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Centralized Human Services Q & A

Centralized Human Services Q & A

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Published by BernieOHare
Northampton County administrators prepare Q&A responding to concerns about proposed centralized HS facility
Northampton County administrators prepare Q&A responding to concerns about proposed centralized HS facility

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Published by: BernieOHare on Feb 11, 2013
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02/11/2013

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 1
Northampton CountyConsolidated Department of Human Services (DHS) Facility(Not including Gracedale)County Council Questions and Answers
1.
 
Why A Northampton County Consolidated Human Service Facility On Emrick Blvd.?
It resolves long time issues with existing facilities, most notably the Wolf Building. If a new site is not found, the County will have no choice but to invest a minimum of $4.3M into the existing buildings over the next 3
 –
5 years.The proposed consolidated Northampton County Human Services correctsoperational inefficiencies caused by multiple locations. It will also improve thequality of service delivery and convenience to the citizens of Northampton County,by offering one-stop access for all County human services, including Veterans Affairs,and encouraging better coordination among the various offices and divisions withinthe Department of Human Services.It is ideally located in the center of the service area, with easy access to all points inNorthampton County.It will cost roughly the same amount as operating the current two buildings.It is the lowest cost option as it was chosen from competitive proposals andconfirmed by two separate independent appraisals of the lease agreement.It can be completed within a year.
2.
 
Why doesn’t Northampton County just build and own a consolidated DHS building?
 
The Project Team initially evaluated the best alternatives for creating a consolidatedDHS facility. That evaluation included an alternative where Northampton County wouldBUILD and own the building. The LEASE / PURCHASE approach was widely preferredbecause of the following:
 
 2
The cost for Northampton County to build would be approximately the same as theLease / Purchase arrangement if purchase is executed after 5
th
year.The LEASE / PURCHASE could be built in a year. The Northampton County BUILDscenario would take 2½ - 3 years to accomplish (at minimum).The BUILD scenario requires time and resources not currently available without useof outside consultants (e.g. Project Manager, Civil Engineer, Architect, MechanicalEngineer, Construction Manager, etc.). The LEASE / PURCHASE scenario can beaccomplished primarily with existing County resources.The BUILD scenario would require Northampton County to float $21.3M worth of bonds. The LEASE / PURCHASE scenario does not.The LEASE / PURCHASE scenario allows Northampton County to purchase the facilityevery 5 years, should it be of benefit to the County.Northampton County has not had a very good record of building new facilities (e.g.Courthouse Addition, etc.)
3.
 
How much more does the consolidated facility at 2801 Emrick Blvd. cost NorthamptonCounty compared to current costs and projected improvements to Bechtel & Wolf Buildings?
While you can never know for sure the exact operating costs of a proposed large facilityuntil complete, our Initial comparison of the Department of Human Services operatingbudget for facilities indicate that the new facility will not cost significantly more, orsignificantly less than currently being spent on the existing facilities for the DHS. Thatmay be about $160K-$300K or about 0.12% - 0.23% of the total $130M, 2012 DHSOperations Budget (not including Gracedale)
4.
 
Why not locate a consolidated DHS Building at Gracedale instead of 2801 EmrickBoulevard?
Gracedale is not conveniently located near the population centers of NorthamptonCounty. As demonstrated by the matrix below, it would take about 10 minutes longerto reach Gracedale vs. Emrick Boulevard site from Bethlehem, Easton & Hellertown. It
 
 3
takes 3 minutes longer to get from Bangor to Gracedale than to Emrick Boulevarddespite the fact that Gracedale is closer to Bangor.
BANGORMarket & 1st StsBETHLEHEMMain & W. BroadStsEASTON3rd &Northampton StsHELLERTOWNMain & Water Sts2801 Emrick Blvd.Bethlehem Twp.
16.5 Mi /24 Min6.4 Mi /15 Min5.3 Mi /13 Min8.9 Mi /14 Min 
2 Gracedale Ave.Nazareth
13.5 Mi /27 Min9.8 Mi /23 Min10.4 Mi /24 Min15.9 Mi /24 Min 
Wolf BuildingN. 2nd & Church Sts.,Easton
14.0 Mi / 25 Min 16.6 Mi / 25 Min 0.6 Mi / 3 Min 12.2 Mi / 20 Min
Bechtel Building520 E. Broad St.,Bethlehem
22.4 Mi / 33 Min 0.9 Mi / 4 Min 10.2 Mi / 22 Min 4.1 Mi / 10 MinSource - Google Earth
Furthermore the roads leading to Emrick Blvd. are primary roads. Those leading toGracedale are secondary roads. The time differential in access would significantlyimpact employee time, productivity, and therefore ongoing operational cost.Gracedale location would also negatively impact client convenience.
5.
 
What is the availability of Public Transportation for the new DHS facility?
Emrick Blvd.
 –
Served by TWO LANTA routes, 101 and 220.
101
actually travels on Emrick Blvd. between stop 5 (NCC) and stop 6 (St. Luke’s
Riverside). These are hourly stops from @ 7:19 AM to 11:24 PM M-F. LANTA is exploringmore frequent stops due to the popularity of this route. They will also consider a busstop in front of the DHS building - http://www.lantabus.com/route101.html 
220
also follows the William Penn Highway with a stop (9) at Emrick Blvd., but continuesdown WPH. It does not travel down Emrick. In a pinch though, a rider could get off thereand walk down to the DHS building. These stops are hourly as well.http://www.lantabus.com/route220.html In contrast

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