At their Oct. 23 meeting Lehigh County Commissioners held their final bi-partisan compromise vote on the $514.6 million 2020 budget with amendments, passing a tax increase to 3.78 mills.
Before the vote, Commissioner Brad Osborne, who moments later voted against the budget, made a statement saying he has respect for the ability of Financial Officer Tim Reeves, but objected to the procedure by which the administration and members of the board of commissioners reached the compromise presented in the final version of the bill.
Lehigh County Commissioners moved the proposed 2020 budget closer to the finish line Oct. 10 when two Republican commissioners voted with the Democrat minority to pass County Executive Phillips Armstrong’s budget.
The 5 to 3 vote brought praise from Armstrong who praised commissioners Nathan Brown and Marc Grammes, the Republicans who voted with the Democrat minority, as being “statesmen” not “partisan politicians.”
The soil testing has been completed for septic areas for the existing home, wine tasting, restaurant and banquet hall at the O’Rourke Vineyard and Winery, according to a planning commission letter submitted to the Upper Milford Township Supervisors Oct. 3.
According to Elizabeth O’Rourke in a recent interview, she and her husband plan to convert an old barn to include a tasting room, possibly a small café and develop a venue suitable for small weddings and parties.
The Republican members who dominate the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners 6-3 do not trust the Democrats who head up Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong’s administration.
An amendment establishing procedures to allow the commissioners to recommend health care provider vendors other than the one recommended by the county administration had its “first reading” at the Sept. 25 Lehigh County Board of Commissioners meeting.
At the Sept. 11 meeting, Lehigh County Commissioners approved 8-0 the lease of the basement level of the Hamilton Financial Center, 640 Hamilton St., to law firm Davison & McCarthy, P. C.
The lease agreement is for five years and calls for a “base” or first year lease for $3,312 or $276 per month for 1,286 square feet. The lease calls for payment to increase over a four-year period.
Commissioner Brad Osborne abstained from voting citing a potential conflict of interest.
Pennsylvania gave Lehigh County election officials a check for $380,868 to apply toward the cost of new voting machines that will partially pay the expense of new machines for the county.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathleen Boockvar presented a mock-up oversize check to Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong in a short ceremony Sept. 12 in the Lehigh County Government Center, 17 S. Seventh St., Allentown.
Hoping that wearing a purple shirt would predispose Lehigh County Commissioners into thinking that his 2020 proposed $514.6 million budget is bipartisan, County Executive Phillips Armstrong unveiled his fiscal plan Aug. 30 to department heads, staffers, four attending commissioners and the public.
Lehigh County Commissioners Aug. 14 suspended “rules of the board” and added the long-delayed and much-belabored Human Service’s union contract to its agenda. Even that simple act was not without drama as commissioners voted 8–1 to authorize the exception to regular order which allowed the contract to be added to the already published agenda. Commissioner Geoff Brace objected suspending the rules to add the contract to the agenda in such an irregular fashion.
Human Services workers have been working without an agreement since Dec. 31, 2018.
Jaindl Properties LLC will lease the first floor of the Hamilton Financial Center building, 640 Hamilton St., Allentown. Lehigh County Commissioners gave first reading approval for the lease deal at its July 10 meeting.
The vote was passed 8–0; Commissioner Brad Osborne was absent from the meeting.
Editor’s Note: This is an edited version with corrections to the article printed in the July 10 edition of The Press.
President and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Zoo Melissa Borland sounded excited and happy as she reported a series of good news milestones to the Lehigh County Commissioners at the June 26 meeting.
She reported revenue increased from $1 million in 2014 to $4.1 million in 2018.
Recertification by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is expected. This indicates the zoo would be rated among the top 10 percent of zoos in the country.