Pioneer Manor won't have a new owner, but Sudbury city council says the way the nursing home is run has to change.

City councillors voted Wednesday night to form a committee to look for ways to bring down the costs at the 430-bed long term care home.

Councillor Dave Kilgour singled out rising staff costs at Pioneer Manor, and noted that, this year, workers have been paid more than $1 million for overtime hours and each has taken an average of 30 sick days.

"The operation of Pioneer Manor this year is costing every taxpayer in the city of Sudbury somewhere between $50 and $100 on their taxbill," he said.

City council voted to form a committee to look for ways to cut those costs.

'Can't control when we're sick'

The president of the union representing most of the workers at Pioneer Manor, Julie Bisaillon, said she hopes "there'll be a decrease in absenteeism."

"But, you know what, we can't control when we're sick or not sick," she said.

Bisaillon said she's happy council is looking for ways to run the manor like a private nursing home, instead of selling it to a private operator.

The recent suggestion that the city get rid of Pioneer Manor had Sudburians calling their councillors. It saw protesters picket outside Wednesday night's council meeting — and anxious nursing home residents needed to be reassured.

"Tonight is the night to start a journey towards making the right decisions," Kilgour said. "To ensure we are doing the right things for our seniors, our employees and our taxpayers."

Councillors quickly committed to keeping the manor, but made it clear they're unhappy with how the 430-bed home is being run.

The committee struck to deal with these issues involving Pioneer Manor is expected to report back to Sudbury city council by the end of May.