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Township Councilwoman Defends Statements about Gaming Grants

Priscilla deLeon and Hellertown gaming authority representative Stephanie Kovacs maintain that deLeon's earlier statements were accurate.

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The June 15 council meeting wasn’t much different.

The council’s gaming authority representative, councilwoman Priscilla deLeon, defended her previous statements to council regarding the grant applications.

At the June 1 township council meeting, council vice president Tom Maxfield read a letter into the record in which he stated that deLeon had given inaccurate information to council regarding gaming authority grant applications--information that led council to draft a letter asking for the abolition of the gaming authority.

The letter requesting abolition of the authority was subsequently rescinded by a vote of council.

At the June 15 meeting, deLeon countered this allegation by asserting that she has done nothing wrong, and said she has served as a gaming authority representative to the best of her ability.

She noted that Township Manager Jack Cahalan sent Northampton County Economic Development Administrator Alicia Karner an e-mail about a change to one of Lower Saucon and Hellertown's grant applications pertaining to the Saucon Rail Trail after a deadline for changing it had passed, and that the change had not been discussed with council.

Hellertown’s gaming authority representative, borough councilwoman Stephanie Kovacs, defended deLeon’s position in front of Lower Saucon Council, stating that Hellertown was not aware of the change and that amending applications is not permitted after the deadline.

Cahalan said the application needed to be amended because some money had already been used to pay for a portion of the new rail trail.

Kovacs and deLeon also told council, as deLeon had previously stated, that land acquisition proposals are not acceptable for these applications.

Kovacs read a prepared statement to council supporting deLeon and the previous statements she has made during township council meetings.

Council President Glenn Kern said he didn't know how the issue “got so out of hand” and that Cahalan was only working to benefit Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township.

“(This) seems to be a personality issue that’s not doing anybody any good,” Solicitor B. Lincoln Treadwell said of the ongoing discussion.

In other gaming authority-related business, deLeon updated council on the 2011 Local Share Municipal Gaming Grant application form and criteria.

She said the criteria were established to ensure consistency during the review process.

“The better the application, the higher the chance (the township) will be asked to come present (the application before the gaming authority),” deLeon explained.

She also said that it is very important that the budget be detailed, and that the project must be completed within one year of the award's receipt. The application must also provide expert analysis.

No changes may be made to any applications after the deadline.

The township has until 4pm on Aug. 1 to submit the application.

The next Northampton County Gaming Revenue and Economic Redevelopment Authority meeting will be held this Monday, June 27, at 5:30pm at the Northampton County Courthouse, 669 Washington St., Easton.

Meetings are also live-streamed on the county's website and archived for later viewing.

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