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New Venango County Commissioner Board Passes Resolution Opposing Polk Closure
“I thought it was very important that all of us, as a new Commissioner board, reaffirm our commitment to keeping Polk Center open and urging the state and Governor Wolf to make the right decision,” Sam Breene, the new chairman of the Venango County Commissioners said. “This is far too important an issue.”
The resolution says that Polk State Center has been an integral part of Venango County since 1897 and that Venango County is fully vested in the welfare of the residents and employees of Polk State Center. It goes on to say that Venango County believes Polk State Center provides “extraordinary” care and it is in the best interest of its residents to remain open.
“The County of Venango believes it is not in the best interest of the individuals residing in Polk State Center to be uprooted from their lifelong home and placed in group homes where they may not receive the same level of care,” the resolution stated.
The resolution went on to mention that the proposed closure would affect approximately 800 employees causing economic hardship to them and a negative $134,400,00.00 impact on the region.
“Therefore be it resolved that the Venango County Board of Commissioners do hereby declare their opposition to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services proposed closure of Polk State center,” the resolution stated. “Be it further resolved that the Venango County Board of Commissioners will submit this resolution and accompanying letter of opposition to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and respectfully asked the citizens of Venango County to join them in their opposition.”
All three commissioners – Breene, Mike Dulaney and Chip Abramovic – all voted in favor of the resolution.
“I think we should also consider getting (the resolution) out to as many members of the (Pennsylvania) House (of Representatives),” Breene said.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is currently considering a bill that would put a moratorium on the closing of any state center. Representative R. Lee James, who represents Venango County, has proposed some changes to the Senate bill that was already passed. The bill is expected to be voted on as soon as Wednesday, Jan. 15. Although, because of the amending of the bill, it will need to go back to the Pennsylvania Senate for passage.
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