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County Holds Off on Health Dept. Vote

Council will give committee more time to present plan.

Northampton County Council will give the group arguing for a bi- two more months to make their case.

Council had been set to vote Thursday night on an ordinance that would have repealed its 2007 resolution for the establishment of the joint health department, and terminated any more discussions.

Instead, council voted to table the ordinance, after hearing from Ilene Prokop, head of the Lehigh Valley Board of Health.

"You charged us to do this three years ago," she told council. "We'd like to finish the job."

Councilman Mike Dowd said the county should at least wait until Prokop and her group complete their report before making a decision.

"It just seems to me to make sense to wait until they’re done," said Dowd, who's been council's strongest supporter of the department.

Last week, held a news conference to make their case for their cause. 

Nearly 70 percent of Lehigh Valley residents are in favor of the joint health department. 

The ordinance council had planned to adopt -- introduced by council members Ron Angle and Barbara Thierry -- says that "current budgetary constraints make the viability of a County Health Department precarious at best."

Also Thursday:

  • Council heard from Sister Virginia Longcope, who runs , a Bethlehem half-way house which received $5,000 in funding from the county last year. Longcope was late to meeting, yet asked to be heard toward the end just to express her thanks.
  • Council passed a resolution calling on virtually every public and private institution to observe a "moment of remembrance" on Sept. 11.

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