|Phil Barnard and Marty Zawarski|
First is the hysteria that Pat Breslin managed to whip up concerning what was originally proposed as a 37.6% tax hike Although it was eventually whittled down to 18%, angry taxpayers jammed into four budget hearings in protest.
Second, Facebook condemnations from incumbent Comm'r Michael Hudak added fuel to that fire. Hudak also portrayed the Bethlehem Township Athletic Association (Bulldogs) as a money-grabbing bogeyman intent on shackling taxpayers with $500,000 bathrooms at the athletic fields. When one taxpayer challenged Hudak, he responded that he was reporting the Bulldogs to the IRS and insinuated its membership consists of people who transplanted here from New Jersey.
Third, the township is plagued by overdevelopment and a real stormwater problem. A lot of the blame for that was placed on Marty Zawarski, whose father was a developer.
Barnard faced Democratic candidate Kim Jenkins. She ran no campaign and may have attended one meeting. She won by a scant eight votes. Zawarski, who faced Democratic replacement Malissa Davis after Jack Glagola bowed out of the race, lost by a much wider margin. He was defeated by 445 votes.
Ironically, much of this support came from the large tea party faction living in Bethlehem Township. .
Neither Zawarski nor Barnard expressed any bitterness at their final meeting. Zawarski thanked everyone "for putting up with me." For his part, Barnard commended the Township's "tremendous staff."
Zawarski and Barnard, along with Tom Nolan, then voted to adopt the 2016 Budget. Michael Hudak and Pat Breslin both skipped this meeting, perhaps the most important of the year, in which the spending plan is adopted. Hudak had opposed the Budget, but Breslin supported it at the previous meeting, and cast a vote in favor of an amendment that would restore funding to the Bulldogs. By absenting himself from the final vote, Breslin can claim, disingenuously, that he never supported a tax hike.
Breslin was absent from five of 22 meetings in 2015. Hudak missed three, and walked out of a fourth.. Zawarski was absent once. Both Barnard and Nolan had perfect attendance.