Monday, April 22, 2013

And Now, the Rest of the Story: 4-22-2013 Meeting Roundup

Apologies to the late, great Paul Harvey for hijacking his catchphrase. While I was growing up, I always loved listening to him with my grandfather on 1470, back when they were an oldies station. Good times (and great oldies)!

On Saturday, I posted a copy of the agenda and how I planned to vote. Things went more or less as I planned.

Here's a quick rundown:

1.) Pledge of Allegiance- We observed a moment of silence for the tragedy in Boston.

2.) Requests to Address the Board
     - John Donches of Emmaus announced that the Concerned East Penn Taxpayer's Association will be hosting a candidates night on Tuesday May 14th. I'll post more on this at a later date
     - Several parents spoke on the situation with Willow Lane Transportation. One parent added that the board should revamp it's "antiquated" communication procedures and should instead have a more interactive session like Lower Macungie Township does. Amen! I've been saying that for years and I will introduce some suggested policy changes to facilitate this in the future.

3.) Approval of Minutes- This item was unanimously approved

4.) SGA Report- The Student Government representatives gave a report on the usual school dances etc. I asked them to bring suggestions to the board about the budget as we move into the budget season. They said they would. Our SGA represents the needs of the students and they know as well as anyone what we need in the High School and we should look to them for input. I realize as a Conservative this could be asking for trouble, but when we're sitting on millions in surplus, we can meet the needs of our students without raising taxes. Of this, I am confident!

5.) NSBA Technology Visit Overview

6.) Report of the Superintendent-
     - Dr. Seidenberger dropped the bombshell that there will likely be no tax increase in this year's budget. More on that here.
    -The Personnel Item was unanimously approved.

7.) Carbon Lehigh and Intermediate Unit Facilities Plan Committee Report- This item was unanimously approved.

8.) Lehigh Career and Technical Institute Update

9.) Legislative Update- Board President Ballard speculated as to why items such as prevailing wage languish in the Republican Majority legislature. I suggested anyone who was curious look at the campaign finance reports of Republican House Caucus leaders such as Sam Smith, Mike Turzai, and Mike Vereb along with Senate Republican Leaders Joe Scarnati, Dominic Pileggi, and the Lehigh Valley's very own Pat Browne. They take millions of dollars of Union money and they don't bite the hand that feeds them. Sad that We the People have yet to wise up and vote them out in favor of officials who stand up for the Taxpayers, not the Union leaches.

10.)  Business Operations
      1.) Bid Opening Report
      2.) Approval of Bill List- As usual, Ms. Donches and I abstained.
      3.) Treasurer's Report- This item was unanimously approved
      4.) GASB 45 Valuation and Related Services Agreement- This item was withdrawn and will not reappear til sometime in June
      5.) Appointment of Auditor- Ms. Donches questioned why this was not bid out. While I agree with her that it should be in the future, I approved this item for this year. Mr. Gorman openly states that he doesn't trust the board or the administration. I like that. Still, if we can bid this out in the future and save some money, we should do so. This item was approved 8-1 with Ms. Donches voting no...well, technically 7-1-1 since Ms. Birdcell forgot to call on Mike Policano to ask him for his vote. Apparently Mike and I were the only ones to notice. He told me he'd have voted for it anyway...still. Really?
     6.) Appointment of Architects for Professional Services for the Roof Replacement at Lincoln School- This item was unanimously approved.
    7.) A Resolution for Designation of Millage Rates Following County-wide Reassessment of Real Estate Values- This item was unanimously approved.
    8.) Capital Reserve Fund Transfer- This item was unanimously approved. Ms. Donches had a few questions about why this money (just over $1,000,000) should be placed in the Capital Reserve Fund instead of remaining in the General Fund where the Board and the administration would have more flexibility in how to use the funds. I've opposed putting money from bond refinancing in the Capital Reserve Fund before, but I supported it in this case. We have about $5 million in pending Capital Projects, including the Lincoln Elementary Roof project we approved tonight and only have $1.9 million in the Capital Reserve Fund. In this case, I think it's appropriate, especially in light of the budget expectations for this year.
     9.) Disbursement of Funds- This item was unanimously approved.
     10.) Budget Transfers- This item was unanimously approved.
     11.) Willow Lane Transportation Committee- I withdrew this resolution.

11.) Announcements- Dr. Bacher announced that the TIF Committee has issued their report. I continue to oppose the TIF proposal. More on that later this week or possibly early next.
- I issued my statement of thanks to my fellow board members for not drafting a resolution of censure against me.

12.) Adjourn(!)

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