Edwards negotiating County Home sale with new company

MAYVILLE – County Executive Greg Edwards is negotiating the sale of the Chautauqua County Home with a new company.

“We’ve been working over the last couple of months with a company who expressed interest through the work of Marcus & Millichap and our promotion of the potential of the County Home as a property that someone can invest in,” Edwards said. “We do have a firm that has expressed significant interest. We’re working to try and finalize that into a proposal that can then be introduced into the legislature for them to review.”

Edwards did not identify the new company but he did say the interested company is not one of the two the legislature had previously discussed.

In July 2012, the legislature discussed two offers for the County Home. Absolut Care offered a $1.6 million-a-year lease on the home with an option to buy outright for $16 million. Altitude Health, out of Chicago, offered $16.5 million in cash for the Dunkirk skilled nursing facility.

Three months later, in October 2012, Edwards was given the OK to begin contract negotiations with William (Avi) Rothner of Altitude Health Services.

Due to a local law dating back to 1975, the sale of real property in Chautauqua County requires a supermajority vote, 17 votes in the case of the current legislature. The sale of the home to Rothner failed, with only 16 votes to the affirmative, in January.

In February, legislators again brought to the floor a vote to sell to Rothner. Again, not enough votes were gathered to sell the home. Also in February, legislators brought forward a resolution to change the local law, which would then only require a majority vote to sell real property in Chautauqua County. However, that resolution failed as well.

Rothner’s offer was officially taken off the table in March.

According to County Executive Greg Edwards, the home would lose approximately $9,000 per day, if $1.6 million from the county – which is matched by federal funding – in Intergovernmental Transfer Funding was not available.

With the new proposal, Edwards said he is not completely sure when the legislature will be brought into the discussion.

“We are in the final stages of negotiation,” Edwards said. “I’m working hard to get this done as quickly as we can so the legislature can begin its review.”

Legislator Fred Croscut, R-Sherman, spoke during the town of Chautauqua board meeting on Monday, telling the board the sale will likely be put in front of the legislature in October.