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Executive addresses township council

At the Hanover Township, Lehigh County, Council meeting March 20, Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong looked into the future as he addressed council. Armstrong annually attempts to visit every elected body in Lehigh County at one of their public meetings to report on the county’s accomplishments during the previous year.

At the meeting, Armstrong talked about a number of county initiatives, including increasing emergency services digital radios. At its completion, which may take until 2026, communication between emergency providers will be more efficient and accurate.

He mentioned the 2024 county budget contained no tax hike. He also talked about the replacement building for Cedarbrook and its construction costs.

Armstrong said Lehigh County plans to link up with several counties to share a juvenile detention center. The county closed its juvenile detention center, formerly located near Cedarbrook, about a decade ago. He also added mental health costs at the county jail are reaching $2,000,000 because of the high number of inmates with mental health challenges.

The 911 center has been working on using FaceTime calls to assist the center in providing better, more efficient responses to difficult calls, Armstrong noted. This addition will be at no cost to the taxpayer, according to Armstrong. He cited a couple of examples where using FaceTime was used in life saving and difficult interactions.

Armstrong publicly thanked U.S. Rep. Susan Wild for her assistance to the county to procure emergency services equipment.

Armstrong acknowledged the challenges local communities have in recruiting and retaining volunteer fire and police officers. Increased fire and police costs, along with staffing challenges, has created difficult-to-solve challenges at the borough and township level.

Some local departments with staffing challenges have reportedly asked the Pennsylvania State Police to cover night shift incidents or asked a next door municipality to cover a night shift when they had no officer on duty.

Peering into the future, Armstrong said the county is investigating the possibility of increased regionalization of local fire and police services. Floating these ideas, it is unclear if these future studies and plans could result in countywide police and fire services.

Adrianna Calderon, the Lehigh County public information officer, was introduced to council. Calderon provided all present her business card. She urged the township manager and council to reach out to her for any assistance the township may need.

Lt. Jason Troutman, of the PSP Troop M, Bethlehem, introduced himself as the new PSP leader. Troutman provided a brief biography of himself and said he looks forward to addressing any concerns the township may have.

Council voted to authorize to release the payment for the Catasauqua Road Valley Plaza signal project in the amount of $75,460.20 to Telco Inc.

Township Manager Melissa Wehr said she is working on the township’s spring newsletter. She added the plans for the 2024 Community Days event, set for 4-7:30 p.m. Aug. 27, are moving forward. Wehr said movies in the park at Canal Park will begin in May and run through August. More information is forthcoming.

Robert Heimbecker requested a review of rules regulating fundraising events in the township parks. It is expected the request will be addressed at the next council meeting.

The next Hanover Township, Lehigh County, Council meeting is set for 7 p.m. April 17 at the township municipal building, 2202 Grove Road.