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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Bethlehem Tp No-Tax-Hike Budget Official

As expected, Bethlehem Township Commissioners adopted a no-tax-hike budget at their December 19 meeting. Michael Hudak was the sole No vote. But as also expected, they unanimously approved a slight increase in the sewer rate.

What does this mean? If your home is assessed at $100,000, you will continue to pay the same $709 tax bill that you paid this year. And your sewer rate will remain the same $52.50 you pay each quarter unless you are using more than 6,000 gallons. If you do, you will see an increase of 0.00707 per gallon above the 6,000 gallons.

Township Manager Melissa Shafer reminded the audience that the Township has vacancies on several commissions and boards.

Kim Jenkins reported that the Township is spending $10,600 for mobile speed signs along Bethman and Hecktown Roads. Speeding along Bethman Road has been the subject of complaints at several meetings this year.

In her monthly report, Shafer also reports that the Township received a $400,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development for its $3.9 million Brodhead Road repaving project. She continues to applies for state funding.

Commissioners also decided to put the brakes on an updated comprehensive plan as a result of recommendations made by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. A new hearing on this plan is scheduled for April 17.

As the meeting came to an end, President Pat Breslin remarked that he was happy that, once again, we can say "Merry Christmas!" Breslin was obviously referring to President-elect Donald Trump's contention that there has been a "war on Christmas."

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was Breslin joking or is he another one of those idiots braying on about some war on Christmas. Oh by the way, Merry Christmas, I have been saying it for years and have yet to be arrested.

Anonymous said...

What vacancies are open for applicants? There is nothing on the township website about this.

Anonymous said...

What was the reason for a no vote?

Anonymous said...

Planning Commission (4yr term - expires Dec. 31 of that year)
Harry Powell 2016
Leslie Waler 2016
Recreation Board (5yr term -expires Dec. 31 of that year)
Frank Grillo 2016
Zoning Hearing Board (5yr term - expires Dec. 31 of that year)
Jerry Batcha 2016
Vacancy Board (appointed annually)
Frank Pologruto
Interested citizens should contact the Township Administration

Anonymous said...

Shame on Breslin. He probably is a fake news follower too.

Anonymous said...

Let's see Breslins water bill and if less than 6,000 gallons, he needs to resign as it's proof he does not live in the township!

Anonymous said...

@7:46,
Don't know if we will ever know the truth about his residency. The address he used on his filings with the county is a rental property.

Anonymous said...

If the township would eliminate the free lunches department heads provide to their staff throughout the year, they could shave off a mil in taxes and the senior citizens might be able to starve off foreclosure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 7:27am. Unless you go to the board of commissioners meetings, vacancies such as these are usually communicated to the residents very poorly if at all. That is a shame because there are many qualified people in the township for the various boards and commissions instead of the same in-crowd year after year.

Anonymous said...

Time for a new entrance dirctly off route 22 to and from the industrial park. Probably cheaper than upgrading route 191 entrances

Ben Hedrick said...

9:10am - The cure for that is attendance at the meetings. The announcement of openings, although not contained in the 102 page download of the agenda, was available at the meeting. You would also be able to make your point about lack of communication (which has gotten much better recently) as the board takes very seriously concerns stated in the Courtesy of the Floor segment that opens each meeting. In other meetings, you have learned that we narrowly missed a tax increase this year or that we will probably get one next year.

Please consider attending the meetings and, if you do, come over and say hello to me, the old white haired fool in the front row next to the lovely young lady.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ben. My schedule does not permit me to attend all of the meetings but I read all of the agendas and minutes to keep up on what's going on, along with reading Bernie's excellent coverage since the newspapers don't anymore. While I am not necessarily interested (or qualified) to serve on any of these, I have a neighbor who is a civil engineer that would have been be a good fit for the planning commission but he got frustrated with the lack of communication on these openings. He said one time they posted an opening on the website and just a few days later he called to inquire and was told that it was already filled.

Anonymous said...

@8:12. Every week I see a comment about "Free Lunches" the township is giving its employees. Have you ever bought it up at a meeting? Have you asked the township manager about it? If you are just going to complain on Bernies blog, not going to help much. The way it gets talked about, you would think every township employee eats lunch daily on the taxpayer dime.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:09, I did not ask Hudak his reason for voting No. I came in just as they were taking the vote and he may have explained his reasoning prior to that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

11:28, I know nothing about "free lunches" and have never heard the subject discussed. I will ask Shafer about it next time I see her.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:10, The Tp has significantly increased its outreach. in addition to Comm' and other board meetings, Comm'rs have monthly meetings with residents at BTCC. The Tp is also using Facebook, Twtter, Youtube, Snapchat and Nixel. I'd say Beth Tp tries harder than any community I cover to engage the public.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:40, That does happen, and happened most recently with the ZHB. Hudak got Weiss appointed and, so far as I know, the public was never given an opportunity. Paul was not present and had nothing to do with this appointment. I think that matter should have gone out to the public, although Paul is highly qualified and i can understand that he would probably have been appointed for that reason. .

Anonymous said...

Lunch expenses are listed on credit card items and outside of bill agenda. Every month there are at least 2 department heads spending taxpayer dollars unnecessarily.
Police, sewer and public works departments and staffers are paid quite well in salary and benefits and do not need to be treated to a free lunch, ever! My company has to watch every expense just to stay competitive and irks me to see those free lunches and other frivolous expenses.

Bernie O'Hare said...

So now from free lunches to workers we have two department heads having lunch about once a month on a credit card that is made available to the public. You go right ahead and complain about it. I am not bothered by this.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, it's not their money yet they spend it as if they earned it somehow. Senior citizens debate filling a prescription or paying taxes/ utility bills and township staffers debate where they should have their next free lunch on that same struggling senior citizens back.

Anonymous said...

We all want government to act more like business...except when we don't. the private sector routinely buys their employees lunch on occasion, whether for morale-building purposes, or for a working or training lunch session. i got no issue if government does it too.

and i'm a private sector guy

Bernie O'Hare said...

I agree with private sector guy, especially if it is a working lunch ortheemployee is away and on the road, I have no problem. This is also a far cry from the initial complaint, which appears to have been exaggerated, but if anyone wants this to end, he or she should speak at a meeting.

Anonymous said...

i agree with Bernie. if you want to know what is going on, go to the meeting and ask questions. the expiration date / year of each elected and appointed member is on the Township's website.

all someone needs to do is write to the Township manager and express interest in a position on a Board. i personally do not know of any situation where a person was not interviewed for an open slot. if the Township does not receive any resumes, they may reach out to a person for the position. there are at least 3 Commissioners that have spoken with neighbors, friens, etc about open positions.

everyone should get involved some way if they have complaints. the current opening are for the ZOning Hearing Board and the Municipal Authority.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Breslin has it right for once. It's great that we are now saying Merry Christmas. We are,although some deny it, one Nation Under God!