Campaign finance reform

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Allentown City Council on Wednesday night rejected legislation that would have created campaign finance regulations.

The bill would have capped campaign contributions per election cycle at $2,900; eliminated stacking; and limited political action committee contributions to $5,000 per candidate. In addition, contributions could not have exceeded Federal Election Commission limits in effect as of the first day of the calendar year.

The legislation was based on campaign finance legislation used in the city of Pittsburgh. Currently in Allentown, there are no campaign contribution limits.

"This is by no means a solution, but it is a step in the right direction," Councilman Joshua Siegel said prior to the vote. "This makes the system more equitable and more fair … I promise you it's the right thing to do."

The bill was rejected by a 3-4 vote, with Councilwoman Ce-Ce Gerlach, President Julio Guridy and Siegel voting in the minority.

In other news, the legislative body authorized Mayor Ray O'Connell's administration to formally submit an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to obtain a grant to support a signals project at the intersection of Lehigh and Union streets.

Specifically, the project includes roadway widening and the installation of a new traffic signal. The city is seeking $992,960 from the state, and must make a match commitment of $301,100 toward the project.

In other business, council authorized the mayor to apply for and then access $300,875 in federal funds for the Lehigh Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board for the 2021-22 program year.

The funds will "help emergency shelters with much needed help with expenses that have been, and will be incurred by the coronavirus," according to the bill.

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