State Considers Closing Care Center

The Golden Hill Health Care Center of Kingston is in danger of closing.

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein has proposed a plan to transition the county’s nursing facility.

“The executive is in full support of this plan and believes it is the only option available that will keep Golden Hill open,” said J.J. Hanson, deputy budget director. “Currently, many counties in our state and in our region are facing the same challenges regarding the operation of a county owned nursing home but have chosen to close their facilities within a year.”

Local Development Corporations (LDC) are reportedly formed in order to lessen the burden by allowing the government to act in the public’s best interest.

According to Hanson, change is often met with resistance in government. This resistance can make it difficult to move forward with innovative solutions to difficult problems.

Hanson believes the county executive is a reformer and it is imperative that government must change if Ulster County is to thrive in an ever-changing global economy.

An option to help the facility is to privatize ownership.

Hanson said it is impossible to say with certainty, but currently the private nursing facilities in Ulster County offer equivalent or better care than what is delivered at Golden Hill.  There is only one other option that will keep Golden Hill open: to raise taxes in order to pay for growing operating deficits and much needed capital projects.

“In 2012 alone this would result in the loss of $8 million in anticipated revenue from the sale of the facility, which is partially being used to cover the $5.3 million subsidy to Golden Hill,” said Hanson.

According to Hanson, this loss would result in cuts to other programs, including Ulster County Community College and the Sheriff’s Road Patrol.

Hanson recognizes that many fellow students are leaving New York state because of the high cost of living and lack of jobs.

“The county executive believes that he has a responsibility to protect taxpayers and create an environment where jobs can be created,” said Hanson. “It is for this reason that raising property taxes to subsidize Golden Hill is simply not a viable alternative.”

According to Hanson, the residents will remain at Golden Hill whether it is county owned or privately owned and they will continue to receive high quality care.

A special committee has also been formed by Chairman of the Ulster County Legislature Frederick J. Wadnola to study the viability of transferring or selling the facility to LDC as well.

“The county executive’s plan is the only plan which keeps Golden Hill open, guarantees that this service will continue, prevents a massive tax increase and keeps these important jobs in Ulster County,” said Hanson.