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LAWRENCE COUNTY Modifying homes for the disabled



Published: Wed, February 13, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



County commissioners decided against taking the county controller to court.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County's physically disabled are getting some much-needed help.

The Lawrence County Social Services Agency and the county commissioners are launching a new program that will help pay for housing modifications so disabled people can live in their own homes.

Commissioner Brian Burick said the program is expected to help about 40 to 50 people when it officially begins in April. They hope to make it an annual program, he said.

Funding: County commissioners approved applying for a $250,000 grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to support the project.

Burick said state officials have assured him that the county will receive the money.

Once the program starts, it will provide grants of up to $8,000 to people who are permanently disabled to pay for ramps and other things to help make their homes accessible.

Low-income people will receive assistance first, then others, he said.

Burick said there is little money available in current county programs to help modify homes for the physically disabled.

Other grants from private foundations will be used to help modify homes of people who have temporary physical disabilities, he said.

Controller: In other business, county commissioners have decided against taking county Controller Mary Ann Reiter to court.

Commissioner Roger DeCarbo asked the county solicitor last month to seek a court order to force Reiter to pay about $30,000 in bills to an accounting firm working for the county mental health/mental retardation department.

DeCarbo said Tuesday that the matter has been resolved to his satisfaction and he will not pursue it.

"There is no dispute at this moment as to what was held back and why. What was held back was reasonable," DeCarbo said.

Reiter said some of the bills dating back to last August went unpaid because there wasn't enough money in the MH/MR budget when they were first submitted, and they were later sent back with incorrect account numbers.

Reiter said she met with officials from the accounting firm this week to resolve the matter, and that the bills will be paid as soon as some corrected paperwork is returned to her office.




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