Thank you everyone for coming out today. I'd like to discuss the issue of adding more police to the Allentown force. Al! the candidates in the race for city council declare they will put more police on the streets of our city, but they can't say how it will be funded. They can't say because they probably have no idea aside from raising your real estate taxes. Part of the problems in our city stem from the election of officials who do not know how to read or stay within a budget. Understanding finance is a very important, yet often ignored, qualification for holding public office. I am the candidate who understands economics and can tell you how I will add more officers to the force without raising your property taxes.
1. I will introduce legislation to bring all money collected from parking tickets issued by police and fire to the general fund after the operating funds have been deducted. Currently these dollars remain in the parking authority department.
2. I will Introduce legislation to collect 50% of ail money obtained from the sale of unclaimed vehicles by the [towing company] after the cost of towing, storage and transferring titles of these vehicles have been deducted. Currently the towing company keeps all the proceeds. I believe the city should have some of these funds.
3. I will move to transfer the solid waste fund back to the general fund, as it was prior to 1992. The cash balance of this fund will be included in the general fund, which could be several million dollars. This would not only help pay for additional police, but could also reduce the deficit.
4. As the solid waste fund would be joined to the general fund all fines collected from street sweeping violations by the parking authority, minus operating cost, will go to the general fund. Operating cost would be the salaries of enforcement officers and the cost involved in collecting fines.
5. Introduce legislation to hire a firm to study the benefits of having the Allentown police department assume responsibility for enforcing all parking violations. This has been done in the past, and currently the police department enforces parking violations on weekends and holidays. Parking enforcement officers, once transferred to the police department, could also enforce double parking, handicapped parking and littering codes along with any other duty assigned by the police chief. Additionally, during patrols, officers could spot any unlicensed business operations and make sure they are updated to the Allentown tax rolls.
6. The mayor's blue ribbon panel recommended a study to see if the parking authority was necessary. I will introduce legislation to do this study.
All candidates promise more police for the city of Allentown. The citizens want this, but it needs to be funded. I am the only candidate who has presented a plan to pay for these added officers.
Police protection is very important to all of us, and we can do it in a way that is fiscally responsible. These are not easy financial times, and any candidate asking for your votes has the responsibility of backing up his promises, especially when it concerns taxpayer dollars. I've just done that, and ask for your vote on election day.