Borough council welcomed a new police commander and decided on a final budget Nov. 20.
Council members introduced Police Chief Todd Pantuso to the community as the replacement for retired George Bruneio. Pantuso has 27 years of experience and most recently comes from Warren County, New Jersey.
"I'm looking forward to serving the residents of the borough," Pantuso said. He will promote an open-door policy and he said he wants citizens to feel welcome at the office. "If it's important to the residents, it's important to the police department," he said.
Northampton County's next elected county executive will not be seeing a pay raise. In spite of researched facts, Northampton County Council advocates for raising the executive's pay to $95,000 were defeated soundly by a 2-7 vote.
Discussion at council's Nov. 15 meeting ranged from the poor economy to the prospective candidates for the top job in the county. This is John Stoffa's last term as county executive. Executive's pay is currently at $84,700, so the proposed raise would be $10,300.
At their Nov. 18 meeting, Bethlehem Township Commissioners unanimously authorized Finance Director Andrew Freda to advertise a no-tax increase budget for 2013. At $16.2 million, the budget retains a 5.99 millage rate, under which a home assessed at $75,000 would be taxed $449.25.
After a 30-day public inspection period, commissioners will vote on the budget at their Dec. 17 meeting.
Finding abandoned or illegally parked cars on county property will carry stiffer fines. Northampton County Council unanimously approved increased fees for violations of the county's parking of vehicles' regulations at its Nov. 15 meeting. A traffic ticket will be issued with a fine of $50 for any vehicle parked in a handicapped spot and not displaying a current handicapped placard. If the ticket is paid after 14 business days, the fine increases to $70.
Christmas City USA opened its 75th anniversary Nov. 23 with Bethlehem's annual tree lighting ceremony at Payrow Plaza. The weather was perfect as the crowd filled the plaza to capacity under a nearly full moon. Bethlehem Catholic HS's band entertained the spectators with the sounds of the season and the Liberty HS A Capella Choir added a sweet touch to the night air.
Bethlehem Township Commissioners have settled litigation against a financial advice firm that recommended a streetlight purchase deal gone awry. At their Nov. 18 meeting, the commissioners unanimously authorized the settlement, although details are under wraps until both sides have signed off.
Saucon Valley High School Principal Eric Kahler presented to school board members, teachers and parents proposed graduation changes at the board's Oct. 23 meeting.
The changes, which were not well received by those in attendance, will see graduation credit requirements go from 28 credits to 26 credits. The changes will allow students greater leeway in earning 17 credits in core subjects. Also, Advanced Placement classes will receive greater weight than honors courses when calculating grade point averages.