Making good on a promise, Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong vetoed the budget for 2019 Oct. 31 because an amendment passed by Lehigh 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 Lehigh County Administration building attended by the media, members of the Armstrong administration, a couple of aspiring commissioners and Lehigh County Commissioner Amy Zanelli.
Armstrong warned against letting the commissioner’s amended budget harm the county’s bond rating.
Lehigh County Commissioners Sept. 26, in a first reading or preliminary approval, voted 5-4 to hire the law firm Anapol Weiss to serve as counsel for the county of Lehigh and “several other unnamed counties” to press the county’s goal of making much of the county’s older housing stock safe from lead poisoning.
Commissioners Dr. Percy Dougherty, Marty Nothstein, Amanda Holt and Brad Osborne, all Republicans, voted against the measure. Nathan Brown and Marc Grammes, also Republicans, voted for the measure, as did Democrats Geoff Brace, Amy Zanelli and Dan Hartzell.
Lehigh County Commissioners approved the 2019-2023 Capital Plan at its Aug. 8 meeting. The plan sets the investment in capital projects through 2023.
Commissioner Dr. Percy Dougherty sponsored the plan. He said the $129.1 million plan is higher than previous years because it contains about $73 million for the planned Cedarbrook renovation.
In other business, the commissioners reappointed William McQuilken, of Lynn Township to the Lehigh County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Board.
Lehigh County Board of Commissioners gave preliminary approval for the 2019-20 Capital Plan July 25. In gross numbers, the plan calls for a five-year total expenditure of $129,107,334.
The first reading of the plan passed 8-0. Commissioner Brad Osborne was absent.
Some big-ticket expenses being funded in 2019 include replacement of the voting system — $3.5 million; the Coplay to Northampton Bridge — $5 million; courthouse upgrades — $1.06 million.
The Pennsylvania Music Preservation Society will probably get a $2,000 grant, $3,000 less than the newly formed nonprofit had requested. Lehigh County Commissioners approved a motion at its July 11 meeting to amend the bill to reduce the original $5,000 to $2,000.
At the previous meeting, at the first reading of the bill, Commissioner Percy Dougherty opposed the idea of giving $5,000 saying other deserving organizations who have been operational for many years were only getting $2,000. The bill will be voted on again at the next commissioners meeting.
It’s not often U. S. Supreme Court decisions are cited in the chambers of the Lehigh County Commissioners, but county employee Francisco Molina did exactly that June 27 when he addressed the board during the public comment portion of the agenda.
Medina, who has worked for the county since 2004 and for the Lehigh County Office of Children and Youth since 2006, said he does not want the county to provide his banking information to Service Employees International Union for automatic withdrawals of union dues from his bank account.
A $5,000 grant to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center fell through June 13 when one of the sponsors of the bill, Amy Zanelli, abstained from voting.
She then watched the votes split between the remaining eight commissioners, 4-4.
Zanelli commented on her abstention.
“I volunteer for, contribute to, and benefit from the Bradbury-Sullivan Community Center,” Zanelli said. “I will abstain.”
The computer consultant company Computer Aid, Inc., based in Allentown, finally saw a contract amendment approved 6-1 when Lehigh County Commissioners met May 23.
Commissioner Amanda Holt voted “no” on the amendment.
Lehigh County administration requested Commissioner Amanda Holt withdraw a proposed amendment to the professional services agreement with Computer Aid, Inc. for information technology management services May 9. No reason was given. The same amendment had been delayed at the last meeting at the request of Lehigh County Commissioner Brad Osborne who wanted time to study the effect of the amendment on other issues.
Lehigh County Authority’s effort to have its charter extended to 50 years collapsed April 11 when Lehigh County Commissioners voted 6-3 to reject a proposed amendment to LCA’s articles of incorporation.
The decision seemed to catch LCA’s CEO Liesel M. Gross, by surprise. Gross had spoken to the commissioners in support of the resolution.
“I want to know the path forward,” Gross said to commissioners following the vote to deny the amendment extending the water and sewer authority’s charter.