About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Did NorCo Council Committees Violate the Sunshine Act?

roadblocks around courthouse
Yesterday, Northampton County Council's Personnel Committee was scheduled to meet at 4 pm. The Finance Committee was supposed to meet as soon as the Personnel Committee was finished. But the 1 pm bomb scare threw a monkey wrench into things, and really prevented people from getting into the courthouse. So in my view, these meetings needed to be postponed to comply with the Sunshine Act. They went on anyway.

When the courthouse was evacuated yesterday, roadblocks were set up along the perimeter of the courthouse, preventing access. These roadblocks were still up after the "all clear" had been given, though only for about ten minutes. I know this because I had left the courthouse and was unable to get through until about 4:10 pm.  The only reason I persisted is because I was told about he "all clear." But how many people who intended to visit one or both of these committees left?

Yesterday, the Finance Committee was reviewing $753,000 in hotel tax applications from nonprofits all throughout the county. My concern is that there may have been applicants who intended to pitch their projects but were unable to do so because they had been turned around.

I voiced these concerns to Council, and suggested the meeting be rescheduled. That suggestion fell on deaf years.

Obviously, applicants who made it to the meeting would have little sympathy for those who did not. But I expected better of Council.

Oxford educated Bridget George made an impassioned plea for additional funding for the Bach Choir, which receives 20,000 visitors every year from 33 different countries. Her funding had been cut in half from $20,000 to $10,000, and it appears that Council will restore it.

Hotel Bethlehem Managing Partner Bruce Haines was no less effective in his pitch for docents used by Historic Bethlehem in its downtown and at its smithy. The administration had proposed a $10,000 cut but Council appears to be ready to restore the $65,000 requested.

John Cusick had concerns about a grant by LV Arts Council, but no one was present from that group to pitch its small grant request.

You can see the hotel tax grant applications here.


Anonymous said...

By virtue of no comments about this story prior to this one, no one really cares. Where is your story about the Tracey Barnes lawsuit, Bernie? That is guaranteed to bring an avalanche of comments.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the angry teabaggers that rail on and on about bad government are OK with this. I guess with the teabaggers it is do as we say, not as we do. Their boys run the county government so the rules are relative, just like their Taxed Enough Already tax increase of 10%

Don't Drink the Tea, just suck on the bag!

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:37, nobody tells me what to write about, to say nothing of an anonymous coward. There is no reason for me to write bc Pete Hall did a great job. Leave your comments there, where you'll have to sign your name.