COOPERSTOWN — An advocate for keeping the Otsego Manor as a public nursing home called on Otsego County lawmakers Thursday to stop bickering about a plan designed to reduce the public subsidy for the facility and begin to analyze the proposal in earnest.
“There is no reason why we can’t do it,” said Maureen Culbert of Springfield, who has collected signatures from 1,800 county residents on a petition urging that the nursing home remain a county property rather than be privatized.
A last-ditch plan intended to keep the Manor as a county asset was floated last week by county Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek. It calls for significant concessions from the bargaining unit representing Manor workers as well as increasing the sales tax from the current 8 percent to 8.25 percent. It also calls for a survey of county residents to determine if there is public support for the sales tax increase.
“I’m hoping the people of the county will contact their representatives and let them know they need to keep focusing on this,” said Culbert.
The initial reaction to the Kosmer plan from the Republicans who have the most clout on the county board has been one of chilly skepticism. They have said that the sales tax increase would be onerous on local businesses and citizens and have questioned the practicality and validity of gauging the views of voters through an opinion poll.
Regardless of the lack of enthusiasm for the Kosmer plan, Rep. James Powers, R-Butternuts, said he plans to initiate a discussion of it at next Wednesday’s board meeting.in his capacity as Negotiations Committee chairman.
Powers said most board members frown on the proposed sales tax increase. As a result, he said, he is reluctant to present the proposal to Civil Service Employees Association representatives for Manor workers.