Each of the 35 applications received a numerical rating by each Board member.
The 6th highest rated application was a combined request by Wind Gap, Pen Argyl and Plainfield for $150,000 to help establish the Slate Belt Police Department, a new regionalize police force in Northampton County. This project had the support of Northampton County Council member Scott Parsons, who was President of Wind Gap Borough Council.
But Ken Kraft, the Northampton County Council non-voting liaison, argued that application should be rejected because Wind Gap mishandled a previous grant award in 2012. Executive Director Karen Collis explained that the previous grant award to Wind Gap "fell within the scope of the entire project." She added that Wind Gap did file a late compliance report, but did return unspent grant funds.
Kelly pointed out that Wind Gap's noncompliance was made known to all board members before they rated each project, and still came in at #6. "It finished fairly high in the overall ranking of the projects," he observed.
By a 7-2 vote, the Gaming Authority voted to fully fund the 16 most worthy grants, as opposed to partially funding each municipal request.
Bethlehem Township Commissioner Tom Nolan, whose township's request was rated #30, advocated a distribution to each grant applicant, where "everybody goes away with something." Freemansburg Mayor Gerald Yob, whose Borough's application was rated at #28, joined Nolan in voting unsuccessfully against fully funding the highest rated projects.
Joe Kelly, representing the City of Bethlehem, countered Nolan's argument by noting that that some municipalities would lack the resources to fund the difference between what is needed and a pro rata award. Chairman Jay Finnigan agreed, noting that Tatamy in particular, had warned "they are pretty strapped for money." Joining Kelly and Finnigan in voting to fully fund the 16 most worthy projects were David J. Heintzelman, David Willard, Tony Pristash, John Dally,Jr. and James Pennington.
The highest rated projects, in order, are as follows:
- Stockertown - $30,000 for a new police vehicle and accessories
- Bangor -$47,461 for emergency response police vehicle and equipment
- Bushkill - $50,00 for two new outfitted police vehicles
- Forks - $36,531 for new outfitted police vehicle
- Washington - $45,971 for Ford Expedition police vehicle with four-wheel drive
- Pen Argyl, Plainfield and Wind Gap - $150,000 to establish Slate Belt Police Station
- Roseto - $50,000 for fire company breathing apparatus and portable police radios
- N Catasauqua - $28,415 for updated in-car cameras
- Upper Nazareth - $10,625 for thermal imaging equipment in search and rescue operations
- Hellertown - $47.985 for new police vehicle and forced entry equipment
- Lower Saucon -$9,398 for 16 security cameras at township complex
- Hanover - $39,000 for two radar speed signs
- Lower Nazareth - $49,431 for traffic signal battery back-ups
- Tatamy - $28,058 for road crew truck and police computer work station
- East Allen - $42,897 for security cameras at three municipal locations
- Palmer - $48,965 for computerized accident and crime scene mapping software
You can see all 35 grant applications, and how they were rated, here.