The Herkimer County Legislature’s Committee on Human Resources discussed the possibility of selling Country Manor to Advanced Healthcare Management Tuesday night.
The company — believed to own facilities in Norwich and Rome — previously submitted a letter of intent to the county expressing its interest in buying the facility, provided the county submit an application to the state Department of Health for a certificate of need for assisted living beds.
Because the application was due to the state Wednesday evening, the committee met in special session Tuesday night to vote on whether or not to apply for the beds.
While some legislators felt they did not know enough about Advanced Healthcare to move forward, the majority felt the application was necessary to keep options open.
The committee ultimately voted to apply for the 80 assisted living beds on behalf of the company.
County Attorney Robert Malone stressed to the committee the application for the beds was not a contract, and county Administrator James Wallace said the committee, and the legislature, would hold off on making a decision about the sale until all questions are answered and fully clarified.
“We have to do our due diligence,” said legislature Chairman Vincent Bono. “Since there were questions about the letter of intent, an agreement has not yet been reached. It’s not a question of is anyone holding anything back, it’s a question that homework needs to be done.”
Country Manor is appraised at $335,000, which, according to documents, 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 Bono.
Attempts to downsize or sell the county-owned facility have been going on for years because of what officials said are rising operating costs and declining reimbursements from the state.
“Financially, it’s becoming very hard to continue as the owner, and at this point in time it’s very rare for a county to be the sole owner of an adult home,” said Wallace. “Right now we are only one of three counties in New York that currently owns this type of facility.”
Once all questions are answered, the information will be provided to the committee and the legislature, said Wallace, adding the county might not hear back from the state about the certificate of need application until the fall.