I attended a meeting at the County Home where County Executive Vince Horrigan met with residents and employees and discussed the sale of the Home.
After the meeting, I asked Mr. Horrigan why he was in such a hurry to sell the Home. His first remark to me was that there is only one resident from Jamestown in the County Home. I took great offense to this comment and made it very clear that Chautauqua County is one county and should not be divided into separate areas. Should the North end of the county not pay taxes toward Chautauqua Lake, the Jamestown airport or the South campus of Jamestown Community College? Mr. Horrigan, is it your intention to lead the county through division of the county?
In the OBSERVER (Feb. 16), there were side-by-side commentaries. One proposed that the County Home not be sold to ensure quality home care at an affordable cost. The other was by Legislator George Borrello and it praised the efforts of federal and state elected officials to save Lake Shore Hospital. There have been millions of dollars, tax dollars, invested in Lake Shore Hospital.
So it is acceptable to bail out Lake Shore Hospital, but not to support the County Home? Personally, I believe that health care is a government issue, and I am not opposed to tax dollars being used to support quality health care for both facilities.
I find it interesting, and even hypocritical, that Legislator Borrello spoke strongly at a recent legislative meeting against the county accepting the Intergovernmental Transfer Funds because it will cost tax dollars. Mr. Borrello said he did not want to invest local tax dollars for the County Home. Actually, the County Home has not cost us at all in property tax dollars. In fact, it is suggested that the county will apply for the IGT funds whether the Home is sold or not.
A sensible solution to Mr. Borrello's dilemma would be for VestraCare to purchase the Lake Shore Nursing Home. That would keep a for-profit nursing home in operation and the County Home would be able to continue giving the quality care to our most vulnerable population.
According to a report from the Center for Governmental Research, there are steps that can be taken to keep the County Home financially viable. The report was not considered or implemented neither by the previous county executive or by the current county executive. However, if the goal is to privatize the County Home, a good strategy is to divide the county to achieve that goal.
I urge all legislators to consider that it could just as easily be your parents, spouses, or loved ones in the County Home. When you vote, vote for what is right. Vote to save the County Home!
Roger A. Calanni is a Fredonia resident.