As it now appears that the formation of a Senior Services Department is progressing in earnest, it is my hope that the Belmont County Board of Commissioners have done all needed due diligence and that this most recent and presumably final, config uration of the entity designated as responsible for delivery of services to Belmont County’s seniors proves ultimately successful in the long run.
Over the previous two and a half years, monumental changes have been implemented by the commissioners that have greatly altered the persona of those responsible for the administration and service delivery mechanisms in support of the county’s deserving seniors.
Effective, Oct. 1, 2011, after four decades of successfully serving Belmont County Seniors, the entity known as Belmont Senior Services, Inc. (previously named Belmont County Committee’s Aging, Inc.) was eliminated with program administration and service delivery responsibilities geared to the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services, from whom recently commissioners have decided to separate with delivery of services to the areas seniors to come under the auspices of the soon-to-be created Senior Services Department, with apparent oversight to be provided by the Belmont County Commissioners along with a designated Administrator/ Coordinator.
It has also been announced that the commissioners are strongly considering that the former Belmont County Habilitation Center will be torn down and that a new structure on its site would be built that would house Senior Services Department personnel, along with kitchen facilities for meal preparation, as well as the St. Clairsville Senior Center.
I would be curious to see what the proposed costs of tearing down the former Habilitation Center along with the building of a new structure, as opposed to the renovation of the current facility may be.
Remember this is the third attempt in the last decade to relocate Senior operations from the barely adequate Oakview facility (previous attempts for relocation were at the former Mediterranean Restaurant and most recently at Martins Ferry’s former South School property), but no such permanent move has yet been implemented.
Finally, the candidate hired to fill the position of Senior Services coordinator hopefully will be the best qualified person to serve in such a challenging and critical capacity, without consideration to political expediency, and that current service providers will not be displaced as a result of this metamorphosis.
Ultimately, the well-being of Belmont County Seniors must always be the top priority of those assigned such authority, as all other related issues are of secondary importance by comparison.