Telling observations of Bethlehem’s town hall were made from our news room last week.
First, the town’s police department offered to fax police reports to our attention. Then, after nearly two months, the leaves from in front of some of our homes were picked up. This seemed to be immediately followed by a letter to the editor from the head of the town’s highway department, finally explaining the challenges his team faced tackling the lawn refuse this year.
This, by no means, is meant to imply Town Hall has presented us with the cold shoulder in the past. However, it does make for a good segue into our thoughts over Bethlehem Town Supervisor John Clarkson’s State of the Town address.
Mr. Clarkson spoke with a quiet confidence at his State of the Town address last Thursday, speaking of the successes of last year as an indicator of what to expect for the coming year.
The town received several grants, celebrated the announcement of Monolith Solar’s commitment to the Vista Technology Campus, plans are ready for the Delaware Avenue Enhancement and work continues with the Industrial Development Agency. There were the addition of more sidewalks in town, and this month the town proceeds with revitalizing the network of sewers. Last year, the town also pulled the belt a little tighter on Town Hall, and promises to consolidate more departments and cutback on overtime usage to mitigate expenses in 2015.
Town Hall has done what many households here in Bethlehem have had to do since the downturn of the economy in 2008. We’ve all had to look at our expenses and make cutbacks. And though the fervor over property tax reassessments grabbed headlines last year, it ultimately led to nearly 60 percent of town residents paying less money once the tax bill arrived.
Indeed, Town Hall had a successful year in 2014. But, a word of caution would be prudent to share before this quiet confidence turns to complacency. Let’s not rest on the laurels of the past to suggest the future will be just as promising. A passionately delivered plan will set the town in motion towards the right direction. As we see improvements to our infrastructure and the introduction of alternative powers such as Monolith Solar coming to a new technology park, perhaps something can be done with recycling the old Blue Cross/Blue Shield building off New Scotland and similar initiatives to promote use of pre-existing buildings.
Nevertheless, our observations of Town Hall in these early days of 2015 lends us hope that the New Year will provide more developments of which residents can be proud.