Essex County lawmakers have approved terms and conditions for the potential sale of the Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown.
The Essex County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to list the facility through Marcus & Millichap, a Chicago-based real estate investment firm, county Manager Dan Palmer said in a phone interview.
Palmer said supervisors set a sale price of $4.25 million. Marcus & Millichap would receive a commission of 3.25 percent of the sale price or offer - about $138,000 for the current asking price - regardless of whether supervisors decide to go through with the sale. Palmer said the terms and conditions of a potential sale require that current residents be allowed to stay indefinitely and that current union employees be offered a job.
North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi:'The county should not be in the nursing home business.'
(Enterprise file photo)
"And we ended up saying that Essex County residents would be given preference for admission," he said.
According to Palmer, Tuesday's decision doesn't necessarily mean the county will sell the nursing home. If a potential buyer comes forward, supervisors would still have the option of approving the final sale.
"That would be the final step," Palmer said, "and it's only a direct sale. It's not a lease or anything like that. It's a straight, direct sale."
North Elba town Supervisor Roby Politi, who has long advocated that the county sell or privatize Horace Nye, told the Enterprise that a majority of the board supported listing the nursing home during Tuesday's meeting.
"The county should not be in the nursing home business," Politi said, "and that's what I mean: business. We shouldn't be in business. Governments do not make for good business. I'm all in favor of eliminating that debt and looking for privatization of that facility so there will be a continuation of the service to the public."
Politi added that if a potential buyer comes forward, the county can still negotiate further.
"It's like everything else," said Politi, a real estate broker in his other job. "You want to sell your house, you put it on the market for $100,000, somebody makes you an offer of $80,000, you negotiate, right? (If) somebody makes you an offer of $100,000 and it's on your terms and conditions, you don't have a choice; you've got to sell it. Or if you don't sell it, you have to at least pay the real estate commission."
County lawmakers have been debating whether to continue operating the nursing home for years. The 100-bed facility runs at an annual loss of about $3 million and owes about $5 million to the county's general fund. It has about 145 employees who, Politi said, could be moved to the private sector.
Representatives from Marcus & Millichap have stated that up to 50 buyers could express interest in the nursing home.