East Penn Press

Monday, August 26, 2019

Donches announces run for Lehigh County Commissioner, 5th District

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 by CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE in Local News

John Donches, resident of Emmaus and member of the community and citizen advocate, has announced his candidacy for Lehigh County Commissioner, 5th District, which includes: boroughs of Emmaus, Coopersburg and Macungie, the townships of Upper Milford, Lower Milford, Upper Saucon, Salisbury and Allentown’s 12th and 13th ward.

Donches, a fiscal conservative and a Lehigh County Republican committeeman, is a staunch supporter of transparency and accountability. Donches has attended most of the county commissioner meetings over the past eight years and is very familiar with county issues. He is known in Emmaus and around Lehigh County for his leadership on issues that affect the taxpayer.

In 2005, Donches was president of “Emmaus For Locally Owned Water,” a citizen’s group, which successfully prevented the sale and privatization of the Emmaus water system to a privately owned multi-national corporation.

In 2010, Donches spearheaded “Strike out the Stadium,” another successful campaign, which helped convince the county commissioners to vote against the use of $300,000 of county green future funds to change an existing public baseball field at Emmaus Community Park into a fenced-in restricted-access stadium, thereby assuring all citizens continued full access to Emmaus Community Park.

In 2013, Donches founded “Stiff the TIF” to encourage the county commissioners to deny support for the Tax Increment Financing for the Hamilton Crossings mall. As a businessman himself, Donches believed the mall would be built even without the use of taxpayer money. In the end Donches was proven correct. The mall was built, and fortunately the county commissioners agreed with Donches and voted against the TIF. As a result of the vote against the TIF, the county receives 100 percent of their share of the property tax revenue, instead of only 50 percent and giving 50 percent to the developer of the Hamilton Crossings mall.

East Penn School District and Lower Macungie Township did not listen to the advice of Donches. Both entities voted to support the TIF, thus for 20 years will receive only 50 percent of their share of the property tax revenues generated by Hamilton Crossings mall.

Donches frequently informs citizens on the importance of primary elections as many races are decided in the primaries. Unless there is a write-in candidate, this primary election will be a case in point as Donches and his opponent, both Republicans, will be the only names on the ballot to challenge each other for the May 16 primary race for Lehigh County Commissioner 5th District seat.

If elected, Donches will work to continue fiscally prudent budget decisions which for the last three years have lowered county property tax rates, included budget surpluses and returned rebates to county taxpayers all without cutting services.