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September 5, 2012

County to sell Otsego Manor

Resolution passes board, 12-1

COOPERSTOWN — The Otsego County Board of Representatives decided today to sell the debt-plagued Otsego Manor nursing home to the highest bidder.

The resolution authorizing the sale of the 174-bed nursing facility just south of Cooperstown was approved by 12 of the 13 representatives present at today's monthly board meeting. Only Rep. Keith McCarty, R-Springfield, opposed the measure.

The resolution stated that the successful bidder must meet the county's critiera -- including that it has "a history of excellent resident care, financial viability and ability to meet New York State requirements."

The decision came three months after county Treasurer Dan Crowell informed the board that the county's subsidy to the Manor is expected to rise dramatically in future years due to rising cots for labor, supplies and materials at the same time Medicare receipts have been declining.

 We view this as a matter of saving quality nursing care in Otsego County," declared Rep. Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta in contending the county could no longer afaford to operate the nursing home itself.

The board provided no advance public notice that it was prepared to act on the fate of the Manor at today's meeting. The topic was not listed on the agenda handed out at the beginning of the public meeting.

Only one local resident attended the meeting to advocate on behalf of keeping the nursing home as county property.

Sandra Bliss of Middlefield said she decided to attend the meeting after The Daily Star, citing anonymous sources, reported last month that the board's Manor Committee had discussed taking steps to privatize it at its most recent meeting.

Bliss, the sister of Middlefield Town Supervisor Dave Bliss, said she feared the quality of care at the Manor will diminish once it is privately owned. She argued  hat the board was empowered to increase taxes in order to plug the home's budget shortfall.

Edmond Marchi, the Manor's administrator, recently projected the home's deficit is on course to rise to $6 million a year within a few years.


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