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Two Niagara County legislators called Tuesday for pulling the plug on the county's current efforts to sell its nursing home, Mount View Health Facility.

Legislator William M. Davignon, D-North Tonawanda, asked for a new round of bidding from prospective buyers; Legislator Renae Kimble, D-Niagara Falls, said the county ought to drop the idea of selling the nursing home.

Legislators wondered about the validity of the only bid the county received last month after County Manager Gregory D. Lewis said Senior Associates of Williamsville had not provided the county with all the information it wanted.

Senior Associates bid $2 million for the 172-bed, five-story nursing home, but it did not specifically say that it intended to operate the facility.

The county's request for proposals instructed bidders that the county would be most receptive to buyers who want to operate the nursing home with openness to keeping the current staff and the current patients, the majority of whom receive Medicaid.

Lewis said that he wants to know what Senior Associates' plans are but that the firm did not submit much besides a price. "They put a very simple, simplistic proposal in," Lewis said.

"I have questions when a company can't follow simple instructions," Davignon said. He called for a new round of bids.

"I just think it's good business practice, . . . especially when we got just one bid for $2 million. I thought we could have gotten more than that," Davignon said.

Kimble said the county should just keep Mount View.

"I'm not for wasting any more time with this," she said. "We're going to have to find a way to bite the bullet and provide the cost."

But Lewis said he will continue with the previous plan to interview the only company that bid on the facility and make a recommendation to the Legislature's Community Services Committee on Dec. 14.

Lewis said he could recommend further negotiation or a new round of bidding. If there were a rebid, Lewis said, he would try to advertise it nationally. The last bid process was advertised primarily in New York.

However, Mount View Administrator Patricia Weeks O'Connor said state law prohibits ownership of nursing homes by publicly traded corporations, which rules out the major national chains.


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