Orange County's Valley View Nursing Home is safe for another year after action by the county legislature. Our Christian Farrell has the latest on the fight to save the facility.
GOSHEN, N.Y. -- "It was a very wise decision today that bodes well for a year of trying," said Verne Bell of Newburgh.
Supporters of keeping the Valley View Nursing Home open walked out of the Orange County Emergency Services Center in Goshen smiling. Wednesday, the county legislature voted to keep the nursing home county owned, and operated for at least one more year.
They did so by overriding the 2013 budget veto of Orange County Executive Ed Diana by a vote of 19 to 2.
"I hope that this is the end of the 'my way or the highway' politics. It's been a really tough battle," said Orange County Legislator Roxanne Donnery.
"We have the opportunity to keep Valley View here for the rest of our lives. Not only one year," said Orange County Legislator Mike Anagnostakis.
One year is still longer than what Diana had planned Valley View in his proposed 2013 budget. Diana had set aside funding for the facility for one month next year. Choosing instead to have it privatized or closed rather than have the county continue to operate it at a loss.
Reckless and irresponsible is how Diana labeled the county legislature's decision to override his budget veto. He says this decision could jeopardize the county's future finances.
"We're the talk of the state on being the best, fiscal, sound county in the state. We're not going to achieve that any longer. I tell you right now our bond rating is in major jeopardy. People think that doesn't mean anything - that means an awful lot," said Diana.
Meanwhile, lawmakers say hiring a new director to run the facility is a top priority. They also say re-opening negotiations with CSEA, the union representing the majority of the facilities 400 employees, must be accomplished soon to determine just how much it's going to cost the county to run Valley View, next year or beyond.
"We want to get back to the table, so that we can pound this out - get a contract in place, get a new administrator in place, so we can go forward," said CSEA Local President Bill Oliphant.