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Friday, October 16, 2015

Table Games Grants Tabled

Scott Parsons (center) was on the committee that reviewed the table games grants
In what at times resembled a "Who's on First?" skit during their October 15 meeting, Northampton County eventually voted 6-3 to table a much ballyhooed grants program that would have awarded $720,000 for 22 different projects in Northampton County. They'll try again in three weeks.

These grant proposals are part of Executive John Brown's Community Investment Partnership Program (CIPP), which he first announced in January. The plan is to use table games revenue from the Sands Casino for a variety of grants and revolving loans, with an emphasis on aging boroughs and townships. By August, there were 43 grant applications, which were rated by a committee comprised of county bureaucrats, LVPC and Council member Scott Parsons. Those were whittled down to 22 projects, including four facade plans, a stormwater study for Bethlehem Ttownship and Freemansburg, as well as a regional animal control officer in the slate belt.

When the resolution was introduced, Lamont McClure insisted that each project be voted on individually.

The first of these was the stormwater study in Bethlehem Township and Freemansburg, which Mat Benol immediately panned. He slammed Bethlehem Township because "they seem to want to build on every square inch." If the Township wants to solve its stormwater problem, he argued it could simply stop building. "I don't need a stormwater management plan to tell me to shut my window when it's raining," he complained.

Despite Benol's objections the other eight members of Council approved the grant.

The second grant, which would give $10,000 to the Easton Redevelopment Authority for "landlord training" in Easton's West Ward, failed by a 5-4 vote. DCED staffer Mark Hartney explained the money would help educate landlords on city codes. But Seth Vaughn argued that "landlords should have some kind of understanding of what they are undertaking. Joining Vaughn in killing that grant were McClure, Glenn Geissinger, Benol and Hayden Phillips.

After the third grant passed, Hartney suggested to Council that applicants be invited to justify these projects themselves. He told them he would hate to see a good project killed because if his own inability to explain it.

Then Scott parsons suggested that perhaps all 43 of the original applicants should be invited to appear. Someone else countered that only the 22 project applicants picked by the Committee should be invited. Council President Peg Ferraro suggested that Council members could vote "Yes" or "Table" to individual applicants, after which the tabled applicants could be invited.

Finally, Lamont McClure moved to rescind the earlier votes. After that passed, he next moved to table the resolution completely until Council meets again on November 5, when they will try again.

Below is a list of the recommended projects.

Table Game Grants

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agree with Benol. Bethlehem Township has a $22million annual budget and it has to come groveling to the County for a $25,000 grant to look at problems from over development. It is ironic that a Bethlehem Township Commissioner was responsible for much of that overdevelopment!!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the City of Bethlehem is eligible for the grants? They already get over 9 million dollars a year from the casino.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Benol is a dope. Maybe he should see pictures of the Keystone Pub when it floods. Closing a window will not help w/that. Thank god Beth Twnshp is moving forward

Bernie O'Hare said...

His remarks should be circulated to every BT voter before the next election. They were completely ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Is it my imagination, or is dysfuntionality a communicable disease, spread by those who hold elected office?

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem Twp and PENN DOT have been fighting for years. Let them figure it out and give the grant to someone who really could use it

Anonymous said...

Very few of these requests appear to be Table Game Grant worthy

Anonymous said...

Ironically the County prison is in the West Ward yet they don't want to assist in turning around the neighborhood. As I understand it the program has worked successfully in more than 300 communities. Council should take some responsibility for participating in the destruction of the area.

Anonymous said...

@9:44,
What exactly is your criteria for worthiness?

Anonymous said...

@7:08,
Good question. Ask the elected officials who wrote the rules.

Anonymous said...

@7:00,
The size of a budget has nothing to do with applying for grants. Grants are a part of the anticipated income in a budget. Would you rather they raise taxes for every project that is currently paid for by a grant?

Anonymous said...

@ 8:17 What most people also don't realize is the majority of the flood waters hitting the Keystone Pub area comes out of the City of Bethlehem, NOT the Township. Flooding problems are a regional issue and have to be addressed on a regional level.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the aging boroughs and townships other then the city of Bethlehem and Easton and the greedy five surrounding communities (the impact grants) these five entitled communities get millions of dollars no matter if it's the impact grants that they're are only allowed to apply for or uncommitted grants, that the other communities outside of the area can't apply for every other year. Gave the smaller boroughs and townships a chance to get a couple of dollars. Even now when the grant commission doesn't have control over the money Northampton County screws the smaller communities out of a couple dollars, The impact communities are greedy greedy greedy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Did you even look at the grants list?

Anonymous said...

@11:13,
What part of "impact" do you not understand. These municipalities have seen an upswing in incidents since the Sands opened, especially in the emergency services. They should be entitled to a larger share.

Anonymous said...

I looked at the list Freemansburg millions Easton, Hellertown millions Bethlehem, Bethlehem Township millions. How many people visit the sands every day 3000, 4000, 5000, 7000? When they made steel 10,000 people worked there that's an impact. More people work there seven days a week 24 hours a day and what did the communities get then.

Anonymous said...

Did stormwater get rescinded or pass?

Bernie O'Hare said...

It passed. Then it was rescinded and will be heard again in three weeks. We get to listen to Benol trash BT one more time.

Anonymous said...

I for one would like to hear what the other proposals were, if county council would hear the proposals that were left out guaranteed there would be at least a handful that were better and more necessary than ones that were supposedly approved.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I agree. Anyone who submitted an application already has a right to appear and persuade Council that the bureaucrats are wrong, which they often are. They should exercise that right if they feel their project has merit, regardless what they've been told.

Anonymous said...

what were some of the other proposals ? who got left out ?
10 grand to train a land lord in West Easton? really?
25, 000 to study the water problems in Bethlehem township? really? decades of this being an issue and now they have to study it? study time for this issue is far from over. it is now time for action.

Anonymous said...

Tea party council members playing political games with the CIPP money. Why pay it out when it's collecting interest for the county by the day. Anyone can see right thru this slow down tactic. Now you want people to come and beg for the money? BS! The sub- committee did their job so now vote to disburse the money and stop the charade.

Anonymous said...

The communities already plead their cases in their applications for the CIPP money and the sub-committee chose the best projects. Stop playing games and VOTE!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I disagree. County Council adopted an ordinance providing that THEY, and not some collection of bureaucrats, have final say on how that money is spent. They are doing their job and a little oversight of this collection of pencil pushers won't hurt anyone. .

Anonymous said...

At this rate..it would take til January to hear every applicants case. Got to be a better way. Obviously..council does not trust it's own county DCED to do the right thing..do they?

Anonymous said...

And members of council sat in on the selection process..didn't they?

Anonymous said...

So council does not even trust their own members judgement..do they?

Anonymous said...

A house divided cannot stand! Something got to give. 2 more years of this us versus them nonsense looming. UGH!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"So council does not even trust their own members judgement..do they?"

They are elected to represent the people and to watch the cash flow, not some pencil pushers who want control over all the money bc they know best. They don't.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"And members of council sat in on the selection process..didn't they?"

No. Only one elected representative of the people was on the selection committee. I like the guy, but he is only one of nine. Under your reasoning, we might s well not have a governing body at all.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Obviously..council does not trust it's own county DCED to do the right thing..do they? "

DCED has given little reason to deserve any trust. Donaher is an egomaniac who subverted Council.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The communities already plead their cases in their applications for the CIPP money and the sub-committee chose the best projects. Stop playing games and VOTE! "

Hate to break this to you, but they have ever right, under the HRC and Sunshine ct, to address Council before any vote.

Anonymous said...

Council's failure shows that they intend to micromanage a system designed to evaluate these grants based upon merit. They are turning it into a piggy bank for pet projects. This will not turn out well.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If you want a rubber stamp government, go to Allentown. These "committees" are just as political as Council, except they operate behind closed doors and try to pretend they are objective. That's horseshit. What Council does is certainly political, but it is also transparent and they are accountable.

Anonymous said...

Bernie you have hit the nail on the head. Donaher and her bloated staff cannot be trusted. They have been devious in advancing their power grab agenda. They think they know best, and that council should just get out of their way. A year ago Peg and other council members were fawning over Donaher. She is a good bull shitter but her rhetoric is wearing thin. She interrupts and becomes defensive under questioning by council. Her Golden Girl image is gone. She and her staff have not directly helped in creating a single job in the county in nearly two years. But they would happily use the CIPP slush fund to grease the wheels for Brown's reelection.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"She and her staff have not directly helped in creating a single job in the county in nearly two years."

Except in her own bloated department.

"But they would happily use the CIPP slush fund to grease the wheels for Brown's reelection."

I would hope that is untrue. But every single project should be vetted BY COUNCIL, notwithstanding that one of their own looked at them. He is only one person. Also, the rejected applicants should know they are welcome to state their case. I know West Easton submitted an application. I thought the whole point of CIPP was to help the struggling smaller communities. But West Easton gets passed over. I want to know why.

Anonymous said...

Bangor..evidently..also passed over.

Anonymous said...

after reading this blog for a few months, I am convinced now more than ever, that local govt is dysfunctional, corrupt and wasteful beyond any reasonable doubt.

whether it be a dem or a gop member, everyone is on the take in one form or another. for people on this great blog , and yes , I am one of them, to spout off about one party and their criminal team , yet stroke the "good work" of the other party and their criminal team is a complete joke.

the valley and her govt , on all levels seems to be broken. it is all now coming to head , but took decades to get here.

having to listen to politicians make promises about more good paying jobs, secure borders, strong defense, lower taxes, better schools, help for the Vets, help for the poor, help for the homeless, and so on...it is a complete joke.

every year about this time we hear the exact same garbage spewing from the mouths of both pathetic parties. it occurs on a local state and federal level.

yet do we really ever hear a politician or politician to be, run on raising taxes for the middle class, raising taxes on small businesses, cutting the size and scope of the govt, keeping being able to keep your doctor, your plan and have your rates drop 2500, 00 per family of four? instead we hear how great their ideas are and how much of a mess the other party created. I never heard tom wolf campaign on raising taxes on the middle class, I never heard Corbett run on raising gas taxes, and so on and so forth. They all lie . They all waste hard earned tax payer cash and the all double talk.

The Chapman University 2015 Survey of American Fears is stunning. Is this the be all end all in regards to studies and this issue, no way...but it does mean something. Most fears are directly related to govt and policies.

Notice which big ticket item is missing from this list, yet the politicians keep banging the drum for "action " to be taken....btw, this same issue missing from this list can be found at the bottom of most other surveys , but we are told daily, this issue needs to be addressed..ie, pay up Americans.

Elected officials do not represent the People and it has been that way for 100 plus years or so.

The Chapman University Survey of American Fears, Wave 2 (2015) provides an unprecedented look into the fears of average Americans. In April of 2015, a random sample of 1,541 adults from across the United States were asked their level of fear about eighty-eight different fears across a huge variety of topics ranging from crime, the government, disasters, personal anxieties, technology and many others.

Corruption of government officials (58.0%)

Cyber-terrorism (44.8 %)

Corporate tracking of personal information (44.6 %)

Terrorist attacks (44.4 %)

Government tracking of personal information (41.4 %)

Bio-warfare (40.9 %)

Identity theft (39.6 %)

Economic collapse (39.2 %)

Running out of money in the future (37.4 %)

Credit card fraud (36.9 %)

Gun control (36.5 %)

War (35.8 %)

Obamacare (35.7 %)

Illness (34.4%)

Pandemic (34.3 %)

Nuclear Attack (33.6 %)

Reptiles (33 %)

Meltdown (32.3 %)

Civil Unrest (32 %)

Tornado (31.4 %)

http://www.chapman.edu/wilkinson/research-centers/babbie-center/survey-american-fears.aspx

Anonymous said...

Chapman University, please!

jim smith said...

As I sit here reading comments I have to chuckle a bit. Part of the storm water problem may be Beth. Twsp. But the majority of the problem lays with the City of Bethlehem starting at East Blvd and Butztown Road. That problem has been there for over 40 years. As a matter of fact a young girl drowned at the intersection of Willow Park and William Penn Highway years ago I am sure those of you that have lived here all your life will remember that. I think it is about time some politicians do something about this problem it has gone on to many years or maybe they are not interested in confronting the real culprit and fixing the problem were it starts.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Did they vote on this? Looking for the Beth township stormwater grant

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Did they vote on this? Looking for the Beth township stormwater grant

Bernie O'Hare said...

Soon.