Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stoffa Vetoes Council's $686,000 Clawback at Bethlehem

Northampton County Executive John Stoffa gave its new County Council a message today - integrity is more important that money. He vetoed a controversial ordinance taking back $686 thousand in County bond money from Bethlehem.

Bethlehem had been given $13 million to construct Commerce Boulevard, but came in a little over $2 million under budget. Bethlehem wanted to keep all of the money as a reward, but agreed to return all but $686 thousand. The City was supposed to use that money for signage and shrubbery along Commerce Boulevard, but is waiting until other infrastructure improvements are completed.

An exasperated County Council, led by John Cusick, voted to take the money back to use for improvements at Gracedale. The usually quiet Michael Dowd pointed out that doing so would violate an agreement in which he was one of the negotiators.

Cusick's ordinance passed 5-4, but those votes will not be enough to override John Stoffa's veto. In his veto message, Stoffa noted that the "honor and integrity of Northampton County would suffer if it reneged on this obligation."

Stoffa also notes that Bethlehem has agreed to return another $300 thousand to the County.

Northampton County Council has made its point concerning Bethlehem, which has certainly lost its "most favored city" status. But County Executive Stoffa has also made clear that the County must honor its word.

Stoffa's veto message is below.

Veto Ordinance-Bethlehem Commerce Ctr. Proj. 1.27.10

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stoffa is a man of integrity. His word is his word. A deal is a deal. Good for him.

O'hare, you could learn a thing or two from Stoffa!

Anonymous said...

Politicians who keep "their" word by wasting my tax dollars are contemptible. Hat tip to the majority for rejecting the perverse incumbents' code and for trying to be fiscally responsible. Stoffa deserves zero points here. He's thrown taxpayers' money away, again.


Hate the moderation, but understand it. Don't let them win. You have the best blog going.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Moderation is enabled when I am undergoing a troll attack. I hate moderation and use it as little as possible. I'm glad you understand the need.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to whoever made it happen so far under budget! That's the real story! Who is responsible for that? Charlie Dent?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't think that's the real story. It's a 4,000' road. I don't know how you could spennd even $11 MM on that.

The real story, in my view, is that Bethlehem has lost its most favored city status, but it is important to keep your word.

Anonymous said...

If Stoffa had not given away over half the Casino money to Lehigh County and Allentown this wouldn't be such a big deal. Stoffa Minister of Propaganda Herr Ohare claims that is not true. do the research and it is very sad and true.

No integrity here just a clueless pol trying to ensure his campaign promises are kept.

Ohare will likely delete this as anything that shines a light on what he wants kept in the dark is a troll attack.

If you lick Ohare ass or Stoffa's or one of Oahres boys you can write what you want. Don't give information Ohare wants kept secret or you are a troll.

Oahre integrity the best rent money can buy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The above comment is inflammatory, vulgar and contains anonymous personal attacks. What's even worse, these late night comments are almost always full of misinformation and outright lies. That's certainly the case here. And that's why they are deleted.

Anonymous said...

Post 12:54 contains no vulgarity and is at least partially factual.

You violate your own pledge to "lets talk", when you don't like the "talk".

Come on Ohare let the people decide.

Anonymous said...

Bernie you said:
"I don't think that's the real story. It's a 4,000' road. I don't know how you could spend even $11 MM on that."

As I recall, the cost of building that road was part of the "realistic cost estimates" provided when the Reibman administration was justifying the gazillion dollar bond issue. I always felt as if those estimates were worked backward from "OK if we give you $XX million dollars, how much will you contribute to the Reibman reelection campaign?"

Anonymous said...

As the residents of Gracedale (wards of the County) live in an old and badly need of repair building, MY tax money is going to the Casino town for signs and landscaping. Imagine that! Oh.. I don't need to imagine that because it is happening. Stoffa showed his real colors here. This has nothing to do with "his word", this has everything to do about providing the best possible facility for his wards. Lets see, signs or new showers or bathing facilities for the most vulnerable?

Anonymous said...

Everyone appears so intent on using this veto as evidence to support their predisposed view of Stoffa that the legalities are ignored. The Bond and the project were approved and withstood legal attack. The language of the Bond instrument makes it obvious that the declaration of the balance of this project as being unfeasible is ridiculous.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa mentions that in his veto message.

Anonymous said...

Haha Angle you scumbag.

Anonymous said...

If my memory serves me correctly, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Slate Belt, Walnutport, etc. all comprise Northampton County, if jobs are created or business incubators in one part of the county, does that not create work situations for citizens of all the above. I think it would be interesting to see a breakdown of the numbers employed in what communities at the casino and industrial parks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's certainly true, and it's equally true that bethlehem already got $20MM out ogf the $111 MM bond. It got 2/3 of the economic development money. The money for that signage and shrubbery has been just sitting there, unused. That money is sorely needed elsewhere, and I'm glad to see council got half of it back.

Sandra Walters Weiss said...

The best blog going,I too hate the moderation but understand it necessary to stay informed and we all know that the trolls only come out at night,spewing malicious,vile garbage while hiding behind their keyboards hurling insults and opinions that they won't even put their names to.....cowards! Like I have always said the Lehigh Valley can best be described by the 3 little monkeys.Hear no evil,See no evil Speak no evil cause if ya do......hey do ya think if i wear a garlic clove around my neck??? Oh well since my political career is ruined and there are no jobs in the Lehigh Valley, I think I will open a physic reading kiosk in lobby of the Sands.Then I won't have to worry about winding up in Gracedale!

Anonymous said...

Ms Weiss not everyone collects a disability check, they work. Which incarnation is talking now. People know you are a con artist and your past. You fit well into the Ohare universe.

Bernie O'Hare said...

And you fit nicely in a straight jacket.

Anonymous said...

Thank God Bethlehem came up with a compromise. They allowed John to say it was his to help get it clear with Council. I have this on the best of inside authority.

We are lucky to have shrewd Bethlehem officials who are able to help old John figure out how to get something accomplished.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, you sure are lucky. They just spent $300,00 on a measure that Stoffa would have vetoed anyway.