MAYVILLE - Two qualified offers have been received for 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 while presenting the two offers.
The Chautauqua County Legislature held a special meeting Wednesday to discuss to qualified offers fo
"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.
In total, about 20 residents were present for the special meeting. Several discussed the livelihoods of those currently residing in home and what affect selling it would do to those currently working there. One speaker, meanwhile, voiced support for selling the facility, noting its annual losses and the multi-million dollar budget deficit the county faces next year.
Myers said more than 35 interested bidders across the country inquired about the County Home, however only two, he said, were considered qualified.
Mark Myers of the marketing firm Marcus and Millichap discusses bids placed on the Chautauqua County Home during a special legislature meeting Wednesday in Mayville.
P-J photo by Eric Tichy
As stipulated in the home's 14 purchasing requirements, any potential buyer would be required to keep the home a skilled nursing facility for at least 10 years. Current employees would also have the opportunity to retain their employment through a hiring process.
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 (County)," Myers said. "... 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."
Absolut Care has locations in Dunkirk and Westfield, as well as 10 throughout the state.
The second bid, by William Rothner of Altitude Health Services Inc., Chicago, IL, 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.
Sherman and Rothner in their proposals, obtained by The Post-Journal, said they would keep salaries and benefits largely intact.
Both offers 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. The County Home, which has 216 beds, will receive about $76,000 per bed.
"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 he chairs, within the next few weeks.