New Lehigh County executive, William Hansell, introduces a no-tax increase budget

Author: , Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published: Aug 27 2012 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 28 2012 07:13:47 PM EDT

Lehigh County executive sworn in Tuesday


Bill Hansell wasted no time.

He delivered a no-tax increase budget proposal for 2013 just moments after being sworn into office.

The spending plan even includes a tax rebate for many, but it also cuts 21 county jobs to balance the books.

It was the first order of business for the new Lehigh County Executive Bill Hansell.

He gave commissioners a budget that he hopes both sides will find common ground.

"We have to go through this with a fine tooth comb now and see if there are areas where maybe we can make some adjustments," said Lehigh county commissioner, Percy Dougherty.

Hansell's $365 million 2013 budget will include reducing the county staff by 21 people.

"Some of them are vacant positions that we will not fill," said Hansell. "Some of them are retirements, and some of them will actually be people that will not have a job anymore."

There will also be money given to fund two first year programs.

The Lehigh County Regional Crime Data center and the County's "medicolegal" building for the coroner's office.

"This is a fairly complicated year because of the reassessment which was approved by the commissioners early in the year," said Hansell.

That's why Hansell is proposing a $6.5 million onetime tax break for homeowners.

The money is meant to help people offset possible higher tax bills due to the recent home reassessments.

The credit equals $44 a household on average, but some feel the money should go somewhere else.

"I'll take a very unpopular position and I will state that personally I feel we should have used that money to pay for the pension fund," said Dougherty.

The reason why Commissioner Dougherty wants the money to go to pensions is because Lehigh County's pension fund is only 84 percent funded.

Right now they have a short fall of between $55 to $65 million.

Public hearings on the budget will start on September 13th.


Legal issues to keep Peterson off the field

Running back indicted on felony child abuse charges

Author: By Ed Payne CNN
Published: Sep 17 2014 02:16:41 AM EDT   Updated:  2 HR. AGO
Adrian Peterson

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

(CNN) -

Running back Adrian Peterson will not play for the Minnesota Vikings until his legal issues are resolved, the team said early Wednesday.

It's a reversal of course for the Vikings. The team had earlier said that Peterson, who is facing a child abuse charge, would practice this week and could play in Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

In a statement early Wednesday, the team said Peterson has been placed on the NFL's Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list, which will require him to "remain away from all team activities."

"While we were trying to make a balanced decision (Monday), after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian," said a statement from owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. "We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right."

Peterson is considered one of the best running backs in the NFL -- if not the best. His absence was probably felt during the Vikings' 30-7 loss to the Patriots last Sunday.

In 2011, he agreed to a lucrative contract, which NFL.com reported would be worth $100 million over a 7-year period.

Turn for the worse

But his fortunes have taken a turn for the worse since his indictment last week on a felony charge of causing bodily injury to his son.

On Tuesday, he lost one of his most significant endorsement deals when Castrol, a major producer of motor oil, pulled out.

Castrol used Peterson in commercials for its Edge performance oil product and on social media. Many recent social media posts of his likeness had been pulled down, and the commercials were no longer available on YouTube. (His other major sponsor, Nike, said late last week it would stand by its athlete for the time being.)

One of the team's sponsors, the Radisson hotel chain, announced Monday night that it was suspending its "limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances."

Also, the website for his All Day Foundation was taken off line after the charities represented on the site were getting "harassing" calls from gossip sites, his philanthropic adviser, Bruce Richmond, said.

"We took the website off line because the charities that Adrian supports were getting calls from the media and were getting harassed by the media," Richmond told CNN. "I spoke to one communication director saying she had received about a dozen calls today from the same gossip site."

Legal process

Following his indictment, Peterson turned himself in to East Texas authorities Saturday and was released on a $15,000 bond.

The next step is a preliminary court hearing on October 8.

According to Texas law, people can be convicted of injury to a child if they cause bodily or mental injury "intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence" or cause such harm by omission. The crime is punishable by up to two years in a state jail and a $1,000 fine.

Authorities haven't divulged the details of what led to the charge. But Peterson's lawyer said the "charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son" -- explaining that his client did so while doling out discipline "much like "he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas."

Rusty Hardin said "Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury."

Peterson defended himself on Monday, saying he is "not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser."

Other allegations

The developments came as CNN affilaite KHOU reported this week that Peterson allegedly abused another one of his children -- a 4-year-old son.

Sources told KHOU that the mother of the child filed a complaint with Child Protective Services in Texas because she alleged that Peterson beat the child, while visiting his father at his Houston-area home.

According to the report, text messages between Peterson and the boy's mother show that Peterson admitted disciplining the child, but he claims the child hit his head on the car seat in the process.

No charges were ever filed, according to KHOU.


On this Day

  • Civil War, Battle of Antietam painting

    Library of Congress

    On this day: September 17

    The U.S. Constitution is signed, the Civil War sees the bloodiest battle in American history, the prototype space shuttle Enterprise is unveiled, and the Camp David Accords bring peace between Egypt and Israel, all on this day.

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