Bethlehem Township’s volunteer firefighters may soon receive a tax credit for their service under a new law recently signed by Gov. Tom Wolf.
Under this law, municipalities now have the option of establishing and setting the amount for a tax credit for earned income or property taxes for first responders. But to participate in the program, the individual must be an active volunteer, reside in the township and meet certain certification requirements. Also, the tax credit is limited to 20 percent of tax liability.
Northampton County’s Human Resources Department spent $3,950 on gift cards for county employees in late 2016 without prior approval. It is unable to explain how many of them were actually used by employees. That’s the major finding in an audit of the county’s credit cards, called P-cards. The audit, performed by Controller Steve Barron and Lead Auditor Frank Kedl, was presented to County Council and Executive John Brown on Sept. 29. The audit finds P-Card abuse and misuse and is recommending that the county overhaul its staff training and travel policies.
Mark Twain once observed that the only difference between a tax man and taxidermist is that “the taxidermist leaves the skin.” That was the sentiment of most of the over 200 people who crammed into Bethlehem Township’s meeting room Wednesday night for a town hall on property taxes.
On Sunday, Congressman Charlie Dent (R - Pa.15) hosted what was supposed to be a “formal announcement” concerning his intentions next year. But news of his retirement leaked out on Thursday. Dent revealed his intentions to a few of his congressional colleagues, and they spilled the beans.
“They’re wonderful friends, but they have big mouths,” Dent joked Sunday at the swanky Renaissance Hotel in downtown Allentown.
“I just wanted to say thank you to everybody in this room,” said Dent, who apologized for interrupting one of the biggest sports weekends of the year.
Was alcohol a staple in Colonial-era America? That’s one of the claims made on the historic Sun Inn’s webpage. The tavern hopes to replicate that time with Christmas City Spirits, its own distilled beverage. Unanimously, Hanover Township Supervisors voted August 22 to allow Christmas City Spirits to operate a distillery at 167 N Commerce Way. These beverages will supply a tavern whose guest list at one time boasted George Washington, Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Ethan Allen, Alexander Hamilton, Henry Laurens, Richard Lee and Marquis de Lafayette.
In a major surprise that resulted in national headlines, Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent (R Pa.15) announced late last week that he’s decided against seeking re-election next year. He vowed to continue “giving voice to the sensible center and working to solve problems for the American people through smart policy - the product of negotiation, cooperation and inevitably, compromise.”
A seven-term Congressman, Dent has dedicated 27 years of his life to public service.
At their Sept. 4 meeting, Kenn Edinger was honored by Bethlehem Township Commissioners for 20 years of service on the planning commission. That’s an unpaid job for volunteers. He’s leaving with a plaque. But as fellow Planning Commissioner Don Wright joked, no check.
The resolution honoring Edinger, which passed unanimously, cited his “keen insight and important township historical knowledge.”
German discount grocer Lidl (pronounced like needle) is coming to the Lehigh Valley. It has plans for both Whitehall Township and Wilson Borough. And as Bethlehem Township Commissioners learned during their Aug. 21 meeting, a 36,000 square-foot store has been proposed at Freemansburg Square. That’s directly across the street from the recently constructed Shoprite Supermarket. Lidl engineer Mike Jeitner stated that the company’s strategy is to “entrench ourselves in corridors that already have traffic.” He hopes to have all approvals in place so that construction can begin next year.
PBS 39 TOWN HALL - Toomey on Obamacare: ‘Not OK to just tear it up’
Fairly or unfairly, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa) has come under heavy criticism for refusing to meet his constituents at one of those increasingly raucous town halls. One group calling itself Tuesdays with Toomey actually camps outside his legislative offices weekly. Last night, it was Thursday with Toomey. It was a one-hour televised town hall at the Steelstacks’ PBS-39 Studios before a small crowd of 54 people and nine reporters and photographers.
We love our food. Before every snowstorm, we flock to local supermarkets to stock up with milk, eggs and bread. A trip to the grocery is a weekly ritual. Holidays are an excuse for a feast, picnic or barbecue. But amazingly, we only spend about 6.5 percent of our household budget on food. This is far less than any other country in the world. Europeans spend between two and three times as much as we do. Russian families spend nearly a third of their household budget to put food on the table.