Saturday, January 30, 2010

EASD Budget - A Common Sense Approach Required

For the past few weeks, I have been fascinated by the conversion around the EASD budget. As an active member of the EASD ad hoc budget committee, I am concerned about the proposed 11.85% tax increase -- a move the district is trying to get a waiver to have unilaterally approved!. This is grossly above the state tax increase cap of 3.6%. This approach is bad form, bad politics, and very, very bad public policy.

In my many years of meeting budget cost goals both at my job and at home, I have always advocated shared risk. The shared risk concept is so that the various parties involved share the pain of budget reductions. In this case, the greater good is to limit tax increases through reducing school district costs, while at the same time improving the quality of all of our children’s education. I know this is tough, but we live in troubled economic times where tough decisions are required.

I will continue to advocate a balanced approach to cut costs. If the school district still wants to raise taxes by more than 11%, then for sure the taxpayer should get to make that final decision!

Get Involved! Every Voice Counts!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Joe Emrick will announce his candidacy for the 137 District Seat

On February 4, 2010, Joe Emrick is planning to announce his candidacy for State Representative in the 137th district. The following is a portion of Joe’s announcement flyer.

The 2010 election for State Representative in the 137th District

will be one of the most important in Pennsylvania!

We need an experienced leader in Harrisburg, demanding

efficient, well-managed government!

We need an ardent supporter of open, transparent government,

who is willing to fight for reform from within!

Joe will add his name in an ever-growing list of candidate for the 137th PA House seat.

Get Involved! Every Voice Counts!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Open Government

If you have read this blog, you know I am a open government advocate.  I have been watching the various municipalities within the Lehigh Valley move toward greater access to local officials and trying to find ways to improve public involvement.

The latest trend in the Lehigh Valley is to create Ad Hoc budget committee comprised of local citizens to provide budget recommendations to the municipality or school board.

Right now, Easton Area School District is using this model to gather public input on how to close over a $6.0M projected budget deficit.  Now, Williams Township is proposing a Ad Hoc budget committee to solve some budget issues.

Currently, I am serving on the Easton Area School District Ad Hoc budget committee. I have seen first hand, the dedication and creativity of the parents on this committee to find ways to reduce cost, while maintaining a quality education. It is truly remarkable!

I give many kudos to Williams Township for trying to create additional opportunities for public involvement.

Get Involved! Every Voice Counts!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 Planning Commission Appointments

Tonight, the Forks BoS made several Planning Commission appointments.

  • Vito Tamborrino was re-appointed to a 4 year term.
  • Joe Rizzo was re-appointed to a 4 year term.
  • Robert Rusnak was appointed to fill the remainder of David Billings term.

Congratulations to the new and old Planning Commission members.


Get Involved! Every Voice Counts!

Friday, January 8, 2010

2010 Forks Township Committee Structure

Our local government uses a committee system to consider many important issues.  The purpose of the sub-committee is to make recommendations to the BoS. For 2010, the BoS approved 5 sub-committees.

1. Public Safety

2. Public Works

3. Parks and Recreation

4. Finance and Administration.

5. Community Relations

These meetings are open to the public.

Get Involved! Every Voice Counts!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My First Meeting BoS Meeting

It was a very interesting and fun night. One of the items discussed was the Army Reserve Center. The Forks BoS approved the Army Reserve Center by a 3 to 2 vote. Why did I vote no?!!

As a 10 year Navy veteran, I am very familiar with the sacrifices of the men and woman of our armed forces. I have lived in five different communities in four different states while serving in the US Submarine Force. I spend many, many months away from my family carrying out my military duties. I gain my sense of duty and ethics from my military service. These are the same attributes I bring to my role as a Forks Township Supervisor.  I proudly served my country with distinction and honor.

I also understand the impact of the military on our local communities. In my experience the military and local communities have always worked together to solve mutual concerns - in particular by addressing residents concerns about the impact of military installations on our communities.

Some Forks residents have expressed concerns about the impact of the new center on our township infrastructure and traffic. In response to these concerns, I asked questions about the safe storage of ammunition, military traffic flow within our township, traffic counts along Uhler Road (Uhler Road is still a two lane country road east to Martins Creek and RT 611 and west to Tatamy and Stockertown and RT 33.), and public safety procedures (between the Army our police department), LEEDS Silver Certification (for the use of solar panels), and the purpose of the locked vault. Yes, I even asked about the economic impact to our community. This new Army Reserve Center is being built in Forks to consolidate the Bethlehem Reserve center.

I felt many of my concerns were not adequately addressed by the project’s engineering firm, and that is why I decided to vote no. I am pleased the Army Reserve Center will be located in Forks Township. This community has a great tradition of supporting our military and as a Navy veteran, I will continue to participate in this tradition.

As a Forks Supervisor I feel it is very important we ask the tough questions to ensure the concerns of our citizens are being addressed and to view development projects in economic terms.

As your supervisor, I will continue to work hard to bring rational commercial development to our industrial parks.

Get Involved! Every Voice Counts!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 Blog

I am honored and humbled to be serving our community as a Forks Township Supervisor. I will use this blog to discuss the positive aspects of our community and keep the citizens of Forks Township up-to-date on current events.

From time-to-time, I will use this blog to explain my position and to seek input from our community on various issues.

When commenting, please be respectful to others.  Please remember commenting is a privilege, not a right. I will delete personal attacks.

Ring in the New Year

To start off the New Year right, the two Supervisor-Elects  will be sworn-in at 6:30 tomorrow night in the Forks Township Municipal building Board room.

The swearing-in ceremony will be followed by the Re-Organizational meeting starting at 7:0 PM that will make many appointments and elect new BoS officers (Chairman, Vice- Chairman, and Secretary/Treasurer)

To ensure we have a long and eventful night, a regular BoS meeting will be held right after the Re-org meeting (around 8:00) to discuss several land development items (Bethlehem Army Reserve Center and the Alfero Construction Company).

Stay tuned!

Get Involved! Every Voice Counts