Bethlehem Press

Monday, June 1, 2020

Bethlehem--Morganelli threatens Sands over $10M host fee

Monday, January 9, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Bethlehem Sands has been warned that if it persists in its refusal to pay the $10 million annual host fee, as other casinos have pledged, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli just might exercise “prosecutorial discretion” and direct the gaming house to pursue civil remedies for petty crimes like bad checks. Sands has bristled at Morganelli’s threat, pointing to a $1 billion investment in Bethlehem, including the creation of 2,500 jobs.

What has happened?

Negrón-Dipini, Colón introduce ethics proposal for city government

Monday, January 9, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

When Olga Negrón-Dipini and Michael Colón were elected to Bethlehem City Council a little over a year ago, neither had any monetary support from the usual gaggle of developers, lawyers and engineers who have business dealings with the city. That’s a claim few other council members or Mayor Bob Donchez can make.

Negrón-Dipini and Colón would like that to change, and have introduced a 31-page good government ordinance that takes aim at the pay-to-play practices so common in government. It was introduced Jan. 3.

Revisiting Christmas Day 1776

Monday, January 2, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

On Christmas Day 2016, a huge crowd of about 10,000, brought out by mild weather, left their homes to watch or participate in a re-enactment of what is known as Washington’s Crossing, a daring raid on a Hessian encampment at Trenton. This event took place at Washington Crossing Park, located on both sides of the Delaware River, less than an hour’s drive from Bethlehem.

Gen. George Washington, whose army of 20,000 had disintegrated to a scant 2,400, gambled everything on the success of this attack. “Victory or Death!” was the password.

No COLA for retirees

Monday, January 2, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Instead of a COLA (cost of living adjustment), Northampton County’s 1,200 or so retirees will be getting a lump of coal this Christmas.

According to Council President John Cusick, a COLA was voted down at the most recent retirement board meeting. Retirees have no representative on the board, despite having presented three names to Executive John Brown in October. Former Executive John Stoffa had been serving retirees, but was forced to step down for health reasons.

The last time retirees received a COLA was in 2013, Stoffa’s last year in office.

Taxes don’t rise, but sewer rates do

Monday, January 2, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

At their final meeting of the year Dec.19, Bethlehem Township commissioners approved a no-tax-hike budget for 2017 in a 4-1 vote. Michael Hudak was the sole dissenter. But they also unanimously approved a slight increase in the sewer rate.

What does this mean? If your home is assessed at $100,000, you will continue to pay the same $709 tax bill that you paid this year. Your sewer rate will also remain the same $52.50 you pay each quarter unless you are using more than 6,000 gallons. If you do, you will see an increase of 0.00707 cents per gallon above the 6,000 gallons.

Northampton Council condemns Cunningham

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Don Cunningham, Bethlehem’s former Mayor and Lehigh County’s former executive, is now the president and CEO at Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), a private nonprofit corporation that brings and retains businesses in the Lehigh Valley. More than half of its annual funding comes from Northampton and Lehigh County, much of it in the form of hotel taxes.

Allen confirmed as administrator

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

A divided Northampton County Council voted Dec. 1 to confirm Cathy Allen as director of administration, with a starting salary of $91,790. The vote was 6-3. Hayden Phillips, Matt Dietz and Bob Werner voted against. The remaining council members supported her.

Aside from the executive himself, the administrator is generally regarded as the most powerful position in Northampton County government.

Board Ok’s Bulldogs announcer’s box

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

For the past few years, Bulldogs football games have been announced from a rickety concoction of scaffolding and plywood that looks like all it needs is a good wind to become an announcer’s stand in Bethlehem City.

Frank Grillo, who is president of the Bethlehem Township Athletic Association, decided something had to be done as a matter of public safety.

At their Dec. 5 meeting, commissioners agreed and unanimously authorized the township manager to enter into a license agreement under which a more permanent announcer’s box can be built.