Usually I wait a week or so before writing about the latest township council meeting, but not this time. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of listening to these clowns lie to our faces about what’s going on with the library issue.
At tonight’s meeting, the library question was again not on the agenda. Mrs. deLeon read into the minutes during her report time the revised letter from Ken Solt, the president of the HAL Board extending the offer to discuss an agreement until April 22. The letter was sent on March 29. It was not put on the agenda because, according to Banonis, there weren’t two Council members who wanted it there. Mrs. deLeon then asked a very pertinent question. How many of the other agenda items had been requested by two Council members? Not the interim Township Manager. He doesn’t count. Not the township Financial Manager. She doesn’t either. Nor the Solicitor. The rules that Council adopted on January 3, 2022, require the consent of two Council members for an item to be added to the agenda. Answer from Banonis?? Crickets!!!
I think going forward, Council needs to be required to list the two Council members who have requested that an item be put on the agenda. Every. Single. Agenda. Item. If there aren’t two names, it’s not a legitimate agenda item and can’t be discussed or acted upon. Thank you, Law of Unintended Consequences. And remember, those rules require that the request for an agenda item be in writing.
Then in his report, Banonis read the same letter that Mayor Heintzelman read to the Hellertown Borough Council at their meeting regarding a meeting that was held on April 13 among Pastor Phil Spohn of Christ Lutheran, Ken Solt, Tom Rieger (President of Hellertown Borough Council), Mayor Heintzelman, Banonis and Zavacky (who conveniently was not at tonight’s council meeting, so she couldn’t answer any questions. I’m guessing she had more important things to do.). You can read it in its entirety in this Saucon Source article. He then said he’d have nothing more to say on the matter – but of course he did.
The excuse for no immediate action on the library issue was – ta-da – regionalization. In further discussions among the Council members about why this item was not on the agenda, Carocci kept claiming that “they need more time to report” on regionalization and “we’re gonna wait till we hear back from them.” These statements can be found at time marks 1:12:07 and 1:13:46 in the recorded video of the meeting available on the Saucon Shenanigans Facebook page. Who are these “they,” kemo sabe? Some magical, mystical group that’s going to be meeting and solving this problem? No.
Once again, we have to question Carocci’s reading abilities. Read the letter carefully. It states, “Lower Saucon Township expressed the idea of regionalizing library services with other communities. . . .This is a new concept being presented to both Hellertown Borough and the library.” So clearly the concept of “regionalization” was presented as a stalling tactic by – surprise – the LST representatives who were at that meeting – Banonis and Zavacky. Carocci was trying to imply that “they” were somehow not the people from LST.
The letter then says, “All parties agreed to take the concept back to their respective bodies, receive initial reactions and create conversations of thoughts and concerns, which will be used toward possible further discussions.” Great idea. But when questioned by Mrs. deLeon about why this is not on the agenda to be discussed? Again, crickets. When she asked If it would be added to the April agenda for discussion, the response was the insane answer that Carocci gave at 1:12:07 – “they need more time to report”. To report WHAT? The Sunshine Act requires that the Council have discussions like this in public. If it’s not on the agenda, how can it be discussed? If they’ve agreed to “take the concept back to their respective bodies, receive initial reactions and create conversations of thoughts and concerns,” how can that happen if it’s not on an agenda? Are they going to hold small group discussions of less than 3 Council members at a time to try to avoid the Sunshine Act? Is this now a working group of Banonis, Zavacky, Rieger, Heintzelman, Solt and Spohn? When’s the next meeting scheduled for? What’s the process? What’s the timeline?
And if they’re going to work on “regionalization,” where is the Office of Commonwealth Libraries in this little dance? You can’t just decide on your own to do “regionalization”. Or how about this consideration that one of our residents brought up in the public comments? What other library is going to have any interest in joining a regional pact that has anything to do with LST? The whole Valley has watched this circus unfold. Our own neighbors don’t trust this clown car of Council members. Why would any other sentient human or intelligent institution?
And here’s one more flat-out exaggeration from Banonis. “We’ve discussed regionalization.” (time mark 1:13:25). Yeah, if by the definition of “discuss” you mean the word fell out of his and Zavacky’s mouths once or twice during the January 19 shitshow.
And the final pertinent question: while LST Council is taking its sweet old time to work out this whole “regionalization” idea (which according to the letter may or may not work out at all and which will certainly take a lot of time – think, years), why aren’t you negotiating an interim agreement to pay LST’s share for the library services it consumes? If there’s no agreement by July 1, then HAL doesn’t include LST in its home territory when it applies for next year’s state funding and, come December 31, LST loses its current library services. No question about that.
Wake up. We’re all being played. LST Council is dragging its feet to get as much free library service as possible, as long as possible, on Hellertown’s dime. HAL is still under threat of a lawsuit if they cut off services to LST which, as best I can tell, they have every right to do. And they are operating on a sharply reduced budget which gives the lie to LST’s claim that they’re doing all this to “improve library services” for their constituents. Hellertown’s footing the bill for 2022 HAL operations over and above what they should be paying for their size relative to LST. And Bozo and his buddies are laughing at all of us, hoping we’ll give up on something they don’t want to provide anyway.
Don’t let it happen. You have a voice. Use it.