Bethlehem Press

Saturday, December 15, 2018

BETHLEHEM TOWNSHIP-Township facing possible 9% tax hike

Monday, December 10, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

At their Nov. 18 meeting Bethlehem Township Commissioners voted unanimously to advertise a budget for next year that imposes a 9 percent tax hike. This decision follows three budget hearings. The proposed spending plan can be reviewed on the township website or physically inspected at the municipal building. A final vote is planned for Dec. 17.

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY-McClure’s budget: No 2019 tax hike

Monday, December 10, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County Council has unanimously approved Executive Lamont McClure’s $455 million spending plan for next year. It holds the line on taxes, keeping the tax rate at 11.8 mills There’s been no increase in county taxes since 2015, when a half mill tax hike was approved by a previous council under former Executive John Brown.

BETHLEHEM TOWNSHIP-Kristine Blake fills Nolan’s seat

Monday, December 10, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Better late than never. Attorney Kristine Blake was a few minutes late for her first meeting as a Bethlehem Township commissioner. The audience still applauded when she took the oath of office, administered by Judge Jennifer Sletvold during the Nov. 18 meeting.

She replaces Tom Nolan, who died in office after three decades of service.

In addition to Blake, former commissioners Art Murphy and Tim Brady had applied for the post. Commissioners Mike Hudak and John Merhotten favored Murphy, while commissioners Malissa Davis and John Gallagher wanted Blake.

NORCO: County hit by cyber attacks; grant tabled

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County is hit by an average of 27,000 cyber attacks daily, according to Executive Lamont McClure. On election day, there were 1.4 million attacks. None succeeded, McClure reported to county council at its Nov. 15 meeting. He said most of the attacks originated from Ukraine. He added that the county currently blocks 44 counties.

County to buy twp. human services building, then build forensic center

Thursday, November 15, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County Council voted unanimously Nov 1 to support a $39 million bond to purchase its Bethlehem Township human services building and build a state-of-the-art forensic center that includes something Coroner Zach Lysek has never had. A morgue.

The human services building, located on Emrick Boulevard, will cost $14,468,731.

County retirees get COLA increase

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County’s Retirement Board voted 6-0 at its Oct. 25 meeting to grant a 1.7 percent cost of living increase (COLA) to retirees, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Voting for this increase were McClure, County Council members Ron Heckman and Bill McGee, Fiscal Affairs Director Steve Barron, employee representative Thomas Guth Jr., and retiree representative Gerald E. “Jerry” Seyfried.

It will be the first COLA granted to retirees since John Stoffa was executive.

Should public funds be spent to repair a church steeple?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Opinion

That’s a question Northampton County Council will decide this year. At its Oct. 1 meeting, council voted unanimously to approve 37 grants, funded with table games taxes, for numerous municipal and nonprofit projects. They tabled a 38th grant request for $20,000 to restore the steeple at Easton’s United Church of Christ. Council Solicitor Chris Spadoni has been directed to research whether this proposed gift runs afoul of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

What the candidates say …

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Lehigh Valley voters will decide Nov. 6 who will succeed Charlie Dent as their next representative in Congress, with an annual salary of $174,000. In some parts of the Lehigh Valley, there are actually two races - a special election in Pa-15 to fill the vacancy created when Dent suddenly resigned; and a regular election in the newly created Pa-7. Since those districts have different demographics, it is entirely possible that one candidate could win the special election while another is the victor in regular race.

What the candidates say …

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Lehigh Valley voters will decide Nov. 6 who will succeed Charlie Dent as their next representative in Congress, with an annual salary of $174,000. In some parts of the Lehigh Valley, there are actually two races - a special election in Pa-15 to fill the vacancy created when Dent suddenly resigned; and a regular election in the newly created Pa-7. Since those districts have different demographics, it is entirely possible that one candidate could win the special election while another is the victor in regular race.