Friday, June 18, 2021

NorCo Council Approves $15 Million for Small Business Grants

At their meeting lat night, Northampton County Council voted unanimously to adopt Executive Lamont McClure's "rescue plan" responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. "Let's finish the job," he argued. County Council authorized McClure to spend $30 million, all of which came directly from the federal government.   

The county will receive a second installment of $30 million next year. 

The lion's share of this year's money - $15 million - is earmarked for small businesses within the county. "Our small businesses need us," McClure said. Last year, County Council awarded $10.079 million to 766 mom-and-pop shops struggling to keep their heads above water in the middle of a statewide lockdown. Given the success of that program, administered by the Greater Lehigh Valley of Commerce, McClure would like it to continue. He envisions providing help to 1,000 businesses. 

Between the money provided by the CARES Act last year and the American Rescue Plan this year, Northampton County Council will have spent $25 million on small businesses. 

The remaining money is allocated as follows: $5 million for nonprofits; $1 million for the hotel tax grants; $1 million for GrowNorCo grants. (to help local municipalities fund police departments; $1 million for broadband at schools; $6 million rainy day fund for vaccines, testing, hazard pay and the creation of a PPE surplus; and $1 million for EMS and professional firefighter. 

Council approved this allocation without comment.

In other business, Northampton County Council unanimously authorized the Civil Division to offer passport photos to customers who visit the office to apply for a passport. There will be a fee of $10. 

Council also adopted unanimously a resolution prohibiting the use of tobacco products at county-owned playgrounds and similar facilities. So if you see some toddler lighting one up, you can have her tossed. 

Finally, Council voted unanimously to endorse two contracts hiring Bethlehem lawfirm King Spry Herman Fruend & Faul as outside counsel for general outside legal work and worker's compensation cases at fairly modest hourly rates. 


12 comments:

Anonymous said...

McClure will make lots of new friends handing out all those checks.

Anonymous said...

Too many restaurants getting handouts. No monies should go to any restaurant that has not been in business for at least 10 years. Restaurants fail because quite honestly, their food sucks!

Anonymous said...

For a well established law firm to assist the city as a "fairly reasonable" fee deserve recognition. Thank you Bernie for letting us know.

Anonymous said...

@7:23,

That is an ignorant statement. Restaurants that served excellent meals and were well established had to shutter. Owners have taken second mortgages to remain viable.

Joel said...

Happy Birthday Bernie!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks Joel. Nice to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Their fee may be reasonable but what about the quality of the work that will be provided. Most of their attorneys are mediocre at best. This could wind up costing the taxpayers a great deal of money with less than stellar work on their part. Perhaps this was a case of political patronage. How much have the partners of the firm donated to his campaign since he became executive?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I Will check. I personally believe anyone who contributes to a candidate for county office should be barred from doing business with the county for a period of time. I do not think that violates free speech.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Bernie, hope you have a great day!

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Another birthday? You've come a long way from your early blogger days when you used charcoal on the cave walls. LOL

steve melnick said...

Happy birthday, Bernie

Anonymous said...

It's never a good idea to have government apparatchiks handing out money. The best idea is to simply give struggling businesses that would otherwise get checks a tax / fee holiday and a tax holiday to their employees so the business owners have a competitive advantage to hire the best people -- the sort of people they need in tough times.

Of course, that might lead to lost tax revenue that might necessitate firing some government "workers," but how could that possibly be a bad thing?