Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Playground for Penn Ridge

On June 26, 2009, Forks Township open the new neighborhood playground at the Penn's Ridge development.  As I was chatting with several residents, a 5 year old boy approached us.  With a big smile on his face, he thanked the township for building the playground.  It was memorable moment!



The new playground contains a swing, slides, a climbing wall, a very cool tunnel, and some nice monkey bars. I heard the township will install picnic tables, so the kids can enjoy lunch in the park.



Many thanks to the Forks Township Public Works department on a job well done!


Get Involved!  Every voice counts!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Waste Management Cost Increases

In 2004, Forks Township signed a 5 yr contract with Waste Management. The contract had graduated price increases for the life of the contract.  Forks Township residents will see a quarterly bill increase from $56.25 to $65.00 per household. This represents a annual increase of $35.00. The new rate will be effective July 1, 2009.

The explanation of the increase will be on the Forks Township website and there will be article in next quarterly newsletter.


Get Involved - Every Voice Counts

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The proposed Forks Business Association

On a 5 to 0 vote, the Forks Board of Supervisors approved a motion supporting the formation of a Forks Business Association.

The board heard presentations from the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, Two Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce(TRACC) , and the representative of the proposed Forks Business Association (Brian Lokitis, Unity Bank VP, Senior Relationship Manager). Brian explained the proposed relationship between the Forks association and the other Lehigh Valley chamber organizations.

Brian stated " The current business owners feel disconnected with the BoS, the township, and other Forks businesses". The new business organization would help bridge these gaps and help create a better business environment in Forks Township. Additionally, he explained we need to "create partnerships in these tough economic times". I could not agree more!

I am hoping the Forks Business Associations will determine why so many Forks business fail.  The Forks Business Association is a really good idea!


Get involved! Every Voice Counts!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Questioning of our officials is our democratic duty.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water... The Bethlehem School Board (BASD) derivative swap deals raised its ugly face - again! A three- part investigative report in early June 2009 by the Morning Call highlighted the difficulty and risk of these types of financial instruments.

The BASD derivative swap deals has highlighted a flaw in the decision making process for the various municipal boards. How could any board member, either municipal or non-profit, vote for a motion they do not understand? Why not seek the opinions of other financial experts? We have some of the best universities in the United States, so why not use the available expertise to help the school board understand the risks? It just seems the public officials are unwilling to admit they need help so they do not seek outside opinions.

Yes, we need to have all financials deal decisions be based upon a robust competitive process. This is not only fair to the taxpayers, but it is required by all ethical standards for financial professionals. This is true for all municipal decisions, whether it is bids for playground equipment or issuing municipal bonds. To many times the Lehigh Valley municipalities try to find ways around the open bidding process for expediency and ignore any public input that questions these practices.

So, what can we do about it? In all fairness, the answer is quite simple. Vote the current school board members out of office. We just held a local election on May 19, 2009. It is my understanding the voter turnout for the May election in Northampton County was estimated at 12%. To be honest, the voter turnout was pitiful.

So, what is happening? Why do we have so much public apathy toward public officials? I think we have broken the trust between the public and government officials. At times, ordinary citizens have spent time fighting critical issues, only to face a backlash from public officials. Voter apathy is also driven by busy schedules, a lack of information on candidates’ positions, and, at times, disinterest on the part of voters.

So the next time we get upset by poor the decisions made by our public officials, please remember this: We elected these public servants. And, as voters, we also have the obligation to question our public officials about decisions made “in our best interests.” I know it is painful process, but the questioning of our officials is our democratic duty.