Bethlehem City Council unanimously voted Dec. 5 to support Mayor John Callahan's proposal to have large nonprofits contribute funds to help close the city's budget gap.
Nearly 20 percent of Bethlehem's land is occupied by nonprofits, which cannot be taxed. Callahan's proposal does not call for a specific amount to be paid, but the mayor said he would like to see a $1 million total contribution. Lehigh University, Moravian College and Lehigh Valley Health Network are the main targets of the mayor's proposal.
Alumni of Easton Catholic HS reunite once a year, but this time it was an extra special occasion, as the graduates celebrated the 100th anniversary of the school's alumni association recently at Green Pond Country Club.
The high school held its classes in a Victorian home on Sixth Street in Easton. The class sizes were small and each grade had its own classroom. The students would stay in their room all day and the teachers would move from classroom to classroom. The building did not even have its own bathroom.
The South Bethlehem Historical Society Christmas tree display offers 19 trees this year, with each tree decorated to represent a different ethnic group.
The annual lighting event was Nov. 25 in the Comfort Suites lobby.
This year Ukrainian and Mexican trees have been added, joining the Moravian, Hungarian and Portuguese trees among others.
Entertainment for the lighting was provided by the Broughal MS Chorus, the Russian Orthodox Church Choir and The Four Leaf Clovers. City Council member Robert Donchez and State Representative Steve Samuelson spoke at the lighting.
Bethlehem City Council unanimously approved the 2013 Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program budget for 2013 at its Nov. 7 meeting.
The budget, which featured amendments by council members William Reynolds and Karen Dolan, will provide $10,000 to the Southside branch of the Bethlehem Public Library, $15,000 to drug surveillance overtime for city police officers and $15,000 toward the Employer Assisted Housing Program as part the roughly $1 million budget.
Bethlehem City Council held a public hearing for the distribution of the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) at its Oct. 16 meeting in city hall.
The city will use $1,053,234 to help fund various projects, including $106,000 for street overlays, $73,526 for the Lynn Avenue Bridge and $15,000 for the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living.
The proposed CDBG budget also included $25,000 for employer assisted housing. This is the first year for the program and would help assist some city employees get housing in Bethlehem.
An amendment to the zoning code that would create more restrictions on what is allowed to occupy a corner store was unanimously approved to be sent to the planning committee at the Oct. 2 Bethlehem City Council meeting.
The zoning code that was passed in early August allowed use corner homes in residential neighborhoods to be used as businesses. The proposed amendment would exempt tattoo parlors and pawn shops from operating out of these corner stores.
The amendment comes after city residents such as Bruce Haines voiced complaints about the new zoning codes.
The South Bethlehem Historical Society discussed a plan that would attempt to get more young people interested and involved in the history of the borough at its Sept. 11 meeting.
"To keep a historical society or anything that delves back into history, you need the participation of younger people," Lucy Flynn said. "You have to really dazzle them and get their families involved."
The first reading of a bill that would renew and expand the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) program was completed at the Sept. 19 Bethlehem City Council meeting.
The LERTA program allows companies to forgo paying property tax in the first year of new construction and then pay 10 percent more each year until they return to paying full property tax after a decade.
Lehigh County Commissioners voted 6-2 in favor of withdrawing from a joint-county health department with Northampton County at their Aug. 8 meeting in Allentown.
A bill to start a bi-county health department with Northampton County was originally signed in 2007, but the department was never put in place and the board of commissioners finally decided to kill the health department with a bill that was co-sponsored by five of the nine commissioners.
William Hansell was appointed Lehigh County Executive in a unanimous decision by the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners at its Aug. 8 meeting in Allentown.
Hansell, of Lower Macungie Township, takes over for Don Cunningham, who left the position July 8 to become the president and chief executive officer of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. Hansell has worked in government for nearly 50 years, including a recent stint as a Lehigh County Commissioner from 2010 to 2011, when he finished the term of Bill Leiner Jr.