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Officials working to fund program for victims of juvenile crimes

Published August 10. 2012 05:01PM

Carbon County officials are working to make sure funding is in place for a program that helps people who are victims of juvenile crimes.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted on two actions involving the Rights and Services Act (RASA) and Victims of Juvenile Offenses (VOJO).

Commissioner William O'Gurek explained the first action, which was a budget modification and amendment to a subgrant for the Victims Witness Program to extend the RASA grant from this past year to the VOJO program and allow it to continue operations for at least the first six months of 2013.

O'Gurek noted that the reason for the action was because the state cut the funding for the VOJO program; and the county had extra funds from the RASA grant so they are just shifting it from one program to the other.

The second action allows the county to apply for a 2013-2014 RASA grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency in the amount of $59,882.

The VOJO program helps people who are the victims of juvenile crimes; while RASA helps people who are victims of adult crimes.

Both programs are administered by the county through the Victims Witness Program.

"This Victim Witness Program is very important because people who are victims of crimes don't understand what even happened to them, let alone the criminal proceedings that take place when someone goes into the system," O'Gurek said, adding that the county contracts with the Victims Resource Center, who provides a counselor that works with the district attorney's office and prison to help the victims.

The counselor prepares notifications for the victims on their rights in these cases and what will be happening.

Because of this, the county feels its crucial to continue these two programs, even though the state is cutting VOJO.

"They (the victims) need to know when a person who robs them and was convicted and goes to jail gets out or if they escape," O'Gurek said. "It's the information network that allows victims to know what's going on.

"We're trying to continue to provide programs that we had when the money (from the state) was there," he added. "Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling to keep these programs available."

In other matters, the following items were acted on:

• Award the contract for the sale and delivery of dairy products to the Carbon County Correctional Facility in Nesquehoning to Zimmerman's Dairy of Lehighton. Zimmerman's Dairy bid $77,687.40.

The county did not award the contract to the low bidder, Guers Dairy, because it did not conform to the bid form as per the specifications.

O'Gurek explained that Guers included the four percent discount in the bid, which made them appear lower than Zimmerman's, who also is giving the county a 4 percent discount on milk up to 299 quarts. As a result, their bid was considered incorrect.

• Approve a change order to the contract with Bracalente Construction Inc., of Northampton for street improvements in Parryville. The change order increases the contract $34,300, bringing the new Community Development Block Grant contract to $107,800. Parryville is using approximately $40,000 received in the 2010 CDBG grant round for the project.

• Receive a piece of correspondence naming the new officers of the State Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. Henry Desrosiers, the director of the county Veterans Affairs office, was appointed as the secretary of the association.

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