The April 28 Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors meeting was held via teleconference because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Routine business, the approval of the April 14 minutes and approval of bills, were handled first thing. The Top of the Mountain Estates project received an extension for final approval by the planning committee after some revisions to their plan. According to Mark Leuthe, of Lehigh Engineering, the project needed to be slightly revised so a road didn’t cut through wetlands. The Planning Committee is projecting their next in-person meeting to possibly be the end of May, so The Top of the Mountain Estates received an extension for planning recording until June 30.
The township is also moving forward with the Cherryville intersection, despite some delays caused by Turkey Hill revising their plans. According to Leuthe, the company is planning to have less gas pumps and a smaller store on the corner of Blue Mountain Drive and Cherryville Road in the township. “[Turkey Hill] is still in the game on that corner come hell or high water,” he said.
The future of Lehigh Township’s finances in the face of the COVID-19 crisis was discussed. With almost 60 percent of the township’s budget based on tax revenue, the real impact of the reduction of earned income tax coming in won’t be felt until September or October or even further out. “We will probably be hit hardest next year,” said Alice Rehrig, Township Manager.
Because of the impending shortfall, Miller suggested they prepare for a possible 15 to 20 percent reduction in each township department. “I would rather over than under under estimate,” she said. Miller proposed a six-week project where each supervisor works with a department head to manage the possible budget cuts. She will be working with Rehrig to coordinate the project, while Keith Hantz will work with the Chief of Police; Mike Jones will work with public works; Mike McGonigle will work with administration and Phil Gogel will handle capital projects, fire and ambulance and recreation. The supervisors had a consensus that the project would be helpful. “We have to be prepared,” McGonigle said. “We are all in this together and we need to figure it out. I want Lehigh Township prepared,” Miller concurred.
The next Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be Tuesday, May 12. Interested residents should check the township website for updates and instructions on how to call in.