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County Commissioners Receive letter from State Board of Public Works

WHAG’s Shayna Halper tells us why some people in the county are furious about the change and why others say it is for the benefit of the taxpayer.
FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - Some Frederick County citizens are hoping the Board of County Commissioners transfer of operations of Montevue Assisted Living to Aurora Health management will be found illegal.

The Maryland Board of Public Works wrote in a letter back on June 10th, the county’s decision to finalize the first part of Montevue and Citizens Care facilities “constitutes a disposition of the grant-funded property” because a $200,000 state grant was used to build Citizens and Montevue.

“This particular letter is critical because it reminds the BoCC at the time they took the grant there were agreements that were part of that,” said Dr. Sonja Sperlich of Save Citizens/Montevue Effort.

The State is now requesting a response from the county; in the letter they say, the county didn’t follow the proper procedure for approval of the sale.

Board President, Blaine Young, says the nursing homes sale is for the benefit of the taxpayer, that the facilities cost nearly $4 million a year, and have cost county residents nearly $50 million since 2000.

“Everything is 100% by the books the state can ask for their $200,000 back, which we'll gladly give to them,” said Board of County Commissioner President Blaine Young.

Young says before the construction of the facility, $38 million was spent to build it, and the previous board did not conduct a financial analysis to see if it would work.

Young says, under the sale the county is still providing millions of dollars to ensure patient care. However, others in the county disagree and are leading the Save Citizens/Montevue Effort.

“I think continuing Montevue and taking care of 60 people who are elderly and sick have know where else to live is right,” said Dr. Joseph Berman of the Save Citizens/Montevue Effort.

Eleven citizens took to the county court to stop the sale; they say the case will be heard in January 2015 and that these actions “place undue risk on the county into the future.”

Members of the Save Citizens/Montevue effort believe the contracting process used in making the Aurora contracts does not meet public disclosure and voting laws.

“This land is for the benefit for the poor, for forever and trying to sell it anyway to a for-profit entity is just wrong and it may be illegal, that’s what we’re hoping we can demonstrate,” said Dr. Sperlich.

Aurora Health Management took over operation of the facilities back in May; Aurora’s president Stanley Snow says the county carefully eyed the process with the county attorney and an outside council. He says he believes all the laws and regulations were followed appropriately.

Aurora Health Management says they want the public to know that no one receiving care at the facilities will be turned away and that proper treatment and health care for their patients are their top priority.  
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