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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Justice For Sale in West Easton

On Thursday night, when Northampton County Council takes up a possible work release and treatment center for 100 inmates, we already know there will be questions about the length of the lease, as well as a controversial $150 fee to be paid to West Easton to every inmate housed there. That fee is part of an Ordinance, and Mayor Gerald Gross has told the Express Times it's the Borough's price for something that is unpopular.

But is it legal? How can West Easton charge these tenants a fee when no similar charge is imposed on others?

On top of that, is West Easton's own financial house in order? In response to a Right-to-Know-Law request filed by a local resident, the 2010 independent audit reveals that "the financial statements above do not present fairly, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, the financial position of the Borough as of December 31, 2010, or changes in financial position for the year then ended."

This negative audit, prepared by CPA David Kunsman, basically takes the Borough to task for using the wrong accounting method, as opposed to more serious flaws like a deficit. In fact, the Borough could probably impose a tax moratorium for three years and not miss a beat, thanks to a very healthy sewer fund.

But why, then, does it need to impose a $150 per person fee? Is this fair to people who simply are unable to afford it? This really needs more consideration.


Anonymous said...

This is bullshit. County Council should not even vote on it. If Stoffa were doing his job he would have never agreed to it. Many of the guys who end up there will be
drug addict bums. Who will pay the fee, we the taxpayers. So it is bad to help the poor elderly at Gracedale but it fine to subsidize the drugged up and drunk bums at the Atiyah center.

Any County Council member that supports this will truly cement their image as the worst elected officials in the history of Northampton County.

Anonymous said...

West Easton Borough rolled out the red carpet for ABe Atiyeh, allowing him to circumvent the zoning process, by handing him an ordinance on a silver platter. A concerned citizen group had no ability to intervene for a project that was immensely unpopular.

The Borough taxpayers were sold out because the slobbering lap dogs Kelly Gross, Tom Nodoline, Dan DePaul and Karl Hontz voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance with huge dollar signs flashing in their corrupt eyes.

They say it will lower our taxes but they are not trustworthy. They waste money on legal fees daily because they refuse to follow the RTK law, and are constantly in some type of litigation. They collect a sewer fee quarterly which is 3 times the amount needed. We are billed separate for garbage /recycling which has become a whopping $300 per year. We can do our own recycling.

The EPD is controlled by Mayor Gross who decides when and if an investigation will take place, for an outlandish fee of $65.00 per hour, on top of a fixed $150,000 per year contract. If you are well liked, the cops help you. If not, your loss.

If West Easton wants to lower their taxes, they need to eject the elected council president Kelly Gross from serving as the RTK officer, vote out Kelly Gross who is up for election in Novemeber, use state police coverage, lower the sewer bill, and cancel the recycling contract. That alone will cut our taxes in half.

We dont need a hand out from the county, just borough officials with an IQ higher than 50.


Anonymous said...

The ordinance was adopted at a televised special meeting which took place in August 2010. The Borough Solicitor, Peter Layman, advised council that the $150 fee was not enforceable. But that did not stop the council from racing to a vote to pass it. Corrupt? Is a kickback in the works?

Let the council members stand outside the work release facility like carnival workers trying to collect an admission fee, since they think this is legal.

West Easton blunders again.

Anonymous said...

West Easton over expended its general fund budget by taking money from the restricted sewer account. That is a deficit.

brenda said...

No one will ever convince me that West Easton wants to lower taxes. Taxes have more than doubled in less than a decade, while the Borough Counciul continues to have a relentless appetite for worthless and wasteful spending.

For example, a park pavillion was recently closed down due to grafitti. Instead of removing the graffitti, they enclosed it so no one can enter. Lots of money spent while the roads continue to decay with piles of snow, ice and not enough salt, and a borough vehicle that is 20 plus years old

Anonymous said...

West Easton was given a 10K state grant 2 years ago for implementation of accounting software in accordance with GAAP. Its AMS accounting system, used by other local towns/boroughs.

Problem is, Kelly Gross wants to run everything, understands nothing and refuses to use the system to actually account for money. Their refusal to use the accounting system properly facilitates their lack of accountability to taxpayers, state government and auditors. I hope the adverse audit was turned over to the DA

Anonymous said...

Talk about opening PANDORA'S BOX. If I were a County Official (which I am not) I would wonder if Easton is now going to follow suit and have a charge (per person) for convicts in the prison. Also for the youths in the Juvenile Detention Center. How about residents at Gracedale. Nazareth needs money too. Maybe they will implement a fee. We're now talking about 2,000 people the County will have to pay a fee of $150.00. If my math is right, that totals $300,000 in fees for the County alone. Since it is safe to assume that if these fees aren't contested, this will expand to other agencies in the County. Talk about opening PANDORAS BOX.

Anonymous said...

A problem with the fee is that it does not go to cover room and board for the inmate. It goes to the West Easton general fund, which means its a tax. Didnt think local governments had this taxing authority over prisoners.

Anonymous said...

These little family business municipalities are like drying shit. The more you rake it, the worse the stench becomes.

Anonymous said...

Gee, my taxes in Easton are the highest in the county and we house a REAL prison. What has the county done for us, the county seat???? NOTHING.

This smells to the highest dedree.

Anonymous said...

Hey dude....at least you have a prison

Anonymous said...

How about bitching about the occupation priviledge tax you collect. big bucks idiot

Anonymous said...

FYI: the fee was originally intended for the residents of the facility when it was proposed to be a private treatment center.

Anonymous said...

The fee was never intended for anyone but West Easton general fund, wether it was a private company running it, or the county. The $150.00 prepaid resident fee is nothing more than a tax to the prisoner, no matter which way you wash it. Any moron knows you cannot levy a special tax on a sentenced prisoner. This is not a hotel tax. I hope the voters in West Easton know what to do on election day.

Didnt Mayor Gross start sporting a brand new Cadillac 1 week after the ordinance passed? How about Nodoline's brand new truck right after the ordinance passed? Something stinks!

Anonymous said...

trish, brenda, this is a game set-up between the west easton people, Stoffa/Angle and Atiyah. this is the same bullshit they pulled on Gracedale. The problem is they have a stupid rubber stamp county council that will say, "whatever you want john stoffa".

No real government at the county. Both the courts and DA agree, they run their own houses because the county is on autopilot.

Sad, very Sad!

Harry O' Bern said...

I love anon1235's Pandora's Box analogy. And, let's not forget the only thing left in the Greek myth's box was hope!

Anonymous said...

Let me give you a brief background in west easton politics. The property now owned by Atiyeh , was owned by Lou Pektor. He proposed townhomes and a restaurant on that property. He was represented by Attorney James Preston. But the very same West Easton Borough Council, enraged that someone is in town to make money, stalled his project out so long, that they bankrupted him in the end.

Attorney Preston then returns with new owner Abe, who bought the property in foreclosure, and they propose the DUI center. Preston prepared the ordinance with the $150.00 pre-paid fee. In some strange twist of attorney conflict, Mr. Preston recused from Atiyeh and Ms. Mezzacappa's zoning case (a west easton business owner) at the same time, and Mickey Thompson took over for Abe.

During a town Hall meeting, almost the entire borough showed up to protest the DUI center. And suddenly approval is granted, in a special meeting, by ordinance, not zoning. Very, very odd. Mayor Gross said himself nothing is for free. He sure is right, and I'd love to know whose palm greased whom during this process.

Not sure what happened with the Mezzacappa zoning case, through rumor has it, her attorney kicked ass, then council fired the zoning solicitor.

Anonymous said...

In West Easton, the entire situation is gross.

Anonymous said...

Once again the Klown King John Stoffa has compromised Northampton county. Is this guys term over yet!

Anonymous said...

West Easton is a corrupt tax and spend liberal town. Its worse than bethlum

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Bernie, the majority of the "Anonymous" comments seem to be written by a sour individual who doesn't understand the state requirements local municipalities need to follow. They are different than the private or commercial sector. One example, the audit forms used are not the same as in general accounting practices, they are required by DCED. The pages that have been stated to be missing...seem to be instruction section for the auditor who is performing the audit. Also, many municipalities do not have elected auditors which could be another page and finally if there is no debt within the municipality, that could be a blank page as well. The actual form used can be found on our website to compare.