MAYVILLE - County leaders are expected to sit down with a marketing firm early next month to discuss offers on the Chautauqua County Home, County Executive Greg Edwards said Wednesday.
The news came the same day county lawmakers approved a $1.36 million fund balance appropriation to match a federal grant toward the home.
Without the intergovernmental transfer grant, the County Home would have depleted its fund balance and cash account by the end of next year; the IGT payment will net a $3.6 million return.
During the County Legislature's full-body meeting, the county executive said he and several legislators would be sitting down with members of Marcus & Millichap to discuss offers on the County Home. The Chicago-based firm began marketing the facility in November.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Edwards alluded to the early June meeting and noted offers for the County Home will continue to be reviewed. Bids for the facility were due in April.
"It will be led by Marcus and Millichap, the folks we engaged to handle this as professionals, and they will be introducing the offers they received, reviewing them and making recommendations," Edwards said. "It continues to be a negotiated issue; and regular negotiations with people who are interested in acquiring the County Home and operating under the terms that were very specific and stated must be met for us to consider."
Edwards declined to say how many offers were received for the home.
In February, a series of terms and conditions for potential buyers was established. Those include keeping the County Home operating as a skilled nursing facility for at least 10 years. Current home employees would also have the opportunity to retain their employment through a hiring process.
Next month's meeting will include Legislature Majority Leader Larry Barmore; Legislature Chairman Jay Gould; and Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown. Former Chairman Fred Croscut, R-Sherman, has also taken part in previous County Home discussions.
Legislature Minority Leader Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown, asked Edwards Wednesday if another legislator would be allowed to sit in on the meeting. The Democrat suggested Assistant Minority Leader Robert Whitney, D-Jamestown, be added to the group.
"We thought it would be valuable to have both viewpoints on the table," Cornell said to The OBSERVER. "The group Edwards chose is one-sided. The members are invaluable, but we need to have people who will look at the human aspect of the home."
Cornell also questioned the lack of communication between the county and the legislature regarding the bids, noting the April deadline for potential buyers.
"We've been kind of left out in the dark with this," she said. "What's been going on? There's been no communication whatsoever."
Once offers and recommendations are reviewed by Edwards and county lawmakers, a report will be given to the County Legislature. The county executive said he is unsure if that report will be ready in time for June's full-body meeting.
A report from the Center for Governmental Research, which was commissioned by an ad-hoc committee to study the financial stability of the home, should also be finalized by next month.
"The sooner the facts are presented and can be reviewed by the legislature the better off we all are," Edwards said.