2023 Primary Election Guide

In this issue I’ll be covering both the Lower Saucon Township Council and the Saucon Valley School Board Primary Elections.

Lower Saucon Township Council

If you have have been sickened, disgusted, revolted or outraged by the behavior of four of the five members of the Lower Saucon Township Council since the last local election in November 2021, here is the first opportunity for at least some of us to begin to do something about it.

The upcoming primary election on Tuesday, May 16, will be the first time any township residents can vote for Lower Saucon Township Council candidates.  On the Democratic side, it’s fairly straightforward.  Priscilla deLeon, Victoria Opthof-Cordaro and Laura Ray are running for the three open seats so there is no competition on that side.  These are three fine ladies.  Priscilla deLeon has been fighting on behalf of Lower Saucon citizens for nine terms now.  That’s 35 years!  The last term has undoubtedly been the most ugly.  Victoria Opthof-Cordaro ran for council in 2021 and lost to the Landfill mob. She’ll be running again, for good reason.  Laura Ray is an active resident, member of the township EAC, and a valuable contributor to the battle against landfill expansion.  Saucon Shenanigans will provide more info on each of these candidates when we get to the general election.

On the Republican side, however, there are four candidates running for three open seats, and if you’re a registered Republican, here’s where you can make a BIG difference!  I urge you to do so.

Kathy Pichel-McGovern is running on her own – not as part of any slate – for one of the seats. You can find lots of information about her on her website here:  https://www.votekathypichelmcgovern.com.  But I want to share why it’s important that you vote for her and not the other 3 cyphers running as a slate of Banonis toadies.

Kathy is very direct about her position on many of the critical issues we’ve been dealing with over the last few years.  

  • She supports a return to affiliation with the Hellertown Area Library.  In fact, she was formerly the treasurer while a member of the HAL Board of Trustees.  
  • She stands four-square against the expansion of the dump.  She’s a farmer whose property stands in close proximity to the land that will be destroyed.  As a farmer, she has a clear understanding of what the destruction of that property will cause both our environment and our quality of life.   She was a member of the township’s Environmental Advocacy Committee (EAC).
  • She supports a return to the collaboration that LST formerly had with Hellertown, including the sharing of the yard waste/compost center. 
  • She opposes the rezoning of residential areas (R40) to light manufacturing (LM) that will lay open the space for warehouses. She was a member of the township’s Planning Commission.

All of these positions are in line with not only what Saucon Shenanigans has been supporting over the last two years but also in line with what so many LST residents have testified to and for which they have been roundly ignored.

So if you’re a registered Republican, please vote for Kathy Pichel-McGovern in the primary.  She stands for what we’ve all been fighting for ever since the Banonis cronies took over.

Oh.  You want to know about the other three running on the Republican ticket?  I’m not inclined to give them any publicity but I’ll cover a few pertinent points.

  • Yerger has been on the council for quite a few years.  From the time I began following council meetings in February 2020, she was president of the township council until Banonis was elected in 2022.  She was basically useless.  In the two years since Banonis became president, she has scarcely ever voted contrary to his position on anything.  She did vote against the rezoning for the landfill expansion in December 2022, but prior to that she voted for it as a member of the EAC and then, after the zoning vote, she voted in favor of proceeding with the conditional use hearing on January 18, 2023.  Bottom line, they let her vote “no” on the dump re-zoning because they had enough votes to pass it anyway.  
  • Inglis is even more of a seat-warmer.  He was appointed to the council to fill the vacancy created by Jen Zavacky’s resignation in May 2022.  There were apparently 3 other applicants for the position, but we were not informed of their names or qualifications.  Not clear what Inglis’s qualifications were for the position but he definitely never votes contrary to anything Banonis wants. He voted for the dump rezoning, for the conditional use hearing, and for the recent disgusting quarter million dollar “offer” to Southern Lehigh Public Library.  The other thing we do know is that he’s related to John Inglis who is a member of the Upper Saucon Township Council which has been heavily pressuring Southern Lehigh Public Library to take that $250,000 “offer”.  Coincidence?
  • Susan Blair seems to be the designated country-club replacement for Jen Zavacky.  Her list of issues is completely anodyne with the possible exception of support for term limits which seems to be a direct slap at Mrs. deLeon.  She says she’s going to make “honest, informed and fiscally responsible decision[s] as the facts and my conscience dictate” which might lead you to think there’s a chance she’ll vote against the Banonis bunch, but don’t count on it. That’s pretty flowery nonsense. She lists exactly no involvement in the township in which she has lived for 40 years.  How informed does that make her? Oh, and her husband’s a builder/developer. (Blair Homes. Ring a bell?)

Assuming that two (and only two) of these three will make it through to the general election, I’ll have more information on them.  Until then, you should be aware that not one of them responded to the questions asked by the League of Women Voters or the Morning Call. Still waiting to see if they bother to respond to Saucon Source.  Does that give you some idea how much they’re going to be listening to you as a resident?

I urge you, if you are a Republican resident of LST, vote for Kathy Pichel-McGovern for Township Council.

Saucon Valley School Board

Now let’s take a look at the school board candidates.  I usually don’t cover the school board, but there is so much cause for concern within the school district as student performances decline, the district loses teachers and chooses not to replace them, the administration seems incapable of intelligent decisions, the Board seems intent on micro-managing things they don’t even understand and not effectively managing things they should (like finances), more extremist candidates run and a few have been elected, that it’s worth some consideration.

Pennsylvania allows candidates for school board to cross-register.  That means that if you can get enough signatures on a petition for each side, you can appear on the primary ballot for each party.  The concept behind this is, theoretically, that school board should not be a partisan position.  And I actually, theoretically, agree with that.  Or at least I did until one of our political parties took leave of its senses and headed off to extremist land, especially on the subject of what qualifies as a good education for our children.  Since that’s happened, my biggest objection is that it’s damn near impossible for your average citizen to find out which party a candidate is registered for.  In Saucon Valley, there seems to be a high stakes game of “hide my party affiliation”.  

There are 10 candidates for 5 school board openings.  One – Barrett Geyer – is running only on the Republican side.  His strategy is that that way he’ll definitely get on the ballot for November.  That’s his strategy but it’s not guaranteed. Any 5 of the other 9 might still get more votes than him.  That wouldn’t be a loss.

Beyond that there are two slates running.  One slate – Susan Baxter, Laurel Erickson-Parsons, Bryan Eichfeld, Shawn Welch and Michael Karabin – is made up exclusively of people running for re-election.  So if you think everything over there at the school district is hunky-dory, you need read no further.  There are your candidates.  But I would suggest if you believe that, then you are either badly informed, completely misinformed or delusional.  

The other slate is of four candidates who are not currently on the school board – Bill Broun, Don Carpenter, Viv Demko and Jay Santos.  They are, respectively, a writer/professor, the president of a local labor union, a retired teacher, and a technical solutions computer engineer.  What they also represent is a vision of a much higher-achieving school district that will provide our students with superior academics and first-class teachers, our teachers with the kind of professional and technical support they need, and our community with the kind of return on our tax dollars that we should expect.  They’ll also take a pass on the extremism and the bizarre controversies and the frankly incompetent administrative leadership that I’ve watched for quite a while now, regardless of who’s in the currently revolving door of the superintendent’s office.

This second slate is also made up of the only candidates endorsed by the Saucon Valley teachers (through PSEA/PACE). Frankly, after the hell that teachers have been put through during Covid when they’ve gotten to see up close and personal what kind of job the school board did on their behalf (HINT: it sucked), I’m more than happy to take their recommendation for the people they’d rather work with.

One other thing I hope that this second slate will bring is a much better job of communicating not just with parents and students but with the rest of us who pay the bill for education.  When I questioned that once, I was told that I could sign up for an email list.  Really?  That’s how much effort you’re willing to put in to communicating with the people who pay the bills?  Fail!

I was also appalled to read this past week that the school board doesn’t even have an easily identifiable summary reporting of its legal bills over the years.  That should be an easy category to track – and control if you’re doing your job right.  Wonder if the school district’s legal fees are as out of line as the township council’s?  Perhaps they both need some new financial oversight. Or maybe it’s something in LST’s water.

And it practically goes without saying that the handling of the entire After School Satan Club fiasco was embarrassing to us as taxpayers and residents of what has to be the worst managed school district in the country.  The school board’s position was so wrong that it took the Court about five minutes (?) to see through their persiflage.

You can choose to vote for any 5 of the school board candidates. You are not required to vote for any complete slate.  Although they advertise that way, they are not legally connected on the ballot. Check each of them out carefully.  But I would encourage you to check out the Saucon Choices for Change website and get some idea of the progress we could see our school district make rather than slogging through the mud of the last many years. 

Whomever you choose, VOTE!  It’s your responsibility as a citizen.

Bad politicians are elected by good people who don’t vote.


If you have NOT applied for a mail-in/absentee ballot you are eligible for Early “On Demand” Voting in the Northampton County Elections Office (669 Washington St., Easton, PA) on the Lower Level

Last Days for Early “On Demand” Voting are:

Monday May 8, 2023 – 8:30 AM – 5 PM

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 – 8:30 AM – 5 PM


Update on SLPL Board Meeting

This evening the Southern Lehigh Public Library Board met to, among other things, consider the proposal that had been presented to them by Lower Saucon Township Council via Treadwell.

About 25 mostly LST residents showed up for the meeting. I believe the Librarian said that 16 spoke. It was about that number (At SLPL Board meetings, they let any concerned citizens speak – imagine that!). They also reported that they had received 68 emails, all but one of which were from LST residents opposed to the proposed partnership between LST and SLPL.

After considerable discussion, at about the 1 hour mark, they refused to accept the proposal. This is a correction from previous wording. Because of some difficulties that the SLPL Board has in defining who are and aren’t voting Board members, they did not vote down the LST proposal. What they did was fail to accept it. Since there are no other SLPL Board meetings scheduled prior to the May 4 deadline that the LST Council demanded, the proposal “shall be deemed to have been rejected” in the words of Treadwell who sent the letter. Same difference, but in the interest of correctness, this is the definition of what really happened.

I wish I could say the story ends there, but unfortunately it doesn’t.

Wandering in the Wilderness

At first it seemed that the problem was that they just couldn’t leave it at saying a flat-out “no.” Instead they spent almost another 1 1/2 hours trying to come up with all kinds of other possibilities and workarounds. A number of proposals were made and voted down. But as time wore on, it seemed as if the biggest concern was the enormous pressure they expected to get from some of their funding bodies for turning down $250,000. I’m sure that’s exactly what LST was counting on when they made the offer.

It also became clear that there is a lot of frustration on the part of the Board that their funding bodies have exactly no understanding of the complexities of library law and funding in the Commonwealth. They mentioned a number of ridiculous, unworkable suggestions that have come from members of those various groups that display a total lack of comprehension. In addition, they are clearly frustrated by the fact that the groups applying pressure are not even bothering to learn about any of these complexities nor have any of them come up with their own proposals as to how such a partnership might work. These funding groups are just saying “Just take the money.” It doesn’t work that way.

That puts the funding groups in the same category as the LST Council whose proposal was, frankly, ridiculous if you know anything about the library laws, the functioning of the OCL, and what is even possible.

And so they have decided to hold a meeting of their Board to which they are inviting their own funding organizations to come and – and this was the best part – after the funders have educated themselves about the details and the law and the complexities of libraries – make helpful suggestions as to how this might work in order to perhaps provide the basis for a counter-proposal to LST. At least I think that’s what the final motion looked like. It was all very confusing.

So for LST residents who don’t want this merger to happen, there’s some breathing room. And for the SLPL Board members, they can get this off their agenda for a while and focus on the things they really care about, like their own library. And the knuckleheads who keep making these unworkable proposals and applying this inappropriate pressure can take some time to learn about how much they don’t know.

An Actual Original Creative Idea

Through all of this muddle, the President of the SLPL Board, Candi Kruse, actually presented an original, creative approach to resolving a bunch of contiguous problems. Her suggestion, which she said she had already discussed with the HAL Board and gotten their interest in pursuing the idea, was that the Boards of the two libraries – HAL and SLPL – put together a working group to study if or even whether it would be possible for the two libraries to merge into what would basically be a two-site library. In other words, take all the funding for both libraries and use it to support one library system with two branches.

This has a lot of positives to recommend it. More operating revenue; maximal utilization of two existing buildings instead of having to build one out and leave one half-used; two community hubs for programs; economies of scale; residents could continue using the library that each person prefers. Those are just a few pluses that I came up with in about 15 minutes of thought.

Of course there are a zillion obstacles and questions in the way. Would OCL let the two combine across county and library region lines? SLPL is currently in an 11-library consortium in Carbon and Lehigh Counties. How would this affect that? Is this even possible given that other consortium? Would all those libraries have to agree? And those are just the known unknowns. I’m sure there are many other unknown unknowns. (Thanks, Rumsfeld)

But a working group of the two library boards, people with their heads screwed on straight, dedicated to a thriving library system and without ulterior motives, could work through all of the possibilities and impossibilities of such a merger. And THEN — once all those possible roadblocks had been worked out — they could meet with all the various funding organizations and lay out a well-thought out, OCL-blessed legal structure for merger that would provide financial stability and restore the sense of community, even expand it, that has been so seriously ruptured in the last year by LST’s actions.

And by then I’m sure we’ll be after November 2023.

President Kruse did make a motion similar to this which was voted down but sitting there listening to the meeting, I’m not convinced that all the Board members heard what she was saying. And frankly, it’s a big creative jump from where they had just been – haggling over an insultingly under-researched and condescending piece of tripe. Or maybe it’s just too soon to go there. But I applaud the creativity of the proposal and the possibilities of success that it represents. I hope they return to the idea.

And if after long and thorough research and discussion by people of goodwill, if it still can’t be done within the confines of PA library law or OCL bureaucracy or the shortsightedness of elected officials or somebody’s ego, then the two library Boards can walk away knowing that at least they tried and we’re all in no worse place than we are today.

An Open Letter to the Southern Lehigh Public Library Board of Directors

Dear Friends and Neighbors on the Southern Lehigh Public Library Board:

I’d like to address you not only on behalf of myself as the publisher of “Saucon Shenanigans” and my many readers but I’d also like to be so bold as to represent the hundreds of Lower Saucon Township residents who are opposed to the agreement that was proposed by our solicitor in his letter of 6 April 2023 to your solicitor.  I can confidently say that there are hundreds of LST residents opposed to the agreement because there are at least 670 residents who have purchased Hellertown Area Library cards despite their restricted services and there have been countless more who have addressed the LST Council in meetings held over the last 16 months.  I know that you are also in receipt of many emails from LST residents expressing the same concerns.

We are well aware that the SLPL Board neither sought nor desired this partnership with Lower Saucon Township.  We know that because we have often attended your meetings where this has been on the agenda and we have carefully read all of the communications and press releases that you have created.  We know this is a concern that has consumed inordinate amounts of your meeting time and energy for a subject you have no interest in.  For the part that the LST Council played in that, we sincerely apologize. Sadly, they are currently out of our control.

We are also aware that the LST Council is pressuring you to make a quick decision on this proposed agreement despite the fact that they have dragged their feet on resolving the issue with either library for 16 months.  We believe that is unfair to you.  We also believe that you have been incorrectly informed about a variety of issues that might affect your decision to partner with LST.  Rather than reiterate that long and tedious list, I would ask you to read my “Saucon Shenanigans” blog dated 3 April 23 which you can find here.  You will find all of those issues covered in detail.    I realized as I watched your stunned reactions last summer when you were kind enough to allow me to address you regarding how the LST Council operates, that you had no idea how dysfunctional they are.  I’m assuming you have both verified that and followed up on other misinformation that has been presented to you.

We are also aware that some of your own funding municipalities are pressuring you to accept this agreement.  While we have been led to believe that they believe this union will save them money, I would suggest that you explain to them again what your diligent work on the cost of merger revealed it would truly cost.

As a finance person, I can cover at least a few points.  The information you provided for your September board meeting indicated that you are currently receiving funding at a per capita rate of $11.99 from your current partners.  The rate that LST refused from HAL was $9.66/resident.  It seems a bit peculiar that LST would deliberately seek out a higher per capita cost.  But more than that, their current proposal of $75,000/year for 11,000+ residents comes out to less than $6.82 per person.  Why would a dramatic decrease in revenue of $5.17 per resident be attractive to SLPL? Or your funding partners?  Based on the current per capita rate for your current funders, LST’s contribution should be in excess of $131,000/year.  They’re about $56,000 short.

Then of course there’s the proposed enticement of a one-time payment of $250,000.  There are other words for what that seems to be but I’ll pass on that. Setting aside whether that would even meet the requirements for the use of American Rescue Plan funds, a quarter million dollars divided over the 10-year proposed term of the agreement only adds an additional $25,000 per year to your revenue.  LST is still $31,000 per year short.

None of this includes any of the significant capital expenditures that would be necessary to provide the space to service an additional 11,000 residents.  Nor does it include the increased operating costs of having to hire additional staff based on state staffing requirements.  All of that would put SLPL into a further hole. What kind of strange math do your funding partners use to determine that this is a plus for SLPL or that it would reduce the demand on them for continuing support, at least at the current level?

Another rather obvious deficiency in the LST proposal is that there is no provision for an inflation factor.  That was one of the deficiencies of the previous agreement with HAL. That agreement had no specific provision for an increase in per capita rates.  It‘s not surprising that HAL asked for a slightly higher rate when the agreement came up for renewal and yet LST balked at that. It is simply naïve given today’s economic conditions to assume that what $75,000 will buy in 2024 is the same as what it will buy in 2033.  As prudent stewards of SLPL’s money, I would expect that you should at least demand an escalator formula for future years.  Of course, it’s not surprising that LST didn’t offer that.

To me, the economics of this alone would seem sufficient to turn down the agreement.  But there are more than a few other concerns.

We have repeatedly, ever since this disaster was laid on us in January 2022, requested details of why our Council refused the HAL proposal.  We have been given vague and fuzzy comments about “financial concerns” although HAL has accountant-reviewed financial statements and all of their required financial reporting available on line.  It would not surprise me that our council and/or solicitor might not understand that a 501(c)(3) doesn’t need to file its annual tax return until May 15 of the following year which means that the most recent filings are the ones available on line.  We have also requested copies of emails and other communications that show that HAL is not a good “partner” in their words.  But nothing has been forthcoming.  In other words, we have no idea why they took this action in January 2022 or why they haven’t fixed it since.  Is this the kind of partner you want?

Or perhaps you should look at the list of litigations that our township is now unfortunately involved in.  This has not been the history of LST prior to this council, but by my count there are no fewer than four active lawsuits involving the township.  In fact, when the Council first announced their cockamamie idea not to sign a new agreement with HAL back in January 2022, their second resolution immediately defaulted to authorizing the Solicitor to file suit if HAL didn’t respond in a way that suited them.  Is this the kind of partner you want to be saddled with?

I might also point out that another concern might be the complexity of a cross-county or cross-regional partnership.  From our research, we have learned that this does not appear to be something the state has had much experience with.  Have you considered how much additional administrative time and legal expense this might add to your budget?  Even if it didn’t involve litigation, the creation of new partnership formats and approval by OCL could have significant cost attached. So far, the LST Council has sunk more than $108,000 of our tax dollars into legal fees in this bizarre quest.  How would those kinds of fees help SLPL’s budget or those of your funding partners?

One final point, and it is probably the most important one of all, is that as stewards of the SLPL you understand, as do we, that there is much more to a library than just a place to go to borrow books.  In spite of the ignorant comment by our solicitor that no one goes to libraries anymore, we all know that is not true.  Thousands of residents in all of our communities use libraries not only as book repositories, but also as vital community centers, places where our children can safely read and study, where our preschoolers can participate in early learning programs, our senior citizens can find interaction with others, our less fortunate citizens can access technology resources such as computers and internet connections, and dozens of other programs for people of every size and interest.  It’s a safe, welcoming space.

In Lower Saucon Township, HAL is within walking distance for many of our families and certainly all of our students who need a place to go after school.  The geography of LST would not allow our students to use SLPL in the same way.  I’m certain you’ve seen this map, but in case you haven’t, look at the lopsided placement of SLPL vis-á-vis the totality of LST.  If SLPL accepts this agreement, it will almost certainly either doom HAL or significantly reduce its ability to serve as the robust community resource that it has in the past.  You will have been responsible for the loss of another vital library in these dangerous times of book banning and attacks on access to education.  I cannot believe that any of you would want to be a party to that.

I urge you to consider all of these points before you rush to judgment about this proposed agreement with LST.  And while our solicitor would have you believe that this should not be “politicized,” let’s be honest and accept that whatever triggered this issue back in January 2022 was as much a political decision as anything else, especially since we’ve been given no other viable explanations.  And let’s also recognize that there is an election coming up in November 2023, the results of which may far more accurately reflect the needs and desires of LST citizens than this agreement does.  If you sign on to this now and the complexion of the LST Council changes, you will then be saddled with an unwilling and, I dare say, angry partner for the next decade.  

Please give all of this your considered thought and, hopefully, decide to reject out of hand this highly infelicitous proposal.

Thank you.

Andrea Wittchen

Saucon Shenanigans


As I was watching the Tennessee legislature’s attempt to destroy democracy by ousting two duly elected representatives for “decorum” violations, I agreed with the commentator who said that what they were really doing was not showing overly large concern over the events that had taken place in the legislature, but rather that they were “sending a message”.  The message was that the Republican majority had no need to pay any attention to anything that either of those two representatives said or to anything that their now-unrepresented constituencies needed.  

To put it bluntly the message was “Sit down. Shut up. We don’t have to listen to you.”

To those of us who have been watching the behavior of the Lower Saucon Township council since at least January 2022, those words and that message should sound very familiar.  That’s what we have been hearing over and over and over again.  “Sit down. Shut up. We don’t have to listen to you.”

Let’s go back and look at that dog’s breakfast of a public comment policy that Banonis shoved down our throats the minute he was elected Council president. This would be Resolution #31-2022, adopted 3 January 2022.  It was slightly revised and replaced by Resolution #31-2023, adopted 3 January 2023.  The only amendment was to remove the requirement that residents who wish to comment must state their full address before commenting.  The courts ruled that was illegal.  It took more than a few months for our council to revise that.  [Note to residents:  If you’re still announcing your address when you speak, you don’t have to do it.  If you choose to, that’s up to you.]

If you read all the “Whereas” paragraphs in the Resolution you’ll notice such piffle as “the Council is strong [sic] advocate of free speech and wishes to promote an atmosphere of reasoned expression of ideas” and “the Council recognizes public comment is intended to afford citizens an opportunity to bring important matters to the attention of Lower Saucon Township Council” but what you WON’T find is any statement that the Council has a responsibility to actually listen to and consider what you have to say.  In fact, while you have the right to bring matters to the attention of the Council, they don’t have to pay attention to you at all, especially when they’re fiddling with their phones.

Back in 2014, the last time they revised the Code of Conduct (Resolution #32-2014, adopted 19 February 2014), these were all the lines devoted to behavior at the meetings:

6. The President of Council shall preside over all periods of public comment and shall: 

C. Rule “out of order” any scandalous, impertinent, or redundant comment or any comment the discernible purpose of which is to disrupt or prevent the conduct of business of the meeting.

That was it.  That was all that was necessary in 2014. In the new 2023 resolution, there are now 26 specific items dealing with the behavior of the public at meetings.  There are exactly ZERO items dealing with the behavior of the Council members at meetings. Here’s an interesting one:

“21.  Any conduct disruptive of the Township . . . and/or the use of a cell phone shall not be tolerated.”

Why doesn’t it say that applies to Council members also?

Or this one:

“22. The Council President . . . will rule out of order any speaker or comment which is defamatory, contentious, scandalous, impertinent, redundant or disruptive to the proceedings of the meeting.”

I’d love to see a definition of each of those terms.  And where does it say that Council members won’t make any such comments?  Because they do. Often. Banonis is particularly redundant, droning on and on whenever it suits his purpose.


“26. The purpose of Public Comment . . . Council will not respond to comment made during the public portion of the meeting unless it is necessary to ask a clarifying question, correct a factual error, or provide specific information. . .”

Anyone who was at the April 4 Special Council meeting knows that Council members, in particular Carocci that night, just interrupt whenever they feel like it, in his case getting louder and more belligerent as the public comment period wore on.

Bottom line, they demand behaviors from the public that they don’t observe themselves.  They are arrogant and condescending in their remarks.  Does everyone from the public get a chance to speak?  Oh yes, Banonis goes out of his way to make a big display of allowing everyone to speak but don’t ever walk away from the podium till you’re sure they’re not going to attack you or your position because if you walk away and they attack, you can’t reply.

Pettiness Personified

Then there are the snotty comments in calling the names of people to speak.  At the April 4 meeting, Banonis called “Victoria O period C period,” pretending not to know who that was and saying that he was only reading what was on the sign-in sheet.  I find it amazing that he doesn’t recognize the name of one of the people who is currently running for Council and who ran against him last time.  You remember that time – that’s when the slate of 3 Republicans sued the slate of 3 Democrats in an attempt to basically impose prior restraint on their speech while they were actively campaigning.  We have a First Amendment that says you can’t do that and the Court – rightly – tossed the lawsuit.  At a previous Council meeting – I believe it was March 22 – he mispronounced Victoria’s name. Not, I suspect, an accident.

Also at the zoning hearing held on March 22 during a regular Council meeting, he called on Kathy Pichel McGovern to speak.  But he garbled her name and she corrected him.  When she then was on the list to speak after the meeting in the non-agenda comment period, he managed to get her name right but when someone said she wasn’t there, his comment was, “She’s not interested. She left.”  In case you don’t know, Ms. McGovern is running against Yerger and Inglis on the Republican ticket for Council.  So he thought he’d get a little dig in, although he has no problem lecturing other candidates not to his liking on their “politicking” in their comments.

I won’t waste your time recounting all the times he or Carocci have tried to tell Mrs. deLeon that she isn’t allowed to speak.  Say what?  Where exactly is the rule that says that a Councilperson can’t comment on business before the Council? Meetings of functional municipal councils often feature lively discussions of the pros and cons of various issues.  Not here.  You speak when Banonis tells you that you can. 

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Just Plain Lies

Reporting on relations with either of the libraries – HAL or SLPL – is now so distorted that it’s a good thing I’ve been keeping track of what’s really said.  You can find most of the corrections in my blog of April 3, 2023. Suffice it to say that at the April 4 meeting we were again treated to the fanciful notion that HAL kicked us out of the library and that they denied us Board seats when in fact all of that was a result of either a request from the LST Council (removing LST from HAL) or by LST’s refusal to sign a new agreement with HAL.  Nobody gets a Board seat if you don’t sign an agreement and pay your fair share.

We’ve been told that the new yard waste center won’t cost anything.  Good thing Banonis is a lawyer and not a finance person or he’d have no career at all. Someone needs to give him a short course in accounting.  And then I’d like to know where we store the excess pile of asphalt that we got for free to use in the new waste center.  And of course that free compost that you used to get before isn’t available but this Council doesn’t care because that’s a loss out of your pocket, not out of the Township’s budget.

How Many More Times Will We Be Ignored?

Let’s consider over a year’s worth of the Council ignoring the residents who come to either comment or actually testify at Council meetings and zoning hearings.

Carocci dazzled us with his counting abilities at the April 4 meeting when he reported that 55 people were at the meeting.  He knew because he had counted them all by himself.  The implication was that that wasn’t very many people to show up in opposition to the SLPL issue.  But let’s consider how many hundreds of residents (I know, because I can count too, up to much higher numbers) have attended meetings since January 2022 to speak about the library issue, the various zoning issues, the landfill expansion, the lack of two-way livestreaming of Council meetings, the relationship with Hellertown, the loss of the yard waste center and other issues.  Every single one of those residents has been roundly ignored.

functional, healthy municipal Council would consider the input from their taxpayers before making a decision.  Not here. At many meetings, because the comments are only allowed before an issue is discussed, it’s difficult for residents to know how to focus their remarks.  Even when there is a presentation before public comment, there is a miniscule amount of time and very little discussion between the end of public comments and the vote (always in favor) on the issue.

Couple of examples:  at the April 4 meeting, Dave Willard, a former township councilperson, suggested that one idea the Council could consider might be to make the same offer to both HAL and SLPL for a long-term agreement and see which one would be most interested or amenable to LST’s terms.  *Crickets* Then Rev. Spohn suggested that he would be willing to mediate another round of discussion about the library issue and the relationship with Hellertown.  *Crickets* At the zoning hearing on March 22, a resident who would be impacted by the zoning change to Light Industrial along Easton Rd. suggested that perhaps a General Business zoning would be a better choice.  No more warehouses. It could include small businesses and reduce the impact on the value of those who have homes in that area.  Again – *Crickets*

Any of those suggestions were worth tabling the issue until there could be more discussion or research on the possibilities.  Fuggedaboudit!  Don’t you know there’s an election coming up and the current Council is desparate to look like they’re doing something constructive? So it doesn’t matter that this is not what the residents want.  It’s damn well what they’re going to get.

This is just a small portion of all the dysfunction that pollutes this Township.  Even little stuff like – why aren’t there minutes from the April 4 meeting available to approve at the April 19 meeting?  Granted the minutes usually suck but any decent transcriptionist shouldn’t take 10 days to prepare them. Why is the April 19 meeting only available on YouTube which means it won’t be two-way communication?  You can watch, but you can’t participate. This Council turned down a $17,000 estimate on a two-way system and purchased a $40,000 system instead and it’s still not two-way?  And by the way, those new microphones aren’t much better than the old ones.

According to Banonis on page 11 of the August 17, 2022, minutes, “We are a first-rate Township and we want to have first rate people working here.”  Not even close, buddy.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

So what can we do as residents?  I know that most of my readers are aware that there is a primary election coming up in May and a general election in November.  You can exercise your right to vote out those who think this is a good way to run a township.  I’ll have more to say on that closer to the elections.

But you don’t have to just take all this guff in the meantime.  Here are a few suggestions:

*1. If you haven’t already, send emails to the SLPL Board members explaining why you would prefer to partner with HAL. Do it before Tuesday.  If you have other information about what’s been going on here, you might share that too.  We all know that they are dedicated volunteers who have been pummeled and pressured not only by our Council but by their funding municipalities, especially Upper Saucon Township and the Southern Lehigh School District.  Let them know you understand and support them.  Here are the email addresses for the SLPL Board.

Bruce Eames beames@solehipl.org

Candi Kruse ckruse@solehipl.org

Kat Moyer  kmoyer@solehipl.org

Kathie Parsons  kparsons@solehipl.org

John Schubert  jschubert@solehipl.org

*2. There is an SLPL Board meeting on Tuesday, April 18 at 6:30 PM at the library. Be there if you possibly can.  Treadwell has sent them a letter with the outlined agreement that follows mostly the outlines discussed at the April 4 LST meeting.  LST is trying to shove this down SLPL’s throat.  This will be the last regular meeting of the SLPL Board before the May 4 date that LST demands for SLPL to make a decision.  Of course, the LST Council ignores deadlines whenever they feel like it, but so far I’ve observed that the SLPL Board is more responsible.

*3. At past SLPL Board meetings, they have allowed visitors to speak about agenda items.  I don’t know if they’ll do that this time, but come prepared to speak about why this is not a good idea for either us or them.

*4. Keep coming to LST Council meetings no matter how unpleasant they are.  Keep commenting on both agenda and non-agenda items.  They’ll ignore you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t speak.  Sometimes when you get people riled, they say the wrong things.  Keep listening carefully.

*5. Keep an eye on what they’re doing with our money.  On what planet is it acceptable to take $250,000 (that’s a quarter of a million dollars) and give it to a library that’s not even in our county so that their current funding partners can get off the hook for some of their costs.  Because you know that’s why there’s so much pressure.  The Southern Lehigh School District and Upper Saucon Township in particular see this as a gold mine so they can reduce their contributions.  Is that what the federal government expected us to do with the Covid money (ARP) that they gave us?  What else could we be doing with that kind of money that the majority of residents might actually be happy about?

*6. And while you’re watching the money, don’t forget to question everything about the landfill.

*7. Finally, start listening carefully now to what the various candidates for Council are saying.  Ask questions.  And whatever you do, don’t just vote based on a party label.  You’re smarter than that.

See you Tuesday and Wednesday.  And just to be sure you really can watch the LST Council meeting on Wednesday, I’ll be prepared to livestream on the Saucon Shenanigans Facebook page in case there are any unexpected “technical glitches”.





CODSWALLOP, TWADDLE AND CLAPTRAP – Take Another Spin on the Library-Go-Round

If you haven’t heard, the LST council has called a special council meeting for Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at 6 PM at Town Hall.  Here are the only business items on the agenda:  A. Discussion on Southern Lehigh Public Library’s correspondence dated February 24, 2023 — 1. Possible action on SLPL offer to provide “Limited” Library Services — 2. Possible action on sending a proposal to SLPL for “Full” Library Services.

First, I urge you to be there if you can.  There will be the usual public comment periods – before the meeting on agenda items and after the meeting on non-agenda items.  Of course, you won’t know what they’re proposing to do about those agenda items so good luck commenting intelligently on what they’re proposing to do.  But you can at least come and express your support for reconnecting with Hellertown Area Library (HAL) and dropping this ridiculous attempt to hook up with Southern Lehigh Public Library (SLPL).  

I don’t know why they’ve suddenly discovered such a compelling interest in solving this problem after months of total inactivity but, unlike Solicitor Treadwell who sees no problem in imputing motives to people he knows nothing about (see letter dated 3/20/23, Treadwell to Leeson – “a small minority of LST residents who are attempting to force LST to capitulate to the financial demands made by HAL” and later “a small number of LST residents who appear to have an agenda that hurts the long term financial health of SLPL”), I will simply suggest that it’s long past time that this council got its act togther to solve this problem of their own creation.

Unlike the usual agendas we get from the council that provide minimal context or support documentation, for this meeting we are graced with copies of 4 letters relevant to the discussion.  You can find all of them here: https://go.boarddocs.com/pa/lowersaucontwp/Board.nsf/public.  I will be referring to them in this blog, as well as minutes from previous council meetings.  Let me add that in reading this correspondence I am not surprised that there has been a reluctance to keep us apprised of discussions regarding the library situation.  This is a steaming pile of, as Colonel Potter used to say, “horse hockey.”

In order to prepare for Tuesday’s meetings, I suggest you consider the following items:

LST Residents Concern About Possible Connection to SLPL

Ltr, 3/20/23, Treadwell to Leeson:  “The SLPL representatives appear to be placing an inordinate amount of emphasis on the opinions of a small group of LST residents who appeared at the SLPL January 17, 2023, Board meeting.  I have reviewed the minutes from that meeting, which indicate that 7 individuals spoke and suggested that SLPL not provide full library services to LST residents.  The minutes also indicate that 21 LST residents sent emails suggesting the same.”

Let’s consider the fact that the 7 individuals who spoke (which did not include all the individuals who attended), represents 7 more people than the number of LST Council members (excluding Priscilla deLeon who has attended several SLPL Board meetings) who have ever bothered to attend an SLPL Board meeting in spite of repeated requests from the SLPL Board for LST Council members to appear in person to explain what exactly they would like. Nor have any LST residents spoken to the SLPL Board in favor of the proposed merger.

Then consider that the 21 LST residents who took the time to send emails suggesting that a merger between LST and SLPL might not be a good idea represents 21 MORE LST residents than sent emails supporting the idea.  While Treadwell chooses to identify this as “a small group”, it’s bigger than his.

Treadwell also fails to mention that a larger group of LST residents attended the February 13 SLPL Board meeting as well as a group of LST residents at the March 14 SLPL Board meeting.  No supporters of the proposed partnership from LST were present at either of those meetings.

Not Subject to Political Considerations

Please try not to spit out your gum when you read this one.  Treadwell refers to comments that were made by SLPL Board members in a Southern Lehigh School District (SLSD) meeting in which they mentioned the November election and the “political climate” in LST, based on comments they claim were made by LST residents about waiting until after the November elections to make any decision regarding a partnership.  I can attest to the fact that that argument was made because I was one of the people making it.  Treadwell then, apparently with a straight face, writes [Ltr, 3/20/23, Treadwell to Leeson] “Please allow me to respectfully suggest that library services should not be subject to political considerations.”

Have you stopped laughing yet? It’s true that in a township run by leaders of good faith and concern for the community good, a decision for library services should not be a political one.  It should be based on what’s good for the community and the desires of the community balanced against what the community can afford. But there are a few problems here:

  1.  The proposals that LST has made for partnership with SLPL would actually end up costing more than the previous partnership with HAL.
  2. The majority of LST residents who have registered their position on the library question publicly have clearly indicated they are opposed to partnership with SLPL.
  3. When township leadership keeps discussions of proposed partnerships secret and refuses to share the effects that their decision will have on residents (i.e. not providing information on what library status will be after 12/31/22), and when leadership expresses clear disdain and disinterest in the public comments made by residents against the proposed partnership with SLPL, then the residents are left with no recourse that is not political.  If they won’t listen, then you vote them out.
  4. It is only prudent for SLPL to be aware of the political climate in LST in case they put in place an agreement that can be withdrawn whenever new leadership takes over and suddenly decides they don’t want to support a library.  Certainly HAL never expected that to be the case when they entered into an agreement with LST, but they got screwed anyway because the agreement did not take into account the possibility of a change in the political leadership.

No Means No

Moving on.  From Ltr, 3/20/23 Treadwell to Leeson, “If SLPL is not interested, then please ask your client [meaning the SLPL Board] to just say that so that LST can pursue other options.”  How many times must SLPL say it’s not interested until LST Council hears the message?  In January 2022, LST Council proffered a check for $50,000 to SLPL which they refused.  In May, LST tried again, issuing a new check for $50,000, under what authority is not clear.  But that’s an issue for another day. Under pressure from some of their funding partners, SLPL accepted the check but only after requiring a letter from Treadwell clearly stating that there were no expectations of services from SLPL because of the payment.  I believe the words that Board President Bruce Eames used at the time were “the Board accepts this donation with serious trepidation.” Not exactly a rousing endorsement of a future partnership.

By September, the SLPL Board had felt it was incumbent upon them to do some serious financial number-crunching to see what this proposed partnership would cost them.  The preliminary numbers prepared for the September SLPL board meeting indicated at least a $153,217 operating budget shortfall as well as an additional cost of about $150,000 to add required space to accommodate increased staff, patronage and books.  Following consideration of that reality plus the significant amount of time that the SLPL Board felt they had already invested in a proposed partnership they did not want, the Board advised LST that they would do no more work on the idea until LST Council sent a Council representative to a regular SLPL Board meeting to explain why they wanted a partnership and until LST listed the proposed partnership as an agenda item on a regular Council meeting agenda so that LST residents could comment on it.  LST Council didn’t reply.  I was at the SLPL Board meeting and it certainly sounded to me like “ball’s in your court.  We don’t want to do this, so if you do, take the time and effort to tell us why.”

Sometime prior to the January SLPL Board meeting, Treadwell suggested that LST would be willing to pay SLPL $10,000/month in exchange for library services.  The response to that suggestion is the letter dated February 24, 2023, from Leeson to Treadwell.  It sounds like another attempt at “no” to me.  Now we get Treadwell’s letter of 3/20/23 back to Leeson trying once again to push a 10-year funding/service arrangement.  Are ye deef, mon?

The 5 Inane Questions

Next up a collection of questions the answers to which are so obvious that it seems ridiculous to waste the paper to answer them.  But here goes. And maybe it will save SLPL’s solicitor some time and SLPL’s Board some money by replying here.

  1.  Ltr. 3/20/23 Treadwell to Leeson: “Why does the SLPL proposal offer only ‘limited’ library services to LST residents, in return for a contribution of $3,750.00 per month, when it offers ‘full’ library services to other municipalities for less?”  Because SLPL identifies to OCL that it has included those other municipalities in its home library service area.  They don’t want to include LST in that designation so it’s an apples to oranges comparison.  SLPL can create whatever separate agreement they want with LST.
  2. Ltr. 3/20/23 Treadwell to Leeson: “Why is the SLPL proposal specifically designed to prohibit LST from having any representation on the SLPL Board when other municipalities have SLPL Board representation yet provide a smaller contribution?”  Duh.  See answer to question #1. In the insurance trade this is called risk management.
  3. Ltr. 3/20/23 Treadwell to Leeson: “Has the SLPL Board considered offering to sell library cards to LST residents?…” Yes, it would be a terrific idea to spend the time and energy to put together a plan to sell library cards to LST residents to accommodate all the 99 (as I believe was reported at the last SLPL Board meeting) LST residents who have acquired SLPL cards since January 1, 2023.  And I know for a fact that at least some of them only did that until HAL put their program in place.  Those people immediately switched back to HAL.
  4. Ltr. 3/20/23 Treadwell to Leeson:  “Why does it appear that the majority of the SLPL Board is relying on statements and information provided by a small number of LST residents who appear to have an agenda that hurts the long term financial health of SPL?”  Perhaps it’s because those LST residents have been the only ones to show SLPL the courtesy of coming to their meetings and sharing their concerns with SLPL directly.  And also because SLPL’s own internal estimates indicate that a partnership with LST is what will damage the long term financial health of SLPL.
  5. Ltr. 3/20/23 Treadwell to Leeson:  “…What is standing in the way of this type of an arrangement?”  How about the LST Council’s demonstrated perfidious behavior in regards to HAL and SLPL’s unwillingness to open themselves to the same risk?

Just Who Works for Whom Here?

Treadwell claims that statements by SLPL Board members at the March 13, 2023, meeting are incorrect in their claim that LST requested that HAL remove LST from its service area.  He says, “At no point did LST request that HAL unilaterally remove LST from its service area.” [Ltr.3/20/23 Treadwell to Leeson]. He then goes on to attach a letter from him to HAL counsel Mark Aurand [Ltr. 5/20/22 Treadwell to Aurand] that states as part of a proposal that “HAL and the Township will cooperate to remove the Township from the HAL direct library service area, effective at the conclusion of 2022.  This cooperation will include HAL removing the Township from the request for state funding to be received in 2023, notification of the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and any other necessary actions required to effectuate such removal.”

However this letter does not comport with the resolution passed by the Council on May 18, 2022, which reads as follows:

“Mr. Banonis moved to direct our Solicitor to issue a letter to the HAL, directing the library to not include LST’s population in its application to the Office of Commonwealth of Libraries (OCL) for State Funding for calendar year 2023 and also issue a letter to the OCL advising it that it should not include LST’s population in its calculations for the formulation of State Funding for 2023….” [Council Minutes, May 18, 2022, page 3.]. When you “direct” the library to not include LST’s population in its application, you are not making a proposal that HAL and the Township “will cooperate”.  You are unilaterally instructing HAL to remove us from their direct library service area. Likewise if you issue a letter to the OCL “advising it” to not include LST’s population in its calculations for state funding, you are not seeking a cooperative solution with HAL in communications with OCL on the calculations for state funding.

So the council gives the solicitor specific direction on what they want communicated to HAL and then the solicitor redefines his instructions and communicates something different.  Is that how this is supposed to work?   And then uses his arbitrary changes to the council instructions to claim that “at no point did LST request that HAL unilaterally remove LST from its service area”? [Ltr. 3/20/23 Treadwell to Leeson]. Just exactly who works for whom here and what is a solicitor’s responsibility to follow the directions the council provides to him?  If he’s going to revise the instructions in the resolution, isn’t it his responsibility to come back to the council to request a revised resolution?

All Those Times Library Services Were On the Agenda

Treadwell claims in his letter of 11/4/2022, to Karley Biggs Sebia, Solicitor at the time for SLPL, that “the Lower Saucon Township Council has held multiple public meetings where ‘library services’ was a specifically identified agenda item”.  This is just wrong unless the definition of “multiple” is “2”.  From the January 19, 2022, council meeting when “Discussion Regarding Library Services” was listed on the published agenda, an item related to library services appeared only one more time on the published agenda.  That was on May 18, 2022, when “Discussion Of Library Services” was an item on the published agenda.  Except for those two times, there have been no other items on any published agendas for council meetings that refer to or even hint at “library services”.  Two times in sixteen months.

As to his claim that “public comment on both agenda and non-agenda items is available at all Council meetings,” [Ltr. 11/4/22, Treadwell to Sebia] that’s a true statement.  But of the sixteen months under consideration, public comment was only available in the period BEFORE a council meeting in 2 (TWO) months, the first one being the night that the initial library bombshell was dropped and the second one on the night when the council directed HAL to remove LST from consideration for state funding.  All the other meetings required that residents sit through entire council meetings in order to comment on the status of the library problem at the end of the session.  And as anyone who has been to an LST council meeting knows, you are only allowed to “comment.”  You are gavelled down by Banonis if you ask a question and request or expect an answer or any information on the issue you’re raising.  So while it’s called a “comment” period, it should not be misunderstood as an opportunity for any real or valuable communication from the council members.  In fact, when Mrs. deLeon attempts to respond to citizens’ concerns, she is rudely and arrogantly chastised by Banonis and is told that this is not the time for council to respond.  As we all well know by now, there is NO appropriate time for council to respond to citizens’ questions or concerns because they don’t consider that their responsibility.

In Conclusion

This has been very long and if you’ve hung in here until now, you are truly a dedicated citizen.  Thank you.  I have taken the time and trouble to lay out all of this information so that you are well-prepared for the special meeting on Tuesday, April 4, when you can expect a huge serving of codswallop, twaddle and claptrap.

And just in case you think that the reason there’s no resolution for you to review that the council’s going to vote on included in the supporting documentation for the meeting, is that the council will first honestly listen to the residents who speak and then carefully consider the appropriate response to make to SLPL’s letter, then all I can say is – you haven’t been listening to what’s been going on for the last 16 months.

Hope to see you all there.

Township Council Becomes Even More Toxic

For those of us who have been watching the slow-moving dumpster fire that masquerades as a township council for the last three years, it’s hard to be shocked by their behavior because every time you think it can’t get worse, it does.  But if you’ve never seen it in person, it can be quite an appalling experience.

I didn’t realize when I shared Dean Shaffer’s letter to the Council in last month’s Saucon Shenanigans that he had never been to an actual meeting.  He decided to go to the one on January 18 and see what was happening.  I’ll let his words tell the story.

“For the first time ever, I attended a Lower Saucon Township Council meeting last night. WOW!! 

No Democracy Here

If it weren’t for the painful lack of democracy on display in that council forum, or the shocking level of disrespect shown to residents of the township, it would have been funny. But when you see that most of the council members are outwardly annoyed having to listen to the people they are supposed to represent, then it’s clear that things have to change.

No Discussion Here

The council meetings are not really a place for discussion. Residents (and ONLY residents) are allowed three minutes each to speak on agenda items before the actual business takes place (only if they sign up before the meeting). Once the council starts their official proceedings, residents may sit quietly – no asking questions, no commenting, and no discussion. In fact, the council ringleader doesn’t even allow other council members to ask questions or seek clarification. It appears that decisions are made in advance of the meeting by the council president and his “yes” people; everything is set in stone before the public gets a chance to have any input. 

If you don’t believe me, attend one of the meetings. What you’ll see is a travesty of an open public forum. The arrogance, contempt, and rudeness demonstrated by several members of council is simply unbelievable; not a drop of professionalism to be found. 

Beware: If you happen to feel the need to speak up during their meeting, there’s a good chance they will motion for the police to escort you from the room.

Some Background

To bring you up to speed, the council, with one obvious exception, is made up of a group of apparently self-serving individuals who clearly have personal agendas that are at odds with the welfare and the wishes of many (dare I say most?) township residents. 

Library services, compost center, swimming pool

If you have been paying attention, you know that the council eliminated library services for township residents. A couple of the council members are intent on severing ties with their neighbor, Hellertown, on many fronts, and at any cost. Their actions include trying to force the township’s residents to use Southern Lehigh’s Library, rather than the Hellertown library. The Council refused to pay the township’s share of the Hellertown Area Library’s services, and refused to sign a contract with them, forcing the library to cut its services for township residents.

Council also behaved in such an egregious manner that, in order to protect themselves, Hellertown Borough Council withdrew from the mutual agreement on the use of the Compost Center and the swimming pool. LST Council will stop at nothing to cut ties with Hellertown, and for no stated reason. (There are rumors circulating as to why the council is behaving the way it is; there must obviously be a reason why they are behaving so poorly. A properly functioning council would want to do what’s best for the citizens of the township!) 

Landfill expansion

Perhaps the most serious issue, and one that affects many in the Lehigh Valley, is the decision by Council to change the zoning to accommodate expansion of the current Bethlehem Landfill. The Council appears to be coddling and courting the huge landfill company that provided funding to the PAC that supported their election campaigns. The council is doing its very best to see that the existing Bethlehem landfill is expanded to more than twice its current size, at the expense of the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the township. They want to remove natural forested areas and cover the area with mountains of trash collected not only from Pennsylvania, but from New York and New Jersey as well. 

What will the legacy of this council be? If they have their way, Lower Saucon Township will be known for its mountain of garbage, not its “pastoral farmlands, tranquil woodlands, and gently rolling hills” (Lower Saucon Township website).

Toxic? Who cares?

Never mind that the current landfill has some serious, unresolved DEP issues. Never mind that the expanded landfill would have a devastating impact on the natural environment and waters that feed into the Lehigh River. Never mind that over a million gallons of leachate leak into the groundwater every year. Never mind that there is radioactive waste, toxic waste, and deadly gas being emitted by the current landfill. The council wants to expand the dump, making life even more hazardous and unpleasant for everyone in the township and surrounding communities.

From my outsider’s perspective, it appears Council has done no environmental studies of this landfill expansion, had no conversations with nearby residents, and has requested no impact studies. No responsible action is evident except for council wanting to do something for the company that helped get them elected. 

What can we do?

Apparently, the only thing that will stop this unwanted action by Council is lawsuits. They seem to like lawsuits as the preferred means of getting their own way. Perhaps they will understand things more clearly when they are the subject of lawsuits. Sadly, our tax dollars will likely be used to fight those lawsuits. However, I stand firmly behind the appellants. They know it’s the only way to stop the actions of a Council dead set on making this expansion happen. 

I personally feel that the landfill does not need to be expanded. I think we’ve collected enough garbage from the region, and from outside the region. Now we need to make sure that the existing landfill doesn’t continue to pollute the environment we live in. 

I think we need to be more concerned about protecting our natural resources. We should work for clean air, clear water, and a healthy environment. Our children should not have to deal with a toxic wasteland brought about because our current leaders are intent on making bad decisions. 

Speaking of a toxic environment, why not attend the next Lower Saucon Township Council meeting?”

Dean R. Shaffer

Thank you, Dean. Your words hit the nail on the head. I’ll add a few more things we can do.

Regular Township Council Meeting – Wednesday, February 15 – 6:30 PM Town Hall

The next township council meeting includes a number of items related to the landfill including appointing an outside attorney to conduct the Conditional Use Application Hearing on Feb. 27 (more detail below) who appears to be so inattentive to detail that he misspelled Phi Beta Kappa on his resumé and discussing a proposed agreement between our Council and Bethlehem Landfill to work together to defend against the lawsuits brought by Township citizens. Be aware that they will be using your tax money to pay for those attorneys’ fees. It also includes an item about a proposed Yard Waste Collection Facility over on Polk Valley Road. There are no costs identified for this Facility in the accompanying documents. Perhaps someone might like to question what this will cost us when we already have a fully functional yard waste AND composting facility within the township that the Council’s behavior has now made unavailable to our citizens. Wouldn’t it be cheaper for them just to apologize to Hellertown rather than build a new facility which will NOT compost but will require trucking the yard waste out of the township? Are they planning on taking it to the dump – oh, I mean, landfill?

Conditional Use Application Hearing – Monday, February 27, 9 AM Se-Wy-Co (Lower Saucon Fire Rescue) Hall

This hearing is an attempt to cram through the dump’s Conditional Use Application even before the legal questions regarding the validity of the zoning changes that were passed in December and raised in one of the lawsuits filed by our neighbors are settled in court. To be clear, if the Court invalidates the zoning changes, this Conditional Use Application becomes moot. But they want the Application on record to muddy the waters before the Court rules.

We need as many citizens as possible to appear at this hearing and ask to be made parties to the hearing. You can find additional information on what you need to do here. The basics are: you will need to provide your name, address, state that you want to be a party to the hearing and why you are impacted by the current landfill and expansion. You do NOT have to live in Lower Saucon Township to be a party to the hearing. Translation: invite everyone you know who is at all impacted by the landfill to come to the hearing. That includes people who use the D&L Heritage Corridor Trail, kayak or boat on the Lehigh River, fish in the Lehigh River, hunt on the lands that have been rezoned or close to them, birdwatch along the Lehigh River, smell the dump from where they live or when they drive by, deal with the muddy run-off from the dump when they drive by, feel unsafe because of having to negotiate the number of large trucks on their way to and from the dump, have a view of the forested area that will be destroyed by the dump’s expansion. Use your imagination – I’m sure there are at least another 20 reasons.

The township has indicated that if the hearing goes beyond the first day (we have every reason to believe it will) that they will continue it on consecutive days until everyone has been heard. This is deliberate to make it grossly inconvenient for you to testify. Don’t let them get away with it. Also, this hearing will be conducted by an “independent” attorney chosen by (guess who?) the Township Council.

Substantive Appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board – Monday, February 27, 7 PM Se-Wy-Co (Lower Saucon Fire Rescue) Hall

Yes, it’s the same day as the Conditional Use Application Hearing. How obvious can they be that they don’t want you to show up? Show up anyway.

This is the legal appeal filed in opposition to the zoning changes that were made on December 21. I know, this gets confusing. This is what is called the substantive appeal, meaning that there are issues of substance that the residents who brought the appeal feel were ignored and that the Zoning Board did not give appropriate weight to all of the issues that should have been considered before the zoning changes were approved. There will be considerable expert testimony for this appeal. We still need to show up and support our neighbors. This is our Zoning Hearing Board. It should answer to us, not to Banonis and his gang or to the Bethlehem Landfill. It’s supposed to act in our best interest. We can’t make that point often enough.

Thanks again to Dean Shaffer for his excellent contribution to the blog. Please put as many of these dates on your calendar as you can possibly make. If you have to prioritize, the February 27 at 9 AM is the most critical.


As a service to the community, the February 15 Council meeting will be live-streamed on the Saucon Shenanigans Facebook page.



2023 – Another Year at the Circus Sideshow

Welcome to 2023 in Lower Saucon Township, home of 4 clowns and their ringleader attorney!  Let’s see what they’ve been up to already!

Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on Pexels.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2023, was the township reorganizational meeting.  That’s something all municipalities have to do by law and it’s usually pretty cut and dried – appointments, election of officers, setting of fees, hiring of consultants and solicitors, various policies.  In LST’s case, Carocci and Yerger didn’t even bother to show up in person, but phoned it in. With most councils, you can assume they’re doing the right thing.  Ah, but not here.  Let’s see what we had.

Here’s something interesting.  In the appointment of a labor solicitor they have now morphed the position into a special projects solicitor (translation – library legal stuff) at an hourly fee of $290.  Their work is no longer required to be approved by the council as it was before but instead will be assigned by the solicitor and the township manager.  And, here’s the best part, all the work they did in 2022 which totaled $25,523.61 through November 30, not including the additional work in December?  It gets approved ex post facto. Council had no say in it before those expenses were incurred.  Why?  How can that be fiscally responsible? Well, it can’t but the excuse Banonis is using is that back in January 2022 when the first batch of s**t was hitting the fan relative to the library, you’ll recall that he pushed through a resolution that gave Ringleader Treadwell carte blanche (the actual words are “in his sole discretion” – remember them if they pop up again) to do whatever he needed to do on the library issue.  Apparently that included hiring any lawyer he wanted who knew more than he did about library issues (that wouldn’t have been a hard person to find) and setting that person loose.

And so we now have pending lawsuits against OCL and HAL and the PA Department of Education for taking exactly the action that LST Council requested in May. And Council had no voice in whether they wanted those lawsuits filed and we as residents have no recourse but to watch our tax dollars just get chewed up in useless legal actions.  And no one can rein these people in.  I don’t think that’s how this is supposed to work.

Here’s something else that I’ve always found annoying.  All of these various appointments and such are made by separate resolution but Banonis – because we know he doesn’t want to waste a minute more of his time than is necessary on township business – lumps them all together and asks for one of his toadies to make a motion to approve them.  Therefore they’re approved in batches of six, eight resolutions at a time. Suppose as a council member you don’t approve of one or more of those resolutions and you’d like to vote against it?  Too bad – either vote against all of them or none of them.  I find it hard to believe that Robert’s Rules of Order doesn’t have a motion that can force those resolutions into separate votes.  I’d ask the Township Manager to look into that but since he’s too busy to respond to taxpayers’ emails, I’m sure he can’t be bothered looking that up in Robert’s Rules.

And now here comes another behavior designed to completely hide how the township is run.  The Township Manager gets to recommend who should be appointed to various boards and committees.  We get no information on who might have applied to whatever openings were available on various committees.  The Council is just expected to smile and nod and vote yes on all of them as a lump.  Not individually by committee.  Just all at once.  This, folks, is how boards and committees of the township get stacked with yes-men (and almost all of them are men, I’ve noticed) who don’t raise objections when things like zoning changes and developers’ plans come before them.

At last Tuesday’s meeting, Laura Ray, a member of the Environmental Advisory Council, demanded to be heard in the public comment period after the agenda about the appointment of Carocci as the voting member of the EAC earlier in the meeting.  Banonis tried to shut her down because “that was an agenda item” but Ms. Ray insisted on being heard because, as she pointed out, she couldn’t know that he was going to be appointed the voting member because that information was not on the agenda.  In fact, none of the appointees for any of the boards or committees were on the agenda.  She objected to the fact that, unlike in the past when the EAC had done its own organization of its Council, it was now left to the Township Manager. The EAC had already chosen which of their members they wanted designated as the voting member and it was not Carocci who has pathetically little knowledge of environmental issues to be in that position.  In fact, it’s insulting to the members of that Council who are well-versed in environmental issues.

If you’d like to see Carocci in action in all his glory in an EAC meeting, I recommend you watch the video shot by Mark Ozimek at the last EAC Council meeting.  It would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic.  You can find it here: https://youtu.be/0og0Qsfmjgc

Of course, Banonis was having none of it and repeatedly tried to gavel Ms. Ray down, finally resorting to moving to adjourn whereupon all his little toadies voted “yes” as well.

So we’re off to a good start!

And just in case that’s not enough, I’d like to share that about 8 or 9 LST residents went to the Southern Lehigh Public Library’s Board meeting this evening to hear what they’re planning to do in connection with LST’s latest pressure tactics to get them to accept LST into their service area.  Imagine our shock and surprise when we read in their December 20 Board meeting minutes that in conversation with their solicitor, Atty. Leeson, Ringleader Treadwell suggested that LST would pay SLPL $10,000 per month to provide library services to LST residents.  Just to be sure that we understood that’s what we were hearing, one board member was kind enough to explain that’s what had been offered.

A little quick arithmetic – $10,000 per month times 12 months equals $120,000 for a year of library services which would 1) be more than HAL had requested in the agreement refused by LST and 2) provide fewer services than we had at HAL because SLPL wouldn’t be able to offer us PA Access services since we are not in their service area and could not possibly be before 2024 at the earliest.  Once again, great fiscal responsibility on display here.  Spending more for less and putting everyone through hell to get there.

It’s gonna be a great year.

On Wednesday’s Agenda

On the agenda for Wednesday night is an item to set a hearing date for a Conditional Use Application that Bethlehem Landfill hurried up and submitted to the Council in the hope of ramming all of this through as quickly as possible.  However, with a pending lawsuit filed last Friday against the zoning changes that were approved last month, it is completely inappropriate for the Council to schedule a hearing when the very basis of the zoning change is under legal attack. If the zoning change is found to be defective, no conditional use changes can even be considered until the zoning change is corrected.  That could take months to resolve.  But hey, let’s snarl this up in as much bad law as possible.  If you’re looking for something to comment on, that would be a good subject to bring up.

Some Housekeeping

My apologies for the lack of livestream on January 3.  Laura Ray had graciously agreed to do that for me because I had an orchestra rehearsal.  It was my fault completely that she could not access the livestream app.  Hopefully I’ll get it right this week.

If Mark Ozimek also records Wednesday night’s meeting, I’ll post it as soon as he gets it up on his YouTube channel.


As a service to the community, the January 18 Council meeting will be live-streamed on the Saucon Shenanigans Facebook page.



Sharing My Platform

One of the perks of having a platform like Saucon Shenanigans is that I can share with you the voices of others in the township. That’s what I’d like to do today.

I know that many of you have written to the township council expressing your feelings about various issues, most notably the library and the landfill. And I know that in their arrogance, four of the five council members – Mrs. deLeon excepted – feel they have no responsibility to reply to you. Or if they do, it’s in a belittling and sarcastic voice. Some of the responses from Banonis at the end of December to inquiries about the status of library services were nothing short of derisive and disrespectful.

In addition, those letters are never shared with us as residents. It’s too bad, because some of them are cogent, forceful and on-point. I’d like to share one of those with you. Dean Shaffer, a township resident, sent this email to township council on December 29, 2022. He has given me permission to share it with you. To my knowledge, he has not received any kind of a substantive response from the 4 council members or the township manager. Mrs. deLeon was cc:’d on his email because, as you can tell from the text, it was not directed at her.

I could write about all of the points that Dean covers, but he does such a good job of boiling them down to the essentials, that I think his words speak quite eloquently for all of us. And with that, I give Mr. Shaffer the floor.

From: Dean Shaffer
Date: December 29, 2022 at 10:14:42 AM EST
To: Sandy Yerger <syerger@lowersaucontownship.org>, Mark Inglis <minglis@lowersaucontownship.org>, Jason Banonis <jbanonis@lowersaucontownship.org>, Tom Carocci <tcarocci@lowersaucontownship.org>, Manager <manager@lowersaucontownship.org>
Cc: Priscilla deLeon <pdeleon@lowersaucontownship.org>

Subject: Hellertown Area Library and other matters

I’ll keep this short so I don’t use much of your time

Four issues you need to resolve now:

1. Work in a collegial and professional manner with Hellertown’s leaders to repair fractured relationships and restore collaborative agreements!!!

2. Resolve the landfill expansion issue by working closely with its neighbors and limiting the amount of expansion. We have no desire to drown in everyone else’s garbage. Yes, the township and its leaders make lots of money from the landfill, but at what cost to residents?

3. Reestablish the compost center agreement with Hellertown. The location is convenient, and the facility is well run.

4. Above all, reestablish an agreement with the Hellertown Area Library. HAL is the library the majority of residents want to use. It’s convenient, and its programs are outstanding. It’s obvious that money isn’t an issue for the township – it appears to be simply a matter of headstrong township leaders trying to retaliate for some perceived wrong by Hellertown. Stop the shenanigans and start working for the residents of the township!

I am sure that working at the behest of the landfill’s management is much more lucrative than working for your constituents, but I really think it’s time that you start listening to the people who elected you! 

Stop trying everything in your power to disrupt relationships with Hellertown, and start working for the people of Lower Saucon Township.

I’m truly embarrassed by the way you are behaving as elected leaders, and the way your actions reflect so negatively on the residents of the township. You make the township simply look silly to outsiders.

By the way, the meeting rules you’ve implemented so you don’t have to listen to resident concerns are outlandish. You make it clear you don’t wish to listen to anyone’s viewpoint other than your own.

If my perceptions are incorrect, please let me know. From my point-of-view, it certainly looks like you are behaving badly simply out of spite. Stop it!

P.S. If you’re struggling to figure out how to work with and for the residents of the township (i.e., being effective and caring leaders), follow Priscilla’s lead. It’s obvious she cares deeply about the township and its residents; she is a model leader. Try some of what she is doing.

Most sincerely,
Dean Shaffer

      Thank you, Dean. And thank you to all the township residents who have voiced your opinions about the damage and destruction that this council leadership has rained down on us in 2022. 2023 doesn’t look much more promising. So keep those cards and letters coming in. If nothing else, it will annoy the hell out of them until we can vote enough of them out in November so that Banonis loses control.

      The Year in Review

      I know many of my readers are probably very disappointed that because of the length of the Council meeting on December 21 they didn’t get to hear Banonis’ self-serving year-end wrap-up like the one he subjected us to last year.  In order to fill in that tragic gap, I’m happy to provide a review of Lower Saucon Township’s annus horribilis (horrible year, in the words of the late Queen Elizabeth II).  The short version is in the Scorecard.  The detailed version of the year follows that.

      The 2022 Scorecard

      January 1, 2022

      •   Full library services at HAL
      •   275.7 acres of beautifully forested land surrounding the landfill
      •   Free access to the Yard Waste Center
      •   Reduced membership prices at the Hellertown Pool
      •   A wobbly reputation within the Lehigh Valley and deteriorating relations with Hellertown

      January 1, 2023

      •    No library services at HAL
      •    275.7 acres of beautifully forested land under direct threat to be clearcut and turned into landfill
      •    No access to the Yard Waste Center
      •    A tortured system to be reimbursed for pool memberships
      •    A laughingstock within the Lehigh Valley and no relationship with Hellertown

      2022 In Detail


      Ah yes!  Back when the year was young and full of promise and we were all so full of hope!  Who am I kidding?  The storm clouds were already on the horizon, even before the Jan. 3 organizational meeting. 

      In a brilliant move to promote opportunities for constituent input, the Council passes (4-1) Resolution #31-2022 – Revision of Agenda Policy and Code of Conduct for Council Meetings, boxing residents and taxpayers ONLY into a 3-minute limit on comments on agenda items before the meeting and non-agenda items after the meeting.

      Now firmly muzzled, residents watch in horror (including on the livestream provided by Saucon Shenanigans) at the next meeting on Jan. 19 as Council votes (4-1) to offer the Hellertown Area Library less than ½ of the requested amount while it refuses to sign a new agreement for library services.  Newbie Zavacky offers the lame explanation that we will now just be “donors” and we’ll donate the other half of the budgeted amount to Southern Lehigh Public Library (SLPL).  Why? Damned if I know even after a year of persiflage.  And as icing on the cake, they vote (4-1) to authorize the solicitor to sue HAL if they refuse service to LST residents.

      In a surprise move the following week, HAL refuses the $50,000 check.  Hellertown, now faced with being a signatory to a tripartite agreement without the third party’s buy-in, renegotiates a bilateral agreement with HAL.  And so it begins.

      And then the township manager resigns.


      HAL revises its by-laws based on the new bilateral agreement with Hellertown Borough and removes all LST board members.  Hellertown Borough suspends all Intergovernmental Committee and Partnership participation by the borough with LST pending further review of the resolution of the library issue.

      Ms. Huhn’s 20 years of service to the township is given less time and notice than a Boy Scout who built a kiosk.

      Banonis, Carocci and Zavacky make a big deal about turning down their councilperson pay reminding us all once again that you get what you pay for.

      LST doesn’t even put the library issue on the agenda.


      HAL offers a substantive proposal to negotiate a new agreement.

      LST doesn’t even put the library issue on the agenda.


      HAL extends the deadline to begin negotiations on a new agreement.

      Pastor Spohn tries to broker a solution.  Banonis and Zavacky introduce the “regionalization” red herring, then do nothing publicly visible to pursue it.

      LST doesn’t put the library issue on the agenda.


      On May 12, Cathy Forman writes a check to SLPL for $50,000 to replace the check that had been written in January and never cashed.  This is not mentioned at any Council meeting.  SLPL holds the check while they are pressured by the Southern Lehigh School Board and Upper Saucon Township to accept it.

      From the Council minutes, May 18: “Mr. Banonis moved to direct our Solicitor to issue a letter to the HAL, directing the library to not include LST’s population in its application to the Office of Commonwealth of Libraries (OCL) for State Funding for calendar year 2023 and also issue a letter to the OCL advising it that it should not include LST’s population in its calculations for the formulation of State Funding for 2023.” Motion passed 3-1. deLeon, No; Zavacky, Absent. Remember this when we get to the end of December.

      Zavacky resigns.


      Mark Inglis is appointed to replace Zavacky.  We are not informed who else applied for the position or why Inglis was chosen. Still don’t know, except that he’s related to Zavacky by marriage.

      LST Council tries to muscle its way into the Saucon Valley School Board’s business to get them to hire a School Resource Officer despite having been told that they should stay in their lane.

      Laura Ray’s repeated request for a citizen’s forum as provided for in the administrative code is finally placed on the agenda.  The forum is scheduled for Nov. 23.  Mrs. deLeon objects that that is not a regularly scheduled meeting night but rather the night before Thanksgiving.  Banonis rudely informs her that she’s wrong and it doesn’t have to be on a regularly scheduled meeting night. In fact, he’s wrong and the meeting has to be rescheduled.

      LST doesn’t put the library issue on the agenda.


      Hellertown Borough votes on July 5 to sever its ties with LST relative to the Saucon Valley Partnership, the community pool and the yard waste center effective December 31.

      LST abruptly cancels its regular meeting on July 20 and schedules a “special meeting” on Friday, July 22 at 9:30 AM severely limiting the number of residents who can attend.  They hire a new township manager, Mark Hudson, at a 22.7% increase over the budgeted salary for the township manager.  No information is available on him.  Council also approves a bid for the paving of Saucon Terrace for $1,070,793 which as far as I can tell had not been specifically budgeted but Banonis informs us that’s okay because we’re running a surplus.  Remember this when they tell you about how we can’t live without the landfill.

      SLPL Board accepts “with serious trepidation” the $50,000 check from LST but only after receiving a letter from Treadwell stating that “the donation is unconditional, and was made in appreciation of the services provided by the Southern Lehigh Library to Township residents over the past 10 years.” In the words of SLPL Board President Bruce Eames “its [Lower Saucon’s] residents will not benefit from the donation, except to the extent they use the SLPL through the Access Pennsylvania program.”  


      LST doesn’t put the library issue on the agenda.

      On his way out the door, Interim Township Manager Peter Marshall finds multiple ways for the township to spend money on new software, new job titles, raises, compensation studies, etc., all of which get approved even though budgeting season is coming up in 6 weeks.


      LST doesn’t put the library issue on the agenda.


      At the Oct. 5 draft budget meeting, from the minutes, Cathy Gorman reported, “We have made those budget transfers during the year to accommodate some of the additional expenses we have received. Those came from our fund balance and she’s projecting that the fund balance, without using the landfill funds [emphasis added], should be adequate.”  Council, by consensus but without Mrs. deLeon’s agreement and with no rational explanation, tells Gorman to increase the budget item for library services for 2023 from $100,000 to $160,000.

      And then along comes the real stunner.  Here comes Bethlehem Landfill asking for zoning changes and text amendments to more than double the size of the landfill.  Next time any of the landfill cheerleaders on Council claim this doesn’t mean a landfill expansion, read them this: [from the October 19 minutes:] “Mr. Lawson said the request for zoning map and text amendment is the first step towards an expansion for BLC.” 

      When I started Saucon Shenanigans, I said there would be 3 guiding principles.  One of them was “Follow the money.”  It’s been a long, winding road, but it’s finally clear where it leads.


      From here to the end of the year, things get really ugly, really fast.

      On Friday, November 11, the agenda for the Nov. 16 meeting announces the Citizens’ Forum which we had been requesting since before June will be held that night, Nov. 16 at 5:50 PM.  Five days’ notice after a six month wait.  Even so, a decent sized crowd shows up but in a supreme act of arrogance, neither Banonis nor Carocci do.  There are some lame excuses but then, all of a sudden, they’re magically there in time for the Council meeting at 6:30, putting to bed the belief that they care at all about what the residents of LST think.  Yerger, Inglis and Mrs. deLeon are there but Yerger and Inglis are virtually mute the whole time.  Mrs. deLeon answers questions but frankly, we all know what she supports and believes in so there aren’t many questions directed to her.  

      Treadwell, however, after neglecting to introduce himself (which triggers a question by one resident, “Just exactly who are you?”), answers the majority of questions with the equivalent of “I don’t know” or “Not my job.”  What’s going on with the library? We’re working on it.  What’s going on with the zoning? There’s a hearing scheduled. Why haven’t you told us anything about the library?  I’m just the solicitor. What do we do at the end of the year? The council has to decide. Mark Hudson, the township manager, hides behind the classic, “I’m new here.  I really don’t know.”  

      Well, who the hell is running this township then?

      During the actual council meeting (now with Banonis and Carocci in attendance) here come the Bethlehem Landfill people to gaslight us on how they’re going to provide all kinds of conservation easements to make everything pretty and safe.  Wonder why those easements would have any more strength than the current ones you’re going to run roughshod over now?  An additional Council meeting needs to be added on December 21 to accommodate advertising, etc. for a public hearing on the zoning changes and text amendments.  It also conveniently puts it only 4 days before Christmas in a pretty blatant attempt to reduce the number of residents who might come and testify.  Keep in mind, there is no time clock ticking on this.  It could have been considered in January or February or March.  But then, more people might have shown up.

      There’s no discussion of the library nor is it on the agenda.

      Then, the following Monday, who should turn up on the Southern Lehigh School Board’s meeting agenda than none other but our own dear solicitor to explain all about what’s going on with LST’s quixotic search for someone to give them some library love.  We heard all about a library-type authority in western PA that was the holy grail of how we should organize all of our library system and how this is what he was proposing for the supporting municipalities and school district of SLPL and LST (of course, Hellertown’s not invited nor is the Saucon Valley School District).  And while the underlying idea is actually an interesting one to consider, its development and implementation would take years, possibly legislative action, and the kind of public education, consensus-building, and communication and collaboration skills that frankly this collection of bozos can’t even begin to understand how to put together.  But at least we know how to get an answer to what’s going on in our township.  Pay our solicitor $220/hour, send him across county lines and let him babble on to a school board that isn’t connected to the school district in our own township.  Perfect.


      At the December 7 meeting, Banonis takes aim again at Hellertown, this time over the yard waste center.  He wants to send a letter to DEP to tell them that LST is no longer a part of the yard waste center and therefore not part of the permit.  Because of that, he wants DEP to cancel the permit.  Of course, he hasn’t bothered to check and see that LST was NEVER a part of the DEP permit.  Treadwell doesn’t know (he should).  And they’re too arrogant to listen to members of the audience who tell them they’re not part of the permit.  I bet DEP laughed themselves silly over that.  

      Next up comes a threat that the zoning officer needs to see if the yard waste center is zoned for that use and if not, send a cease-and-desist order to Hellertown.  Explain to me how, when you’ve been using the land yourself as a yard waste center for a couple of decades(?), you can suddenly claim it’s not a proper land use.  They actually follow through on that moronic plan, creating more good feeling between neighbors just like they’ve been doing all year.

      Then, despite all their best efforts, the December 21 public hearing amazingly draws, by your writer’s count, 139 people.  Of that, between 75 and 80 speak, all except the final one – an engineer for Bethlehem Landfill – in opposition to the zoning changes, the text amendments, the expansion of the landfill, the scheduling of the meeting 4 days before Christmas and sharing the perception that it’s a done deal and nothing they say matters.

      Sure enough, it doesn’t.  The 4-part resolution passes (3-2, deLeon and Yerger-No).  

      If you find Yerger’s “no” vote surprising, don’t.  Keep these facts in mind – she’s up for re-election in November and Banonis knew he had enough votes to pass the resolution without her vote, so she could vote “no” and he still wins.  When she tries to campaign on “I opposed the landfill expansion” in November, remember all the 4-1 votes on the library and the landfill and almost every other issue up until that night.  It was a pure political play.

      At the tail end of the meeting they approve $40,000 more or less to buy and install a two-way live-streaming A-V system to cover future meetings. Of course, it will take 3 months to get it installed. For those keeping track, that will be about 21 months since the Council went back to in-person meetings and was asked to provide some kind of streaming service and 15 months since Saucon Shenanigans started live-streaming meetings as a public service. Good work.

      Then, as the year ends, the PA Office of Commonwealth Libraries confirms what we all knew was going to happen – and what the LST Council had itself requested back in May – that HAL has the right to no longer provide service as a “home library” to LST residents effective 1/1/23.  And with that, we are deprived of a library.  The township provides little to no information on where you might find other library services, at least in part because there are no other places to find library services that include the PA Access program.  That’s because if your township doesn’t identify and support a “home library,” you can’t participate. Simple as that and what we’ve all been explaining since last January.

      Their solution?  It’s the same as their solution to everything – sue.  Waste more of your tax dollars to fix the things that they broke. To date they have spent $63,345.61 on this idiocy, not including charges for December. Plus the $50,000 given, no strings attached, to a library in a different county for services we were already able to access for free. Is that how you wanted your tax dollars spent?

      You can change this. Election Day is November 7. You have the power. Use it.

      Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com


      As a service to the community, the January 3 Council meeting will be live-streamed on the Saucon Shenanigans Facebook page. Thank you to Laura Ray for her service.