With budget season behind them, the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners convened Nov. 20, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, to address a handful of reappointments and bills.
The board unanimously voted to reappoint Commissioner Percy Dougherty to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and Susan Schmidt, of Emmaus, and Sally Schoffstall, of New Tripoli, to the Lehigh County Aging and Adult Services Advisory Council.
Lehigh County Commissioners let a budget amended by County Executive Bill Hansell stand at their Nov. 14 meeting.
The amended budget was returned to the commissioners by the executive who vetoed amendments to the budget that would have cut $5 million in spending and reduced real estate revenues by a little over $5 million. Instead the budget was amended by Hansell to include a total of $3.5 million in spending cuts to specific line items and a reduction in real estate revenues by $3 million.
The Lehigh County Commissioners passed an amended version of the county executive's budget at their meeting Oct. 24.
The amendment directed the county executive to reduce county spending on personnel by $5 million. The new budget turned a $6.5 million one-time tax credit into a reduction of the millage rate by a percentage that would decrease county revenue by $5 million. The remaining $1.5 million will remain as a tax credit.
Lehigh County Commissioners put forth two competing budget amendments aimed at lowering real estate taxes for the 2013 fiscal year at their Oct. 8 meeting.
The first amendment sponsored by Commissioners Scott Ott, Thomas Creighton, Lisa Scheller, Michael Schware and Vic Mazziotti would reduce the $6.5 million tax credit proposed by the county executive by $5 million, and reduce the millage rate to decrease real estate tax revenue by $5 million instead.
September is National Preparedness Month and the board of commissioners passed a resolution at their Sept. 26 meeting to honor the American Red Cross for their service to Lehigh County.
"Part of the Red Cross' mission is to help people prepare for emergencies," Commissioner Brad Osborne said. "On average the American Red Cross of Greater Lehigh Valley responds to an emergency every three days, the majority of which are residential fires."
Lehigh County Commissioner Daniel McCarthy withdrew a bill he sponsored to put forth funding from the community revitalization grant program at the Sept. 12 commissioners meeting.
The bill would have granted the Borough of Emmaus and Whitehall Township $15,000 each to establish a revolving loan program for new businesses.
LEHIGH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS Funding increased to support public defender, district attorney, coroner
The Lehigh Valley Commissioners augmented funding to the offices of public defender, district attorney and county coroner at their meeting Aug. 22. According to Commissioner Percy Dougherty, crimes including homicide are up in the Lehigh Valley.
"The number of cases the public defender handles has increased drastically," Dougherty said. "It's almost guaranteed that the public defender is going to be back to us for more funding by the end of the year."