“This evening represents what America has always stood for,” Dr. Nichola Gutgold said, as she opened the Oct. 4 program, Faces of Literacy at Muhlenberg College, Allentown.
“A nation built on the strength of immigrants, slaves, seekers, adventurers, hard workers and those willing to do what needs to be done to support their families, get ahead and to realize the American dream.
In a party-line 6-3 vote, Lehigh County commissioners overturned Executive Phillips Armstrong’s Oct. 31 veto of the 2019 budget.
Democrats Dan Hartzell, Amy Zanelli and Geoff Brace voted against the amendment which would have reduced the tax rate for county residents.
The Nov. 14 action effectively put to rest the disagreement about what the millage rate will be next year.
Commissioners approved a 3.64 millage rate marked down from 3.79 mils Armstrong wanted.
The hearing room was almost completely full, with some 38 residents and others attending the meeting.
Making good on a promise, Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong vetoed the proposed budget for 2019 on Oct. 31 because an amendment passed by county commissioners rolled back the millage rate from the proposed 3.79 mils to 3.64 mils.
Armstrong made the announcement in a special news conference at the county administration building attended by the press, members of the Armstrong administration, a couple of aspiring commissioners and Lehigh County Commissioner Amy Zanelli.
Armstrong warned against letting the commissioners’ amended budget harm the county’s bond rating.
Republican Lehigh County commissioners banded together forcing a tax cut commissioners on the other side of the aisle and county Executive Phillips Armstrong did not want and warned against.
The vote keeps real estate taxes at last year’s millage rate of 3.64, opposing the administration’s plan to raise the millage rate to 3.79 mills.
“It will be vetoed … as soon as it gets to my desk,” said Armstrong in an interview following the Oct. 24 board meeting.
The vote may be veto proof as Republicans control the board of commissioners.
Lehigh County commissioners passed an amendment to the 2019 budget that keeps the millage rate at 3.64, opposing the administration’s plan to raise taxes during a four-hour meeting Oct. 10.
The amendment, sponsored by Commissioner Brad Osborne, a Republican and recent contender for the office of Lehigh County executive, passed along party lines 6-3.
The amendment specifies the millage rate shall be reduced in an amount representing $4,448,840 in 2019 real estate tax value.
This equates to a millage reduction of 0.15 setting the millage rate at 3.64.
Lehigh County Commissioners gave a first reading to and voted 5-4 to hire the law firm Anapol Weis to serve as counsel for the county and “several other unnamed counties” to press the goal of making much of the county’s older housing stock safe from lead contamination.
Commissioners Dr. Percy Dougherty, Marty Nothstein, Amanda Holt and Brad Osborne, all Republicans, voted against the measure at their Sept. 26 meeting.
Nathan Brown and Marc Grammes, also Republicans, voted for the measure, as did Democrats Geoff Brace, Amy Zanelli and Dan Hartzell.
Magisterial District Judge Daniel Trexler, during a preliminary hearing Sept. 20 in the Lehigh County Courthouse bound over former South Whitehall Township police officer Jonathan Robert Roselle’s case to the Court of Common Pleas.
Roselle is charged with the voluntary manslaughter of Joseph Santos of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
His formal arraignment is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 16 before Judge Kelly L. Banach.
Videos, Body Camera
Lehigh Commissioners, on Sept. 12, paid homage to one of the county’s most illustrious residents — Joseph R. Zeller, “statesman, patriot and recipient of the Freedom Foundation Award.”
Zeller was honored on the occasion of his 100th birthday on Sept. 19.
In a special resolution, commissioners thanked Zeller “for a lifetime of service to his community and his country.”
The resolution described Zeller as one who brought “unbounded vision, impassioned drive and unmitigated commitment to virtually any issue he addressed ...”
Lehigh County Commissioners have given final approval for transfer of a male bison from Trexler Nature Preserve to the Catoctin Zoo and Wildlife Preserve, Thurmont, Md.
The male bison, born in 2013, is the result of a managed breeding program started in 2011.
The young male would predictably challenge the elder male bison and cause problems for the herd.
Lehigh County Commissioners, officials and residents received their first look at the proposed budget for 2019 Aug. 31 when County Executive Phillips Armstrong presented his first budget since assuming office.
After a visual presentation of supporting charts and documents, Armstrong gave the hefty 488-page “on-time’ budget to Commissioner Dr. Percy Dougherty.
To make the proposed $506.1 million budget (themed “Back to the Future”) balance, Armstrong resurrected the 2015 millage rate of 3.79 to meet the needs of the future.