Resident believes 1830 resolution commits county to nursing home

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 November 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Local history buff and nursing home supporter Al Capurso believes the county’s push to sell the nursing home is contrary to a law approved in 1830 – by county officials back then.

Capurso has presented copies of a resolution from 1830 to county legislators and the county attorney. They say they will look into the issue.

Capurso is a member of the Concerned Citizens of Orleans County, a group that has fought the Legislature on its push to privatize The Villages of Orleans, 120-bed facility of Route 31 in Albion.

Before it had a Legislature, the county had a Board of Supervisors that governed county affairs. That body in a series of resolutions in 1829 and 1830 created the precursor to the nursing home with the Alms House.

Capurso believes the county is still responsible for the care of the infirm, according to the resolutions from 183 years ago.

Capurso found references to the alms house and a resolution on June 22, 1830, where it was stated: “Resolved, That the distinction between the town and the county poor be and the same is hereby abolished, and that the expense of maintaining all the poor shall be a county charge.”

Capurso cited a book from more than a century ago, which included the resolution and background on the alms house. Isaac Signor wrote that book, Landmarks of Orleans County 1894.

County officials want to see the original documents, and that could take some digging. The resolutions from 1829 and 1830 are in storage in the mental health building.

Capurso raised the issue at last week’s Legislature meeting. Two senior citizens, Dee Smith and Adolf Genter, both voiced their support for keeping the nursing home under county ownership.

The Legislature has transferred the property to a local development corporation, and the three-man board for the LDC may vote next month to sell the site. Two qualified bidders have submitted proposals for the nurisng home.

The Legislature last week voted to keep William Gillick and Gillick Advisors as the administrator of the facility. The firm is paid $132,000 annually.

Gary Kent, a legislator candidate in the recent election, questioned why Gillick is being retained when The Villages had a 92 percent occupancy in 2012 and 93.5 percent this year. If the site was at 98 percent occupancy, an achievable industry benchmark, Kent said that would improve the financial picture by $500,000 a year.

Legislator George Bower said the occupancy level lags due to the 12-bed rehab clinic which includes many short-term residents and open beds. Bower praised Gillick for managing the staff.