Wednesday, October 1, 2008

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Proposed Funding Cuts at Lehigh County for Revitalization Funding


I have some disturbing news from our Lehigh County Executive, Don Cunningham. It would seem that at least one Lehigh County Commissioner is attempting to reduce or eliminate funding for Lehigh County’s Department of Community & Economic Development. As you can see from the County Executive’s E-mail below, this elimination would have a dramatic negative effect on our program, as it would eliminate vital grant funding that has been of significant assistance to urban communities. Alburtis, Coopersburg and Macungie have all received either Streetscape or Planning grants as part of the BBRP program. Without county support, many BBRP initiatives would be reduced or completely eliminated.

If possible, please attend the meeting tomorrow (10/2, 6:pm in the County Government Center (17 S. 7th Street, Allentown) and speak about how seriously eliminating this funding would affect your community. I also encourage you to contact the Commissioners office (610-782-7050) and inform them directly about how this would affect our efforts to revitalize urban communities in Lehigh County. Please do this; it is VERY important that the Commissioners are made aware of just how significantly this would affect our efforts.

Thank you for your time and your consideration. Please see the E-mail from Executive Cunningham below.
Dear Friend,
I am writing to notify you that some or all of the funding
proposed in my 2009 budget related to your organization and/or the
initiative in which we are partnered or you have expressed interest has
been targeted for reduction or elimination in a motion introduced by a
county commissioner.

This Thursday (10/2), the Lehigh County Board of
Commissioners will hold its final 2009 budget hearing at 6 p.m. in the
County Government Center at 7th and Hamilton Streets in Allentown. The
board will consider millions of dollars of proposed funding cuts to the
following areas:

* Quality of Life grants to more than 20 cultural arts and
community organizations
* Farmland preservation
* Open space preservation
* Borough revitalization funding
* Community partnership grants for townships
* Community police matching grants
* Urban parks funding
* Brownfield/industrial land economic development
* Regional economic development funding
* Passenger rail study/mass transit funding

My proposed 2009 budget is a modest 1.1 percent higher than
this year's budget. It contains NO tax increase and continues a balanced
investment in the operations of Lehigh County government while
supporting our community partnerships, our downtowns, public safety, our
cultural arts institutions and community events, regional efforts across
municipalities, mass transit and passenger rail development,
preservation of open space and farmland and the development of urban

Proposals will be considered and voted upon Thursday that would
alter that agenda and affect our partnerships and/or funding for your
organization or municipal government. That should not occur without you
having a voice in the matter. You may want to attend this important
meeting to represent the interests of your group or initiative.

For more information on the proposed funding cuts, please
contact the County Executive Office at 610-782-3001 or the County
Commissioner Office at 610-782-3050.

Don Cunningham
Lehigh County Executive
Government Center
17 S. 7th St.
Allentown, PA 18101

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