"We debated and debated and debated on what to do with the County Home," said Commissioner Jerry Lavy. "This was not a decision that was made overnight."
The saga continues. A Muskingum County woman is still trying to save the County Home. She and her sister sat down face-to-face with the commissioners for the first time to plead their case.
"These people get the care they need at the County Home," said Teresa Bennett. "My father has been at three homes since September."
The commissioners didn’t argue the quality of care at the County Home.
"I can verify that the care is exceptional," said Commissioner Steve Strauss.
They do disagree on the right time to abandon the nursing home business.
"Even if it’s until the end of this year, it would be able to give people a longer time to do more investigation on the homes for the security of their loved ones," said Tracey Blevins.
"What are we going to do about the 60 residents that already did what we asked them to do?" said Commissioner Jim Porter. "It doesn’t seem fair to them."
The tax levy emerged as the focal point of the discussion. Supporters said the commissioners should let the levy run until it expires in 2015.
"The majority voted, and even though it was by a slim margin, it passed," said Blevins.
The commissioners have followed the Ohio Revised Code by providing over twice the required time for relocation of the residents, and the levy will not be billed to taxpayers after the end of the year.
"I think there won’t be any levy money left by the time we wrap up out there," said Porter.
Some of the concerns stem from the previous administration.
"This is going to get me in trouble, but in my opinion, they didn’t have the guts to do what we did," said Porter.
"I’m with you!" said Strauss. "If I’m sitting in your chair, I’m thinking why didn’t we do this five years ago? But the problem is we’re dealing with the reality of today."
The reality is that the home will close at the end of next month, because the commissioners have decided that investing over $3 million into a building that the county doesn’t own is irresponsible spending of taxpayer dollars.
"I know it’s just a dollar sign to you, but it’s not to me," said Bennett.
With that, the commissioners and supporters of the County Home will have to agree to disagree.