Carbon steps up to help drug, alcohol commission
Carbon County wants to help a state-funded agency stay afloat.
During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board unanimously approved a motion that enters the county into a loan agreement with the Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug and Alcohol Commission to help keep the commission operational during the current state budget crisis. The loan agreement is for $100,000 plus legal fees with a 6 percent interest rate.
Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said the reason for the county's actions to provide the loan is to help the commission during this difficult time.
"The Drug and Alcohol Commission is hoping the state budget gets passed this weekend and they can repay the loan sooner," he said, noting that under the agreement, the commission would make loan repayments in November, January and March.
"I believe this is an opportunity to help people when they're back on their heels," O'Gurek said.
He added that it has been announced that layoffs at the commission are taking place.
Attempts to contact representatives from the Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug and Alcohol Commission regarding this matter were unsuccessful as of press time.
Commissioners Charles Getz and Wayne Nothstein both raised a concern during the discussion regarding the loan.
It was noted that Carbon is the first county to offer to help the commission by providing it with a loan. Pike County said it would not give the commission a loan, and Monroe has not yet responded.
Getz and Nothstein wanted to know why Carbon is the only county which has stepped up to help the agency, when it serves all three counties, but no definitive answers were provided.
Nothstein also said he is upset by the fact that the state doesn't seem to care that it is putting state-funded agencies, like the Drug and Alcohol Commission and the counties, in this financial squeeze.
The Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug and Alcohol Commission has served the area for more than two decades. It provides a variety of drug and alcohol treatment programs and rehabilitation services to individuals who have an addiction to drugs or alcohol; as well as prevention/intervention services for the community. Offices are located in Lehighton, Stroudsburg, Milton, and Honesdale.
This isn't the first outside agency Carbon County has helped.
Since the new fiscal year began on July 1, the county has loaned some of its agencies over $1 million to help keep the programs funded and serving hundreds of children, families and elderly individuals.
This includes over $120,000 a month to the Child Care Information Service program, which offers low income families child care service opportunities and programs, to provide financial assistance for child care and more.
In other matters, the county received correspondence from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation regarding plans for the replacement of Harrity Road Bridge, over Pohopoco Creek in Franklin Township.
The letter states PennDOT Engineering District 5-0 is moving forward with its plan to replace the bridge.
The structural replacement plans will be on display Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the Franklin Township building, 889 Fairyland Road, Lehighton, during the board of supervisors' meeting at 7:30 p.m. During that time, PennDOT and its design consultant, Wilbur Smith Associates, will present the project ideas and the impacts to the surrounding area. The public is invited to attend to provide comment on the plans.