October 17, 2012Mayors and SupervisorsOrange County MunicipalitiesDear Orange County Mayors and Supervisors:On Friday, September 28, I presented the proposed County budget for fiscal year 2013 to theOrange County Legislature and the people of Orange County. I know that many of you werepresent for the budget presentation; thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to joinme for what was the most difficult budget to prepare in my 11 years as County Executive.Nearly three-quarters of our total budget is consumed by state and federal mandates, leavinglittle left over to do the necessary County business for the people of Orange County.Much of the budget discussion focused on the past, present, and future of the County-runnursing home, Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation. Throughout myadministration, I have alerted County Legislators to the very real and burdensome financialchallenges presented to the County by the continued operation of Valley View.In 2003, I sent a letter to all Valley View residents and family members alerting them to thefinancial pressures we faced at the nursing home. In 2005, the County Legislature unanimouslypassed a resolution urging the Governor of New York to do something about the financial crisisfaced at Valley View. And, last year, in my budget presentation, when we were being facedwith using $19 million in County tax dollars in order to sustain Valley View, I announced thatwe would defund it by July 2012 and move toward selling the facility. Through privatization of Valley View, we would be able to maintain the care, service, and jobs here in Orange Countyfor the people of Orange County.Privatization is the way that counties throughout New York State are moving becausecontinuing to maintain public nursing homes is simply unsustainable. Costs are skyrocketing,reimbursements are declining, and the state, quite frankly, no longer wants counties in thebusiness of running nursing homes.As I’m sure you are aware, some Orange County Legislators, who do not have a realistic graspof the facts, figures, and real costs of operating Valley View, are pushing to maintain thenursing home as a county-run facility, rather than preserving the care and service, but not theoverwhelming financial burden, through privatization. These legislators are looking for otherways to support the growing financial needs of Valley View.