Lehigh County taxes to increase 3.78 mills
Lehigh County Commissioners had their final bipartisan compromise vote on the $514.6 million 2020 budget with amendments, passing a tax increase to 3.78 mills at their Oct. 23 meeting.
Before the vote, Commissioner Brad Osborne, a Republican, who moments later voted against the budget, said 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 reached the compromise presented in the final version of the bill.
Osborne described the compromise process as “back-and-forth bartering” held via a pre-meeting phone call.
The 2020 Budget passed 7-2 with Republicans Osborne and Commissioner Marty Nothstein voting nay.
Voting for the budget were Democrats Dan Hartzell, Amy Zanelli and Geoff Brace; and Republicans Amanda Holt, Nathan Brown, Percy Dougherty and Marc Grammes.
In other business, commissioners passed a bill defining the procedure by which an individual commissioner can substitute a health care vendor for the one recommended by the administration.
Commissioners also extended the lease to the Lehigh Valley Zoological Society which manages the property that includes the Lehigh Valley Zoo.
At the beginning of the regular meeting, commissioners honored emergency services personnel who responded to the three-alarm fire at the Heather Glen Senior Living Center in Upper Macungie Township which started around 3 a.m. Sept. 22.
The resolution, honored personnel from Lehigh, Northampton, Berks and Montgomery counties who “selflessly risked their own safety in preserving the lives of these vulnerable residents and loved ones in the execution of their duties that morning.”
Eighty-two residents and five staff members of the senior living center were rescued.