Thursday, May 16, 2013
On Tuesday, the Saucon Valley School Board voted to approve a proposed 2013-2014 district budget without a tax increase. If adopted, it will be the fifth year in a row without an increase for property owners in the school district.
A proposed 2013-2014 Saucon Valley School District budget without a tax increase was approved by school board directors at their Tuesday night meeting. Money from the district's multimillion-dollar undesignated fund balance was used to balance the roughly $40.7 million budget, which superintendent Dr. Sandra Fellin pointed out is the district's fifth consecutive budget without a millage rate increase. As is often the case, the budget represents a financial compromise between competing interests. For example, although the proposed budget includes $8,108 to fund a full-time behavioral therapist in schools, it only funds the replacement of one school bus, whereas normally the district would seek to replace two buses, according to its …
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Lehigh Valley Sen. Pat Toomey (R) proposes letting the White House make targeted spending cuts to avoid across-the-board reductions if the sequester kicks in Friday.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey wants to let the White House make federal budget cuts required by the impending sequester to "cut in the least disruptive way possible." Read more: Saucon Valley residents react to sequestration's potential affects. Toomey, a Republican from Zionsville, Lehigh County, said the move would help keep air traffic controllers on the job while cutting spending in redundant areas such as the federal government's 15 different financial literacy programs. "I'm not sure the federal government has demonstarted it's qualified to teach financial literacy," Toomey joked in a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. He noted that the sequester will require only about 2 percent of spending to be cut from a government budget…
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
In the following letter, Mike McNeish of Lower Saucon Township questions the motives of Congressional Republicans with regard to the current sequestration budget crisis.
Tuesday, February 26
To the editor: In recent press accounts, Congressman Charlie Dent echoed the standard Republican litany that the President has not presented any plans to solve the sequestration crisis. He said, "I want to see something." I think perhaps Congressman Dent has donned the standard Republican eyeware: namely, blinders to anything that fairly distributes the financial burdens of this country, blinders that only allow deficit reduction on the backs of the poor and the middle class. Plans abound, Congressman Dent, you just don’t seem to want to see them. Last week, Senate Democrats produced a much better plan, one that would raise $55 billion by imposing a minimum tax on incomes of $1 million or more and ending some business deductions; an equal …
Friday, February 8, 2013
The pending fiscal cliff legislation poses a problem for both liberals and conservatives.
Jill Lepore, who is a Professor of History at Harvard, wrote a piece in the Jan. 28 issue of The New Yorker entitled "The Force," with the sub-head “How much military is enough?” In it, Lepore points out that when the House Armed Services Committee met in the fall of 2011, the representatives of the military who appeared in reaction to the proposition in the fiscal cliff legislation that would sharply cut the defense budget took the position that no matter what the budget deficit, the military should be allowed to spend what they thought necessary. One congressman put the alternative this way: "What if all of a sudden, we don’t have troops in Europe, we don’t have troops in Asia? We are just, frankly, like pretty much every other country …
Friday, November 9, 2012
Hellertown Borough Council announced Monday that it's considering a one mill tax increase and possible layoffs in order to balance the borough's 2013 proposed budget.
Residents of Hellertown could see a modest tax increase next year. The preliminary version of the borough budget approved 6-1 by Hellertown Borough Council Nov. 5 includes a one mill property tax increase, which is equivalent to $50 per year for a home with an assessed value of $50,000. One mill is equal to $130,659 and the current (2012) borough millage rate is 17.75, which is equivalent to a tax burden of $887.50 per year on a house with an assessed value of $50,000, according to information shared by the borough. An increase of the millage rate to 18.75 mills would thus increase that annual burden to $937.50 on a home valued at $50,000. The lone council member to vote against the preliminary budget as Thomas Rieger. Council also …
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
A long-term debt plan approved by Hellertown Borough Council June 18 will help finance renovations to Dimmick Park's grandstand and Phase One construction of the park's band shell.
What was arguably a watershed moment occurred at Hellertown Borough Council's June 18 meeting, with the unanimous approval of two capital budget plans that--it is hoped--will both revive and maintain borough infrastructure for years to come. "The first plan is a capital projects long-term debt plan which totals up to 2 million dollars," councilman Tom Rieger explained. Rieger served on the capital projects committee that helped draft the plans. "The capital project long-term debt plan will consist of a 15- or 20-year, $2 million dollar loan, which will be used to pay for large ticket capital projects such as bridge repairs and replacement, restoration of the (Dimmick Park) grandstand," and the first phase of construction for a band shell …
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Saucon Valley superintendent Sandra Fellin said this would be the fourth consecutive year without a tax increase.
Saucon Valley School District superintendent Sandra Fellin presented the district's 2012-2013 preliminary budget to the school board at its Jan. 23 meeting. The $40,104,832 budget as presented requires no tax increase for the fourth year in a row. Although no tax increase is expected, Fellin said the budget increased by $470,222. Fellin said the retirement of 13 teachers, a pay freeze accepted by support staff, the lowering of interest rates and an insurance review all helped balance the 2012-2013 budget. There are still some unknowns within the spending plan, however. Fellin did not figure the teachers' contract into the budget since negotiations on a new contract are incomplete. She said that for each percentage increase in teachers' …
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Saucon Valley resident Sue Lucrezi says reducing the size of the district's music department would be a mistake.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
To the Editor, As Saucon Valley taxpayers with no children attending SVSD schools any longer, my husband and I give our full-fledged support for the Saucon Valley School District Board of Directors to hire two full-time high-school music teachers. The heart of a community is its public schools, and in SVSD the music program is one of the main arteries keeping our community vibrant. SVSD’s students come with a range of abilities, and addressing their varying musical strengths and needs is a daunting though rewarding task. Admittedly, Kevin O’Connell and Dennis Smith have set the bar very high for their successors. Two new hires could reach that bar eventually. But, just one? The obstacles are great. Our son Anthony graduated in 2010 and is …
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Only 4 council members vote in favor of budget, which means another meeting next week, or an automatic 9 percent tax increase.
After more than two hours of discussion Thursday night, Northampton County Council tried, but failed, to adopt a budget for 2012. Council had spent much of the night hearing from residents on proposed budget amendments, debating spending cuts and arguing over salary freezes and increases. But when it came time to vote, only four council members said yes to County Executive John Stoffa's $331 million budget. "Yes, we have no budget," Council President John Cusick said minutes after the vote. Councilman Ron Angle -- who lost the presidency to Cusick at the beginning of the year -- told Cusick he should have worked harder with the rest of council to get the budget passed. "It was your job to produce this budget. You have failed," said Angle…
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
The state treasurer says increasing transportation investment is a good idea.
State Treasurer Rob McCord said increasing driver’s license fees and uncapping a portion of the state’s gasoline tax are good ideas for generating transportation funding, but he criticized Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration for saying the changes are not a tax increase. “I think the normal consumer thinks of these fees as essentially a tax burden,” McCord said. “But I thought lifting the cap, for example, was a smart approach to this challenge, and my hope is that on a bi-partisan basis they can get some good traction with their proposals." McCord was the guest at the monthly luncheon of the Pennsylvania Press Club on July 25 at the Harrisburg Hilton. The governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission wrapped up last month after …