War is brewing between Northampton County and its own creation, the General Purpose Authority (GPA). At their April 10 meeting, GPA board members voted to hire Philadelphia law firm Conrad and O’Brien as “special counsel” for anticipated litigation against the county. No bids were sought from other firms.
Lamont McClure is pleased to announce that the County of Northampton will competitively award grants to be funded from revenues collected from the Northampton County Hotel Tax. The Hotel Tax funds are provided for under Northampton County Resolution No. 440 of 2005, as authorized by P.L. 307 of 2000 and amended by Act 12 of 2005, by imposing a Hotel Room Rental Tax of 4 percent on hotel guests, to be used for tourism and community development initiatives.
At their April 10 meeting, Hanover Township Supervisors unanimously approved an agreement that will allow Bath Borough to leave the Colonial Regional Police Department six months sooner than was expected. Under its contract, Bath was required to continue using the services of Colonial Regional until Jan. 1, 2019. But at Bath’s request, its separation from the regional police department will be accelerated to July 1, 2018. Bath will still be required to pay Colonial Regional $242,714.88. It will also pay $92.26 per hour for contract services.
Though it was April 17, cold weather and falling snow made everyone feel as though Christmas was just around he corner. For 37 Northampton County municipalities, it is. That’s because Northampton County’s Gaming Board decided that night, during a special meeting at Hanover Township’s Municipal Building, to award grants of $31,440 to every Northampton County municipality, with the exception of Bethlehem. The Christmas City was omitted only because it already receives the lion’s share of gaming revenue.
James C. Kostura is a former Navy Seal who began working for Northampton County Corrections in 1993. He started out as a corrections officer and worked his way up through the ranks to became a deputy warden in charge of community corrections. Recently he was confirmed unanimously as director of corrections, replacing former Director Dan Keen.
Kostura’s salary is set at $93,626.
There were several bad jokes about Kostura “diving” into the new job.
Friendly’s Convenience Store, located at 4209 William Penn Highway in Bethlehem Township, is about to get a lot friendlier. So are two township Giant stores located off Linden Street and Easton Avenue. All three locations will soon be adding a very popular item to their inventory – alcohol. At their April 2 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved liquor license transfers for all three locations.
When he was a member of Northampton County Council, Lamont McClure drafted the legislation creating the county’s nine-member Gaming Board. As executive, he wants to abolish it. “The Gaming Board’s time has come and gone,” he told council last week. “I brought the Gaming Authority into the world; it’s time to take it out.”
One way to handle an influx of extra inmates is to build a new jail. That’s what former NorCo Exec John Brown wanted to do. But there’s another way. It’s simply to reduce the jail population by releasing people who pose no risk to anyone. Northampton County court officials have come up with a plan to make that happen. At their March 15 meeting, Northampton County Council voted unanimously to support it by adding a new pretrial services officer
Gracedale Nursing Home, which is owned by Northampton County, has been struggling with its Medicare rating for quality measures. This system appears online and applies to all nursing homes. It reflects the quality of care afforded to residents. Gracedale’s rating had dipped to one star, the lowest rating. It currently is back at two stars, which is still considered below average.
When the next Northampton County Controller is sworn into office in January 2020, he or she will be paid $10,000 more than the $65,000 annual salary that Bucky Szulborski receives now. On March 15, a divided county council approved the raise by a 6-2-1 vote. Voting for the increase were John Cusick, Matt Dietz, Peg Ferraro, Ken Kraft, Bob Werner and Tara Zrinski. Voting no were Lori Vargo Heffner and Ron Heckman. Bill McGee abstained.