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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

LC Exec Muller: An Annual Report for the People

Despite several superior offers, MJ is still married to Tom
You're the boss. What you think matters. Your role as citizen is more important than the role of the elected officials who serve you. Those are the messages that Lehigh County Exec Tom Muller conveys in his annual report for 2015.Instead of a big speech at Coca Cola Park to campaign contributors and County vendors this is a message to you and me.

According to Muller, "what County government does is a mystery to the majority of citizens." We take it for granted. But as he explains, 65% of the County's budget is dedicated to "law and order." That's where most of your tax dollars go.
Overall, Lehigh County—your county—is enjoying good times. Companies see it as the place to be, unemployment is down, real estate prices are rising and construction focused on shopping and entertainment is strong. Center City Allentown has gotten the help it desperately needed to turn around via the NIZ from the State but the challenge now is to ensure Allentown’s success expands beyond Center City and isn’t at the expense of neighboring municipalities. More broadly, our citizens are increasingly calling for a greater commitment to the preservation of farmland and open spaces to maintain a high quality of life.

Your Lehigh County also has issues. We are in the midst of a drug epidemic, too many of our children are not getting the education they need to realize their potential, a growing number of citizens are living near or below the poverty level and the number of citizens over age 65 and in need of support is beginning to grow dramatically. Both child and senior citizen abuse continue to rise. These issues all put added pressure on County government—greater in the long term if left unaddressed now.
 Did you know:

* Lehigh County is continuing a trend of doing more with less, started by Don Cunningham? There were 2,200 County employees in 1990. Now there are 1,973.

* Lehigh County heard 5,592 criminal cases in 2015, with 60.1% in guilty pleas and 35.5% receiving Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition—a program primarily for first-time offenders of lesser crimes to avoid punishment and eventually get their record expunged.?

* 28.8% of incoming prisoners self-reported psychiatric history?

* 21.5% of incoming prisoners required detoxification?

* Lehigh County has a Central Booking Unit  that helps get officers back to their posts quickly, which is particularly critical for our smaller municipalities?

* That Lehigh County has a Regional Crime Center dealing with investigations crossing municipal or even county borders? (An early success was the arrest and conviction of a murderer when the only information available was that the escape was in a van with a broken taillight.Northampton County has decided to join).

* That the average daily census at the jail is 1,114, including 185 in the Community Corrections Center? (It costs the taxpayers $69.27 per day—over $25,000 per year--to hold a prisoner in the County jail and $31.54 per day at the Community Corrections Center.)

* That The County’s cost per meal in jail is 95.4¢.

* That Lehigh County ranks #5 in the State for acres of farmland preserved at 21,659 acres and #3 behind only Berks and Lancaster in the percent of total county acreage preserved—9.7%?

* That there were 1,297 reports of suspected child abuse, with 105 substantiated?. In 2014 the numbers were 790 and 54

* That there are over 4,200 acres of recreation space and 40 miles of trails?

* That there were 117 drug-related deaths in 2015, a 32.96% increase over 2014?

* That Cedarbrook, a four-star rated nursing home, has 670 beds?


Anonymous said...

Tom Mueller is a sincere person, and cares about people! He is doing an excellent job!

Anonymous said...

Muller is 100X better than the buffoon running Northampton County.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 4:32 in part. Just a gander at his 2013 Financial Statements shows he was attached to Fed Ed Pawlowski and crew. He hired Fed Ed's Mike Fleck, who is entrenched in the Allentown-Reading scandal, for consulting work and kindly paid him approximately $32,376 for the year. Fed Ed donor associates contributed approximately $3,725. [Friends of Peter Schweyer $250, Friends of Mike Schlossberg $500, Tony Stellar $500 and Fox Rothschild $2,500]. Matthew McTish, indicted in the scandal and plead guilty, $4,500. His brother David McTish $2,000. Subpenoed in the scandal, Sean Boyle $2,000, Sam Ruchlewics [Fleck associate] $1,000 and Noriss MacGlauglin & Morris $2,500. ANIZDA investors and associates: Lee & Greg Butz $4,000, Scott Fainor $1,000, Jeffrey & Ann Vaughn [J.B. Reilly associate] $1,250. This is just scratching the surface. The massive amounts of union PAC money and generous gifts from his right hand man Dan McCarthy [$6,500] illustrates a different picture.

Anonymous said...

Lehigh county always runs better and attracts better talent than Northampton county. Anyone have a clue as to why?

Anonymous said...

Now that Fleck and his fundraising machine aren't available to Muller and his fellow democrats, I suppose we'll be seeing more taxpayer-funded campaign pieces like this.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What I see is an effort to bring the government closer to the people it serves.