The Fulton County Board of Supervisors has voted for the third time to sell the county nursing home, putting to rest questions about whether the second vote was legal.
On Monday a two-thirds majority of the board approved the sale of the Fulton County Residential Health Care Facility to Tarrytown-based Centers for Specialty Care for $3.5 million.
The board requires a two-thirds majority to sell county property, but didn’t have it when only a simple majority approved the sale April 11.
An earlier vote, Nov. 22, approved the sale of the facility by a two-thirds majority, but was contingent upon negotiations of the terms and conditions of the sale.
Proponents of the sale have argued the Nov. 22 vote was enough to sell the nursing home without another two-thirds majority vote, while critics of the sale have said the April vote was invalid because it failed to meet the threshold. Monday’s vote puts the question to rest.
The swing vote was Johnstown Supervisor Jack Wilson, who wields the most weighted votes of any supervisor, 72. He voted against the sale April 11 but reversed course and voted in favor of the sale Monday. He said at the time of the April vote that he had too many unanswered questions.
Wilson’s predecessor Roy Palmateer voted to sell the facility on Nov. 22, but then resigned in January, citing the controversy of the nursing home sale as one of the reasons.
Wilson did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Several supervisors voted against the sale all three times it has come up: Johnstown 1st Ward Supervisor Richard Handy, Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Rooney, Stratford Supervisor Richard Johnson, Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr. and Gloversville 4th Ward Supervisor Shirley Savage.
Handy, one of the outspoken critics of the sale, said the issue is over.
“It’s final now. It is what it is,” he said. “We aren’t going to have any control over who the residents are going to be in that facility now, it will be up to Specialty Care. We have nothing to do with it any more. If people want to get into the facility, who need nursing, there’s no way we can help them any more.”
The resolution approved by the board Monday included the “final terms and conditions” of the contract, including revisions to what the board had passed April 11. The revisions weren’t explained in the resolution other than a line that read: “The county attorney has completed the preparation of said contract documents and recommends that said documents include, among other things, provisions for sprinkler system installation at the facility.”
The sprinkler system was identified by County Attorney Arthur “Skip” Spring as one of three issues that needed to be amended in the contract. Installation of the sprinkler system, costing Fulton County approximately $500,000, was mandated by the federal government after the county provided details about the building to prospective buyers, including Specialty Care. The county’s cost to install the system does not affect the sale price of the facility.
Spring told The Daily Gazette on April 27 the second issue that needed to be amended in the contract was the separation of an old graveyard on the nursing home’s parcel from the sale of the facility. He wouldn’t say what the third issue was. Neither of the other two issues are referenced in the resolution that passed Monday other than the vague language “among other things.”
Spring did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Handy said Spring told the board before the vote the graveyard issue was being worked out with the buyer.