Monday, November 22, 2010

Madness? This is Bethlehem.


Back in August, I told you that Bethlehem has a quaint little habit of dipping into different funds to pay operating expenses, especially when the till gets low. That's why a brand, spanking new firetruck sat unused in a City garage. Bethlehem borrowed the money to pay for that truck, but spent it for something else.

This is just one of the problems highlighted by an independent audit showing that the Christmas City finished 2009 in an $8.5 million sea of red ink. Instead of correcting this Rob-Peter-to-Pay-Paul disease, Bethlehem is continuing it.

At the very meeting in which Bethlehem's financial games were revealed, the City's Finance Committee discussed plans to borrow $6 million for capital projects. But guess what? Because Johnny Casino has already spent the money, the City has to borrow another $6 million.

To you math geniuses put there, that's twelve million for six million worth of work.

"This is madness," claims City resident Dana Grubb.

Madness? This is Bethlehem.

Blogger's Note: The above excerpt comes from video shot by Tony Simao, which appears on his YouTube Channel.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

just another case of business as usual in the slimy bowels of City hall. Let's see if council will grow some and stop this madness. Based on past rubber stamp behavior I seriously doubt it.

Anonymous said...

You cannot really borrow money for these purposes on a tax exempt basis. The tax code has rules and you are required to follow procedures for any expenditures made preceding a bond issue. I doubt that Beth could win any challenge on this issue.

Mitch Cumstein said...

Is it worse than we think, because it sounds pretty darn bad. And this with the casino revenue.

I've said this before, in the next year you'll start to see municipalities (and school districts) fail in a way that hasn't happened before. I'm not talking about municipalities bankruptcies. I'm saying that they'll STOP FUNCTIONING. If city workers are not paid, they tend not to show up for work. The wildcard is how much longer the federal gov't can continue the bailout game w/o its own ticket being pulled.

Expect a really harsh 2011 w/ new realities.

Anonymous said...

How come there is no one other than a blogger and a fired city employee?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
How come there is no one other than a blogger and a fired city employee?

Attaboy, anon...shoot the mailman!

VOR

Bernie O'Hare said...

"there is no one other than a blogger and a fired city employee?"

Plenty more than that, bippy. There was a dude running for Congress making many of the same observations. There was an independent auditor. There are reams of City employees, some of whom are now speaking out at meetings.

Anonymous said...

Well bippy. Council can change this and raise taxes..Of course that would take guts so I'm not expecting it..It's sad. When Ken Smith was there the city had to raise taxes at times but it was always small modest increase to make sure the city finances remained stable and the city continued to blossom..Now it's all the rage to cut cut cut taxes or attempt to continue by borrowing money and passing on the costs to future generations..Maybe it'll work since the majority of these tea baggers are over 70..If you wait a few years to raise taxes there might be no one around to complain..

Bernie O'Hare said...

Excuse me, but this transcends the tea party mentality. It is a poor financial practice to take borrowed money and use it to pay operating expenses. It might even be illegal. The City was specifically tagged by an independent auditor over precisely this kind of conduct. And now, the congressional candidate who bragged about reducing debt is the Mayor who insists the City must borrow more.

He has been Mayor for 5 years. Before that, he was an active member of City Council. He has resisted efforts by people like Leeson and Schweder, both of whom are Democrats, to make Bethlehem more accountable.

Don't blame the tea party because Callahan has mismanaged City finances.

Anonymous said...

This is the problem with Bethlehem government. It is incestuous. The City did fine with Smith. He was one of the few outsiders to get elected in Bethlehem.

Unless you are the grandson of a fireman or a school legacy you don't serve.

The city's next mayor is already on City Council. Isn't that a scary thought. None of these brain surgeons have the guts or firepower to fix the problems.

But that is the story of Bethlehem.

Bernie O'Hare said...

One of them does. Maybe two.