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New Bethlehem supervisor delivers State of the Town address

Clarkson wants to move up budgeting

Bethlehem Supervisor John Clarkson gives his first State of the Town at Town Hall on Monday, Jan. 30.

Bethlehem Supervisor John Clarkson gives his first State of the Town at Town Hall on Monday, Jan. 30. Photo by Marcy Velte.

But there are some things Clarkson said he would not continue.

The Supervisor said after his speech he does not agree with continuing the practice of bonding for annual repairs like highway repaving and the bonding of a pension enhancement for police valued at around $1.7 million.

“A lot of things that can be legally done, it still doesn’t make good fiscal sense to do them,” he said. “All of our infrastructure, like sewer and water, those are appropriate borrowing activates. I’m not averse to borrowing for good debt, but it’s the bad debt I have a problem with.”

Clarkson said his administration has done its best to promote citizen engagement and involvement. At its first meeting of the year the Board voted to push back the start time of meeting to 7 p.m. to allow more time for the pubic to attend after work. Soon, residents will also have the option to view all town meetings online via a live Internet feed, with the videos backlogged by category and all agenda material uploaded to the Internet, as well.

He also said he would like to look into improving the “vital gateways” of the town along Delaware Avenue and Route 9W, and review the 20/20 Comprehensive Plan, possibly through neighborhood forums.

“Together I think we can do this and I’m seeing many encouraging signs,” he said.

Board Members Jeffrey Kuhn and Kyle Kotary agreed with Clarkson’s main ideas, as did Town Republican Chairman Fred Di Maggio.

“I think the supervisor did a good job of outlining the picture we’re facing,” Di Maggio said. “One of the things that I and other members of the Republican Party are going to recommend to him are volunteers for the budget, governance and economic development committees, as well as propose someone for the IDA (Industrial Development Agency).”

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