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”.





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.



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.



Destroying Quality of Life in Lower Saucon Township

I promised a more expansive blog on the landfill expansion issue.  This is it.  It’s long, so I’ve included a table of contents in case there are some parts of it you already know about or don’t care about.

  • Background
  • Current Zoning Change Request
  • Why It’s a Bad Idea
  • Why Now?
  • The “Raising Taxes” Red Herring
  • I Don’t Live Near There.  Why Do I Care?
  • What You Can Do


Landfills have lifespans.  They have a certain number of acres that can be legally filled with garbage and then their life is over.  Done.  No more garbage; no more revenue; just ongoing maintenance costs.

Bethlehem Landfill was reaching that limit.  In 2015 they applied for the Southeastern Expansion.  The expansion was granted in 2017.  It supposedly granted the landfill about 5 more years of life.  In 2020 they applied for the Northeastern Realignment Expansion.  It has not yet been granted but it would supposedly provide an additional 5 or 6 years of life to the landfill.  Both of these were requests for changes in how the land that already made up the landfill could be used, allowing for more dumping.  It wasn’t for new land.

Apparently Waste Connections, the parent company of Bethlehem Landfill, isn’t about to settle for that solution.  As far back as 2015, a Political Action Committee (PAC) named Responsible Solutions of Pennsylvania1, started sending out flyers in support of Sandra Yerger and Tom Maxfield, Republican candidates who supported landfill expansion.  Notice the coincidence with the 2015 Southeastern Expansion application.  Only Yerger won. Then in 2021, a PAC by exactly the same name which was founded by Andrew Moss, the Northeast Division government affairs manager for Waste Connections, received a donation of $75,000 from Waste Connections2 and began a campaign that supported three more Republicans, Banonis, Carocci and Zavacky, who supported the Northeastern Realignment Expansion of the landfill.  They all won.  Let’s face it.  $75,000 is a big chunk of money to dump into a local race.

And now, just one year after that election that put a Republican majority on the township council, here comes Waste Connections with a request to double the size of the current landfill and remove various environmental and conservation restrictions.  And the four Republican council members have shown no interest in performing any kind of due diligence as to whether this is a good or bad thing for the township.  What a strange coincidence!

Current Zoning Change Request

So what is it that Bethlehem Landfill wants?  They’ve apparently been quietly buying up land adjacent to the current landfill and now have 275+ acres under their control.  The problem is, that land is zoned Rural Agricultural (RA) and you can’t put a landfill on RA land.  So they need to get the RA land rezoned to Light Industrial (LI). Ah, but therein lies another problem.  If you have LI land, you can only put a landfill on it by Special Exception.  To get a special exception granted, you have to jump through all kinds of hoops, including going in front of the Zoning Board to get their blessing.  But if you ask the township council to move a landfill use out of Special Exception and into Conditional Use, then you only need the township council’s approval to go ahead and build your garbage dump.

Special Exception uses in LI zones include a lot of rather unpleasant uses that need to be tightly controlled such as salvage yard, petroleum & hazardous substance storage, production of chemical products, mineral extraction. And landfill and waste disposal facilities.  The only thing allowed under conditional use is tower-based commercial communication facilities.  Do you really think that landfills require as little oversight as cellphone towers?  I don’t.

A third requested change is to remove the requirement to undergo the site plan approval process and requirements.  This removes one layer of oversight from the entire process.  Every layer that gets removed leads to more opportunities for inappropriate usages to sneak in.

The fourth request, and I think this is the sneakiest of them all, is to permit the creation of a Natural Resource Mitigation Alternative.  What this means is that if the landfill wants to build on more property than that which meets the “permitted net buildable site area,” they can do that if they dedicate land in excess of the amount of land that they want to use to the township.  However, it specifically states that “the land proposed for dedication does not need to contain the same environmental resource as those resource protection lands on the subject property.”  In other words, they can dedicate to the township any kind of crappy old land in exchange for cutting down forests and destroying natural habitats.  

Also in this fourth request is the most egregious of all the requests.  That instead of dedicating other land to the township, they can instead give the township money by means of a “fee-in-lieu of dedication.” Translation:  they can buy off the township to get the extra land they want.

If you want to read all of this proposed ordinance 2022-02, you can find it all here.  

Why It’s a Bad Idea

The answers to this are so obvious that it almost seems insulting to have to outline it but let’s make a list:

From the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission:

  • “The proposed text amendments do not align with the intent of FutureLV:The Regional Plan to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.  Landfills and Waste Disposal Facilities are high intensity land uses that pose adverse impacts on the public, and these impacts must be carefully considered and mitigated.”
  • “The addition of a Natural Resources Mitigation Alternative does not align with the intent of  FutureLV to protect high-priority natural lands.”
  • “The areas proposed to be rezoned…are in a Character Defining Area of the Future Land Use Plan, representing the natural and scenic character of the Lehigh Valley, including High Preservation Priority features of the Natural Resources Plan such as woodlands, steep slopes and Natural Heritage Inventory Core Habitats.”

You can find the complete letter from LVPC here.

From Representative Bob Freeman:

  • “Releasing the conservation easements completely undermines the original intent of those easements to protect environmentally sensitive areas in the township.”
  • “It should also be noted that the removal of forested areas is a detriment to ground water quality as forested areas act as natural recharge zones for groundwater.”
  • “These 275 acres serve as a buffer area around the landfill, and preserves the wonderful view shed afforded by the forested mountain area that overlooks the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor…”
  • “The Township should be requesting input from contiguous neighboring communities before proceeding with any change that would contradict the [Multi-Municipal Comprehensive P]lan.”
  • “[Applebutter Road] was not built to withstand the heavy trucks that travel to the landfill.”

You can find the complete letter from Representative Freeman here.

Here are a few more that any rational person can come up with:

  • When landfills reach their expiration date, you are left with nothing but a mound of useless garbage.  Although landfills will try to tell you that there are good afterlife uses for landfills, there really aren’t.  Roger Bellas of the DEP reports that there are no landfills in the Northeast that currently have after-use proposals.  Remediation is expensive and generally not cost-effective for the landfill company.
  • If you give up the conservation easements on current lands, how will you protect any conservation easements in the future?  It will have set a precedent.
  • Once you cut down trees, you can’t put them back.

And finally, from the Pennsylvania Constitution:

PA Constitution Article I, Section 27: 27.

The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come.

Why Now?

Ah yes, good question.  When the township council listed their meeting dates for 2022, the December date was set for December 7.  Then in October along comes this rezoning request from Bethlehem Landfill and all of a sudden, we need to have a hearing in a regularly scheduled meeting so we schedule a meeting for December 21 and put the hearing on that date since apparently they couldn’t get the hearing together by December 7.

Why the rush?  There’s not one item on that agenda that is time-sensitive or time-critical.  Nothing on that agenda can’t wait until the regular meeting in January or later, including the rezoning hearing.

However, if you don’t want many people to show up and you don’t want many people to know about it, schedule it the week before Christmas on a date that wasn’t announced at the beginning of the year.  Bonus points if it’s the same night as the high school’s Christmas program (although I doubt they were smart enough to know that).

Likewise if you don’t want residents to have time to get the word out about what you’re doing, then by all means, cram it in before the end of the year.  

The “Raising Taxes” Red Herring

This is my favorite boondoggle. “If we lose the landfill income, we’ll have to raise taxes to make up for it.”

Pardon my French but – bullshit.

When I first started paying attention to township matters a number of years ago, I was told that because the landfill was close to capacity, the township was doing everything it could to mitigate that drop in revenue.  And the actions they took seemed to indicate they were taking prudent steps to do that – paying off debt and managing expenses.  Of course, most of the current people weren’t on council back then except for Mrs. deLeon.  By 2019, we were informed that all of the township’s debt had been paid off.  Bravo!  Next step, developing new income streams!

Oh, hold it.  That’s too much work.  If we just let the landfill expand, we get more money, they get what they want and we don’t have to go to the trouble of figuring out how to find more revenue.  And so we have seen no substantive actions to develop other revenue for the township in the last year or two.  

But even more concerning is the fact that we keep producing year-end reports that show that we are running a surplus EVERY SINGLE YEAR!  And not by a small amount.  By almost as much as we take in from the landfill.  Consider the following:

Lower Saucon Township’s primary sources of revenue:

            Enabling taxes (EIT) – 40%

            Landfill host fees – 24.9%

            Real estate taxes – 22.5%

As you can see, once we paid off our debt, we’ve been running surpluses each year equal to or in excess of the amount of revenue we receive from the landfill.  Which means if the landfill income disappeared tomorrow, we would still have enough revenue to run the township.  With a concerted economic development effort, we’d be doing even better and those sources of revenue might have more longevity – and certainly less odor – than the landfill.

Perhaps the more pertinent question to ask would be “Why have we been piling up all these surpluses when we could have been reducing taxes instead?”  We sailed through COVID with 29% and 30% excesses when other municipalities were suffering.  

Perhaps it’s time for us all to demand a reassessment of our properties.

I Don’t Live Near The Landfill. Why Do I Care?

Because these are our neighbors, dammit!  Oh, being a good neighbor isn’t enough of an answer?  Try these.

The bigger the landfill gets, the worse our reputation becomes.  Oh, you know Lower Saucon, that’s the landfill township.  You don’t want to buy a house there.  You can’t be sure what they’ll do.  They don’t abide by any of their agreements, cf. the Library.

The worse our reputation becomes, the more our property values decline.

Some of us use the resources that will be destroyed by the landfill expansion, most particularly the D & L Heritage Corridor with all of its beautiful scenery.  Or we kayak on the Lehigh River.  Or we birdwatch along the corridor.  Or we fish in the river.  Or we have to breathe as we drive past the landfill and smell the stench.

We have children and grandchildren for whom we have a responsibility to protect all of the natural beauty of this area.

Or maybe you’re just sick of these arrogant bullies destroying our quality of life in Lower Saucon Township. They clearly don’t share the values of most of us who live here.  If they did, they would never entertain this expansion.  And they wouldn’t have lost us our library services. And they wouldn’t have harassed our neighboring borough so much that they cut ties with us.  At what point do we say enough is enough?

What Can You Do?

Come to the zoning hearing tomorrow evening, Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 6:30 PM at Town Hall.  Sign up to speak.  Be there by 6 in order to get your name on the list.  Tell them why you oppose this disgusting idea.  If you need some idea of what to say, you could use some of the arguments in the blog.

Hold Thursday, Dec. 22 in case they decide to extend the hearing at SeWyCo.  No time announced yet.  Come and sign up to speak.  They’re hoping you won’t be bothered.  Prove them wrong.

Contribute to our GoFundMe  https://gofund.me/b436437f  This is going to be a long battle and we’ll need financial resources to wage it.  They get to use your tax dollars to fight for the landfill.  We need to fight back.

Tell all your friends and neighbors, not just in Lower Saucon, but also those who care about the environment everywhere.  We need their help.

Read up on all the issues at our website:  LSTLandfillExpansion.org and our Facebook page:  Fighting Landfill Expansion in Lower Saucon Township.  If you have questions, email us at:  LSTLandfillExpansion@gmail.com

Watch out for their tricks – be sure to check off on the sign-in sheet that you want to speak.  If you don’t check it off, Banonis will try to prevent you.  Be sure to get there in time to sign up.  They’ve been picking up the sheets at 6:30 so if you come late, you can’t sign in to speak.  Dirty little trick.

Here’s What We Have

Here’s What They Want Us to Have





I’m a bit behind here at Saucon Shenanigans but this can’t wait.  Put this on your calendar and show up on Wednesday!

Here’s the backstory and, like all things run by this township council, it’s more than a bit sleazy.

Resident Laura Ray identified many months ago that our township rules provide the opportunity for residents to request a “citizens’ forum or town hall” – 30 minutes of time allotted to residents BEFORE A REGULARLY SCHEDULED COUNCIL MEETING – to address the council members on any issues of concern to the residents.  She repeatedly requested that such a meeting be scheduled.  She sent emails.  She made a request during public comments.  She was ignored.  Completely.

Finally, after far more of this delay than was acceptable, Banonis announced sometime in the summer that a town hall would be held on Wednesday, November 23, the night before Thanksgiving.  Only one problem.  That wasn’t a regularly scheduled council meeting night.  It was, however, a wildly inconvenient night for anyone to have to show up.  Ms. Ray objected and demanded that the date be changed to abide by the township requirement that it be on a regularly scheduled council meeting night.

She was told it would have to wait until the new township manager was hired.  Because, you know, it’s too hard for a council to figure out a meeting date all by their little selves.

Nothing happened.  Mark Hudson started on August 22 but apparently changing a date is such a heavy lift that it wasn’t accomplished until Friday, November 11, at which point it was rescheduled to Wednesday, November 16, at 5:50 PM.  It’s quite clear the purpose was to make it as short notice and inconvenient as possible to reduce attendance.

Don’t let the clowns get away with it!  Spread the word NOW to everyone you know!  Pack the township meeting hall!

The rules only require them to provide 30 minutes but “additional time may be designated at the discretion of the Council.”  (don’t hold your breath) The regulations also state that “on a regular basis, time shall be provided for a citizens’ forum or town meeting.”  Maybe we’d better get the next one on the calendar now.


Those lovely landfill people have decided they just can’t function without another 275.7 acres of land AND they need to have the space re-designated from a Special Exception to a Conditional Use in order for it to work.  That’s step one.  Step two is to then re-zone all of those parcels from Rural Agricultural to Light Industrial.  Since they will have already gotten the change from Special Exception to Conditional Use, it will be SO much easier for them to get the change from Rural Agricultural to Light Industrial because the change to a conditional use can be done by the township council and doesn’t have to go through that fussy Zoning Board.  And in order to make it even more helpful, they’ve bundled them all together into one request.

Luckily for those of us who live in this township and care about its future, there’s one other small stop before they can get what they want which is the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.  And LVPC doesn’t seem too excited about the landfill plans.  In fact, they think the plans kind of suck.

There are two meetings about the proposals this week which are accessible via Zoom or in person – Tuesday, November 15 at noon and Thursday, November 17 at 7 PM.  If you have the time, it would be very helpful if you would read the LVPC’s position on the request and attend one or both of the meetings.

You can find all of the information on the two meetings on the LVPC site here.

A copy of the LVPC letter is also available on Mrs. DeLeon’s Facebook page. You could probably find some points in there that resonate with your own views as well.

Here’s the link for the November 15 meeting at noon or via 610-477-5793, Conference ID: 351 407 936#.

Here’s the link for the November 17 meeting at 7 PM or via 610-477-5793, Conference ID: 793 745 456#.

And gee, I haven’t even gotten to the latest on the library.

Next time.  Although if you’re at the regular township meeting on Wednesday, you might want to ask them in the public comment period before the regular council meeting  (don’t waste the time in the citizens’ forum) why they need to budget $160,000 for the library account next year which is $60,000 more than they budgeted this year and balked at, $102,000 more than they actually spent this year, and superfluous considering they’ve been informed they won’t have any library services in 2023 from Hellertown, and Southern Lehigh has suggested they’re not interested either.  That’s a hell of a lot of $40 reimbursements that Carocci’s going to pay for township residents who have to go elsewhere.  

See You Wednesday at 5:50 PM.

As Usual, Misplaced Priorities

The August 17 Lower Saucon Township Council meeting was just another in a long line of meetings where it was abundantly clear that this council has some seriously skewed priorities.

Let’s start with the fact that there were only three councilpeople there, constituting the minimum number required for a quorum.  Mrs. deLeon and Carocci were both absent.  Since Yerger seldom contributes anything of any value and Inglis was only on his second meeting and apparently not feeling competent to participate, we were instead treated to an entire evening of Banonis monologue, pontificating and opining on any and every agenda item.  Right there you know you’re in for a long evening.  And sure enough, we were there until 8:47 PM.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

The bulk of the agenda was housekeeping, just about the only thing this council does with a modicum of competence.  There was a resolution honoring Talitha Diggs for her athletic accomplishments, accepted by her coach since neither she nor her parents could make it.  There was an update on the Meadows Road Bridge replacement, introduction of new police officers, a variety of grants to be applied for and budget transfers to be made and such-like.  A bunch of stuff got tabled until the new township manager shows up, presumably at the next meeting on September 20.

One interesting item was a presentation by Attorney Chris Spadoni on behalf of township residents Dr. and Mrs. Haller regarding some serious water drainage issues on their property which they believe are the result of work that was incorrectly done on their neighbor’s property back in 2007.  They’re looking for help from the township engineer to investigate if that was the case and whether they can get some relief from it.  This has apparently been an ongoing issue for quite some time.  The township engineer apparently went out to look the problem over but since it’s been dry (duh!) he couldn’t tell much.  This is all very difficult to figure out and it’s not helped much by the word salad that passes for Council minutes these days, but it seemed as if the zoning officer back in 2009 concluded that in fact the original plan was not followed but, oh well, these things happen.  I think the upshot was that the township engineer will go out with the zoning officer when it’s raining and see what’s up.  I have the feeling this is not the last we’ve heard of this.

Cognitive Dissonance

One agenda item just dripped with cognitive dissonance.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that Banonis and Carocci in particular love to tout how they are SO careful with taxpayers’ money and wouldn’t consider spending it without careful consideration.  Well, this being Interim Manager Peter Marshall’s last meeting, he had lots of parting suggestions for the Township on how they could spend taxpayers’ money.  Remember, this is the same guy who arrived back in March and immediately concluded we needed to buy about $20,000 worth of new furniture for the office.  Having worked closely with the township staff for a mere six months, he concluded that the Director of Public Works was grossly underpaid and that the Finance Director needed a promotion, a new title and a significant salary increase.   This is the same person who had already recommended increasing the incoming manager’s salary by 22% over what had been budgeted.  That was approved when the new guy was hired.  In addition, Marshall recommended that the township also pay for a market study of all the administrative positions at a cost of about $3500, a move that will presumably result in increases in their salaries also.

Why is this a problem?  The timing just seems a bit off.  For one thing, as resident Laura Ray pointed out in the public comment period before the meeting, budgeting season is coming up shortly.  In fact, the first budget presentation is October 5. Wouldn’t that be the appropriate time to consider raises, promotions and other such stuff to take effect on January 1?  It’s not like we haven’t been doling out all kinds of bonuses during the Covid crisis to almost every breathing employee.  But no, these changes had to happen right now.

The new township manager also started on August 22.  Shouldn’t it be his responsibility to evaluate the people who will be working for him and determine what the appropriate job titles and salaries should be? What if his evaluation isn’t the same as Marshall’s and now he’s stuck with the new pay grades and job titles?  Oh, but we were assured that he was more than happy to have had Marshall make these recommendations and do this work.  Okay, now I’m more than a little concerned about the independence and self-confidence of the new manager.  Why would he want someone else to do this for him?  And how careful is he going to be about all that taxpayer money he’s in charge of spending.  Of course, he might just be grateful for that 22% salary increase Marshall recommended.

So thanks for your service, Interim Manager Marshall.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Relationships with the Neighbors – Hellertown

Now let’s look at another priority – relationships with the neighbors.  As I explained in my August 17 blog, “LST Council – A Farce in 3 Acts, Act 3: Divorce Settlements”, before the August 17 Council meeting three letters were received from Hellertown Borough, the result of the Borough’s evaluation of whether it was worthwhile to continue a variety of relationships with LST – the pool, the Yard Waste Center and the Saucon Valley Partnership.  Those letters were on the August 17 agenda for discussion.

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

Banonis just couldn’t help himself in mischaracterizing the relationship with Hellertown vis-á-vis the pool.  In his words, “the Township also subsidizes Hellertown by giving them the difference between non-resident rate and the resident rate for the LST residents that use the pool.”  No, the Township doesn’t subsidize Hellertown.  The Township subsidizes its residents in their use of the Hellertown pool.  Hellertown has every right to charge LST residents the non-resident rate.  They’re non-residents (duh!).  The Township offers the difference so that LST residents can pay the resident rate instead.  But he’s always looking for a way to distort and defame Hellertown and their actions.

There was some discussion about the Yard Waste Center, mostly around a request from Hellertown for LST to pay half of the shredding fee for this year’s compost.  No discussion about the problems that a lack of access to the Center will create for residents.  And there was exactly ZERO discussion about the dissolution of the Saucon Valley Partnership, the source of a variety of collaborative ventures over the last 18 years. 

Doesn’t it seem reasonable that there should have been some discussion about the impact that these changes will have on LST residents? Increased pool prices?  Nowhere to take yard waste, including Christmas trees, for composting?  No source for free compost?  The loss of a variety of Hellertown/Lower Saucon events?  Perhaps there could have been some concern about how LST might repair the relationship with Hellertown?  Maybe a thought for how this might disrupt communications between the neighboring municipalities that also share a school district?

Nope, not a priority.   Not even a concern.  Not a peep. Nothing.  Crickets.  Because they don’t care.

Relationships with the Neighbors – Southern Lehigh Public Library

And then of course there’s the library.  Laura Ray raised some interesting points regarding the second $50,000 check that was cut for the Southern Lehigh Public Library and eventually cashed by SLPL.  As she pointed out in the public comments period after the agenda, the purpose for which the first check was approved does not seem to be the purpose for which the second check – which did not have a separate approval – was used.  While the first one was approved to expand library services to SLPL, the second one was provided “with no strings attached” as a thank you for past library services which, I’ll point out, were already available by state library law to LST residents.  So, as an SLPL Board member explained it, “they paid us $50,000 for something we were already required to give them.”

And on the subject of good neighbors, we are being anything but that to our neighbors at the SLPL.  I attended the SLPL Board of Directors’ meeting on August 16 because after they cashed the LST check, they said they would be evaluating the pros and cons of adding LST to their designated service area and I wanted to hear what they had come up with first-hand.  What was clear to me that night is that we have done them no service by dumping this problem in their lap. They have now had to spend considerable time and energy – as volunteers – evaluating something they didn’t ask for and don’t want.  They weren’t even close at their last board meeting to having any kind of answers because it was taking so much work on top of their own concerns about supporting their library as it currently exists.  

It’s on the agenda again for tonight’s SLPL meeting.  I’ll be there to hear what they’ve come up with.  Frankly, after LST screwed Hellertown Borough and the Hellertown Area Library and continues to appropriate services for which it has not paid, and after LST forced SLPL into this unwanted discussion and unnecessary work, why would SLPL – or for that matter, any of its supporting municipalities – want to climb in bed with these bozos?  Do Upper Saucon or Lower Milford really think that including LST is going to reduce their own financial responsibility for the library?  Or that LST will even honor whatever commitment it makes?  If you believe that, I have a very nice bridge I’d like to sell you.

Live-streaming – Or Not

One more point from the August 17 meeting.  Diane Hollowell once again raised the issue of the lack of township-provided livestreaming or Zoom meetings, something countless other municipalities have had since the start of Covid.  Here’s another issue that was postponed because of a concern (by Banonis and/or Carocci) for not spending taxpayers’ money until the new Township Manager was here and could have a say in it.  Well, he’s here.  Now do something.

And while you’re at it, fix the amplification that’s currently in the council meeting room.  Watch the livestream from the August 17 meeting and count how many times the audience gets so fed up with not being able to hear what the council members are saying that they actually yell, “Speak up.”  But then, I suspect that’s a feature, not a bug.

Next Township Council Meeting – Wednesday, September 21, 6:30 PM – Township Hall

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

Big Time Summer Shenanigans

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So many things to cover.  Let’s start with why, as I write this on Wednesday, July 20, there is no Lower Saucon Township council meeting going on.  You know, the one that was scheduled for this evening at 6:30?  It was marked “tentative” on previous schedules and Banonis did tease back in June that it might not be held.  Then all of a sudden on Monday, tonight’s meeting is cancelled and a “Special Meeting” is scheduled for Friday, July 22 at 9:30 AM.  Not a typo – 9:30 in the morning on a weekday.  

Wow!  What’s so critical that it can’t happen at a regular evening meeting but requires that a special, daytime meeting be held?  Let’s check the agenda!

Hmmm, only 2 items.  Appointment of a new township manager and bidding on a paving project.  I can’t wait to hear the excuse for why this has to be held at 9:30 on a Friday morning.  I doubt it’s the bidding on the paving project since it’s probably too flippin’ hot to do any paving right now anyway.  Must be appointing the new township manager.  Wonder why they want to do it in a big rush at an incredibly inconvenient time for most township residents? Things that make you go “hmmmmm.”

Lest you’ve forgotten, this is the township manager position that Carocci told us back in June probably wouldn’t be filled until August.  And at the time, he sure didn’t seem very concerned about that timing.

BTW, if you’re looking for any information on Mr. Mark Hudson who will be considered for the township manager position, don’t plan on finding anything publicly available on the website.  There’s no supporting information with the agenda item on this person to whom we will be paying more than $100,000 per year plus benefits, based on the current township budget.  Wonder if they’ll bother to say anything about him on Friday?

The June 15 Meeting

As long as you’re here, let’s go back and look at some of the previous serious shenanigans from the June 15 meeting.

First, completely in line with the council leadership’s unwillingness to share any information about appointments with the residents, we had the appointment of Mark Inglis last month to replace the recently departed Jenn Zavacky as a councilperson. Despite significant attempts by Mrs. deLeon to get Banonis, et al to share information about the new councilperson or the process, there was none forthcoming.  This in spite of the fact that Mrs. deLeon herself is a councilperson.  For example:

  • How many people applied for the opening?  Someone let slip that there were 4 applicants
  • Who were the others?  Don’t know.
  • What were their qualifications?  Don’t know.
  • What were Mr. Inglis’s qualifications that made him a better choice?  Don’t know.
  • Were any other applicants interviewed? Either no or don’t know.  Not clear on that. Banonis said he got to talk to “some” of them.  He doesn’t know how many other Council people talked to any of them.
  • Will there be an opportunity to interview any of the 4 in public?  Nope.
  • Hasn’t that been the Council’s past practice?  Not when Carocci was appointed, even though Mrs. deLeon distinctly remembers that being done in the past.
  • How long has Mr. Inglis lived in the Township?  Don’t know.
  • What does he do?  Don’t know.
  • What kind of service or involvement has he had with the Township?  Don’t know. 

It took 7 minutes and six more agenda items before we even got the correct spelling of Mr. Inglis’s name. 

Stay tuned. More to come.

Next for your consideration. Council seems to feel it’s their responsibility to stick their noses into the Saucon Valley School Board’s business.  To that end, there was a discussion of the possibility of the township supporting a School Resource Officer (SRO) for the district.  According to resident Barrett Geyer, who spoke during the public comment period in support of that idea, this is not something that the school board has considered important enough to address and therefore has not deemed it necessary to put this issue on their agenda.  It’s only been raised in their public comment.  But apparently the township needs to get involved in this so they passed a resolution to request a meeting with the school board to address the school board’s needs and then possibly add it to the August agenda or, if it’s REALLY important, hold a special meeting before then. Oh wait, we’re already doing that and it’s not on the agenda.  As I believe this council has been told in the past regarding this issue, “Stay in your lane.”

Moving right along.  Township resident Laura Ray had done research into the requirements for holding a citizens’ forum or town meeting in order to have a general discussion of residents’ concerns over the council’s behavior and actions.  She sent a request for such a forum to the Township Manager and Council. First, she was ignored.  Then the request was added to the June 15 agenda.  Here’s what the code says: 

“Article III. Legislative Officials

ss5.8 Council (3) 

On a regular basis, time shall be provided for a citizens’ forum or town meeting to be held at the beginning of the regularly scheduled Council meetings. Such meetings shall be limited to 30 minutes’ duration. Additional time may be designated at the discretion of the Council.”

Banonis then proceeded to announce that the forum would be held on Wednesday, November 23, which is not a regularly scheduled Council meeting.  It is, however, inconveniently, the night before Thanksgiving.  The regularly scheduled Council meeting would be Wednesday, November 16.  Mrs. deLeon objected to the fact that this was not a regularly scheduled meeting.  She was informed, very rudely, that she was wrong and it didn’t have to be a regularly scheduled meeting.  At least one person in the audience (your humble writer) objected verbally that this was contrary to the administrative code.  However, because there are no comments allowed during the meeting, those objections were also ignored.

Banonis is wrong.  The meeting is incorrectly scheduled.  It needs to be rescheduled at the time of a regularly scheduled Council meeting – unless they’re going to move the Council meeting to the night before Thanksgiving.  And Attorney Treadwell, who later in the meeting got his shorts all in a twist because he claimed Mrs. deLeon was questioning his knowledge of the administrative code, apparently didn’t know enough about the administrative code to know that what Banonis had done was, in fact, out of line.

Here’s another one.  When Mrs. deLeon was the liaison to the Landfill Committee, Banonis and Carocci often loudly objected to her reading reports regarding the landfill during her council member report time. She was accused of wasting the Council’s time.  One evening, she was told that residents could go read those reports on line and there was no need for her to read them into the record.  Nevertheless, she persisted.  And so she was removed as liaison to the Landfill Committee.  Apparently those concerns don’t apply to Banonis.  He spend five solid minutes reading reports about the state of the landfill that I’m fairly sure were of no interest to the people there nor were they understandable to most residents.  Of course the gist of them was that everything is hunky-dorey. But when he does it, it’s fine.

Of course, there’s always a public comment by someone about the library situation because otherwise the council would just try to ignore it completely.  Jo Ellen Thomson raised a question about the $50,000 check that was written to Southern Lehigh Public Library on May 12.  She was concerned that the prior check to SLPL had been voided and wondered how the council could write a new one without authorization.  Banonis tried to duck the question.  When Mrs. Thomson pressed him, his response was that the resolution passed in January authorizing the check had never been rescinded.  However, that leaves open the question of whether the May 12 check was for the same purpose as the January check.  On the surface, it would appear not.  More to come.

Now you’re up to date.  Oh – except for the tiny fact that Hellertown Borough at their borough meeting on Tuesday, July 5, voted to sever their intermunicipal agreements with LST regarding the pool, the compost center, and the Saucon Valley Partnership effective December 31, 2022.  And of course there’s the on-going, unresolved Hellertown Area Library issue.  But hey, none of those were worth holding a council meeting tonight to discuss and they certainly wouldn’t require a special meeting on Friday.  Only hiring a township manager is that important and time-critical.

Next Township Council Meeting – Friday, July 22, 9:30 AM – Township Hall

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



What You See and What You Don’t

The May 18 meeting of the Lower Saucon Township Council looked pretty straightforward.  A couple of resolutions, a few business items and then the issue that most people were interested in – “Discussion on Library Services.”

Before we go any further, can we take a moment to discuss how deliberately suppressive the comment policy is?  Residents and taxpayers of the township (no one else) can each speak for 3, count ‘em, 3, minutes on an agenda item before the meeting really gets underway.  The total information provided for the item “Discussion on Library Services” is exactly that, the title.  No supporting documentation.  No wording of a motion that might be introduced.  Nothing.  

Let’s look at what the Office of Open Records says about what should be included in agenda items:  “The agenda should include all issues to be deliberated on and any planned official action, such as votes.”  As you’ll see, there was definitely a planned official action to be voted on.  Banonis didn’t just make it up off the top of his head.  But there was no hint of that in the agenda.

The OOR goes on to clarify further, based on the findings in the case Reading Eagle Co. v. Council, 156 Pa. Commw. 412, 416-17 (Pa. Cmmw. Ct. 1993) – “It is advisable to use the same standard for agendas, whereby the description of the agenda item must be ‘of sufficient specificity to inform…that there is, in reality, a specific, discrete matter or area which the board has determined should be discussed (deliberated and/or decided by official action).’ In sum, avoid general cryptic terms and provide as many specific concrete details as possible.

But there was no indication that there would be a motion to basically remove the township from consideration as a “direct service area” from the Hellertown Area Library’s application for state funding for 2023, thereby ending the township’s relationship with HAL and its residents’ access to the Library’s services AND the PA Access system.  If there had been, informed residents could have commented on that proposed motion.  But informed comment is not what this Council is looking for.

To boil it down, the Council wants out of any agreement with HAL for 2023 but expects HAL to continue to provide services through the end of 2022.  They want to give HAL the $50,000 that they’ve been trying to push on them since January and which HAL has twice refused (don’t you just love men who can’t take “no” for an answer?) as well as $32,000 which they calculate as the amount of State money that HAL would get for 2023 if they did include LST in their “direct service area.”  Boy, is that big of them. But they’re going to give them that $32,000 in 2022, not 2023.  And at that point they then wash their hands of any relationship with HAL and if you want library services you are, in very crude terms, SOOL.

It’s so great to live in a township where the council members really care about their residents.  No books for Ms. Kozo’s 10-year-old daughter and no support for Ms. Socha’s grandson who overcame his speech disorder thanks to the help he received from the library personel. No library services for the young man who addressed the Council in January explaining how much he loved the library.  Plus the literally thousands of other residents who are members of the Library.  We don’t need it.  Nobody uses the library anymore – just ask our solicitor.

The excuse for all this was, of course, that both HAL and Hellertown Borough turned down any further discussion of “regionalization.”  In Banonis’ words they turned down the “regionalization proposal” but of course there was no actual proposal, no outline of how to move forward, no suggestion of how this might have been accomplished.  In words we’ve heard a lot recently, there was no there, there.  It was smoke and mirrors to make us think they were actually doing something when in fact they were doing nothing.

Or were they doing nothing?

Turns out, they’ve been up to quite a bit that they haven’t bothered to share with the residents.

Thanks to a Southern Lehigh School Board meeting that was held on Monday evening, June 13, we now know quite a bit about what they’ve been up to.  On May 12, someone from LST wrote a check to Southern Lehigh Public Library for $50,000.  The previous check for $50,000 written to SLPL on January 20 that had been rejected by the Library was voided a couple of months ago.  The new check was presented for the Helping Hands Campaign, an annual fundraiser of the library.  Considering that the top level of giving for the campaign is $10,000 and that for every $50 you give, you get your name on a bookplate, there are going to be a hell of a lot of bookplates for LST in that library.

The Southern Lehigh Public Library has not, however, accepted the check or cashed it.  It is apparently still under consideration.  In the past, the Library rejected the pressure to take LST’s money. However, the business manager of the school board, when questioned as to whether the check came with any strings attached, reported that our very own solicitor, Mr. Treadwell, had confirmed in writing that there was no expectation of any kind of services for the donation.  Hmmm. 

All of this came as part of a report to the Southern Lehigh School Board about a meeting that was held that included all of the donor municipalities to the Library – Upper Saucon, Upper Milford, and Coopersburg – as well as the school board business manager, the state representative for the district, and – ready? – a couple of LST people.  Of course, not enough to create a quorum or they’d have to tell you they were at the meeting.  But it definitely included Carocci and, as best I can tell from the rather bad audio on the meeting tape, Treadwell.

Why did this come up at the school board meeting? Because the school board is considering its budget for next year and hey, if LST’s gonna come up with $50k for the Library, why we could just reduce our support for the library by that much.  The school district currently provides $71,000 per year to SLPL. 

So connect the dots.  We now have LST council people trying to push their way into the Southern Lehigh Public Library, where they’ve been told once they’re not wanted (remember those men who can’t take “no” for an answer?), which the Southern Lehigh School Board now sees as a way to reduce their contribution to the Library to ease their budgetary shortfall which means they have an incentive to pressure the Library to take the money.  In short, if the Southern Lehigh School Board takes that route, LST taxpayer money will effectively be underwriting the budget of the Southern Lehigh School District. I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I pay my taxes for.

There’s more – so much more – but that’s enough for one blog.  There’s a Council meeting tomorrow night.  The library (any library) is not on the agenda but you could still show up and tell them what you think.

I’ll have another issue out soon.

Oh, and Zavacky quit.  ‘Bye, Felicia!

Next Township Council Meeting – Wednesday, June 15, 6:30 PM – Township Hall

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



Here’s the Excuse – “Regionalization”

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.