Bellefonte

Bellefonte Borough Council, Centre County commissioners host joint town hall

Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe gives an update on the renovations to the Temple Court and the Courthouse during the Centre County Government and Borough of Bellefonte Town Hall meeting on Thursday in the Courthouse Annex.
Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe gives an update on the renovations to the Temple Court and the Courthouse during the Centre County Government and Borough of Bellefonte Town Hall meeting on Thursday in the Courthouse Annex. adrey@centredaily.com

Borough Council and the Centre County commissioners held a joint town hall Thursday at the Courthouse Annex.

The purpose was to update the public on various topics, including economic development and historic preservation.

State budget impact

Commissioner Michael Pipe discussed the proposed state budget, House Bill 218, and how cuts could affect the county.

If the proposed budget goes through, Pipe said the county would see a $782,460 reduction in state funding.

Adult and juvenile probation services, intermediate punishment and emergency management performance grant program are among services that could be zeroed out in the state budget, Pipe said.

That would represent a loss of $125,000 in adult probation services; $114,046 in juvenile probation services; $142,029 in intermediate punishment; and $116,833 in emergency management, he said.

One area that could see its budget partially slashed, Pipe said, is homeless assistance.

He said the county could lose $53,000, which translates to helping about 100 individuals.

Bellefonte to Milesburg Trail

Greenways and bike paths have been talked about in the county for a number of years, said Bellefonte Mayor Tom Wilson.

But outside of the Centre Region, there’s a void of them, he said.

The contract for the Bellefonte to Milesburg Trail feasibility study was awarded in May.

It was awarded a state Department of Community and Economic Development grant of about $70,000 and got about $15,000 of local funding.

There’s a 2.5-mile area for the feasibility study, which is scheduled to be completed in early 2018.

Under ideal conditions, groundbreaking for the project will happen in 2020, Commissioner Mark Higgins said.

HOPE Initiative

Bellefonte and Centre County have not been able to avoid the “scourge” of the heroin and opioid epidemic, Commissioner Steve Dershem said.

The county is on track to have more than 20 overdose deaths this year, he said.

“Know that it’s not just an addict problem,” Dershem said.

The Centre County Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education Initiative is working to combat the epidemic, with partners in governmental and community organizations.

HOPE is doing “amazing” work, Dershem said.

There’s no part of the county that doesn’t feel the effects of the epidemic, he said.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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