The Morning Call from Allentown, Pennsylvania on November 12, 1986 · 40
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The Morning Call from Allentown, Pennsylvania · 40

Allentown, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Wednesday, November 12, 1986
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FIFTH ayoir planus 2-milS tax boost in BetihSe SlOITBTl By DAN HARTZELL Of The Morning Call Despite the loss of more than SI million in federal revenue-sharing funds, Bethlehem's 1987 operating budget requires a property tax increase of only 2 mills, Mayor Paul Marcincin announced yesterday at the annual unveiling of the spending plan in City Hall. The administration proposes to spend $23.3 million next year, about $1 million more than was originally projected for 1986 spending. The actual 1986 outlay, at the latest estimate, will be $23.44 million. No layoffs or service reductions are included in the budget proposal. Also announced yesterday was the amount of the recommended sewer rate increase, of which Business Administrator Jack Downing informed City Council on Oct. 30. The sewer rates are currently calculated at 84 percent of the net water bill. As of Jan. 1, if council agrees, the city will still take 84 percent of the water bill, but a 40-percent increase will be imposed upon that amount. It boils down to a 40-percent hike in the sewer bill. According to Public Works Director Wendell Sherman, the average quarterly residential water bill is $14.80, making the sewer bill 84 percent of that, or $12.43. If the increase is enacted, 40 percent of $12.43, or $4.97, would be added to the sewer bill. The total sew er-water bill would go from $27.23 per quarter to $32.20. The sewer bills have not increased since the water rate went up by 45 percent in March 1984, and thus the sewer rate along with it. Marcincin said that increasing costs at the 25-year-old waste-water treatment plant, where $800,000 to $900,000 must be spent annually for upgrading over the next six years, is the chief reason for the increase. Also, new equipment and technology needed at the treatment plant to meet increasingly stringent environmental protection requirements will mean that two more plant employees will be needed, according to the budget proposal. Marcincin had previewed the 1987 budget figures oh Oct. 16, when he said the property tax increase would be no higher than 2.5 mills, but even that estimate was reduced to a flat 2-mill increase. Ha credited the general "belt-tightening" approach of his department heads and the cooperation of city employees with keeping the increase as low as possible. Three of four union locals have settled contracts for next year, all with 4-percent wage increases effective either in July or September. The department heads were asked to submit budget requests with expenditure totals no higher than those appearing in the 1986 budget, Marcincin said, adding that the target was met. City property owners currently pay 33 mills, or $33 for each $1,000 in assessed value of their properties. A homeowner who pays $330 for a $10,000 assessment this year will be charged $350 in 1987, if council approves the 2-mill increase. Marcincin took pains to point out that the property tax increase could have been much higher, and he singled out his favorite culprit of recent years, the federal government. "Despite the rhetoric from the federal government on tax reform which is 'revenue neutral' and on reduction of the critical budget deficit, cuts made by the President and Congress this year in the domestic spending arena have, in essence, only resulted in . . . shifting the fiscal problem downward to the local government level," Marcincin said, echoing a familiar complaint of his friend, Allentown Mayor Joseph Daddona. The elimination of the federal revenue-sharing program in 1987 will cost Bethlehem slightly more than $1 million, the mayor pointed out, or about 3.7 mills worth of shortfall. The sale of Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Homer Research Laboratories to non-taxable Lehigh University, along with the general and continued downward trend in employment at the steel company, will take another estimated $200,000 bite out of expected revenues, Marcincin said. The Homer deal makes up about $107,000 of that, according to current estimates. On the bright side, however, Marcincin pointed out that "the poor business conditions which affected Bethlehem Steel have not influenced all other areas of our local economy." Income from the business privilege and mercantile taxes, for instance, achieved new highs in 1986, and "I believe that this growth will continue into 1987," the mayor said. Real estate and building markets are also booming, he added, as the deed transfer tax shared with the state and the Bethlehem Area School District also "exceeded all our estimates and has climbed to a new high" in 1986. These revenue sources are relatively small, however, compared to property tax income and the earned income column that has suffered under the brunt of steel company layoffs. The 1986 estimate for property tax income is $9.54 million, and for tax upon the earned income of city residents, $2.9 million. By comparison, the deed transfer tax will net $420,000, the mercantile tax $370,000 and the occupation privilege levy $175,000. Besides the increased employment at the sewage treatment plant, another new position, landfill superintendent, is also shown in the 1987 document with a $26,474 salary. Downing said that with the new, state-of-the-art landfill expansion under way, and the landfill becoming a more important operation, the administration feels a superintendent who is a licensed engineer, or one who has experience in running modern landfills, should be hired. Parkland board renews contract of superintendent The Parkland School Board last night gave a vote of confidence to Superintendent Carmen Riola by renewing his contract for another five years. The board approved the resolution by unanimous vote. Riola's contract was to expire on June 30, 1987. After the vote, Riola said it was "very gratifying" to receive the vote of confidence and pledged to continue doing the best job possible. Riola, who is in his fourth term, said he has been superintendent since 1974. In other action, the board approved a plan for a new teacher induction program. The program is designed to assist new teachers in the district, and is part of Governor Thornburgh's plan for excellence in education, Riola said. He also said the program is similar to a program called "Helping Teachers," which was used years ago when the district had a heavy demand for more teachers. The new program is "not too complicated," and is culled from v other suggested teacher induction programs, he said. A policy for providing access to school facilities for student meetings and activities also was given a first reading last night. The policy would provide access to "certain school facilities ... involving other students at that school" as long as they are "voluntary and student-initiated; do not materially and substantially inter- Deer breaks window to visit high school A deer decided to visit Parkland High School Monday afternoon the hard way by crashing through a window and into a lobby. At least it decided to take the easy way out. It pressed the exit bar on a door and ambled away. Parkland School Board Director Henry Gernerd last night told the board of the unexpected break-in. He said the animal burst through the window and entered a lobby near the athletic office. It then somehow opened a door, possibly by pushing with its front legs on the exit bar; and left through a door, he said. In the process, the unfortunate beast broke part of its antlers, he added. Gernerd said the deer then ran past students, presumably to greener and safer pastures. fere with the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school; are neither directly controlled nor regularly attended by any non-student (not including faculty sponsor, adviser or chaperone); and are not sponsored by the government or its agents or by any religious or political group or agency." Included in the policy are provisions requiring that the event must be cleared 14 days in advance. Also, non-students may attend with permission from the school principal. Finally, a reorganization meeting was scheduled for 7:15 p.m., Dec. 9. Parade to herald arrival of Santa in Bethlehem Santa Gaus will arrive Saturday in Downtown Bethlehem in a parade sponsored by Orr's of Bethlehem and the Downtown Bethlehem Again merchants organization. The parade will begin at 9 a.m. from the Christmas City Fairgrounds and proceed up Main Street to Walnut Street. Marchers will then turn east on Walnut to Guetter Street, travel north to Broad Street, then west on Broad and return to Main Street. The American Legion Color Guard will lead the parade, followed by city officials, the Nitschmann Middle School Band, Raybo the Clown, Melanie Wagner's Academy of Baton and Dance, the Hobo Band, the Rajah Temple Float, the East Hills Middle School Band and Santa on a fire truck. Each group will perform briefly in front of Orr's. As Santa climbs the fire truck ladder to the roof of Orr's, 2,000 balloons will be released. In addition, free balloons will be given to children along the parade route. John Cornish will be the master of ceremonies, and Bethlehem Jaycees will help with the distribution of balloons. Quakertown man buys dream: a baseball team ggllLV2 U L P MARKET 3S1 U'!0rS3iT quality meats" UJIiur Taste The Differences By DAN FRICKER Of The Morning Call Clyde Smoll Jr. of Quakertown wanted to get into professional baseball, but a college arm injury ended his chances. Now, years later, Smoll's dream has come true. But he won't be on the pitcher's mound opening day. He'll be in the owner's box. Smoll has purchased the Elmira, N.Y., Pioneers, the Class A team in the Boston Red Sox minor league system. "I've had a lifelong dream of getting into baseball, but I never thought my entree would be by owning a team," Smoll said last night. Smoll said owning the team will permit him to combine 18 years of industry experience, most recently as a management consultant, and a lifetime interest in baseball. Smoll purchased the team in early September from Bobby Bragan Jr. of Ormond Beach, Fla., for a reported $322,500. Smoll said the reported price is incorrect, but declined to say what it was. "Let me just say it's not a number that's close," he said. "It's at least 50 thousand dollars off." Coincidentally, Smoll's and Bra-gan's fathers both played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1940. The Pioneers attracted a record 71,463 fans to Dunn Field last season while finishing fifth in the New York-Penn League, office manager Jean Hoffman said. Smoll said the team made money for Bragan, although he declined to discuss the team's finances. "It's been very profitable for Bobby," Smoll said. "We hope to continue that. We bet the farm on it." Smoll said he plans to market the team as "clean, wholesome entertainment' and has begun assembling a new front office staff. Since purchasing the team, Smoll has been commuting three days a week to Elmira, an ordeal he hopes to end soon. Smoll and his family plan to move into a house they bought in Elmira as soon as they sell their home in Quakertown. Smoll has a long baseball pedigree. Besides his father, who played 13 years in professional baseball, including all or parts of three seasons with the Phillies, Smoll himself has been involved in the game. He was a pitcher at Quakertown High School and a scholarship player at the University of Cincinnati. After his playing career ended, Smoll went on to coach amateur teams locally and, most recently, owned the Quakertown Blazers baseball franchise. SIDES OF $1139 BEEF y ib. KIND $fl75 QUARTERS 0 ib. " V CM I Al ITV MP4TC Taste The Difference he Rnllr GRCUX9 CKUCX ib. 5 139 5 lb. box CHUCK PATTIES ib.5!69 Chuck ROAST .b.$169 Smoked SAUSAGE .b.s189 We Do Deer Processing This is not only a meat market this is a genuine butcher shop where steers and pigs are aiauynivrea unaer Teaerai inspection you Can uuy meat oy me siae. quarter or any quamty. c uu uu l.Ulun SLAUGHTERING Tues. & Wed. 9-6- Thurs. 12-6: Fri. 9-8: Sat. 9-5 ; Heed a chimney sweep? See CLASSIFIED BusinessService Directory. THE MORNING CALL Humane Society holds membership meeting "Lehigh County Humane Society is in business because people failed animals." So said Phyllis Wright, vice president for the companion animals division of the Humane Society of the United States, and keynote speaker at the local chapter's 80th annual membership dinner recently at the Ambassador Restaurant. More than 90 members, friends and volunteers attended the meeting, which also included election of five directors and a report from Ja-, net Chardavoyne, shelter manager. - Wright, who has helped LCHS through several difficult periods, commended the group for the progress made in recent years. She called the animal shelter the conscience of the community. "If people were kind to animals and responsible pet owners, LCHS would not be needed." Wright cited the need for better animal rights legislation and lauded Debbie Reinhard-Mertz, LCHS education coordinator, for the society's educational program. According to Wright, there has been a 20 percent decrease in animals going through animal shelters because the public has become more aware of proper pet care and animal rights legislation. The society presented awards in recognition of outstanding service to animals to Marie Lathrop of the Morning Call and Boy Scout Edward Rothrock of Troop 1, Church of the Mediator. Rothrock earned both a Star and a Life Badge for organizing a project to collect food, blankets, bedding , coupons and money at area food markets for the shelter. A special award was presented to Miry Amelio for t5 years of service cn the beard. Volunteers who received certificates of recognition include Rose Ann Matrision, who gave 100 hours of serv ice last yean Betty Bowman and Didi Unger, for outstanding work with cats; and Marie Schaedel, for patient and loving care of Murdoch, a blind dog. Bruce Fritch, Cindy O'Keefe and Carol Stephens, all of Allentown, and Ann Merkl of Slatington were reelected to the board for a three-year term, and David Dulick of Allentown was elected a director, also for a three-year term. LCHS handled 678 adoptions this year, 226 valid cruelty complaints, and returned 438 animals to their owners. The society was founded in 1906 and incorporated in 1907 as a full-service humane society. " ' 'TOmf-lil?" m" ',"'? ""ip war 131 W. 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