new nursing home project for the sake of political and emotional satisfaction. We’d tend to agree with McCoy (and his predecessor, who fought this battle on a seemingly annual basis) that when looking at the numbers it’s clear building a new county nursing home with be a tough lift.
But if the Legislature truly feels it’s a good idea and the will of the people to sink hundreds of millions of dollars into 200 nursing home beds, then that’s their decision to make. What will also be their decision to make is which other county programs to slash — we’d warn that people who take advantage of the services of the sheriff’s department, senior services, adoption programs, mental health services and the crime victim and sexual assault center (to name but a few) are able to put together a contingent of angry residents to speak at Legislature meetings just as ably as those impacted by changes at the nursing home. Someone’s going to be unhappy.
Of course, the path we seem to be speeding along yet again is making the taxpayer unhappy. If our county leaders are unwilling to make the tough choices when it comes to programming, perhaps for them it is an easier choice to again hike taxes on an uninvolved and unsuspecting public.
That’s why we’ll be watching the nursing home debate closely—and we hope our readers do, as well — because the outcome could very much impact not only the elderly in Albany County, but whether or not any young people will be able to afford sticking around to grow old.