About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

State Tosses $152 Million Around

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) met on July 1, waved its magic wand and forked over $152.4 million for projects that Governor Wolf calls "critical to the economic vitality of the state.” He goes on to claim they will "support significant community and economic improvements and spark revitalization in Pennsylvania’s communities.”

There are hundreds of loans to small businesses throughout the state. Surprisingly, only one small business from Northampton or Lehigh County is among them. The absence of these small loans from either county is an indication that each county's Department of Community and Economic Development has dropped the ball. The sole small business development loan I see locally is a $130,500 loan for Starter's Golf. This business is located in Bethlehem, but apparently hasn't started.

Included is $48,000 for a facelift at Nazareth's American Legion, a private club with a restricted membership, and one that has repeatedly been busted for illegal gambling. I suppose you could call that business development, if you include monkey business. It was voted on by a Borough Council. Larry Stoudt who works there for tips, never recused himself. .

In Allentown, the grants include $200,000 for a "waste to energy project" that I thought was dead. You never know.

Another $90,000 is being thrown at the Wildlands as it continues to restore Jordan Creek, something it has been doing for the last gazillion years.

Efforts to restore Allentown Metal Works include a $953,000 loan, as well as two grans totaling $2,953,000 grant at the South 10th St KOZ site.

Lots of alternative energy projects have been approved. There's $2 million to renovate the K-5th grade Paxinosa Elementary School into a high performance building, complete with LED lighting, lighting occupancy sensor, low-flow water fixtures and high efficiency water heaters, air handlers, chiller and condensing boilers. After this renovation, an estimated $20 million project, the school should have an energy savings of 2,000 mmBtu and have a LEED gold rating. These funds came from the High Performance Building Program, which helps underwrite the cost associated with the design and construction or renovation of high performance buildings in the state.

Bethlehem Area School District snagged $1.496 million for solar energy projects at Farmersville Elementary, East Hills Middle School, Buchanan Elementary, Spring Garden Elementary and Freedom High Schools. It picked up another $2 million for LEED certified middle school.

Maybe George Wacker, a bottom-feeding blogger who has been hired to do the school district's social media at $2,000 a month, can pull himself out of a bar and tweet about it.

Nazareth Area School District (about $2 million), Career Institute of Technology ($0.496 million) and Moravian Academy ($1.3 million) got green to go green , too.

So did businesses like Ben Franklin Tech Ventures ($750,000), Lehigh Valley Hospital ($96,120), Freshpet ($694,928), Air Products ($1 million), Crayola ($508,000) and the Flat Iron Building ($55,440).

Local governments like Williams Tp ($58,590 for solar energy) and Lower Saucon ($87,748 loan for energy efficiency upgrade) also were approved

As we all know, solar is hardly the most efficient energy producer in the Mid-Atlantic, so the state is now backing all kinds of loans to anyone who wants geothermal at their home. Locally that includes Kevin and Jennifer Hiestand, who were approved for an $11,134 loan to purchase and install a residential geothermal system in Lehigh County. Vynecrest LLC was approved for a $30,000 loan.

Yes, there are infrastructure grants, too. Bethlehem's Broad Street ($200,000) and Allentown's American Parkway ($232,000), and Easton is getting $128,000 for pedestrian improvements on 13th Street.

A sore subject in Bethlehem Township is the pedestrian crossing to Northampton Community College, which is unlit. It is nearly impossible to see students crossing at night. The college will get $283,000 for traffic calming measures.

Lafayette College in Easton will receive $1.1 million for its travelways improvement plan. This is money it does not need, considering its endowment and its exemption from most taxes.

Even locally, there's simply too many projects to cover in one post. The one that bothers me most, even more than Nazareth,  is a $1 million grant for The Waterfront Development Co., a NIZ developer . I'll discuss that below,.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is unbelievable. How did anyone even know about this program?

Anonymous said...

Yes, and the state rejected a grant request in my community for pedestrian crossing along a state road at a school district property. PennDOT safe routes to schools program needs to be resuscitated.

Anonymous said...

You should investigate further. Not much in the way of new projects. I believe many of these projects are completed, and these grants are reimbursement. BASD completed the solar projects a few years ago at those schools, and LEED Certified school is Broughal.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:29, These are the grant requests approved 7/1/16, nit years ago. You should investigate further. And many of these are completely brand new.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"This is unbelievable. How did anyone even know about this program? "

These are actually about 14 different programs, and there are so many grants it is impossible for me to list and describe them here.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

Grants are considered, "free money", by most, it is free for those that receive it, but ultimately taxpayers are picking up the tab. It seems it is more about how this rep. or senator was able to acquire money for his area. The voters will be reminded at election time.

Rich Fegley said...

This is how the government legally launders money in the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

It blows my mind that Wacker was hired by the school district. The same school district that he has ripped on at various times. Has anyone from the school board actually looked at his blog and the content in it?

Anonymous said...

It's called Givermint

Anonymous said...

But they can't fund the people who need it the most.
http://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/more-than-500000-adults-will-lose-snap-benefits-in-2016-as-waivers-expire

Peter J.Cochran said...

THIS IS WAY we are broke `we need to evaluate the economic reason why we give grants to anybody. If there is no civil advantage then don't let any funds out. The TURKEY FARM will get allong fine without state fund and we should be baking out of this mindset. All this does is in a round about way enhance the cash the principles put in their pocket like OPEN SPACE has done ,. ASK ,where is the public tax payer good then make an evaluation .

Peter J.Cochran said...

IF FACT this stuff pisses me off enough that I may run for office now that I'm retired,and shortly. Sphincters will close up.I will not play politics .

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie , I'm a Legion member as you know ` I find it disturbing what you posted. Legion Post 9 Palmer Twp has done over 35 Military Funerals this year and this stated post in Nazareth --------------- has probably had zero . We also are at every national event. For Christ, sake nobody gives us a grant and we haven't asked. Wait-- they stand for an IRS audit like WE DID,recently, they wont pass go, though.

Anonymous said...

Pieter, I disagree with your assessment.

Anonymous said...

So what is really new ? Isn't this the old walking around money called something different? Instead of off setting state police salaries and putting it to repair roads and bridges we get this bullshit

Anonymous said...

It just doesn't seem right that the American Legion Post 415 gets free money to add on an addition that will benefit the members of the club that smoke. That is what the money is for, to give the smokers their own room. Instead of using the money to support the active members and their needs, Larry and his Officers decided that the smokers come first. Their are Legions in Pennsylvania that take care of their veterans within their town by making sure they get to their doctor appointments and if they know a veteran is down and out, they send groceries to their home in gratitude for all that they have done to keep our country safe. The Legion becomes a safety net within the community for the veterans of the town. This Legions priorities cater to the drunks that bar hop from the American and the Jacks to the Legion and the Vig. that disrupt the place with their loud and vulgar mouths and their smelly cigarettes. The club lets in people that are violent offenders, they give cards to felons and they never even bother to investigate their character, including their mayor. It sucks how this money will be spent. There are so many different areas in the town where 48,000.00 would do good and serve all of the people and not some of the people.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if Kevin and Jennifer shared this grant opportunity with their neighbors?

Anonymous said...

Why was Nazareth mayor's trial moved? Think he scored ard? We really need to clean up Nazareth. That money could have been used for a million other projects in town that benefit all of the town. Bern, see you at the next meeting.

Anonymous said...

The Republican Party controls both houses in the state. Ask then how all this crap gets put in. The marriage of corporate and public interest is the problem. Both parties have dirty hands in this matter.