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MontCo Grappling With Corbett's Cuts

County 9-1-1 dispatch earns accreditation; other notes from county commissioners meeting.

Montgomery County will have to reckon with "very, very negative" effects from the "bare bones" budget announced by Governor Tom Corbett last week, according to Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro.

Shapiro cited the Parkhouse in Upper Providence as his chief example of the Corbett budget's impact. The facility for the aging and chronically ill will lose between $800,000 and $1 million of its funding under the Corbett budget. Cutting occupancy at the facility is not a solution, Shapiro said, because doing so would cut the Parkhouse's eligibility for other sources of funding.

The county's office of Children and Youth also stands to take a big hit from the Corbett proposal and could lose $170,000 from its budget, Shapiro said.

"The governor is obviously facing very challenging fiscal times, and he has chosen a course of action," Shapiro said at the county's Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday morning.

The county government will work with the county's delegation to the state legislature to reduce the proposed budget's impact on the county's operations, Shapiro said.

"What happens in Harrisburg obviously has an impact on us," Shapiro said. "The three [commissioners] are going to be working closely with [the county's] legislative delegation...to ensure that our county is well-served by what happens in Harrisburg," Shapiro said.

County's 9-1-1 center earns accreditation

Tom Sullivan, director of the county's public safety department, announced that the county's 9-1-1 dispatch center had earned an accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

Sullivan said the department had to meet a list of 243 criteria to earn the accreditation, which is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania and one of only 61 in the United States.

"Only about one percent of the 9-1-1 centers in the country have this distinction," Shapiro noted.

"This is an extraordinary thing," said Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr. "Most people don't know the extent of the work that your department has to do unless they need it. And when they need it, it's there," Castor said.

Notes

  • During the salary board portion of the meeting, County Controller Stewart Greenleaf, Jr. noted six involuntary terminations from the county's information technology department, totaling about $392,000 in salaries. Greenleaf said the terminations "made him sad" but were necessary given the county's finances. "We're mindful of the personal toll these actions take, but also mindful of our responsibility to the county," Shapiro said.
  • The Commissioners approved emergency spending resolutions to allow for HVAC and chiller repairs at the Parkhouse and at the Montgomery County Courthouse Annex in Willow Grove. The combined cost of the repairs, intended to be completed before the onset of warm weather, is not to exceed $233,000. "I'm not generally comfortable making a lot of emergency resolutions like this, but these [situations]  unfortunately were left by the previous administration and were not necessarily taken care of," said board solicitor Ray McGarry.
  • The county Department of Housing and Community Development is applying to the state for $150,000 in grant money in order to renovate 13 properties. If approved, the properties will be outfitted to accommodate some of the more than 80 elderly and disabled people who are currently staying in county nursing facilities only because there is no affordable housing available to them.

The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners next meets on Thursday, March 1 at 10:00 a.m.

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