Although I was at a basketball game and hence unable to attend yesterday's budget hearing, I watched the video. Executive Lamont McClure informed NorCo Council the proposed forensic center may very well be located at the 911 Center at the Gracedale campus. Council member Peg Ferraro said she'd rather see it at St. Luke's Anderson campus, but McClure said the county would not own the land. "I think you're probably going to have the finest forensic center in the state," he predicted.
McClure also said public works will be quite busy next year with the P3 bridge project, construction of a forensic center, purchase of the human services building and renovating county parks. He also said there is a need for inmates with mental health issues to be able to move around, and is considering the construction of space that permits that to happen.
During a discussion of bridges, McClure complained the county spends the same money as Lehigh to fund regional organizations like The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, but only gets 1/3 of the federal dollars. He said part of the reason for that is the county failed to be the "squeaky wheel." He noted that needs to change.
Public Works Director Mike Emili told Council member John Cusick that the county is resuming a vector control program. Penn State Extension was doing it, but has decided to stop.
He told Council member Matt Dietz that major renovations are planned at Wy-Hit-Tuk Park, located at the southern boundary of the county in Williams Tp. It is a park that has been neglected for many years and underutilized, according to Emili. "I'd be surprised if 10% of the county residents know about Wy_Hit-Tuk Park," remarked Council VP Ron Heckman.
Maintenance barns at Louise Moore Park will be replaced long term, but not next year.
Over $334,000 has been budgeted for the demolition of the Milides building next year, along with the establishment of crosswalks.
In 2019, the county will repave the parking lot for the 911 building.
At the Courthouse complex, roof repairs are planned over judges' chambers. "We have a lot of problems with leaking," said Emili. He added exterior repairs are planned on stone walls at the courthouse. Public works will also repair steps in front of juvenile and probation building and repair a concrete handicapped ramp at the criminal administration building.
For the jail tier renovations, $200,000 is set aside. Cusick wondered whether this fund is adequate, and Emili said it's adequate for the engineering.
At Gracedale, a bathroom project is planned in 2019. Broken tiles pose a slipping threat. Four floors with 15 rooms each are slotted for repairs this year. In addition, the nurse call system improvements will continue.