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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Northampton County Inches Closer to $30 Million Bond

I told you earlier this month that Northampton County is taking baby steps towards a $30 million bond for these capital improvements:

New parking deck - $16.1 million.
Stand alone archives building - $4 million.
Juvenile Justice Center Expansion - $5 million.
Old courthouse replacement windows - $2 million.
Demolition of old parking deck - $4 million.

Fiscal Affairs Director Vic Mazziotti yesterday told the Finance Committee that the thirty year payoff on this bond will be between $50 and $56 million. He also claimed the county is on track to have the money by October. Tonight, county council will be asked to adopt a bond issue resolution. This is preliminary to an actual bond ordinance, based on realistic cost estimates.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

An earlier post's photo inspired me here.

This bond is like a bag of burning dog poop on your porch. You are instantly motivated to save your home, and stomp it out. In the long-term, resulting in crap splattered, on you and your home. We(tax-payers) will be cleaning this mess up for decades.

Really troubling, since it's OUR council putting flaming bags of poop on ALL of our porches? And more will follow ... soon. THEY have placed US in a no-win situation, because of THEIR lack of fiscal responsibility.

O_o

Bernie O'Hare said...

You'll note this bond does not even address our overcrowded prison.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like WE will all have a big hefty bag of burning poop on OUR porches very soon.

Sad that anyone WE elect in office, inherits this mess and WE need new blood with strong stomaches to help US clean up this mess.

I need new shoes.... decades worth.

O_o

Anonymous said...

Can't they find it in their hearts to construct something a bit "nicer" than whatever $16M buys?

I know Wayne Grube is big on debt, lack of oversight and the "nice"-ness test for evaluating capital projects. Wayne, can you helps us here? Hello? Wayne?

Stoffa and council should all be equally ashamed of their performance here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Here's my question. How do you suggest the county handle these major capitol projects, which really have to be done?? I understand the concern over cost, but how else do we do these things? A yard sale?

Anonymous said...

Is the $16M parking garage (I believe I read calculations of $180K per space) a necessary major capital project? Especially when there are more pressing priorities, as rightly pointed out by this blog?

I understand the need to finance capital projects with bonds, but the current council and administration leave a bad taste with what is either outright stupidity, or an appalling contempt for taxpayers that could only be exercised in a one-party county.

One opposed to those who are poor stewards of tax dollars is not necessarily opposed to the system they either abuse or make no attempt to manage on our behalf.

And Wayne Grube should retire strictly on the basis of his "let 'em eat cake" comments re: cost overruns on the chambers waste. He thought it not a problem because the job was "nice." I still want do be a contractor on the job at Wayne's place. He sounds like a ridiculously easy mark. Or perhaps he's just that way with OUR money. Enough already.

Anonymous said...

I hope County Council and especially Mr. Angle want the item by item cost break out on this Bond the way he demanded it on the $110 million Bond. If he does not he is a hypocrite.
Stoffa shows a few pictures of broken cement and presto chango we need a new parking deck. Also since fees cover the cost of Archieve storage why the rush to build a new building. I was also told the money for the old courthouse windows was in the budget Stoffa inherited. This Bond needs to be throughly researched before it is approved. Whart about the need prison expansion phase. This administration is all over the place.
These guys are either brilliantly conniving or hopelessly inept.
Both Grube and McHale passed on the ridiculously overbudget Council chambers cost. They should both leave or be voted out. In their minds the taxpayers are just an inconvenience.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 5:48,

The requirement of realistic cost estimates exists because of the Debt Act, not Angle. It's not his fault the first bond was illegal.

As far as the parking deck is concerned, the current deck has a useful life of two years. Perhaps you'd like it to collapse before doing anything. That would be very responsible.

gsbrace said...

I was recently asked by a community what the cost for a parking deck would be. I had no reference b/c so few are being constructed any more. They are extremely expensive. Thanks for finding those figures.

$16 million is the cost to construct today. Figure 10% cost over-runs and we are looking at 17.6 when this is all done. Add on the $4 million to knock down the existing...$20-21 million is a lot of money.

Makes me want to walk or ride my bike.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Geoff,

And this is only Phase 1. You are right on the money for demo costs. And we have to demolish the existing parking tdeck. it would cost way too much to fgix and its useful life now is only two years.

Anonymous said...

The first bond illegal, really? Nice cop out for you and Angle. Dispite wasting thousands of taxpayers dollars, the Courts didnot agree. My challange stands, will Angle be counting nails on this bond like the other or will his hand picked Executive get a pass.
There is no need for a new deck. Flat parking is more than enough. Other Counties make do, no more pork projects and that means not just Reibman but Stoffa too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The first bond was illegal because there were no realistic cost estimates. That was the conclusion of the DCED, and the ruling was affirmed by the Pa. Supreme Court. If Angle or anyone fails to insist on realistic cost estimates for this bond, it won't be legal. But that mistake won't be repeated.

gsbrace said...

as I was reading the comments, I remembered the Lehigh County has a parking garage too. I wonder what the projection is on that garage's lifespan at this point.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Most have a useful life of at least 50 years.

Anonymous said...

So the Parking Deck was built in 1960.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Most have a useful life of fifty years. This one did not. Perhaps you'd prefer waiting until it collapsed on someone.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, when was the deck built? How on earth can it be ready to collapse? I don't think it is more than 25 years old. It is high time the county wakes up to the fact that location can no longer support all county offices. In this day of computers and fax machines they can build a location elsewhere for things like the tax office, deeds and titles, gun permits, dog licence. The cost for a new parking deck comes to $$$180,000 per parking space! you can build a parking lot on flat land for 100 cars at probably the same cost for 1 car at the ridiculous NCGC. There are hundreds of acres available in the Gracedale/Bath area. Use that to build a new location for these departments which do not have to be at the NCGC. The county has entemate domain remember? We can not be expected to live in the 19th century when it comes to having all offices at the NCGC. Anyone with a brain can see that small area cannot possibly support the rapidly growing county... it is time to expand to different locations. Bernie, I am sure you would love to drive just 1 mile to do your title searches every day. I ask you... how many people in the private sector would agree with paying $180,000 for one parking space? Thanks Henry

Bernie O'Hare said...

Henry, I'm not a structural engineer. Perhaps you are and are willing to opine that we can get by with what we have. Please give your professional opinion to county administrators and we'll all be very thankful.

Anonymous said...

How old is the parking deck?