East Penn Press

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

LEHIGH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS Green Future Fund tabled again

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 by ANDREW CASS Special to The Press in Local News

The Lehigh County Commissioners again voted to table the Green Future Fund, despite the urging of dozens of residents to pass the bill at its Dec. 19, 2012 meeting.

The Green Future Fund would have distributed $1.06 million to park and trail projects across the county including the Martin Luther King Trail in Allentown and the Saucon Rail Trail in Lower Macungie Township.

Among those who showed support for the bill was Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, who said he was shocked the "county would turn its back to the voters."

"I understand that the budget is tight, but quality of life for citizens is not frivolous or unnecessary," Pawlowski said.

The bill was tabled in a 5-4 vote, with Commissioners Scott Ott, Michael Schware, Lisa Scheller, Vic Mazziotti and Thomas Creighton voting for the tabling.

The vote was met by audible unhappiness from the packed crowd, but Mazziotti said he did not think it was fair to be "stampeded into the project."

Mazziotti also said he did not question the merits of any of the projects and said he would have voted for any one of them, but he did not think the county was in the right financial shape to fund the projects.

Schware said he again voted to defer because the administration did not provide a list of cuts to offset the money that would be spent on these projects which he requested at the previous week's meeting.

County Executive Bill Hansell said the cuts were not necessary because the Green Future Fund money had already been budgeted for.

The commissioners also voted down a proposal to increase the county executive's pay from $75,000 to $127,500 beginning in January 2014. The bill was voted down 8-1, with only the bill's sponsor, Daniel McCarthy voting in favor of the increase.

"I learned how to count in first grade, so I knew I wasn't going to have enough votes to get this passed," McCarthy said. But McCarthy said he still stands behind his bill.

"Considering the fact we have a $365 million operation, $75,000 is not enough," McCarthy said.

Commissioner David Jones voted against the bill, but said he would like to see the county executive make as much its Northampton County counterpart.