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The Times
  • Company offers letter of intent to buy Country Manor

  • For 29 years, 94-year-old Richard Dutcher has called Country Manor his home.

    He moved to the adult-care facility in 1983 when neither his children — who live outside the county — nor his siblings could take care of him.

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  • For 29 years, 94-year-old Richard Dutcher has called Country Manor his home.
    He moved to the adult-care facility in 1983 when neither his children — who live outside the county — nor his siblings could take care of him.
    A World War II veteran and lifetime Herkimer County resident, Dutcher said many of the about 30 residents at Country Manor are in the same boat.
    “They don’t got no funds. They can’t move,” he said. “The whole thing hinges on that. There’s no one to support them. It depends on the money you got, or if someone else will take you in.”
    Attempts to downsize or sell the county-owned facility have been going on for years because of what officials say are rising operating costs and declining reimbursements from the state.
    Now, the county has a letter of intent from Advanced Healthcare Management expressing its interest to buy the facility. It’s a proposal that could be voted on in the near future, county Administrator James Wallace said.
    “Legislators wanted to make sure that we had time to share any of the information we get,” Wallace said.
    GateHouse News Service couldn’t learn anything this week about Advanced Healthcare, including where it is based and who runs it. Wallace said Wednesday he knows about the company and was checking with officials before providing additional information, although he mentioned the company owns facilities in Rome and Norwich.
    Country Manor is appraised at $335,000, which, according to documents obtained by GateHouse News Service, is the price being discussed with Advanced Healthcare.
    This year, the county budgeted $531,000 for the facility, though in any given year the county loses between $500,000 and $600,000, said legislative Chairman Vincent Bono, R - Schuyler.
    The letter of intent serves as a “jumping-off point,” said Legislator Dennis Korce, R - Mohawk, chairman of the county Properties Committee.
    “This is a proposal from them that could lead to a contract to sell,” he said.
    During a meeting of the Ways and Means, County Properties and Human Resources committees on June 27, some legislators requested more information about the proposal as well as documentation of previous parties that had been interested in purchasing the property.
    Wallace said those entities backed out because of the cost of rehabilitating the facility, or the asking price.
    Advanced Healthcare intends to submit a certificate-of-need application to the state Department of Health for an assisted living program bed designation.
    As stipulated in the letter of intent, the business would execute a promissory note for $335,000 and pay it over a period of five years. Additional conditions include:
    •The county agrees to pay the purchaser a transition fee of $18,000 per month for one year after the closing of the transaction. This fee would total $216,000 during that first year.
    Page 2 of 2 - •The purchaser would obtain from the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency, or any other entity, an agreement that allows for a 20-year property tax abatement.
    •The purchaser would allow residents living in the facility to remain there as long as their needs can be met in accordance with state and federal health care regulations.
    Wallace said the county pays nearly $550,000 each year to operate the facility, so even though the county would pay the $18,000 per month transition fee, it would save money later.
    “That’s the issue,” he said. “That cost would go away. We’d be saving $334,000 for the first year.”
    Legislator Helen Rose, D - Herkimer, wrote in an email to Wallace she did not agree with the additional term of allowing a 20-year tax break. She also expressed concern with the language, noting the purchaser was described as Advanced Healthcare Management and/or “assigns.”
    “I know nothing about this company,” she said. “That’s got to be the overarching issue.”
    Wallace said that no matter what business would take over Country Manor, the county would make sure the residents were taken care of.
    And for Dutcher, that’s of the utmost importance.
    “The old-timers who’ve come through Country Manor, they got a scare when (the county) said they were going to sell,” he said.
    Dutcher also said he doesn’t want to leave — if it came to that.
    “I’m satisfied with it as it is,” he said. “I don’t think any of us would relocate.”

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