YAPHANK - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone insists lawmakers must either sell or shut down the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility.

Bellone claims Suffolk is losing $1 million per month by supporting the county-run nursing home. But opponents say the county is deliberately inflating that loss number by not filling beds.

A state agency that must approve the $23 million sale delayed a formal vote until April. Two county legislators and the union filed a lawsuit, and the Brookhaven Zoning Board denied the county a special permit needed to transfer the facility.

Bellone says settling the nursing home deal is crucial to balancing the county's budget.

Meanwhile, critics say there's no guarantee the new owners will take long-term patients who may not be seen as profitable.