Ulster County’s Golden Hill Transfer of Ownership CompleteJun 28th, 2013 | By HV Insider | Category: Featured Articles, Lead Article
On June 26, 2013, the Golden Hill Health Care Facility was successfully transferred from County ownership to the ownership of the Golden Hill Planning Corporation. This process finalizes a transaction that has been approved by the New York State Department of Health, the Ulster County Legislature and the Golden Hill Local Development Corporation (LDC). Ulster County Executive Mike Hein’s “compassionate alternative to closure” keeps Golden Hill open for its residents and their families and retains nursing home jobs in Ulster County while placing the property back on the tax rolls.
“I want to thank the dedicated members of the LDC and commend the Ulster County Legislature for sharing in my vision and for partnering to achieve this “Compassionate Alternative to Closure,” stated County Executive Hein. “I also want to thank the New York State Department of Health for their expeditious review with regard to this important matter, and commend the staff at Golden Hill for their steadfast commitment to the residents. While many counties have struggled with their own county nursing home in crisis issue and, some resulted in the unthinkable: closure of facilities, I am proud to say that through creative thinking and collaboration we have all collectively saved Golden Hill.”
The County Executive continued, “Our plan allowed Ulster County to avert a massive tax increase, or worse, the potential closure of this valuable facility. As difficult as the issue of county nursing homes in crisis is across New York State, I am proud that our plan has been successful and has now become a model in many other communities. In the end, this action will fulfill my deep personal commitment to accomplish what many thought was impossible: a professional transition with high quality care for the residents and families, retention of the jobs in our community, protecting property taxpayers and keeping this facility open.”
The Golden Hill Planning Corporation is owned by local business owner Dr. Anthony Bacchi as well Edward Farbenblum and Martin Farbenblum, experienced nursing home operators.
“My partners and I are committed to continuing to provide excellent quality of care at Golden Hill while increasing services to seniors throughout Ulster County,” said Dr. Bacchi. “At Golden Hill we intend to add Parkinson’s disease and cardiopulmonary programming, as well as investing $4 – 5 million over the next few years in necessary infrastructure improvement.” Dr. Bacchi continued, “We have been pleased with the professionalism of the County, the Golden Hill Local Development Corporation, as well as their attorneys, and with their commitment to the residents and employees alike.”
Ulster County Legislator and LDC Board Member Jeannette Provanzano stated, “County Executive Hein’s vision created an exciting opportunity for the City of Kingston and all of Ulster County. Residents will stay in place and families will not be disrupted. Jobs will remain in Kingston and the property will be added to the tax rolls.”
Ulster County Budget Director and Golden Hill Local Development Corporation Chief Financial Officer James J. Hanson said, “Though today is an important day, no one should make the mistake of believing that the sale of Golden Hill will solve all of Ulster County’s decades old structural financial problems brought about by unfunded State mandates. Today should be a major transformational step toward long term sustainability for the citizens of Ulster County, but it is marred by the fact that Assembly Member Kevin Cahill’s blockage of the sales tax extender and insistence on more unfunded mandates continues to jeopardize working families, essential services, public safety and all County, Town and City property taxpayers.”
“It is important to note that in 2012 the County Executive made a courageous decision that avoided bonding and the associated costs even though they were allowed under the LDC model and instead chose to reduce County spending and utilize fund balance. During the creation of the 2013 budget it was determined that the 2012 County’s General Fund Balance would be strong enough to withstand the approximate $8,000,000 reduction. It was estimated that this action would leave the projected County General Fund Balance at 3.27% of the Adopted General Fund. This decision by the County Executive saved the County taxpayers an estimated $454,000 in bonding costs.
“Due to the County Executive’s aggressive cost controls, the Actual 2012 General Fund Balance will, in fact, absorb a portion of the $8,000,000 loss. Despite this partial return to the General Fund Balance, it is necessary for the approximate $8,000,000 (see chart) from the sale of Golden Hill to be returned to the 2013 General Fund Balance in order to bring the General Fund Balance back to the fiscally responsible range.
“The anticipated net positive of $669,000 from the sale of Golden Hill over what was projected will be needed to offset additional expenses in 2013 such as the Police Benevolent Associations (PBA) Interest Arbitration Settlement exposure and increases to State mandated social services costs, as well as help in a small way to buffer taxpayers from the impact of Assembly Member Cahill’s reckless and costly actions.”
“Though the savings from this transaction, in conjunction with numerous other innovative cost savings ideas would have placed Ulster County government well on its way to sustainability, the benefit to Ulster County taxpayers has unfortunately been seriously jeopardized by the recent crisis that thwarts County, City and Town governments ability to deliver essential services to our citizens while protecting property taxpayers.”
County Executive Hein’s innovative and transformational plan, which utilized a Local Development Corporation to address the State-wide county nursing homes crisis locally, is the first of its kind in New York State. Less than two years after its launch, his plan has now become a model throughout New York State and is being replicated in numerous other counties. This plan balanced the need to provide essential services to nursing home residents and their families with the need to protect taxpayers against skyrocketing costs.