If elected I plan on posting each agenda to my blog as a preview along with my thoughts on each item before the meeting takes place. Julian Stolz does this on his blog. Although I disagree with him from time to time, I do admire that he takes the time to do this. I think it’s a great service and I think all local officials should consider the practice. (Julian took the idea from US Rep. Justin Amash who outlines EVERY single vote he casts with detailed explanation on his social media)
Please remember, if elected In these previews while I may indicate my voting inclination, it in no way means my mind is made up. During a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a commissioner spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people felt. That was wrong.
I hope this opens the door for important conversations before public meetings. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was people didn’t truly understand what was happening until it was too late. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure residents have background and my thoughts on every critical issue that comes in front of the board. This is one mechanism to do that.
Lower Macungie Township – Board of Commissioners August 15th 2013
Here is the agenda with supporting documents
Hearings and Approvals:
- Approval RACP Grant Cooperation agreement for Hamilton Crossings.
- Resolution 2013-15 – Approving RACP Grant Application on behalf of Hamilton Crossings
What: This has been discussed at previous meetings. This involves the township applying for state grant money on behalf of Hamilton Crossings specifically to deal with infrastructure and remediation of mine wash.
Thoughts: All board members have indicated their support of this for weeks. My thoughts are while I have some philosophical problems with state funding of local infrastructure, (It’s one element of the growth ponzi scheme) I will never cast what I call an “activist” vote. If an elected official has a problem with state or federal grants then the focus should be on fixing what you feel is a broken system. Statements shouldn’t be made by turning down money for the community you were elected to represent.
Secondly, I have an issue with the grant cooperation agreement calling this project a “mixed use” project. I outlined this here. Words have meanings. This is not a mixed use project and I object to it being called one.
Despite the two above concerns, my vote for these two items would have been YES. Although I would have spoken to my above concerns during Commissioner discussion. I would also continue to actively engage state officials on elements of the “ponzi scheme”, why I think it leads to unsustainable fiscally irresponsible growth and contributes to sprawl.
(note this item passed unanimously, Commissioner Conrad was absent)
- Approval of Junk Yard License Renewals.
Thoughts: This is a yearly housekeeping issue. I’ve seen this done two years now at meetings I’ve attended. Absent of any resident concerns which there were none this is a YES vote. Passed Unanimously.
- Approval of Lehigh Valley Hazard Mitigation Plan
Thoughts: Hazard Mitigation is planning to reduce long term risk to residents and property from hazards. The mandated plan was approved by PEMA and FEMA. Each county and municipality now adopts. It is required to be a part of the National Flood Insurance Program. Obviously, it’s important for Lower Macungie to be a part of that program. My vote would be Yes. This passed unanimously.
- Approving amendment to the LMT Emergency Operation Plan
Thoughts: This goes with above. My vote would be Yes.
- Approving revision to audit advisory by-laws.
Thoughts: This revises by-laws allowing the audit advisory board to appoint it’s own chair. Although I disagree with the recent separate administrative decision to take away the vote of the planning commission chair in appointing new members. (leaving only the BOC members on that committee to vote), this is a good administrative move. It makes sense for this board to approve it’s own chair. My vote for this would be ‘Yes’. My vote for the planning commission appointment update would have been ‘No.’ This passed.
- Approving the commercial fire inspection ordinance.
Thoughts: When this issue first came up I shared Commissioner Conrads concern with the potential for adding more burden on local business owners. Do we need to to regulate fire safety? Is this over-regulating. To address those concerns I met with Brent Mcnabb assistant Chief of the LMT fire dept. He made a strong case in support of this ordinance. The public safety commission also recommends adoption. If any business owner would have made an opposing case against this, I would have seriously considered any arguments made and motioned for tabling until concerns were addressed if they weren’t right away. None were made. My vote would have likely been yes with strong reservations. I would have wanted to know more concrete details about the fee schedule above and beyond assurances it would be revenue neutral.