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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, February 05, 2016

NorCo's 2015 Gracedale Contribution Just $2.1 Million

Obviously, $2.1 million is a lot of money. So when I tell you that Northampton County only spent that much to keep its nursing home Gracedale afloat last year, that's still a lot of money. But the good news is that the County had budgeted $7.7 million. So Gracedale beat the budget forecast by $5.6 million.

Executive John Brown delivered this good news to Council last night, stating that the nursing home is "moving in the right direction. We are very optimistic we are going to repeat that." He indicated no one change and no one person is responsible for the financial improvement, although he had high praise for the workforce.

That has always been's Gracedale's secret weapon. The people who work at that nursing home really care about the residents and often will take them out shopping or bring them home for the holidays. Many of them become volunteers after retiring.

Brown also reported that the county closed the books on 2015 with a $31 million fund balance, compared to about $33 million at the end of 2014. He said this money was there after moving $10 million into a human services capital find and after setting aside a rainy day fund. He is pleased by the "very strong financial performance."

Perhaps all this good financial news made Council a bit more picky. By a 6-3 vote, they rejected a $200 "gift" for the 2016 Senior Games from Humana, a health insurance provider. In exchange for this "gift," the County would be required to provide Humana with a table at these Senior Games, and would also be required to feature this business in its program for the event.

"The weasel their way in any way they can," Ken Kraft noted after being informed that Humana is a health insurer. Only Council members Peg Ferraro, John Cusick and Mat Benol voted to accept the money.

Council was also taken to task over pre-meeting prayers, led by Council President John Cusick. I am the person who took him to task. I have no problem with seeking out clergy from different denominations to lead everyone in prayer/ Council is too lazy to do that, but wants to pretend God is on their side. So Cusick prepares some goofy prayer before each meeting as though he is Moses, minus the beard ... and the hair.

I find this offensive because it presumes and gives preference to a monotheistic religion, in violation of the Establishment clause. I also have serious problems with any elected official leading a group in prayer before a meeting because it conveys  a message that the official speaks for God. I also find the practice is divisive, and refuse to be part of it.

Yesterday, Phoenix voted to end prayer at public meetings because Followers of the Satanic Temple demanded the right to give an invocation. Now this is not really a group of Satanists. They were making a point.

One of the County's fiscal officers said they should continue the prayer, but pass out a collection plate.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

News at 11 and Bernie at midnight..... now time for bed.... How can I sleep knowing the county bozo brownstain thinks and is selling that we are in good shape.... we LOST 5.6 million of taxpayers money and we are a sinking ship and he thinks we are in good shape? Oh Lord! PS wait until some muslim wants to have the Koran read at the council meeting of prayer and then you will see the fur.

"he who sings the loudest I sunday morn and prays the loudest on Wednesday night.... go home and lock your meat house" - Teddy Roosevelt

In other words that guy who wants to be a minister on council? Watch him Bernie....h could come and still the food right out of refrigerator..I don't trust them bible salesmen

Bernie O'Hare said...

We did not lose $5.6 million. We actually did not spend $5.6 million of the $7.7 million set aside for Gracedale. You might say we lost $2.1 million. As for religion, it really has no place in government. Contrary to what people think, I am not an atheist. I just refuse to go along with a charade that happens to violate the Establishment clause. I will stand for a prayer led by a member of the clergy, but not an elected official.

Anonymous said...

Did we mention the tax increase? (joke)

Anonymous said...

Gracedale is needed. The idea that it loses money is politically inspired. By that logic the prison "loses" money. The courts "lose" money.

Since we spend money to operate systems, you could make that claim about most of the government.

Anonymous said...

3:36 you are absolutely right, gracedale didn't lose a Penney. GraceDale operating costs is down to 2.1 mil from 7 mil, should we start stating what the courts "lose" on a yearly ASIs to run them with the bloated salaries of the judges?

Anonymous said...

Kraft should know all about weasels as he represents unions.

Anonymous said...

If you didn't have this white elephant you wouldn't have lost 2 million and you would save tens of millions in payroll, medical and pensions on loser union forces. Dump the place and save the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

nearly 300,000 residents of this county and you are wasting money on 670. Got your priorities wrong.

Ken Kraft said...

7:18. Identify yourself, you call everybody in a union a weasel, what a statement from a coward!

Anonymous said...

7:18,

You know you are right. They are no weasels, just leeches on society. Didn't mean to give weasels a bad name.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ken, Cowards will be cowards.

Anonymous said...

and you and the union pukes will always have an .............................. LOL

Anonymous said...

Actually Premier is bringing Gracedale back to the surface. Brown needs to stay away and leave the funds alone. The only issue I see at present with Gracedale is the amount of people there not from Northampton County. As a county taxpayers I find that an issue.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Premier has a lot to do with it, but I agree with Brown when he says it is no single thing. I would rate D Herman as the single most positive thing to happen, followed by the workers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:47, why are the majority of taxpayers forced to spend money on VA benefits for people who served two years sitting in bars in Texas. Maybe VA benefits should only be applied to "combat zone veterans" so we can spend a great deal more on people who really need the benefits, not just loafers?

Seems like the same selfish, self-center and childish argument.