I'm beginning to think Lamont McClure is a fiscal conservative. At the end of last night's Northampton County Council meeting, Ron Angle had two suggestions on how to save money. He recommended dumping Gracedale, the county nursing home, and privatizing the county jail. McClure, while he disagreed with those two suggestions had a few of his own.
"The bi-county health bureau, let's not pretend we can afford that. The new treatment center, out in Bethlehem Township, that will be between 3 and 5 million dollars a year. Let's not pretend we can afford that going forward. I understand there is talk of creating a new organization within county government called a child advocacy center. I don't know that we'll be able to afford that. Let's focus on our core functions of government as opposed to continually expanding what our obligations are when we have no opportunity to fund them."
This, of course, was music to Ron Angle's ears, who revealed that two Lehigh County Commissioners have privately assured him . "I would like to add something to that. I detest gutless people, so I like Mr. McClure. He and I have been clear from square one about the health bureau. We didn't buy into it, we've been honest about it and said no, and took the beating from the public cuz' ya' said no. That's where we're at.
"I've gotta' tell you, I have talked to no less than two Lehigh County Commissioners, for obvious reasons I can't mention names, who both said to me they're not going to support this in the end, either. And I said to them, 'Why did you push this thing ahead?' They said because we don't want to make the public mad. So we are not prepared to pay millions of dollars for a health department in Lehigh County at this point in time because we're broke.
"This is what I mean about gutless people. You people who went along with this bi-county health agency - this la la land, pipe dream craziness - you didn't want to hurt the people in the audience.
"Stop to think a minute. I have set here and made it clear from square one. This will never pass and it won't. And you people setting here won't ever admit it, but you knew it would never pass either, but you went along to git along. The problem with all that is, is that you've got a group of people now meeting on that health board, who I think finally woke up by the way, because they talked to a few people now who have said honestly - behind the scenes they told 'em - it isn't going to fly.
"I will give anyone here who wants to bet me money five to one odds - I'll cover whatever you wanna' bet - there never will be a bi-county health agency.
"Now what have you people done? You've led some people to believe there was, you put a board together, ... and in the end you're going to shoot it down for the reasons Mr. McClure just said. We can't afford to do this."
I've posted a video of Angle's remarks above.