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Board Delays Approval of County Owned Nursing & Rehab Centers

The Maryland Board of Public Works voted Wednesday afternoon on whether to approve the sale of a county-owned nursing home and rehab center.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Maryland Board of Public Works voted Wednesday afternoon on whether to approve the sale of a county-owned nursing home and rehab center.

Frederick County Commissioners voted to privatize the Montevue Assisted Living Center and Citizens Rehabilitation Center two months ago, but now the board has to approve whether commissioners can sell the centers.

"We got a grant from the state for about $200,000, so part of that grant is they have to approve what we're doing," said Blaine Young, (R) president of the Board of Frederick County Commissioners.

David Gray, the only Frederick County commissioner to vote against the sale, spoke to the board inside the State House in Annapolis and asked them to delay the vote.

"We've had this commitment to the aging through this facility for 180 years, and suddenly one person wants to sell it," Gray (R) said. "What's the point of it all? That's insane!"

Gray got his wish. Governor Martin O'Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp voted unanimously to delay the decision until after a lawsuit is settled.

Former Frederick County Commission President Jan Gardner came to Annapolis to voice her opposition to the sale.

"I think there's a general lack of transparency, a rush to make certain decisions, including privatization," Gardner (D) said. 

The opposition also came from former board of trustee members.

"I know that the people living at Montevue at this time are people who deserve to be there. They're elderly, they're frail, they have no money, they're sick, and they need to live in a facility like that," said Joseph Burman, a former board of trustee member.

Young says the county loses about $5 million a year on the centers.

"What you have is just a small, minute group of people who believe government is the answer and don't care about the expense to the taxpayer," Young said. 

Young says the county will close the deal on the centers in December, with or without approval from the Maryland Board of Public Works.

"This deal is a rip-off of the taxpayers in Frederick County. The deal is scheduled to go forward for $30 million, and reliable estimates but the value of the deal at $60 million," said Steve Bruns, a county resident who came to Annapolis to protest the sale.

The county agreed to sell the nursing home to Aurora Health Management for $30 million back on June 25.

The lawsuit includes a small group of county residents.
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