Friday, January 21, 2011

Open Space Goes to the Dogs

When you think of open space, do you think of dog parks? Well, Northampton County Council does, and Lamont McClure wanted to be sure that everyone knows he's all about supporting dogs. Last night, they unanimously approved the following open space projects with money that was set aside in 2010:

Upper Nazareth Tuskes Community Park - landscaping, basketball courts, pathways, lighting, timber guiderails - $106,713.

Lower Nazareth Newburg Community Park - athletic fields for football, soccer and T-ball - $123,974.

Roseto Borough Park - fencing, security cameras, upgrades to basketball court, playground and kitchen - $49,253.

Wind Gap Borough Park - upgrades to basketball and tennis courts as well as making them handicapped accessible - $73,269.

Williams Township - upgrading playgrounds, adding bleachers and picnic tables at two parks - $107,625.

Allen Township Savage Road Trail - trail spur and two dog parks - $69,498.

Nazareth Pool - a new filter because the old one was clogged up with my manhair - $139,806.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sell seniors and build bleachers and dog parks. This is one amazing crew.

Are they allowed to handle sharp objects?

Anonymous said...

Who did you threaten Bernie for the pool filter

Anonymous said...

why are most of these from north of 22?

gracedale goon said...

Angle is running for reelection, 386,304 Dollars for pork, great way to hold cost down. I would like to thank Angle for the tax decrease from 20%, we are down to 18%, do I hear 10%, maybe 5%.

NOT SO CASUAL OBSERVER said...

FOR THE PAST TEN MONTHS i HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET A MERE $10,000 FOR THE REPAIR OF A BRIDGE THAT IS THE ONLY ACCESS TO HOMES ON A DEAD END IN MY BOROUGH. I AM , WITHOUT FAIL, TOLD THAT MONEY IS UMAVAILABLE.

THANKS COUNTY COUNCIL, RECREATION FOR ALL, VITAL SERVICES FOR SMALL BOROUGHS, LET THEM SUFFER AND LIVE IN DANGER.

WE APPLY FOR GRANTS, BUT THIS IS NOT RECREATION FOR ONE AND NOT INFRASTRUCTURE (WHAT!?) FOR ANOTHER.

WHAT A JOKE! THERE ARE NO PRIORITIES.

Anonymous said...

Allen Township Savage Road Trail - trail spur and two dog parks - $69,498.

How can one community build two dog parks yet Allentown needs nearly $1M
for theirs? Maybe an Allentown official will respond?

Anonymous said...

TO: NOT SO CASUAL OBSERVER

Your plight is not funny but right now dog parks are "in." Sorta like those yellow triangular "Baby on Board" signs that made millions for someone.

Anonymous said...

I thought all CAPITAL letters was rude.

Anonymous said...

Not so casual observer, Wait till your rep. on councel is running for, election you can get the bridge fixed,, or invite your rep to dinner when he comes tell him the bridge to your house is not safe to cross,be careful because it is the only way out.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is open space money. Voters approved it via referendum and there was a .5 mill tax increase to pay for it. It consists of farmland preservation, acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands and municipal parks. Most of us don't think about that third feature as being part of open space, but it is.

Each of the municipalities are putting in the same amount they are getting from the County, and in some cases, other grants are in play.

I believe an emphasis was placed on outlying municipalities bc the were largely ignored in the $111 MM bond. Most of the open space money there went to Bethlehem.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of open space. Too much favritism and tax funded welfare for rich people. I know alot of the push to save valuable farmland from big, bad developers, but I don't see it. Open space where I live is all about saving land that the public can't access and to me that is not what public tax money should be used for. There is also favoritism in the area of the township where open space funding is applied. It all is the rural part of the township. So to me that is the exact opposite of what a sustainable communtiy should be. Open space should be spread out equally in all areas of a township to benefit all tax payers, not just select land owners and public access should be allowed to all land purchased with open space funding. Ultimately open space funding is about decreasing the tax burden on those who own large pieces of property who generally already are well to do, or they wouldn't have the a large amount of property in the first place, while increasing the tax burden on those who have smaller amounts of property and have and end up with a larger tax burden who many times can not afford it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Very well-stated. This was one of the reasons I opposed the referendum several ears ago. But 60% of NC voters disagree with you and me.

Anonymous said...

Me too Bernie and that is yet another reason I am considered a black sheep in the area I from. But ironcially, one nature loving council member(who ironcially lives in the area where all this open space is bieng funded) attacked me for my position, but yet I am one of the most eniviromentally friendly people I know, even more so than some of the current members of the the township EAC on which I applied for a position, but no doubt was turned down due to my position on open space.

Anonymous said...

A referendum for open space on the ballot is okey ,it raised taxes violation of home rule charter? For gracedale you can not do it. If it is goood for one it is good for all.

Bernie O'Hare said...

First, not every post is about Gracedale, and you are OT. Second, and Ive explained this before, the referendum concerning open space is governed by the Local Government Unt Debt Act (LAGUDA), not the Home Rule Charter. The state legislature authorizes referenda on certain topics, including open space. It does not authorize referenda on the sale of nursing homes. Neter does the HRC.

Anonymous said...

The Home Rule Charter isn't worth the paper its written on. It's been shown to be an inferior and illegal document in many cases.

This is pork barrel time for the tea party councilmen. We shouldn't be helping those poor old sick seniors how would you like a doggie stand, remember me at election time.

Same song, different singers.

Old Ron Angle has railed against this stuff but is first in line for the pork and right in the middle of the photo ops.

There is no such thing as a "dedicated" real Estate tax. Stoffa passed a 5% tax increase and said he would use the money for open space but his feelings are not binding on the next Executive.

The Hypocrite Express

c said...

With Open Space funding, a parcel is identified and ranked by its environmental and agricultural significance. The goal is to first preserve the parcels with the best soils and the parcels that have the best chance of being proximal to other preserved land...thus giving a larger area of contiguous open space. Science based formulas are used and a lot of work has goes into determining which parcels are best suited. There is no favoritism...it's all about empirical data and application timing. Most of the property that goes into preservation is already in clean and green (Act 319), and anyone with 10 acres or more can apply for this state tax program, so there is generally no net loss of tax revenue.
On the other hand, Cost of Community Services studies (Services like fire, police, education, recreation, road maintainance) demonstrate that preserved land costs a community far less than developed land in terms of the necessity for costly services. National averages suggest that farmland costs 17 cents in services for every tax dollar received while developed land costs $1.25 in services for every dollar received.
According to fact based data, preserving land keeps your property taxes lower. The math works. Our program in NORCO is very commendable. To the poster who was not selected for the EAC in their community: sorry to hear that, please try stay involved and try to keep your talents in the mix.

Anonymous said...

C

I sat through a presentation a few years ago explaining pretty much the information you posted. Preservation of open space seemed to me that it is a great idea if it had been implemeted 30 or more years ago. I have never quite understood the whole preserving the parcels with the best soils thing unless the proprty is being preserved for active farming. Do we want to develop properties with poor soils that with cost expensive remediation for storm water run-off controls should they be built on? These properties most of the time end up spilling their water run-off into already overburdened streams and creeks that can not handle the amount of run-off directed to them during heavy rainfalls let alone 100 year flood events.

Where I live, there was a samll piece of property up for sale neara the community's major creek near a historic county bridge. When I pointed this out to the township to look into purchasing this piece of property near the creek so that the public could have a small area to access the creek for fishing and other recreation since the majority of land along the creek is in private hands, they balked because of the price. There is nothing that can be done with the property due to the fact it sits entirely in the flood plain.

School taxes in this community I believe are the highest in Northampton County and the open space act has done little to relieve this.

Funding of infastructure maintenace was never properly thought out when communities where being planned. I guess it was thought that certain things would last forever. Of course it seems like communites rely of funding from unreliable sources like real estate tranfer taxes for important expenses when they should not.

The clean and green act has a little known requirement that requries land in act 319 to be acessible to the public, but most property owners have this properties fenced off and posted no trespassing.

When it comes to community services such as fire protection, too many communites have relied on volunteers for too long. Tax money is what should be payping for these services, not communtiy fund raising. This is one area that needs to come into the 21st century. These are needed services more than open space. Where you have people there will always be the need for services. Tax payers deserve the most for their money, open space funding does not get roads built or kids educated. It provides private neighborhoods for some and crowded, overbuilt neighborhoods for others.
In a perfect world would I like to have open space, sure, but it is not doing anything to better my life in the here and now.

c said...

Open space is a long term investment, not for the here and now. The voters chose to increase their taxes for this purpose by referrendum.

Act 319 is a land owner's choice, one that has a good benefit..not sure about the public access point though.
Preserving land will not lower school taxes, only slow their increase.
Glad we have volunteer firefighters...otherwise a single department would cost millions of taxpayer dollars...kudos to our volunteers. I agree with you about our infrastructure, and the idea about buying property by the creek sounds like it might have been a good one.

Our OS program had an environmentally sensitive component, but that part has been reduced...(not complaining). That would have covered slopes and poor soils.

Nice talking to you, thanks for being civil.

Anonymous said...

"scientific formula's", "math". BaHHHaaaaaa

Stop the madness. Where are the votes is the only formula at play here.Some how the tea party express wants to stop government from spending money so it dumps its senior citizens. But a dog park is just dandy?

HHHAAAA!!!

Anonymous said...

Very Republican Bushkill Township voters were very supportive of Open Space and just received an unapologetic, 18% tax increase.

We are assholes. Let's all stop being assholes re: Open Space.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anonymous commenting is disabled tonight and will be restored some time tomorrow.

The Battle Cry of Freedom said...

Anonymous 8:43AM
When you talk about "Republican Bushkill Township" let me note that the population is indeed of that persuasion however, when it comes to the Supervisors, while they are now Republicans, they were all registered Democrats. Jason Smith upon his appointment, switched parties immediately.

Anonymous said...

So in Bushkill the litmus test is if you are a Registered Republican,, whether you really want to be or not. Well that sure makes sense.

Chris Casey said...

I have a suggestion that may solve all your problems.
Sell The Gracedale Building but not the property it sets on.
Use the Property as the Worlds Largest open Space Therapy Dog Park.
Let the dogs poop at will on the grounds, it can't be any worse than the crap being spread by all those involved in the Gracedale debate!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

"I believe an emphasis was placed on outlying municipalities bc the were largely ignored in the $111 MM bond. Most of the open space money there went to Bethlehem"


you just made that up...

c said...

Chria Casey you are a funny man! Battle Cry of Freedom...did Jason Smith win an election as a D and then switch to R? Probably not, he is a stand up guy. He was probably appointed and then chose to switch.
Wasn't Ronald Reagan a Democrat at one time too?
We have all gotten a little off course here, perhaps we should use the clutch the next time we switch gears, myself included. It's been fun Bernie...thanks for putting this one out there!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 6:37,

No, that's true. At least $10 MM or more from the $111 MM bond went to Bethlehem projects, including a $4 MM road to nowhere, money for the conversion of what s now Starters Riverport, a greenway, etc.

Anonymous said...

Open Space legislation is ludicrous but what could preserve this precious space more than a dog park - or any park?

Anonymous said...

How can one community build two dog parks yet Allentown needs nearly $1M
for theirs? Maybe an Allentown official will respond?


Perhaps they plan on something more than a fence?

Anonymous said...

Re: Bushkill Twp. Yes, one must be a registered R to hold office. I thinks it's the law. I don't believe that township has ever elected a D.

Smith and Bender were lifelong Ds until they decided to join the board of supervisors. The changed registration and were good to go. Very inside up there. That's how you get unapologetic 18% tax increases.