LEHIGH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
At their Oct. 23 meeting Lehigh County Commissioners held their final bi-partisan compromise vote on the $514.6 million 2020 budget with amendments, passing a tax increase to 3.78 mills.
Before the vote, Commissioner Brad Osborne, who moments later voted against the budget, made a statement saying he has respect for the ability of Financial Officer Tim Reeves, but objected to the procedure by which the administration and members of the board of commissioners reached the compromise presented in the final version of the bill.
Osborne described the compromise process as “back and forth bartering” held via a pre-meeting phone call.
The 2020 Budget passed 7-2 with Osborne and Commissioner Marty Nothstein voting against the budget. Voting for the budget were Geoff Brace, Nathan Brown, Dr. Percy Dougherty, Marc Grammes, Dan Hartzell, Amanda Holt and Amy Zanelli.
In other meeting business, the commissioners passed a bill defining the procedure by which an individual commissioner can substitute a health care vendor for the vendor recommended by the administration.
The commissioners also extended the lease to the Lehigh Valley Zoological Society who manage the property that comprises the Lehigh Valley Zoo.
At the beginning of the regular meeting, commissioners honored the emergency services personnel who responded to the three-alarm fire at the Heather Glen Senior Living Center in Upper Macungie Township which started around 3 a. m. Sept. 22.
In a resolution, commissioners honored emergency service personnel from Lehigh, Northampton, Berks and Montgomery counties who “selflessly risked their own safety in preserving the lives of these vulnerable residents and loved ones in the execution of their duties that morning.”
Eighty-two residents and five staff members of the senior living center were rescued.