From Dana Grubb's Campaign: Mayoral candidate Dana Grubb supports Councilperson Bryan Callahan’s proposal to use part of the $33.7 million federal COVID relief funds to reverse the impact of the 5% real estate tax increase imposed by the City of Bethlehem's 2021 budget. Grubb also feels that some of the COVID funding should be used to restore the four firefighter positions that were eliminated in that budget.
Monday, April 12, 2021
Grubb Joins Callahan Call to Roll Back Tax Hike, Reinstate Firefighters
“I disagreed with the combination of tax increase, firefighter cuts, and the introduction of a stormwater tax during the pandemic, at a time when many residents are hurting financially,” says Grubb. "Some on City Council, like their constituents, were probably severely impacted by the pandemic, so I would think they would support their colleague's proposal, which is an avenue for healing."
Grubb feels that public meetings to solicit input from residents should be incorporated into the decision making process for the allocation of the COVID relief funding.
"The pandemic compels us to be our best selves, to come together to help each other and listen to each other," Grubb notes. "The residents come first. City officials should be looking out for them: not adding to their burden, but easing it." He adds that the COVID funding provides city government an avenue to help alleviate some of the hardship that came to everyone as a result of the pandemic.
Blogger's Note: Though municipalities await specific guidelines, the express language of the American Rescue Plan Act provides that money being sent directly to municipalities can be used to replace lost revenue. That obviates the need for the 5% tax hike so callously imposed in Bethlehem last year. It also should enable restoration of the firefighters.
Callahan was the sole member of Council who said No to a tax hike and elimination of four firefighters in the middle of a pandemic. When he suggested that it's now possible to roll back that tax hike and reinstate firefighters, his fellow Council members responded with stony silence. If they actually cared about the citizens they pretend to represent, that might have been a good time for them to open their mouths.