Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lehigh County's Dean Browning Visits Northampton County

Dean Browning, Chairman of Lehigh County's Board of Commissioners, dropped in on Northampton County Council last week.

Q) It's very unusual for a sitting Commissioner to visit another County in action. Before visiting Northampton, did you take any precautions, like writing your will or wearing body armor?

A) No, but I did let my wife know where I was going to be and I let my fellow Commissioners know what I was doing today. If I'm not heard from by tomorrow morning, they know what to do.

Q) You already lead a very busy life as CFO at New World Aviation. What made you interested in local government?

A) I've lived in Lehigh County over 30 years. I love Lehigh County. It's a great place to live. I wanted to contribute what little I could and take the skills that I have and make sure that Lehigh County continues to be a great place to live and work.

Q) You caught some heat from fellow Republicans when you backed Democrat Dan McCarthy as Vice Chair for Lehigh County's Board of Commissioners and have even complimented Executive Don Cunningham for his approach to rebuilding bridges. Are you building bridges of your own?

A) If you take a look at President Obama, one of the things that contributed to his election is his appeal to voters looking for civility, cooperation and results. We are in such difficult times that we need to have a degree of cooperation. No one person, no one party, has all the answers. It's going to take some cooperation among the different parties and those folks who are elected.

Q) Speaking of cooperation and difficult times, is there any way Lehigh County can avoid a tax hike next year?

A) It is going to be difficult, but I know County Exec Cunningham is already working on the budget, looking at areas were we can do things better, do things for less money, where we can make cuts and still deliver the services. We are going to do our best to deliver a budget that keeps the tax rate the same. I'm not sure that can be done, but we're going to do our best.

Q) Northampton County has refused to team up with Lehigh for both a regional crime center and a new work release facility. It appears to be very likely their Council will also reject the proposed Lehigh Valley Health Department. Is there any area where both counties can work together?

A) I think there are areas. That's one of the reasons I'm over here tonight. We've built government structures where the cost is outpacing the revenue. We've got one of three options to solve that. One, we could raise taxes. Two, we can cut the structure, cut services, cut benefits. Or we can take a third approach, and that is look at areas where we can cooperate as governments that are the same in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, Carbon and Monroe County. We can combine forces, do things more effectively and more efficiently, and save money. I prefer the third option, working together and becoming more efficient.

Q) Is there anything else you'd like readers to know about the direction of Lehigh County?

A) I think the direction of Lehigh County is great. I'm very pleased with what we are doing.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't know I liked the guy so much. Thanks for posting the interview. He's right about cooperation. It's a way to save money without cutting services. Good for him for crossing the county line. Northampton County Council needs a good example in the cooperation department.

Anonymous said...

He got to see Angle being an ignorant bully. Angle made Browning glad he is in Lehigh County.

Anonymous said...

That loud sucking sound is more tax dollars being vacuumed from Lehigh County's taxpayers next year. Thanks Dean and Don.

So close, Scott. So close.

If Scott Ott were to announce another attempt at Don's seat, the barely re-elected Cunningham would be an immediate lame duck.

Anonymous said...

WOW, This is great stuff. If only you could get this depth of conversation and insight from newsprint. Glad to hear we have people looking for solutions. This was a refreshing read.