EASTON, Pa. -

Northampton County is close to finding help for almost all of the 800 people with physical and intellectual disabilities who will soon no longer be served by the county's Human Services Department..

Administration officials delivered the heartening news to county council's Human Services committee late Thursday afternoon.

Ross Marcus, county director of human services, said finding help for 160 frail elderly customers covered by the so-called aging waiver program is the most difficult challenge.

He said he has found three organizations who might be able to take over from the county, but all of them need the approval of the state Office of Long-Term Aging. He said he is working with the organizations to help them get that approval.

The people served by this program are eligible for nursing home care, but are treated more inexpensively in their own homes instead.

Marcus said almost all of the 476 people with intellectual disabilities have been transferred to other programs, and the rest should be by next week.

The 60 or so people served by the attendant care program have all been placed in other programs, he added.

The program cuts were brought on by Gov. Tom Corbett's latest budget.

The cuts have meant the elimination of 24 positions, but because of retirements and vacant caseworker and management slots in other areas, no jobs have been lost, Marcus said.

At the county council meeting that followed, Arnie Matos was appointed director of corrections. He had been acting director since July 6, when Robert Meyers' retirement became official. Matos will earn $79,047 a year.

A three-year, $216,000 contract was awarded to Brown Daub Kia, Jeff's Automotive, Route 12 Wash and Gas and T/A Tammy Shine Car Washes for vehicle maintenance and related services.

Council also was presented with a mock check for almost $2.9 million by the Northampton County chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees.

Linda Stubits, representing the group, said the check amount represented the monetary value of the 135,000 hours of volunteer service performed by the county's almost 600 association members.