Lehigh Valley

Steel City Man unloads on Lower Saucon Council

LOWER SAUCON TWP., Pa. - A Steel City man voiced his concerns Wednesday night to the Lower Saucon Township Council over a resolution amending the open space tax provisions and the redesign and revamping of Steel City Park.

Matthew McClarin of Riverside Drive, who regularly attends Lower Saucon meetings, said he addressed council in October and suggested the additional 0.25 percent of open space tax, which amounts to nearly $2 million annually, be used to pay down the township's $4.75 million of indebtedness incurred with the purchase of Polk Valley Park and its new municipal headquarters.

McClarin said his suggestion to council of paying off debt with open space tax funds approved by voters would save the township nearly $2 million and would shorten the finance period from 2023 to 2019.

He said his gripe with council was its adverse reaction back in 2015 to his recommendation and township solicitor Lincoln Treadwell' s comment on the matter. According to McClarin, Treadwell said: "We would have a very big problem with the state of Pennsylvania" using open space tax revenues to pay off debt.

Following a ballot referendum last November, Lower Saucon voters agreed to pay an additional one quarter of one percent earned income tax, and agreed to extend the period of taxation for five years through December 2021.

Treadwell said he could not recall his exact reaction from a meeting held over two years ago, however, he did note back in October 2015 voters had not yet decided to allow open space taxes be used to pay down township debt.

Council President Ron Horiszny also said in 2015 the state made changes on the details of open space purchases and transactions, which, in turn affected council's decisions on the matter. 

With regard to changes at Steel City Park, McClarin said the new eight-foot high fence looks as though it belongs surrounding a prison yard.

McClarin criticized the planning and redesign, calling it as ineffective and unnecessary, including the new walking trail, parking lot, tree removals, and basketball court among other features.

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