Just two weeks before, Angle managed to persuade Council members to table a resolution that would throw $260,400 in taxpayer money for swampland in Upper Mount Bethel Township, where Angle lives. But last night, Council forgot about fiscal responsibility and listened instead to people like Ellen Lott of the Nature Conservancy.
"I am here to speak for the trees because they have no tongues," she claimed, quoting from Dr. Seuss. As the Fake Rev claims to represent "We, the People," Lott claims that she also spoke for the salamanders and frogs, even though they have tongues. Occasionally beating back tears, she begged Council to fund "a place where raptors soar overhead and water trickles down."
After the meeting, a few lizards denied she really speaks for them.
Environmentalist Constance Volker (spelling?) claimed this marshy habitat reminds her of the disappearing Amazon rain forest, and begged Council to save "the salamander family."
These lizards camp out on two tracts.
One of them, owned by Kirkridge, consists of 108 acres. The County would kick in $199,400 (40%) of a $501,100 grant, which translates to $4,638 per acre. The other property, located next to the Kirkridge tract, is 22 acres owned by David Broad. The County would kick in $61,000 (40%) of a $152,500 grant, which translates to $6,932 per acre. The other contributors would be DCNR (50%) and Upper Mount Bethel Township (10%).
Two weeks ago, Angle told Council that he doubted that the Kirkridge tract would pass a perc test for two sand mounds on the entire 108 acres. But Charles Reiss last night told Council it's a place of "wellness" that serves all Christian lizards. Jewish lizards, too, added Kirkridge's Alice Murray.
Two weeks ago, Angle also questioned the amount of money being spent. "It's not a fair price for what's there to buy."
"I've been in the real estate racket for forty years. I wouldn't give you $400 per acre. ... This is craziness but this is what you will get from [the Environmental Advisory Board]."
He challenged Council members to look at the tracts, pointing out that no swampland disappears but farmland is being gobbled up every day. The matter was tabled, with Council members grumbling that they'd like to see a second appraisal.
Last night, Council was told that there would be a second appraisal when DCNR approves the grant request. Nobody seemed to mind that, instead of getting an independent valuation, the state would just rely on the Nature Conservancy to get the numbers. Eleven people addressed Council, and told them to quit "nickeling and diming" this proposal. Farmland Preservation Administrator Maria Bentzoni added she's been looking at appraisals for nine years, and this one is not "outrageously ridiculous."
So last night, Northampton County Council struck a unanimous blow for the salamanders.