Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How Much Public $ Was Really Spent on That Rail Study?

When I was on my way to Fountain Hill last night to watch their sluggers take on Northwest Bethlehem's Little League hurlers, my cell phone rang, and the sultry female voice at the other end nearly ran me off the road.

"Is this Bernie?"

"Why yes, it is."

"Are you on your way to the ball game?"

"Why yes, I am."

That's as sexy as it got, but I'll take it. I'm practically 59, so a little bit goes a long way.

Turns out that the woman on the other end of the line was Cindy Feinberg, Lehigh County's DCED Director. She only knew where I was heading because she had read my blog. She was calling to correct me. This is my second error in two weeks on the amount of public funding that went into the regional transportation study disclosed last night. I'll try to make amends with a separate post.

When I wrote about this last Tuesday, I told you its total cost was $200,000, with half coming from LVEDC and the other half coming from Lehigh and Northampton Counties. That was wrong. $100,000 came from LVEDC. Northampton and Lehigh County kicked in another $150,000. So the actual cost was $250,000.

Yesterday, I had the correct figure, but was still wrong, and that's why Cindy called. No Lehigh County real estate tax dollars were used for that County's $75,000 share. Instead, Lehigh used administrative fees collected from helping private companies finance through its GPA.

Basically, I'm 0 for 2. I'm sorry for screwing up the facts.

Northampton County, unlike Lehigh, definitely used real estate tax dollars. It dipped into its council slush find, more politely called a contingency account, financed completely with real estate tax dollars.

LVEDC, which kicked in $100,000, is financed by private business as well as a hotel tax from both Counties.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the Administration in Northampton county do the same thing? Why not use the Northampton County GPA funds to pay for it?

Christ, are the lights on in Northampton County? Does anyone have a clue? Its reputation as one of the most backward counties in the state is well earned.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1) I'm unsure that $75,000 in admin funds from ouir GPA was laying around.

2) Ann McHale was the proponent of taking this money from the slush fund, so ask her why she wanted to use that source.

3) NC is so backward that it is one of very few counties that won't be spending a dime to make tech upgrades demanded by the FCC, which will cost Bucks somewhere around $50MM.

Anonymous said...

and Lehigh a few mil

Anonymous said...

Still a big waste of taxpayer dollars, esp. since Mitman/Reinke, Feinberg/Cunningham, and Conklin/Stoffa all knew long ago that NJT was not building a line from Highbridge to P-burg.

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Anonymous said...

1-billion dollars for 800 people. Sounds like a boondogle to me.

Anonymous said...

More like the Money Train.

A total waste of taxpayers money to satisfy the misguided fantasies of left-wing environmentalists. We didn't need a quarter million dollar study to confirm what we already knew- that rail service from the valley to NYC was totally unsustainable. Once again the joke is on the taxayers. Whether is is DCED $$ or contingency funds it all comes out of the same pockets- the suckers who pay taxes and vote for people who make the decision to waste it on this nonsense.