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The Lobster Tank

Essex County Ways and Means Meeting Oct. 31

10:04 a.m. The meeting opens with the kickoff for the United Way fundraising campaign for the employees and officials in Essex County.

10:09 a.m. New York State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward is addressing the board. She thanked those who have worked hard after Tropical Storm Irene and an update on what has been happening in her district.

10:15 a.m. Supervisors Hatch and Scozzafava question Sayward about the two-percent tax cap and the problems that face the county. Scozzafava said that he is still committed to bringing in a budget that meets the cap that will come with a lot of layoffs and end of services.

10:23 a.m. Other questions included concerns over the sales tax increase and the proposed loss of the Elizabethtown DMV driver test site.

10:25 a.m. A representative from Marcus and Milichap has been asked to address the board about their involvement in the potential sale or lease of the Horace Nye Nursing Home.

10:33 a.m. Westport Supervisor Dan Connell asked questions about the future of both employees and county residents who may need the services of the home in the future.

10:36 a.m. Chesterfield's Gerald Morrow states his opposition to the move, to which the Marcus and Milichap representative (his first name is Josh) said that he was not there to convince anyone and said that he felt discussions like this represented, "the last resort."

10:41 a.m. A discussion on the lease-option was discussed and how it differs from a straight sale.

10:50 a.m. Cathy Moses of Schroon is in the Halloween Spirit, in her finest witch ware.

10:51 a.m. The conversation has turned to the need for an appraisal of the home and whether or not it should be done when Marcus and Milichap could come in with a higher value for the nursing home than an assessor may.

"Our evaluation is based on transactional value," Josh said.

11:00 a.m. Thomas Scozzafava questioned how the nursing home could continue to provide services to the tune of 90-percent of residents on Medicaid under a private owner and be able to turn a profit. He added that he didn't see how they could turn a profit while serving the same residents and also having to pay for a mortgage, property taxes and repairs.

11:06 a.m. Josh said that it would take 12-18 under the New York process to transfer the ownership of the site.

11:07 a.m. Over an hour of meeting, and there are still resolutions to go.

11:13 a.m. St. Armand supervisor Joyce Morency said that she felt that the time had come to move forward and look at all of the options, and then they can make a further decision. She said that she felt it was the county's responsibility to look at options now and time for her colleagues to look at this with their "county hats on."

11:21 a.m. Morency and County Manager Dan Palmer both said that they want to see the county at least move forward at looking at the options, which does not mean that they are for sure selling or leasing the site.

11:25 a.m. The Marcus and Milichap discussion over the Horace Nye Nursing Home has entered into it's second hour, but appears to be wrapping up.

11:27 a.m. And we are on to the resolutions.

11:34 a.m. The resolution to introduce a local law to override the two-percent tax cap is on the floor.

11:38 a.m. There was little discussion on the matter, other than to say that this was not a resolution that gives the county the right to override, but does allow them to set a public hearing, which has been moved from Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. to Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.

11:40 a.m. The public hearing on the proposed 2012 budget would follow at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5.

11:43 a.m. The regular board meeting of the county board of supervisors will follow the public hearing on the budget, instead of being held at the regular scheduled 10 a.m.

11:44 a.m. There is now a lot of discussion over what time what should be held, stay tuned.

11:45 a.m. So here is the schedule officially for Monday, Dec. 5: 6 p.m. Public hearing on local law for tax cap override; 6:30 p.m. Public hearing on the 2012 proposed budget; 7 p.m. Regular board meeting of the Essex County board of Supervisors.

11:46 a.m. The board has now moved on to resolutions from the floor.

11:50 a.m. Supervisor Douglas asked for a resolution to look at options on the Essex County Fish Hatchery and to potentially privatize it.

11:56 a.m. Dan Connell said that they should look at the fish hatchery if they are also going to be looking at things like the Horace Nye Nursing Home.

11:59 a.m. Scozzafava agreed that the board has to look at everything, and included the Essex County Fairgrounds as another potential property that could be put up for sale or privatization.

12:01 p.m. Roby Politi moves the resolution to have Marcus and Milichap look into the potential sale or lease of the Norace Nye Nursing Home.

12:04 p.m. The resolution passes the Ways and Means Committee and, based on the vote, it should easily pass through the full board.

12:09 p.m. Randy Douglas reports that a meeting between the county and CSEA was cancelled because the union said that they were not interested in talking about concessions. Douglas said that, as a former member of CSEA, he was "frustrated."

12:15 p.m. the meeting was adjourned.

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