As Saratoga County supervisors weigh privatizing the county run Maplewood Manor Nursing Home, the public gets its last chance to have its voice heard on the issue. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on the debate about ceding control of the decades old facility to a private operator.
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. – Less than one week before Saratoga County's Board of Supervisors will vote on selling the county-run Maplewood Manor Nursing Home to a local development corporation, or LDC, taxpayers got their final chance to formally voice their opposition to the sale at a public hearing Wednesday afternoon.
"I was brought up with three morals,” said Thomas Day, a 22 year employee of Maplewood whose grandmother lived at the home for 11 years. “One, we take care of our kids. Two, we take care of our veterans that do for us. Three, we take care of our elderly."
"If you don't have a solid plan for how to be successful, why are you going forward?" Northumberland resident Dorothy Tyler asked county supervisors.
Tyler's mother, Patricia, is one of roughly 240 residents at the home in Ballston Spa. She's one of many who fear the quality of patient care will suffer under private ownership.
"I've researched other counties that have gone down this road. There are no success stories there," Tyler said.
Local CSEA union reps organized a protest before the meeting.
Many on the county board remain at odds over the value of keeping the home and its $10 million deficit in county hands.
"It's costing us $10 million this year, it's projecting to be $14 million next year. It's just snowballing. It's getting out of control. The county can't afford it," Hadley Town Supervisor Arthur Wright said.
"I think we have to look at the fact that nursing homes aren't put in place to make money,” Ballston Town Supervisor Patti Southworth said. “They're put in place to take care of people who cannot take care of themselves and I think we're losing site of that."
Many opponents of privatizing have suggested raising taxes to cover the deficit, but supporters like Hadley Town Supervisor Arthur Wright believe that plan lacks public support. Others remain hopeful a solution will be found before next Tuesday's vote.
"There are a lot of things to do and it is hard work, but I think it's worth it," Tyler said.