A Herald-Standard May 28 article discussed the New Season medication assisted treatment center which opened in 2017. The article indicated that while New Season was recently approved for Medicaid for 55 plus patients New Season continues the fight to become “In-Network” which would allow Medicaid for other patients. Polaris in Perry Township is Fayette County’s only approved In-Network facility. Polaris does not provide counseling but distributes medication. We as Commissioners can change this and why wouldn’t we if we really care about the “Opioid Crisis." Instead, my fellow two commissioners’ decision is to transport patients on FACT buses to a Greene County facility costing more than $326,000 through 2018. Both of their filed campaign reports show accepting contributions from representatives of the Greene County facility with Lohr as high as $5,000.
Pennsylvania County Tax Claim offices, under the supervision of commissioners, have a statutory obligation to distribute monies collected from property tax sales. Distributions for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 have not been made. More than $5.2 million for 2011-2018 property tax sales was deposited. Recipients of these monies will include school districts, municipalities and others. Presently, there is insufficient funds in the account to make full distributions. A 2018 audit reported that the county needs to reimburse the sales fund for seven years of expenses for 2011 through 2017, which is close to $2 million. Commissioner Vicites and I were in office in 2011 and Dave Lohr joined the commissioners’ office in 2016. So the last four years with Vicites, Lohr and me in office still the 2011 distributions have not been made. Fayette County has used the same external auditing firm and financial consultant for audits, budget preps, etc., for this entire time except for 2015. So in order to live up to the statutory obligations and distribute these years to schools, municipalities, lien-holders, etc., how would the County come up with the money? Either cut expenses drastically or increase taxes. All of this is documented, as well as, my attempts for resolution. Also, I reached out in early 2019 to external sources for their intervention. By the way, yes the financial consultant firm mentioned is the same firm that, through my fellow two commissioners, from 2016 through April 2019, received close to $1 million compared to the prior four-year commissioners paying the same firm about $178,000.
You will hear excuses, reasons, pointing of fingers and even downplaying all of this. There may even be negative letters written about me in the future. I have lived through negative letters, false statements internal grievances, etc. I know the truth and have the documentation on these two issues and more. You can choose to accept their excuses. It is your choice.
Angela Zimmerlink is a Fayette County Commissioner.