Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Lehigh County commissioners discuss term limits

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Lehigh County Board of Commissioners discussed the ramifications of a proposed referendum amending the Home Rule Charter contained in a motion by Commissioner Amy Zanelli to limit commissioners to three terms.

Commissioner Nathan Brown, speaking during the governance committee before the regular Feb. 27 meeting, said he does not see a need for term limits in local government, which he defined as county government and below.

Chairman Marty Nothstein said he supports term limits for higher government levels.

Lehigh County commissioners name jail warden

Wednesday, December 26, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Board approves council appointments, land leases, equipment for coroner

Lehigh County Board of Commissioners conducted routine business Dec. 12, approving the appointment of Kyle A. Russell to the position of warden of the county jail. At a previous meeting, the board signaled approval of the appointment by voting for Russell’s appointment in a preliminary or first hearing vote.

Sarah Andrew was reappointed to the Aging and Adult Services Advisory Council, while Patrick Palmer was appointed to the council. The votes were unanimous by those present. Commissioner Percy Dougherty was absent.

Board overturns county budget veto

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

In a party-line 6-3 vote Nov. 14, Lehigh County Board of Commissioners overturned county Executive Phillips Armstrong’s Oct. 31 veto of the proposed 2019 budget.

Democrats Dan Hartzell, Amy Zanelli and Geoff Brace voted against the amendment, which would have reduced the tax rate for county residents.

The Nov. 14 action effectively put to rest the disagreement about what the millage rate will be next year. Commissioners approved a 3.64-millage rate marked down from 3.79 mills Armstrong wanted.

Amendment retains county millage rate

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Fiscal officer warns holding line now will bring higher tax increase later

Lehigh County Board of Commissioners passed an amendment to the 2019 budget that keeps the millage rate at 3.64, opposing the administration’s plan to raise taxes, during a four-hour meeting Oct. 10. The amendment, sponsored by Commissioner Brad Osborne, a Republican and recent contender for the office of Lehigh County executive, passed along party lines 6-3.

The amendment specifies, “The millage rate shall be reduced in an amount representing $4,448,840 in 2019 real estate tax value. This equates to a millage reduction of 0.15, setting the millage rate at 3.64.”

County executive submits budget plan

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

On Aug. 31, Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, officials and residents received their first look at the proposed budget for 2019 when Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong presented his first budget since assuming office.

After a visual presentation of supporting charts and documents, Armstrong gave the hefty 488-page budget to Commissioner Dr. Percy Dougherty.

To make the proposed $506.1 million budget (themed “Back to the Future”) balance, Armstrong resurrected the 2015 millage rate of 3.79.

County commissioners hear from worker opposed to union dues withdrawal

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

It’s not often U.S. Supreme Court decisions are cited in the chambers of the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, but county employee Francisco Molina did exactly that June 27 when he addressed the board during the public comment portion of the agenda.

Molina, who has worked for the county since 2004 and for the Lehigh County Office of Children and Youth since 2006, said he does not want the county to provide his banking information to Service Employees International Union for automatic withdrawals of union dues from his bank account.

Allentown LGBT center grant falls through with 4-4 vote

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

A $5,000 grant to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center fell through at the June 13 Lehigh County Board of Commissioners meeting when one of the sponsors of the bill, Amy Zanelli, abstained from voting.

She then watched the votes split between the remaining eight commissioners, 4-4.

Zanelli commented on her abstention.

“I volunteer for, contribute to and benefit from the Bradbury-Sullivan Community Center,” Zanelli said. “I will abstain.”

Lehigh County Authority’s future in contention

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

After hearing objections to extending the charter of the Lehigh County Authority, Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, on the advice of county Director of General Services Richard Molchany, passed a resolution March 28 to schedule an information-gathering hearing before the next regular meeting.

“There are some scary numbers here,” commissioners President Marty Nothstein said in support of Molchany’s suggestion.

“We need to take as long as necessary,” Commissioner Amy Zanelli said. “I’m not going to rush this kind of decision.”

PBS 39 hosts school safety talk

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in School

Local politicians, school superintendents, law enforcement, an advocacy group and high school students came together for a discussion on school safety March 1 at PBS 39’s studio.

National Rifle Association (NRA) representatives declined to attend the forum in Bethlehem, even though they were invited, according to host and moderator Tracy Yatsko. An empty chair on the stage represented the absent pro-gun organization, Yatsko said.