Thursday, October 29, 2009

Forks Township Special BoS Meeting - October 29, 2009

The Morning Call is reporting Forks Township will hold a special BoS meeting on October 29, 2009 at 6:00 PM. It is my understanding the topic of the meeting is to discuss the legality of a contract between the Forks Township Community Center and Hope LV church.


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Campaign Talk - Lean Government

Joe Hammer, Bethlehem Township Manager, published a great article in the Morning Call about the  challenges facing local governments in balancing municipal budgets.

For the past few years, municipalities across Pennsylvania have been depended upon earned income taxes, permit fees and realty transfer taxes to support critical services to our citizens. As these revenue streams have declined steeply, many local governments have implemented a wave of tax increases.

Somehow, we need to figure out how to diversify our revenue streams by creating a strong local economy. We need to understand why so many Forks business fail, so we can sure that future business in Forks township can successful.

Joe Hammer believes "No, local governments in Pennsylvania will have to balance budgets the old-fashioned way -- cutting spending, raising taxes, or both. For local governments -- responsible for policing neighborhoods, plowing snow, filling potholes, collecting leaves, maintaining parks and pools -- there are no easy solutions, no financial gimmicks, and no quick fixes".


Get Involved! Every vote counts!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Campaign Talk - Clean Government

Greetings from the campaign trail…

One of my campaign themes is Clean Government. So, what is Clean Government? In my mind, Clean Government has three basic components. First, a candidate for public office should have the highest level of integrity. Second, we need to have an open access policy. Finally, proactively reach out to the public on critical issues and seek diverse ideas while formulating public policy.

In my opinion, public servants need to demonstrate the highest level of integrity and honesty. I believe that public servants have a deep moral obligation to maintain the public trust and set a moral example for our community.

Open access is the ability of our township residents to have easy access to our local leadership, critical documents, and how our township operates on a daily basis. In other words, create a level of transparency between the Board of Supervisors, township operations and our residents. For example, a Government that practices open access requires having all public documents on our web site, providing a free copy of the Comprehensive plan to our residents, easy access to developers’ proposals that affect our way of life, public display of all traffic studies, and access to the 2009 budget actual's in a timely manner.


I do have a deep belief in the importance of community involvement and of being an active part of solutions. In fact, it is my opinion that the role of local government is to work for the people, not for personal interest, gain, or ego. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

EASD Ad Hoc Budget Committee- Let all the parents attend!

The EASD ad hoc budget committee meet last night to form 5 sub-committees to start addressing the school district budget woes.

Right now, the EASD is projected to face a $6.14M deficit next year, growing to $9.30M by the year 2012.  I am glad the EASD school board is willing to include the parents in making these tough budget choices.

My only disappointment with the committee structure is the policy to "ban" school board members and school board candidates (Jennifer Holtzberger, Sarah Bilotti, and Chris Possessky) from the committee meetings(read the Express-Times coverage).   

I strongly believe all taxpayers should be allowed to attend the meetings, whether they are a parent, teacher, school board member, or candidate.  The underlying purpose of the budget committee is to create a new layer of transparency between the school board and the public. Excluding the school board members or these fine candidates from the conversation is a mistake.

If the school administration is worried about the board members unduly influencing our decisions, then have the parents chair the overall committee and all the sub-committees. This will allow the school board members to hear the actual debate about critical budget issues, without influencing the parents decisions. Of course, this assumes the parents can actually be influenced by a single board member.

Lets practice open government. Our kids deserve it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Campaign Talk - Open Government


I have been asked to further elaborate about my views on Open Government.  The following are  portions of my October 2007 blog entry.  As you can see, I have been advocating open government for many years.

Open Government is the ability of our township residents to have easy access to our local leadership, critical documents, and how our township operates on a daily basis. In other words, create a level of transparency between the Board of Supervisors, township operations and our residents.

Each of the critical service organizations (Police, Fire, and EMS) should make a yearly report to the township residents to improve our understanding of these critical services and how we benefit as a community from these dedicated professionals. Yes, I will broach the unthinkable -- broadcasting our Board of Supervisor (BoS) meetings on the local cable community outlet channels. At least, the Supervisors should web cast all its BoS meetings on the township web site.

Additionally, I believe we should have occasional Board of Supervisor, Planning Commission, and Zoning meetings on Saturdays to increase the visibility of these critical boards and commissions to our community. Town hall meetings should become a norm in our township not just a campaign slogan.

It is very important that we proactively reach out to residents to get ideas on critical township issues. If you have any ideas or comments about critical issues facing Forks Township, please share your ideas via our blog.

Get Involved –Every Vote Counts!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Red Ribbon Week- October 23 to October 31, 2009

Tonight, the Forks BoS passed a Red Ribbon Proclamation in a show of support for the drug awareness activities.  So, what is Red Ribbon week?  Red Ribbon week is the largest drug prevention program in the nation reaching millions of Americans.

The campaign is a unified way for communities to take a stand against drugs and show intolerance for illicit drug use and consequences to all Americans.


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Thank You Forks Elementary PTA

The Forks PTA held its Meet the Candidate night on October 13, 2009. It was a great event with about 70 people attending the festive affair.

I would like to express my appreciation to the Forks PTA for hosting the event.

Get Involved! Every Voice Counts!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Campaign Talk - Walking the Neighborhoods

I have been walking the neighborhoods this past weekend to meet the people of Forks Township. I had the chance to discuss the future of our township and how to solve the critical issues facing our community. I heard a very strong message during my travels. We must do better!

Many people have expressed concerns about future township growth, high property taxes, future tax increases, and trusting our local government to act in a fiscally responsible manner.  The people of our community want to elect supervisors that understand the township complex problems and have been actively involved in debating the future of our township. They are not impressed with single issue candidates.

So far, I have visited over 350 homes in our township. It has been quite a experience!!
If you have any ideas or comments about critical issues facing Forks Township, please share your ideas on our blog or via email at

Forks Township "Meet the Candidates Night " - Oct 13, 2009

The Forks Elementary PTA is hosting a "Meet the Candidates" evening on Tuesday, October 13th at 7:30 p.m. at Forks Elementary on Richmond Road in Forks township.

In the November 3rd General Election, Forks residents will have the opportunity to elect two individuals to serve on the Board of Supervisors, elect a Township Tax Collector, and two members to the EASD School Board. These are all contested races. Nine candidates for these positions will address residents and answer your questions.

I hope you attend!

Get Involved! Every Voice Counts

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Forks Township 2010 Capital Budget

I have been reading a lot of opinions about the Forks Township capital budget.  Last week, I got a chance to attend the 2010 Capital Budget Work Session number one.   Here is my understanding of the proposed 2010 capital budget.


  • 2008 Actuals: $268,245
  • 2009 Budget: $670,000
  • 2009 Projected Actuals: $409,500

The Township has the opportunity to under run the 2009 capital budget by 41%.  I am very supportive of limiting our capital spending in these tough economic times.

Update 1: The  2010 proposed budget is $416,500.   The 2010 proposed capital budget represents a  1.7% increase over the 2009 projected actual's ($409,500) and 37.83% decrease from the 2009 budget ($670,000).


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