Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bethlehem Tp Discusses Roof Warranty, Route 191 and Governor Christie

Bethlehem Tp Community Center
As reported yesterday, Bethlehem Township Solicitor Jim Broughal thinks it would be a waste of time and money to sue over $2 million in repairs needed at the ten-year old community center, which was built at a cost of $11 million. Most of the claims are time-barred, he explained at the October 17 Commissioners' meeting. But a possibly defective roof did include a 20-year warranty, he advised, and Commissioners unanimously have decided to make a claim with JohnsManville Roofing.  

In other business, Commissioners directed Township Engineer Brian Dillman to study the Route 191 corridor between its intersections with Route 22 and Brodhead Road. Tom Nolan said that over the past weekend, there were two accidents in this area. There have been 126 accidents just at the Route 191-22 intersection ince 2011, according to a report obtained by the township police.

Tom Nolan
Nolan believes that some of the problem occurs where Route 22 exits north onto Route 191, where there is only a yield sign. He added that 18-wheelers have trouble turning onto Route 22 from Route 191.

Route 191 is a PennDOT road, so the Township is limited in what it can do. It might be able to change the timing of the lights or replace the yield sign with a stop sign.

Resident Barry Roth, who operates a tow truck, said the problem extends south to Perkins."It's a disaster," he claimed. He noted traffic stacks along the entire corridor.

Commissioners also re-visited its termination of K-9 Officer Dan Barsnica, who was terminated in 2015. Barsnica filed a grievance, but proposed a settlement under the terms of which the Township withdrew its termination and allowed him to resign voluntarily. There would be no payout, and Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the settlement.

Jim Broughal
Finally, Manager Melissa Shafer told Commissioners that Governor Chris Christie's proposed termination of a Pa.-NJ tax deal could have an impact on the Township. Bethlehem Township includes many New Jersey transplants who still work in the Garden State.

Under the current system, a township resident who works in New Jersey pays his income taxes in Pennsylvania, which is set at a flat 3.07%. Those taxes, along with the earned income tax, are usually collected by the New Jersey employer and remitted to Pennsylvania and the municipality.

Christie, who is miffed that the New Jersey state legislature has failed to come up with $250 million in cuts to the healthcare costs of public workers, has proposed scrapping a nearly 40-year old reciprocity agreement, to bring in $180 million in taxes annually.

Unlike Pennsylvania's uniform 3.07% tax, New Jersey has a progressivetax rate,depending on income.It can be as low as 1.4% or as high as 8.97%.

One township resident who works in New Jersey stated that, if he is forced to pay his income taxes there, it will cost him $300 per month. He will paying more to commute to his job, too, thanks to a 23-cent per gallon hike in gas taxes.

"It's a double whammy," he said.


Anonymous said...

not a proposal anymore. Christie scrapped the agreement. People working in NJ now have to file another tax return

Bernie O'Hare said...

Holy shit!

Peter J.Cochran said...

Well,Bernie in Forks we have lots of New Jersey transplants.The morning traffic is a tribute to that.They are as pushy as there were in Passaic County-here. People that were smart enough to vote with their feet.But the 'COST'to PA.residents that lived here for 50 years or more are 'silent', nobody say boo about our costs. Residential markets of people in reproductive stages cost us in school taxes we probably would not bear. Auto insurance rates were some of the lowest rate anywhere -not now the rest of us are in their risk pool. So it's poetic justice, that they don't like what they asked for.