Lehigh County Board of Commissioners recently recognized and honored three of the county’s residents.
Joseph R. Zeller was honored with the Freedom Foundation Award. He was honored Sept. 12 and celebrated his 100th birthday Sept. 19.
In a special resolution, the commissioners thanked Zeller for “a lifetime of service to his community and his country.”
The resolution described him as one who brought “unbounded vision, impassioned drive and unmitigated commitment to virtually any issue he addressed, thus leaving the people he meets and the areas he services far better.”
Lehigh County may be on the verge of doing away with cash bail. Proponents of the measure spoke Sept. 12 to commissioners and county administrative officials.
Allentown resident Julie Thomases said, “We are here to make a case for doing away with cash bail for nonviolent and low-risk offenders, as has Northampton County, Philadelphia and other counties, cities and states. Cash bail is a system of pretrial release that forces a person who has been accused but not yet found guilty of a crime to pay a fee to be released from custody before additional proceedings or trial.”
On Aug. 31, Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, officials and residents received their first look at the proposed budget for 2019 when Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong presented his first budget since assuming office.
After a visual presentation of supporting charts and documents, Armstrong gave the hefty 488-page budget to Commissioner Dr. Percy Dougherty.
To make the proposed $506.1 million budget (themed “Back to the Future”) balance, Armstrong resurrected the 2015 millage rate of 3.79.
At the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners meeting Aug. 22, the board approved the distribution of gaming program grants.
Lehigh County Board of Commissioners gave preliminary approval for the 2019-20 capital plan July 25. In gross numbers, the plan calls for a five-year grand total expenditure of $129,107,334.
The first reading of the plan passed 8-0. Commissioner Brad Osborne was absent.
Some big-ticket expenses being funded in 2019 include replacement of the voting system — $3.5 million; the Coplay-Northampton Bridge — $5 million; and courthouse upgrades — $1.06 million.
The Pennsylvania Music Preservation Society will probably get a $2,000 grant, $3,000 less than the newly formed nonprofit had requested from Lehigh County, whose board of commissioners approved a motion at its July 11 meeting to amend the bill to reduce the original $5,000 to $2,000.
It’s not often U.S. Supreme Court decisions are cited in the chambers of the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, but county employee Francisco Molina did exactly that June 27 when he addressed the board during the public comment portion of the agenda.
Molina, who has worked for the county since 2004 and for the Lehigh County Office of Children and Youth since 2006, said he does not want the county to provide his banking information to Service Employees International Union for automatic withdrawals of union dues from his bank account.
A $5,000 grant to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center fell through at the June 13 Lehigh County Board of Commissioners meeting when one of the sponsors of the bill, Amy Zanelli, abstained from voting.
She then watched the votes split between the remaining eight commissioners, 4-4.
Zanelli commented on her abstention.
“I volunteer for, contribute to and benefit from the Bradbury-Sullivan Community Center,” Zanelli said. “I will abstain.”
Lehigh County Board of Commissioners requested Commissioner Amanda Holt withdraw a proposed amendment to the professional services agreement with Computer Aid Inc. for information technology management services May 9. No reason was given.
The same amendment had been delayed at the last meeting at the request of Commissioner Brad Osborne, who wanted time to study the effect of the amendment on other issues.
Business hit a speed bump Feb. 27 when Lehigh County Board of Commissioners attempted to approve a couple of professional services contracts. Commissioner Amy Zanelli objected to the boilerplate anti-discrimination provisions of two proposed agreements — one with Election IQ LLC and another with Alfred Yacoub, Esq., for professional services with the county.
Zanelli, elected in 2017 to represent District 3, noted the proposed contracts did not contain language that protects “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or disability.”