Having neither the expertise nor any real power concerning the Chautauqua County Home, I am still compelled to give an opinion toward the probable sale of this facility.
It seems that certain factions within the county are determined to sell this facility, caring very little about the human factor that is certainly one of the main issues. The question seems to be whether the County Home is a liability or an asset to the community.
I recognize that the county spends millions on the County Home. Does anyone really know the actual reimbursable amount? Many refer to this as a loss to the taxpayers. I only see it as a service provided and paid for by the taxpayers of all of Chautauqua County.
Where in this area can we get the care provided for our elderly, for those individuals who are less fortunate and for all of those people who have worked, scrimped, and saved for years only to run out of money because they had the "good fortune" to live into their 80s or 90s?
I ask you to walk through the Home, look at the clients. As you do, think not only of their future but the future of perhaps thousands more who could end up in those same shoes. Hard-working men and women, elderly, veterans, and those of us who just made our way through life for our families.
Privatization of the County Home means the new company must make a profit, private companies need to make profits, that's why they are in business - but at what cost? Most people in this county work hard, but most salaries won't allow them to save for long-term care. The new owners will most certainly limit Medicaid patients. Where do they go? Where will they end up if the Home is privatized?
The Erie County Home in Alden, one of the Cattaraugus homes - not all counties have privatized this valuable asset - or some place even farther from their families? These are people, many of whom have loving, caring, hard-working children who work and simply can't give them proper care.
So I ask, "Is selling the County Home worth it ... in human terms? Will we gain that much financially over the long term?
Will it significantly lower taxes? Or are just saying we privatize ... we won ... you all lost? Our asset is now yours.
John Scott is a Dunkirk resident.