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Opioid Epidemic, Budget Cuts Discussed At Town Hall

Commissioner Michael Pipe speaks at the joint town hall meeting in Bellefonte.
Emily Reddy

A joint town hall meeting last night brought attention to both potential budget cuts and the opioid problem in Centre County.

The Centre County Board of Commissioners and the Bellefonte Borough Council met in Bellefonte to discuss recent work they are doing to improve the county.

The proposed Pennsylvania house budget would zero out both adult and juvenile probation and reduce funding for mental health services and homelessness programs.

Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe is hoping to end up with flat funding, but worries it will be late.

“The deadline is June 30,” Pipe said. “And if we would not see a budget that crosses the finish line by then, we would have to have conversations about cutting services, delaying services, and making those tough decisions.”

Commissioner Steven Dershem gave an update on the county’s opioid epidemic.

“Centre County is on track to have over 20 overdose deaths this year,” Dershem said. “So this is a real problem.”

As part of the Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education, or HOPE, initiative, Bellefonte is the first town in Centre County to provide a drug drop-off box for citizens to properly dispose of narcotics.

Dershem said most of the police departments in Centre County are either carrying Narcan to treat overdoses or considering it.

Other topics discussed included historic preservation and building a rain garden in Bellefonte.

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