Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

LEHIGH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS-Operational analysis on Cedarbrook provided

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by DOUGLAS GRAVES Special to The Press in Local News

Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller delivered the much anticipated operational analysis for the Cedarbrook Nursing Home to the Lehigh County Committee on Cedarbrook Aug. 9. The analysis, done by Good Shepherd, presents options and their costs so the commissioners can better judge how to spend money on the two-campus facility.

Later, Commissioner Brad Osborne said in an interview his General Services Committee wants to work with the Cedarbrook committee headed by Dan Hartzell to “not only decide what options to choose, but develop a timetable for all of the steps that need to be done.”

He said he wants to “actually follow the money to get the project underway and give people the certainty that we are following through with a decision once we make it.”

In a previous meeting, Osborne had expressed concern the report had not been received by the commissioners earlier.

The national opioid crisis is hitting Lehigh County residents in their collective pocketbook.

Lehigh County Commissioners listened to the first reading of a bill to give the coroner $25,000 to transport cadavers and another $150,000 for “post mortem expenses” according to the draft ordinance presented at Wednesday’s meeting.

“Unforeseen caseload increases” within the office of the coroner caused the corner to seek additional funding to cover the remainder of 2017’s anticipated expenses.

Commissioner Dr. Percy Dougherty said the extra $175,000 had come from other county accounts.

Commissioner Amanda Holt sponsored an amendment keeping the money from coming from the Stabilization Fund which is earmarked for emergencies. According to Dougherty, Coroner Scott Grim had “forewarned” the commissioners last year to expect a request for additional funding.

Dougherty told commissioners the additional cost was related to the state’s opioid crisis and the increased death rate caused by excessive prescription drugs.

In other business, commissioners heard the first reading of a proposal to pass a $100,000 grant on to Lehigh Career & Technical Institute to help LCTI train workers for skilled positions by offering scholarships for Lehigh County residents to pursue careers in manufacturing, logistics and transportation.

Commissioners approved the distribution of Community Development Block Grants to several communities and nonprofits: The Literacy Center – $15,000 for GED and English as a Second Language instruction for 40 adults; Meals on Wheels – $20,000 to subsidize meals for elderly and disabled; New Bethany Ministries – for renovations to Columbia House; Lehigh Career & Technical Institute – $19,500 for scholarships for low income residents; Catholic Charities – $29,700 for rent and utility assistance and Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living – $15,500 for housing location assistance to avoid being homeless.

Slatington, Macungie, Fountain Hill, Emmaus, Coplay and Catasauqua will also get block grants allocations for various projects.