November 13, 2007

Mount View Closure

Kudos to the Niagara County Legislature and the County Manager for taking the proper steps to finalize the recommendation of the Berger Commission regarding the closure of the county-owned Mount View Health Care facility. The current plan has Mount View closing it's doors by December 28th.

Although the county was looking to divest itself of the facility through privatization, the Berger Commission trumped the county's plans to sell Mt. View and directed the county to move towards closure.

Since the closure of the facility will eliminate approximately 200 county workers from the payroll, those who believe that Niagara County has too much government must be elated. Coupled with the assertion that Niagara County is the second highest taxed county in the country, as misguided as that assertion is, the closure of the facility will save the county millions of dollars.

Many of the candidates for office this year condoned the closure. There was political piece after piece accusing the majority of "evicting" the residents of Mt. View. Obviously, this was a less than effective strategy. In fact, it was right up there with hammering AES - no one cared. By the way, not a single resident of Mount View has been evicted.

I believe that the private and public sectors should never compete. Whether it's a nursing home, a golf course, services for seniors or meals for the indigent, the private sector will always provide the service more effectively and efficiently.

Even though we are giving the Leg and County Manager kudos for moving forward with closing Mt. View, we hope that this is only the beginning of further analysis of all county services and a determination of what other services may be privatized.


Truth Detector said...

I think this is the first action that can be directly tied to the election results. Old Ed McDonald and his friends threw a lot of money into the county leg races and lost every one of them.

People don't want to subsidize an inefficent, costly county-owned nursing home.

Anonymous said...

As long as our elected Niagara County Legislators are going to use the Bergers Report as an excuse to close Mount View and a campaign issue, then let them have the guts to follow all of the report and not just pick and chose what they want. The following is from the Commissions Report on page 221. Look it up your self at “It is recommended that Mount View Health Facility downsize all 172 RHCF beds, rebuild a new facility on it’s existing campus, and add a 100-bed ALP, a 50-slot ADHCP and possibly other non-institutional services.” I hope they start building the new facility as quickly as they were to close the old one.

Frank DeGeorge said...

Assemblyman Mark Schroeder from Buffalo had some great comments on this. He said he will oppose any future Berger-type commissons to deal with difficult issues because the Berger Commission really screwed up and it's the job of elected officials to make difficult decisions. I think the assemblyman is right on.

Getting the albatross that is Mount View off the backs of taxpayers is the right thing to do. But the county was going about an approach to sell it until Berger-meister camed along and messed it up. Now, they expect more tax dollars? If the state wants that, let them fund it.

Niagara Prognosticator said...

The Berger Commission pulled the Majority Caucus' stones out of the fire by recommending the closure of Mt. View.

The sale of Mt. View had been botched big time. The contract was incomplete when executed and approved (no addendum of included equipment inventory), performance deadlines were repeatedly missed and ignored and the sales price was probably too small. (Why is it that the county always sells real property low but buys it at top dollar?).

Some reports had indicated that had the sale been consummated and the facility been in operation at the time Berger made its study, chances are that the recommendation to close would have never been made.

Being able to blame the Berger Commission for this mess is a perfect deflection from the multi-millions of dollars that the county manager has already publicly stated are needed. So instead of an "albatross" the taxpayers now have a 16 ton weight around its neck.

Plus, the loss of 200 barely living wage positions that are filled with good people with specialized skills not easily transferred to other uses is likely going to result in more costs to the taxpayers. First in the form of unemployment benefits, then perhaps medicaid and perhaps welfare. But of course, these humble workers can just move away from WNY to warmer and more welcoming financial environs.

Allot has been said about the impact of closing Mt. View. The County Administration claimed it would save tax dollars. Apparently it won't, at least not for several years.

The unions claimed that it would cost more to close and that some of the old souls would pass away due to relocation trauma.

On these matters, at least, it seems that the unions were right about the tax dollars. And although no one can definitively state that relocation killed folks, the fact is that several folks passed away very soon after their relocation.

Whatever the final outcome, the Mt. View issue of late has been a sad chapter in Niagara County history.

Anonymous said...

NP makes some very valid points. Greg Lewis is credited with being some sort of municipal genius, but really what has he accomplished. Regardless of your views on Mount View, it was handled poorly.

He constantly wants double digit tax increases that the Legislature has cut way back.

The campus idea is whacky. The public works bldg is taking forever.

And I can't think of one significant effort he has made to change the way the county operates.

And yet, legislators from both parties were falling all over each other to keep the guy.

NP, you're right, the manager is a disaster. Renae Kimble and Dennis Virtuoso should stop boasting that they brought him to town.

Larry S said...

Let's say hypothetically that you're right about the current majority botching the sale of Mt. View. And lets agree that the Berger Commission did state that the county should build an assisted-living facility.

Can we also acknowledge that while the Dems controlled the Leg, they were given not one, but TWO seperate presentations by then Administrator Ed Marchi on the benefits of investing and renovating the facility?

Can we also acknowledge the fact that the Dems, while in that majority were in a position to invest in Mt. View?

Can we also acknowledge that the failure of the Democratic majority, in 2003, to act on the recommendations of Marchi has lead to where we are now? Obviously, if they had taken action when they had the opportunity, we'd have a brand new state-of-the-art facility in 2007.

Blame is easy to throw around. Taking responsibility for one's action, or in this case, inaction, is easy to criticize.

Anonymous said...

Both parties were NOT falling all over themselves to keep Greg Lewis. If you remember, it was Tom Christy that initially promoted and supported the extension of Lewis' contract WITH A RAISE IN PAY on his "show" and was very critical of any official that questioned the contract terms. But of course, it's not his money since he does not live in Niagara County. And speaking of Mr. Christy, he now wants Lewis fired. I would assume that if the legislature listens to him again, there is probably some kind of penalty or buyout that, again, he will not have to pay because he is not a Niagara County taxpayer! Sometimes you get what you ask for and Tom Christy now has Greg lewis for several more years.

Anonymous said...

not sure what the hell your talking about, but the sale of mt. view was held up due to Ed Mcdonald filing a law suit against the sale. Nothing to due with the nc leg..