|About 45 residents unhappy with $2.5 MM Prictetag for Community Center repairs|
|Entech's Ryan Kennedy|
"This just seems to be negligence," complained Craig Storrs, who also questioned whether township officials inspected the work in 2006. "We've already had one instance of a contractor defrauding the Township," he added, referring to the streetlight scam that cost the township over $800,000.
Solicitor Jim Broughal rejected suggestions that the Township sue over improper design or poor workmanship. "Construction litigation is extremely expensive," he observed, noting that the Township would be required to hire an architect to act as an expertt witness and could lose in a counterclaim. But Broughal, and no one else for that matter, was able to answer whether any of the material or work was under warranty. 'how long has this been going on and you don't know if you had a warranty?" asked Ron Ford.
Barry Roth complained that on his own tour of the facility, he noticed that a stairwell is coming from the wall. "Who was watching these guys?" he asked.
George Olson suggested that instead of telling residents that they should have saved money that could have gone to tax hikes, the Township should just sell the center. "I'm sick and tired of politicians telling me what to do with my money," he said. He also suggested that the township raise membership rates to pay for repairs.
"I smell another big tax increase coming," said Lorenzo Queral.
Township officials countered it's too soon to predict whether there will be a tax hike next year.
Queral and Olson also complained about the cost of participating in the Bethlehem Area Public Library. Queral complained that the library is supported by the "elite few," and that library advocate Tom Nolan is looking at this issue with "prejudiced eyes. He predicted that, in a referendum, the township would opt out of the library.
Malissa Davis said that she would prefer to see the cost based on users of the library instead of the number of residents, but said that is barred by the Library Code. Pointing to the $17 per capita annual cost of the library, she said it's aboiut $1.50 per month. "That's a candy bar," she said.
Broughal told Queral and Olson that a library referendum would be illegal, but must have been referring to a nonbinding referendum, disfavored by courts as "advisory opinions." Bethlehem Township has had five library referenda. They are specifically permitted by the Library Code. if the question is phrased to impose a tax for the library.
"If we had one, I think it would probably pass," said Bill Berry, himself a former Commissioner.
Commissioners Mike Hudak and Kim Jenkins were absent.