Settle case quickly

When public officials buy something, they ought to pay the lowest price possible. When they sell something, they should strive to get the most money they can. Most taxpayers would agree with both ideas, we feel certain. It is their money, after all.

Monroe County commissioners are facing a court test of whether they entered into an agreement to sell the county Care Center legally.

During the past few years, commissioners have plowed more than $6 million into the facility, which provides nursing and rehabilitation services. It continues to require taxpayer subsidies, however.

Earlier this summer, Commissioners Carl Davis and Tim Price agreed the time had come for the county to sever ties to the Care Center. They voted to sell it to Bryan Casey, president of Alternative Living Solutions, for $500,000. Commissioner Mick Schumacher voted against the plan.

It did not sit well with Carson McCurdy of Jerusalem, either. He believes the commission should have sought bids for the center. He has offered $600,000 for it, contingent upon being able to examine its records to get an idea of its financial viability. McCurdy is seeking a court order against the commission.

At first glance, it seems as if state law should require any local government entity to seek bids on public property that is to be sold. How else can taxpayers be assured property bought with their money will be sold for the highest price possible?

Price has said commissioners were advised by Prosecuting Attorney James Peters that they were not required to seek bids, however. Whether Peters is correct will be up to a judge.

Court proceedings can drag on for years. This one needs to be handled with all reasonable haste. No one involved — least of all local residents worried about the Care Center’s future — is served by delays.

Before agreeing to sell the center, Commissioners Davis and Price had voted to close it. It remains open, however, apparently pending resolution of the challenge by McCurdy. The longer the center continues to operate under county ownership, the more taxpayers’ money must be funneled to it — and that is another reason to settle the matter quickly.


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