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January 26, 2013

Manor plan hinges on tax hike, union

(Continued)

The poll would run for 31 days, during which residents could also phone in or use traditional mail to respond to the question of where they stand. The respondents would be asked to provide their names and addresses.

“If, and only if, clear public support is demonstrated by this poll, do we then turn to the CSEA,” Kosmer wrote.

Karen Carpenter, a union representative, declined to comment on the specifics of the proposal, saying she has not seen them in writing. But she said she welcomed the effort to find an alternative to privatizing the nursing home.

“Citizens want this service and understand it’s necessary,” Carpenter said. “People understand that a nursing home is not a profit-making business.”

In an interview, Kosmer conceded that the plan is on an uphill track, given that the county board overwhelming came out in favor of finding a private operator.

“The odds aren’t good that this can happen — but it’s the best I can do,” said Kosmer, a member of the board’s Manor Committee.

County Rep. Kathleen Clark, R-Otego, the board’s chairwoman, already has said declared her opposition to any increase in the county share of the sales tax, arguing it would drive shoppers outside the county.

Rep. Donald Lindberg, R-Worcester, a Manor Committee member who was the first to call for privatizing the nursing home, said he welcomed Kosmer’s proposal, although he said he would also be against increasing the sales tax. Lindberg said he also questions whether the plan would end years of mounting operating deficits.

“It’s not going to get better,” he said.

County Treasurer Dan Crowell, who last year advised the board that the Manor’s projected operating deficit had become unsustainable, said Kosmer’s plan merits discussion and represents the only proposal so far for keeping the home in county hands.

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