MAYVILLE - Two qualified offers have been received on the Chautauqua County Home.
And according to County Executive Greg Edwards, the bids are "head and shoulders" above what similar facilities are receiving on the open market.
Mark Myers of the Chicago-based marketing firm Marcus and Millichap spoke to lawmakers Wednesday during a special meeting of the legislature and discussed the two offers.
"Some of the reasons why counties across the country are considering privatizing the nursing homes in their counties includes things have been addressed tonight," Myers said, alluding to a half-dozen residents who spoke prior to the presentation regarding the needs of residents at the home. In total, about 20 residents were present for the special meeting.
Myers said more than 35 interested bidders across the country inquired about the County Home, however only two, he said, were considered qualified.
As stipulated, any potential buyer of the County Home would be required to keep the facility 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. There were 14 total requirements attached to purchase the home.
One of the two offers received that met all requirements was from Israel Sherman, CEO of Absolut Care Facilities Management, LLC, East Aurora, who submitted a lease offer of $1.6 million a year with a purchase option at any time of $16 million.
"His company actually operates two nursing homes in Chautauqua," Myers said, referring to Absolut of Dunkirk and Absolut of Westfield. "... We've interviewed him and found him to be qualified in terms of the number of facilities he owns, having the financial whereabouts to accomplish the transaction, and he has agreed to the 14 stipulations."
The second bid, by William Rothner of Altitude Health Services Inc., Chicago, Ill., is for $16.5 million paid immediately in cash upon the closing date.
"Mr. Rothner answered the restrictions affirmatively and provides an excellent information concerning what he has accomplished and done in other situations," Myers said.
Both offers, Myers noted, state they would begin collective bargaining agreements with its employees, while both said salaries and benefits would remain largely intact.
Both offers on the home were less than the $18 million to $20 million the county was seeking; however, Edwards noted the market value of other nursing facilities that are currently being sold or have been acquired by private companies.
The county executive, in particular, pointed to Fulton County, which in April closed its sale on its health care facility. The formerly government-owned facility was purchased at a cost of approximately $3.5 million, or $20,000 per bed.
"It's always nice to be looking an offer that is coming in for your asset that is head and shoulders price-wise above what the market is showing for other assets," Edwards said.
It should be noted that the company that purchased the Fulton County nursing facility, Centers for Specialty Care Group, put in a verbal offer of $8 million for the Chautauqua County Home.
Other nursing facilities in New York that have turned private include three in the Buffalo area, one in Elizabethtown and one in Kenmore. Ten examples were given Wednesday, only two of which will or have received more money on a per-bed cost.
"I think that you'll find it encouraging that we have choices to make here that many other counties (don't)," Edwards said.
John Runkle, R-Stockton, after Myers' presentation, asked if he could see the investigation by Marcus and Millichap on the two qualified offers - noting that he hoped to forward the information to the Center for Governmental Research, which is currently performing a financial viability study on the home.
Runkle said he expects to see the report, which was commissioned by an ad-hoc committee, within the next few weeks.