CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — When Cumberland County sold its Claremont Nursing Home many residents were devastated.
People packed public meetings, begging leaders not to take that step. In the end, it was sold, and now the county is asking residents to help decide what to do with the money.
Cumberland County says it’s sitting on $7.4 million from selling the Claremont Nursing Home. Local leaders have ideas as to where that money could go, but they want to hear from residents.
Unfortunately, they didn’t get the chance to at a meeting on Wednesday night.
Subcommittee members outnumbered commentators at Wednesday’s public forum. Less than a handful of Cumberland County residents showed up to discuss what they want to be done with the funds from the nursing home sale.
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Local leaders did most of the talking.
“The proceeds from our understanding are about $7.4 million. That’s not going to solve all sorts of major program challenges,” said Barry Denk of the drug and alcohol subcommittee.
Members from the county’s “Needs Exploratory Committee” discussed everything from mental health needs, regions, aging population, to juvenile and drug and alcohol services.
Each subcommittee explores ways to spend the remaining $7.4 million.
“Support for mental health services for children, those were some of the things we discussed that would be beneficial to get some funding for,” said Jennifer Schwalm of the juvenile needs subcommittee.
One subcommittee member says mental health funding, also discussed for adults, is needed now more than ever.
“The basic structural deficit in the program from their state funding for the current fiscal year is over $2 million,” said Gene Koontz, part of the mental health needs subcommittee.
But care for the elderly and a potential endowment fund took center stage.
“One of the potential recommendations is looking at an endowment fund to help with services for this population,” said Randy Nolen, another subcommittee member.
“We feel the funds should be invested in an endowment fund or a similar type fund to support human services for the extended period of time in the future, not just a short-term fix,” Koontz added.
Cumberland County also asked residents to take a survey on how the money should be used. Over 150 responses have already been received.
If you haven’t filled out that survey you have the next two weeks to do so.
The subcommittees will ultimately make recommendations as to where the money should go, but councilmembers will have the final say.