Valley News – Sullivan County nursing home impasse continues

UNITY — The long term of a proposed $54 million renovation of the Sullivan County nursing residence stays unsure adhering to a specific assembly amongst county commissioners and the county delegation.

County officers took pains all through the meeting Tuesday evening to make clear to the lawmakers from the county, who vote on the finances and would also have to approve the renovation, why trimming the proposed challenge would not outcome in substantial cost savings but would generate delays that could drive up building expenditures further.

“We’ve presented other solutions,” Mary Bourque, the county’s director of amenities and functions, reported through the meeting, which was held via Zoom and in man or woman at the Sugar River Valley Regional Specialized Center in Claremont.

The possibilities are both much too highly-priced or really do not provide the county’s requirements, Bourque added.

“This is what works,” she claimed of the renovation plan.

The project, which would update the 156-bed facility’s getting older infrastructure, has been on hold since the county delegation’s April 26 meeting at which no vote was taken simply because delegates couldn’t access consensus. The delegation seems torn on how ideal to satisfy the requirements of the nursing home with out a steep enhance in house taxes.

As proposed, the $54 million renovation of the facility, which sits up coming to the county jail in Unity, would incorporate gutting the nursing home’s Stearns making, producing aesthetic improvements to the MacConnell creating and demolishing the Sanders constructing to very clear room for an 82,000-square-foot addition. The Sanders constructing was manufactured in 1931, Stearns in 1975 and MacConnell in 1997.

The delegation turned down the proposal previous slide right after price tag estimates arrived back 20% bigger than county officials experienced predicted. At that time, the delegation requested county workers to discover the idea of setting up a new facility either on-site or in other places. But county workforce documented to the delegation this winter that a new facility could expense as considerably as $80 million and if sited someplace other than the county elaborate in Unity would also charge about $1 million far more every year to work.

The project’s continued delay has left commissioners and workforce pissed off.

“I imagine the time put in on this undertaking is sufficient sufficient,” said George Hebert, chairman of the board of commissioners, throughout Tuesday’s assembly. “I really would not like to entertain any much more thoughts on what we can do (or) how we can do it much better. This is the time to make a determination on this challenge.”

Some users of the delegation even now surface to be set off by the sticker cost. As proposed, the county would just take out a bond for $41 million use $5 million from a funds reserve fund and $8 million from the American Rescue Program Act.

Among the people with worries about cost is condition Rep. John Cloutier, D-Claremont, who chairs the delegation. He claimed Wednesday that the delegation may get up the nursing household renovation at its subsequent meeting on June 29, when it expects to vote on the county price range.

The two combined would be a “big strike on property taxpayers starting up this year, but likely down the street,” he stated, noting that if the $34.6 million county spending budget is approved as proposed that also would generate up taxes practically 10%. Proposed expending would maximize by only about 3%, but the county would not be able to use as much in rainy times resources as it has in the past.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Bourque outlined some alternatives for trimming the sizing of the nursing residence renovation, which includes lessening the amount of beds in the facility, delaying the aesthetic refresh to MacConnell or reducing “soft costs” for issues like new furniture.

But, she stated, all of these choices have downsides. Minimizing the number of beds, for example, would cut down the range of inhabitants the nursing property could keep and influence its profitability down the street, she stated.

“We are recommending that we go ahead with the present-day strategy promptly,” Bourque stated. There are “some factors looming out in the foreseeable future as attainable challenges that make it greater to transfer ahead now.”

Though Cloutier said he read the commissioners and personnel say that additional delays for the undertaking, which has been in the operates for three decades, would just take far more time and money, he’d even now like to see a reduced price tag tag. Preferably, Cloutier mentioned, he’d like to see at the very least yet another $10 million in federal money for the challenge. He mentioned he’s listened to from constituents that involving college and municipal bills, home taxes are “high enough now.”

“We’ve got some rough decisions,” he mentioned.

Some delegates are offered on the undertaking, nevertheless.

Rep. Judy Aron, R-South Acworth, claimed in the course of Tuesday’s meeting that she would like to transfer forward.

“I have no concern in my brain that the project in front of us is the job that we need to do,” she claimed. “The time is now. Our people are ready. The workforce are waiting. I have every single query answered. I have no reservations at all.”

The job needs a two-thirds vote, or 9 if all 13 members of the delegation are existing, to carry on.

In other Sullivan County nursing home news, it exited its second COVID-19 outbreak very last Friday, adhering to two weeks with no any new conditions, reported Ted Purdy, the facility’s administrator, in a Wednesday concept to family members. As a outcome, little team activities, communal dining and social visits have resumed.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be attained at [email protected] or 603-727-3213.