East Allen Township supervisors are exploring ways they can give over $520,000 in federal funding back to local taxpayers. In round two of the American Rescue Plan, the township received $520,938 as a stimulus payment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Township manager Brent Green said this funding is more than the amount the township received during the first round of stimulus payments. East Allen will receive half of the funding later this month and the remaining some time in 2022.
However, it can only be allocated toward specific uses.
Infrastructure projects, for example, said Green, are very limited. However, Supervisor Roger Unangst has one use he hopes the federal government will allow: a tax credit.
“This is supposed to be helping our residents,” he told supervisors during their meeting on June 9.
It was the residents of the township who struggled during the past year, he said: losing jobs, working from home, homeschooling children, and falling ill. He would like to see this money go back to them in some way.
Green said he is exploring the possibility of a tax credit. Other supervisors agreed with Unangst, saying that a tax credit should be the priority before other projects.
The township has four years to allocate and spend the funding.
East Allen was also awarded a $60,000 Northampton County LSA Grant. This funding will go toward a new public works pickup truck. An additional grant for $75,000 was awarded to the township by the Northampton County Livable Landscape Grant Program. This funding will go toward a stormwater reduction project at Bicentennial Park East.
Supervisors thanked Green for leading the grant application initiatives. Green must research and apply for these grants on behalf of the township, and funding is very competitive.
In other news, some township residents may have received notification of Keystone Cement’s new mining permit from the Department of Environmental Protection. Keystone started the permitting process in late 2019, frustrating nearby homeowners and influencing supervisors to officially denounce the move. Now that the DEP has approved the permit, Keystone Cement can mine as deep as 150 feet above sea level.
Both residents and supervisors have previously expressed worries over the integrity of surrounding wells. Two wells have already been impacted, said Green.
Should drilling damage the wells, Keystone is obligated to provide property owners with water. However, supervisors are inviting residents to give public comments to the Department of Environmental Protection. They are encouraged to voice concerns and ask any questions.
Finally, supervisors are also asking residents to complete an online survey for the River Central Comprehensive Plan. Paper copies are available at the township office while online links will be sent via email. The survey will ask residents about community development and help the committee draft their joint comprehensive plan.
“The more people that fill it out, the better,” said Green.
The next River Central meeting will be held virtually on July 13.