BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The 2022 budget for Bethlehem Township was approved for advertising and first reading at the commissioners' meeting Monday night. There was no increase in the real estate millage rate, which will remain at 7.59 mills per dollar of assessed valuation. A proposed fire tax was fixed at 0.15 special purpose mills.
The general fund anticipates receipts of $24,655,923 and expenditures of $19,461,638 for a projected fund balance of $5,194,285. The capital reserve fund projects a year-end balance of $153,000, while the state liquid fuels tax fund sees a balance of $446,344. The special fund for the fire tax estimates a balance of $702,013, while the sewer revenue fund and stormwater fund are projected to break even.
Earlier, the commissioners heard from a group of concerned residents living in the areas of Margate Road, Blush Drive, Carter Road and other nearby streets about the loud vehicles from the neighborhood that they say disturb the peace at all hours of the day and night.
"I thought Nazareth Speedway was gone," said resident Frank Dougherty.
"I’m thinking about moving," testified resident Elena Placido. "I've been threatened by one of the teens."
"I've called the police many times," said Spencer Stober. "This has been going on for over one-and-a-half years. The noise wakes my young children in the night."
"The police watch my boys all the time," said the mother of two of the teens who drive the loud cars. "They've been OK as far their driving record. It's not only my kids who have loud cars."
Bethlehem Township Police Chief Daniel Pancoast said his department was currently working with all parties and he believes a resolution is close at hand.
The commissioners approved a motion to forward a proposed zoning definitions text amendment to the Bethlehem Township Planning Commission and Lehigh Valley Planning Commission for review.
They also approved a motion authorizing and approving pollutant reduction plan amendments prepared by Herbert, Rowland & Grubric Inc. for review by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
In addition, the commissioners approved a motion authorizing a funding commitment to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant program for the Easton Avenue flood mitigation project in the amount of $4,760,000.
Township Manager Doug Bruce announced that a national opioid settlement of $26 billion was reached with Johnson & Johnson and other drug manufacturers. The township must opt in by Jan.1 in order to be eligible for settlement money and the board approved the motion. The money must be used for abatement and remediation of opioids.
The board also addressed a number of agenda items related to land development, although the conditional use hearing for the garden apartment complex proposed for the site of the former Bethlehem Drive-In was moved to January.