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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Stoffa Proposes No-Tax-Hike Budget in Northampton County

He's Got One Hand on the Door
John Stoffa's Budget Message:

The proposed 2014 budget for Northampton County presents a reasonable spending plan while considering the growing needs of County government. The administration has assembled the 2014 budget without a tax increase while maintaining the tax rate at 10.8 mills.

Personnel costs constitute 44.9% of proposed total operating budget expenditures. These costs increased by approximately $8 million (5.7%). Salaries, which comprise 27.9% of proposed total operating budget expenditures, increased approximately $3.7 million (4.2%). Fringe benefit costs, which represent 17% of proposed total operating budget expenditures, increased approximately $4.3 million (8.3%).

As presented in the 2014 proposed budget, the Open Space Initiative will remain a high priority with 1/2 mil of tax ($3.7 million) set aside for this purpose. Contributions of $700,000 for County parks and $1 million each for municipal parks, farmland preservation and environmentally sensitive are proposed.

In order to understand the 2014 proposed budget, several major events occurred in 2013 which had an impact on the proposed 2014 budget and are listed below:

• The County purchased an archives building to eliminate the need for payments to an outside vendor for record storage services. The building now allows the County to house all archived records locally, under one roof, to eliminate record storage in separate facilities and locations.

• Debt service includes the payments associated with issuance of the 2013 bond. The 2013 bond issue provided funds for capital projects which include reconstruction and rehabilitation of 18 county bridges, replacement of generators at the Courthouse and Gracedale Nursing Home, and renovations to the boiler house at the Gracedale complex.

• Plans were finalized and construction began on a new human services facility located on Emrick Boulevard in Bethlehem Township. The building will consolidate most Human Services divisions into one centralized location for the convenience of the citizens of Northampton County. Occupancy is expected by March of 2014. As a result of this initiative, the Bechtel and Wolf buildings were sold.

• Work on Guaranteed Energy Savings (GESA) projects are near completion throughout the County. The GESA projects savings is evidenced by the decrease in budgeted energy costs throughout the County. These projects included county-wide upgrades to heating, cooling and electrical systems, plumbing, and building insulation. The Gracedale sewer line project is now complete.

Beyond 2014, the County faces additional challenges including ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation costs relating to an additional 15 bridges, potential construction of a regional forensic morgue, a possible stray animal facility and continuing maintenance projects to various County facilities. The County is prepared to meet these challenges while continuing to provide quality services to its citizens.

Finally, I wish to recognize and thank the dedicated accounting staff in Fiscal Affairs for not only assembling this budget, but for their relentless monitoring of the County's spending. Since this is my final budget message, I also wish to thank the present and past County Council Members for their support. But most of all, I wish to recognize and thank the County employees, many of whom labor without recognition in their own dedicated way. As residents and citizens of Northampton County, we should all be proud of their efforts. They are our most valuable resource.

John Stoffa
County Executive


pol hating bitch said...

pay raises r 2 high - fuck the taxpayer again sofa boy

Anonymous said...

Wow! Didn't see that coming.

Yuk, yuk, yuk!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

A no-tax-hike budget, and the first two comments are negative and anonymous. You folks do realize you are assholes, don't you?

Anonymous said...

People know this is a bullshit budget that Stoffa threw together because he cant get the votes for the tax increase the county needs.
He is sliding out the backdoor on the easy train.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, you can prevail on County Council to demand a tax hike now. See how far you get with that.

Stoffa has absolutely no obligation to please anyone. He could propose a 100% tax hike and it would make no difference to him. He is doing what he thinks is right, as he has done throughout eight years in office.

Callahan and Brown would both do well to work for the best interests of the County.

Bill Coker said...

I apparently am an unfortunate soul as I admire John Stoffa for being a man who stands behinds his principles and Ron Angle for being the most informed councilman who called it as it was. In this day and age, anyone with a balanced, no increase budget is my cup of tea. Check the federal budget for a contrast.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Too bad you can't give me a proxie.

Blog Mentor said...

Mezz has issued an olive branch in the form of an eloquent apology, give her some credit and drop the suit Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are off topic. She has had me in court seven times over the last year to answer disgusting accusations that she continued making after a judge ruled they were defamatory per se. She has cost me work. She alienated me from people in the workplace with very disturbing and untrue allegations. This went on for over a year. She has not apologized. She has retracted nothing. She has not disclosed the identity of other players in her defamatory behavior, which includes you. She repeatedly insulted my attorney and began defaming him, too.

As I told her repeatedly , this is no game. In December, we will go to trial and punitive damages will be awarded. Then I will execute on the judgment.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill, you are an unfortunate soul. Stoffa inherited a $60 million dollar surplus from Glenn Reibman and lived off of that. For Angle, he was dumped and not Gracedale.
Better find different role models.

Wait till the next executive has to raise taxes due to Stoffa's negligence.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Haters gonna' hate.

Anonymous said...

What about the fund balance? No mention in the County Exec's message.

Anonymous said...

A bullshit budget from a master of bullshit. Thank God it is his last fake budget. The heavy lifting starts next year when people have to clean up his multiple messes.

I am sure Harpo will disagree.

Anonymous said...

Bond issues for capital projects that should have been budgeted for over the last eight years. A "swaption" that was ignored and let run wild while Nero fiddled on the third floor. Selling off of buildings because the maintenance and capital improvements were ignored. Promotions to political hacks and firing of employees for use of the internet. Disrepair of our County Parks. Protecting the nut job who has nothing to do but check on employees use of the internet to see if they are talking about him. Quite a legacy to leave.
It appears he thanked everyone but the person he should have thanked. Glenn Reibman. He's the guy who raised taxes through the roof and created the 60 million dollar surplus that Stoffa pissed away over the last eight years. When Stoffa found that surplus, why didn't he lower taxes? You praise this guy because you claim he is honest. He was a do nothing County Executive and the County will be better off without him. I agree on one thing. He is honest.

Anonymous said...

Of course not. It's being used to plug some of the structural deficit Stoffa has been running. The rest is made up with overinflated revenues and underestimated expenses. The next Executive will have no choice except to raise taxes. Stoffa is just a typical politician.

Anonymous said...

what happened to we will need to raise taxes because of gracedale. no 20 percent tax increase stoffa and angle must have made a mistake. again. lol that's 3 years straight no tax increase because of gracedale.

Bernie O'Hare said...

We have had no tax hike bc debt has been refinanced, lowering that payment. Gracedale will cost $6.5 MM next year. It is an annual expense that is getting worse. It is not going to get better.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget how he and one of his hacks Ross Marcus defied county law and Marcus went to work with a huge county contractor.

Stoffa said the law should be "exempted" for his guy.

This is a man who plays the nice honest guy card but is known for the con artist he really is.

The county is in huge financial trouble and it is not Gracedale, it is the incompetence of Stoffa. Of course he will use Gracedale as the "fall guy" as the Stoffa/Angle team did for years.

Good riddance to bad news!

Anonymous said...

If Stoffa is so honest, why doesn't he publish his erotic love letters to Trish in the County Insider for all to see what gives him a hard on.

Anonymous said...

Bernie angle said 20 percent and still no increase. spin it anyway you want

Bernie O'Hare said...

How about the truth? Angle and Stoffa both predicted a tax hike that could reach 20 per cent, and both stand by what they said.According to Stoffa, the County was spared a tax hike only because the County borrowed $9.5 MM.

Anonymous said...

So why didn't they tell the public the truth? That the debt could be refinanced. They didn't they said there would have to be a tax increase. Didn't they say serval times there was no other option? Stoffa is the worst county executive ever. When Callahan gets in there he will have a lot of work to do.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa has all along been honest and you are blinded by hatred. You are one of the few who turned the sale of Gracedale into a purely emotional issue, deceiving the people.