|Nazareth not among municipalities at last Gaming Board|
hearing, but thinks it will get $50,000
In 2012, Nazareth was awarded $27,500 in uncommitted gaming funds to extend Stoudt Boulevard from its to Gracedale Avenue. Under the terms of the grant, the project had to be finished by October 2013.
This money was really sought for the Nazareth Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which was planning to build a new headquarters in Upper Nazareth, closer to Gracedale. . Though designated a separate nonprofit, it's under the borough's thumb. Its 2012 nonprofit tax return, the most recent one on record, lists the Mayor, two Council members, the Borough Solicitor and the Borough Secretary among its eight board members.
This direct connection between a municipality and a supposedly independent nonprofit certainly undermines the public trust. They vote for Council members and a Mayor, not an ambulance company.
It certainly appears that Nazareth subordinated other needs in the borough, like its aging police fleet, for the ambulance company. It applied for this grant without even knowing whether it would still be providing service to Gracedale because a new contract was being bid, and eventually resulted in litigation.
Council minutes show that Nazareth never even bothered to condemn the land it needs for this roadway until September 2013, right before its gaming grant from the County was set to expire.
"We were a victim of circumstances," complained one Borough official of Nazareth's failure to use its grant money within the time frame allowed. Actually, it appears more like Nazareth was jumping the gun, and was focused on the ambulance company to the detriment of everything else.
Last week, Council member Frank Maurek complimented borough officials on securing a $50,000 grant for the pool patio. Actually, Nazareth never bothered sending anyone to the Gaming Board to explain why $50,000 is needed. All the Board knows is that the last time it gave Nazareth money, it was for nothing. Gaming Board members also indicated they will be looking with suspicion on grant applications from municipalities with a lousy track record. That's Nazareth.
Nazareth Borough Council does not exist to run an ambulance company, but to run the borough. My guess is that its misplaced focus means that, instead of getting $77,500 in gaming grants, it may get nothing. If it wants wants to reduce an anticipated two-mill tax hike next year, it really owes it to the people of Nazareth to send someone who can explain what is wanted and why. I think it's already too late.