After years of debate, it looks like Suffolk County is finally going to get the John .J Foley Skilled Nursing Center in Yaphank off its books after the County Legislature on Thursday approved the $23 million sale to a private nursing home operator.
Legislators voted 10-7 to sell Foley, the county's only government-run nursing home.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has said the sale to Sam and Israel Sherman will trim the county's $250 million deficit by more than $30 million when factoring in the nursing home's $10 million annual loss with the sale price. The Sherman's run 13 nursing homes in the state.
Though the Legislature this week passed the proposal, the idea was not an easy sell. Several legislators have voiced concerns that the Shermans could be selective with patients and choose to turn away those who need extensive care.
Others thought the county should have allowed more time to explore possible public-private partnerships with either North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Stony Brook University Medical Center or the Easter Seals to help manage the nursing home.
Bellone, however, warned lawmakers that failing to approve the sale could have led to the nursing home being shut down and workers laid off in the county's pending budget, Newsday reported.
Two Poles, Too Many
The Suffolk County Legislature this week also approved legislation that would make it easier to clean up utility poles along county roads.
The law, sponsored by Montauk Legis. Jay Schneiderman, takes aim at "double poles," a situation that occurs when utilities install new telephone or electricity poles next to older ones, and fail to remove the old ones.
Schneiderman said there are 12,000 of these double poles in the county.
“Everywhere I travel throughout the county the roads are lined with double utility poles. Utilities have abandoned these poles because there has been no financial consequence for leaving them in place. Now it will be in their business interests to quickly remove these poles and relieve our communities of this visual blight,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
The new law, which the lawmaker hope towns will also take up, can lodge penalties to utilities adding up to $1,000 per pole per month.