Lehigh County Commissioner President Marty Nothstein presented farewell plaques to outgoing commissioners David Jones, Thomas Creighton and Michael Schware at the close of the meeting Dec. 20, 2017.
Jones stepped down as a Lehigh County Commissioner for District 3.
The Lehigh County Commissioners approved the amendment to the county’s administrative code to require the county executive to provide an electronic copy of the annual budget.
The amendment was sponsored by Commissioners Amanda Holt and Michael Schware and is designed to give the commissioners more time to consider the annual budget between the time they receive it and the time they have to vote for it.
In other business the commissioners Dec. 13 approved an amendment to allow the commissioners to have a say in the choice of health insurance providers.
Gretchen Naso, a principal officer from RKL LCC, briefed the Lehigh County Commissioners about a five-year financial forecasting model developed for aid in future planning.
Naso’s plan presented at the Nov. 21 meeting of the Lehigh County Commissioners, analyzed Lehigh County’s finances for the last five years to give planners an idea of how financial decisions today may impact the future.
“One of our goals was to allow the commissioners to take the financial information that’s out there and kind of distill it until it becomes more manageable,” Naso said.
“We will see a flood of capital come back to the United States,” U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey told an audience of business members and Chamber of Commerce staffers recently at the Lehigh Country Club. The comment, in response to a question about the tax reform bill currently making its way through Congress from “Business Matters” host Tony Iannelli, got enthusiastic applause from the pro-business attendees.
Attendees at the taping had just finished breakfast in a dining room of the country club where they had time to socialize and enjoy the view of the club’s pool and golf course.
In a short meeting Nov. 8, the Lehigh County Commissioners approved some appointments, one bill and listened to citizen’s complaints and suggestions. They also welcomed the two newest Commissioners-elect who won their elections the night before.
Amy Zanelli, the new representative for District 3, which includes West Bethlehem, attended with her wife and children. Zanelli will replace David Jones who will step down from the commissioner’s office.
Lehigh County Commissioners Oct. 25 voted 7-1 to retain the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, of Washington, D.C., as special counsel to represent the county in its appeal to retain the Christian or Latin cross in the Lehigh County seal and flag.
Minutes from a December 1944 Lehigh County Commissioners meeting make the meaning the cross clear: “Underneath same and in center of Shield [Seal] appears the huge cross in canary-yellow signifying Christianity and the God-fearing people which are the foundation and backbone of our county.”
Paula Roberts’ appointment as Lehigh County’s Children and Youth Services director was confirmed by unanimous vote by commissioners Sept. 27. Two weeks prior the commissioners approved the appointment at the first reading of the proposal, a preliminary step to finalizing the position.
Roberts said she has been acting director for two weeks. The commissioners have now finalized the appointment and she can put on her full director’s hat.
The appointment comes from the ranks as Roberts has been with the department for 26 years. She replaces former director Pamela Buehrle.
Lehigh County residents got mostly good news from Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller Aug. 31 when he presented his proposed Lehigh County budget for 2018 with no tax increase for Lehigh County residents in 2018.
Muller presented his fiscal plan at Cedarbrook Nursing Home which is owned by the county. A small crowd comprised mostly of county staff, politicians, local township officials and numerous residents of the nursing home attended the Aug. 31 press conference.
Lehigh County Commissioner Brad Osborne has expressed frustration at what he sees as slow progress on decisions concerning the 370-bed Cedarbrook Nursing Home, South Whitehall.
According to Osborne, a much anticipated operational analysis, which has been two years in the making, for Cedarbrook, was delivered to Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller July 21.
However, according to Osborne, Muller sent commissioners an email indicating he does not plan to forward the report until the Aug. 23 board meeting.
Osborne would like to see it sooner.
Lehigh County Commissioners had a second reading of the $133,755,495 Lehigh County Capital Plan for 2018 – 2022, and then passed several motions to amend the bill at their July 12 meeting.
The capital plan, according to explanatory text in the ordinance, “is a policy statement only and is in no way to be construed as a budget or an appropriation.” A vote on the capital plan will be held at the next meeting July 26.
“The capital plan kind of kicks off the budget season,” Commissioner Michael Schware said in an interview.