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September Meeting Followup

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Presidents Message

Hello Everyone,

Although our speaker for this past meeting was Emmaus Borough Manager, Shane Pepe, which seemingly limits the area of interest, I would say that that would be a mistake. I say that because our organization centers on the East Penn School District geographic area and thus every municipality within that area has a profound touch on the whole.

Think of it as maybe you live in Macungie, however you may drive through Emmaus or Lower Macungie. Well what if some of those roads are going to be worked on and it happens to be the one you commute on every day to work? Or Sewage and developments, as you know Lower Mac, Upper Milford and Emmaus have a joint, sort of, development going on for the over 55 client where the former Indian Creek golf course used to be. That sewage has to pass through Emmaus and may need to be upgraded to accommodate, thus creating potential sewage concerns for other municipalities to deal with.

My point, Mr. Pepe gave a very informative presentation on topics pertinent for all to hear.

One of them was the relocation of all safety services in Emmaus; fire, ambulance and police, to a new location located at a site, the former Rodale main building; where there are major traffic flow concerns that probably will have considerable detrimental effect to response time. According to Pepe, there are 80 trains a day that go through Emmaus and that will have a direct detrimental effect on response times for the fire and ambulance service provided. Remember that both of these services are not restricted to Emmaus. So when seconds matter and it takes additional minutes to respond, it could be your family member that matters, even if you live just outside of Emmaus in Lower Mac. or Upper Milford.

For all those that were unable to attend the meeting we provide a video for viewing at your leisure, so check it out and learn what your neighbors are up to that may have a bigger effect on you than you think.

Thanks again for your interest and support of our CEPTA organization and we hope to see you next month on October 20th, till then have a safe and enjoyable September.

Sincerely

John Donches

President C.E.P.T.A.

 

 

Follow-up – The State of Lehigh County

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President’s letter

CEPTA event 4/21/2015

“State of the Lehigh County”

 

Last night’s C.E.P.T.A. event was a great way to meet a few of your elected Lehigh County Commissioners and other elected officials that also came to listen to this presentation.

We had Lehigh County Commissioners Amanda Holt, Vic Mazziotti, Mike Schware and Commission president Brad Osborne able to attend and give an excellent presentation of what they are responsible for and how they as board members handle the County’s ~350 plus million dollar budget.

Other elected officials that were also present; Tom Muller the Lehigh County Executive, Lynn Donches an East Penn School District Board member, and Ron Beitler who is on the board of Lower Macungie Twp. All but Mr. Tom Muller stayed afterwards to partake in the meet and greet with the 40 plus members and guests in attendance.

the Commissioners 2 at CEPTA 4'21'2015 State of County

We at C.E.P.T.A thank and appreciate all the elected officials for attending enabling citizens to meet and discuss issues of importance with them. Thank you to our members and guests for all the questions you asked so we can all hear how elected officials answer. True government works with transparency and respect and the Commissioners presentation showed how government can work, placing the citizen at the top of the government pyramid.

Our flyer mentioned it was not easy being able to get the max number of Commissioners to attend as possible. Since there are nine members of the Commission, four is the max number of Commissioners that can meet together so that a quorum is not made, also since they have committees of three if there would have been any two of them on a committee they would not have been able to attend. So we and the guests lucked out, especially since Mr. Mazziotti was ill with a cold but still came out to explain his views and direction.

The Commissioners provided a power-point presentation to highlight the major areas of government and services that the County provides the citizens, how much they cost, how the revenue is divided among the services and how for the last few years the full board has worked together to provide actual tax cuts and give money back to the taxpayer all while not cutting services or using any of the so called rainy day fund.

It appears that they won’t be raising the County taxes for this next year either and the budgeted deficit of $7,000,000.00 turned out to actually be a $2,000,000.00 surplus.

We can all thank this Commission for their dedicated work and for having a truly good understanding of the workings of the County government.

Please check out the video to see exactly how these Commissioners are working to make the County the best place in the State to live.

The true highlight of the meeting was our being able to honor a founding member and beloved friend to many, Mrs. Josephine Sadrovitz.

Josephine Sadrovitz and Julia Sayer

We had a celebration with cake and merriment and all the guests and presenters joined in this special celebration.

We will all miss her dearly as she and her husband Frank did so much as volunteers for our town and surrounding communities. She graced us with one last gathering that we will fondly remember as she will be leaving the area to settle in with family. Of course she is always welcome when she comes back to visit and we’ll let everyone know when she does.

Below is a video of the meeting. We hope to see you at the next meeting.

CEPTA Presents – The State of Lehigh County

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We are fortunate to have four of the Lehigh County Commissioners available to attend and present at our C.E.P.T.A. event and they are; Amanda Holt, Brad Osborne, Vic Mazziotti and Mike Schware.

It turns out that this is a difficult feat to accomplish as you cannot have a quorum of commissioners at one time, which means no more than four is possible. Also there cannot be a quorum of commissioners that are on the same committee and we lucked out on that one too.

The County budget is over $360,000,000.00 and the Commissioners are responsible and vote on every penny of it, so if you have any questions please come out and find out what and how these Commissioners are planning to handle your tax dollars to ensure that all the services the county provides us are managed in the best interest of the citizens of Lehigh County.

 

Thank you for your interest and we look forward to seeing you there.

Date: Tuesday, April 21st

Time: Doors open at 7:00PM, program starts at 7:30PM and goes to ~9:00PM

Place: Emmaus Fire Company #1; 6th and Broad Sts., Emmaus

Contact: ceptapa@gmail.com

Free and open to all the public

Light refreshments available

Follow-up to State of Gun Rights in PA

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Presidents’ report for February

I write this report on our recent CEPTA event this past Tuesday February 17th with the help of our video recording, as I was not able to attend due to prior commitments. I am very happy to announce in spite of this or maybe because of this, the event was a spectacular hit with over 60 guests in attendance.
We actually had two hiccups that night as we were scheduled to have a guest presenter from the NRA national headquarters, however because of nasty weather down in the Washington DC area the NRA couldn’t make it.
Fortunately I had given Mr. Prince a heads up as to the NRA coming to speak and he responded that he canceled another event so he could attend ours. I didn’t realize how lucky we were to have this chain of events take place.
I want to send out a special extra-large C.E.P.T.A. thank you out to Joshua.
Mr. Joshua Prince is a partner in the Firearms Industry Consulting Group (FICG) a law firm that specializes in firearm litigation and is located down the road a piece in Bechtelsville, PA.
He has worked directly and indirectly with the NRA on gun rights litigation within PA and around the Country on numerous occasions and has even gotten the present Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, to reverse her stance on firearms cases that were brought before her in our fine State. This is quite a feat as Ms. Kane is not particularly a strong second amendment advocate, to say the least.
The program was jam packed from the start. Its two hour long duration was filled with so much information relating to proposed and newly enacted law. You may have seen or read throughout this past year how so many of the local ordinances about firearm use have been changed or eliminated. This is a direct correlation to the work that Mr. Prince and his firm along with the many other firearm groups like the NRA, Gun Owners of America etc. have pursued in making sure that all municipalities adhere to the correct laws and not the ones that the municipalities have created above the law in order to restrict the citizens from their second amendment rights guaranteed by our US Constitution. In fact, we have had a change in Lehigh County ordinance due to Mr. Prince’s firm.
I recommend that any one that wants to know the real laws and regulations watch and listen closely to Mr. Prince’s advice and knowledge about this topic. You’ll learn about how and when you may be in violation of PA firearm laws. What you need to do to obtain a valid “right to carry” permit and really why if you have firearms you should seriously consider getting a RTK permit (it keeps you from falling into the many traps set up by our legal system). Did you know that the term “Firearm” really only relates to handguns? Also that if you have a RTK permit you can have a car full of loaded “firearms”, but you better not have a loaded long gun (rifle or shotgun) whether it’s on a bicycle, motorcycle, or wheelchair. Yep if you are handicapped and use a wheel chair you cannot carry a loaded long gun because the state of PA considers that a vehicle. Crazy, huh? But go figure its PA and we still have a long way to go.
This was a top notch presentation given by one of the most capable lawyers within PA especially on this subject. At one point he related a story about how he was involved in a police highway stop and how he didn’t have to wait too long before the police knew who he was and called him “the gun guy” and asked that he just move along.
That is exactly how he is working for all of us, he keeps moving the laws for the second amendment right along so we can rest assured here in PA that we’ll have our rights represented.
Thanks again Joshua for your steadfast support of the second amendment.

 

State of Gun Rights in PA With Special Guest Presenter The National Rifle Association

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“State of Gun Rights in PA”
With the NRA
(National Rifle Assoc.)

Free and Open to the Public

Date- Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
Location- Fire Company #1, corner of 6th and Broad St., Emmaus
Time- meeting starts at 7:30 PM and goes till ~ 9:30

Presenter: Ms. Lexy Ruscak, Grass roots Coordinator for the NRA-ILA

Our C.E.P.T.A. event on “State of Gun Rights in PA” will bring us all up to date on how the new laws will affect us in our state, from proposed laws about banning human silhouette targets, to if publishing personal concealed carry permit info as public information violates PA State law, and why new laws on the books limit the gun control laws local municipalities can enforce. We will also hear about legislation the NRA is proposing to help protect and expand our Second Amendment Rights in Pennsylvania.

So come out and find out, ask your questions and hopefully hear answers that give you an enhanced perceptive on the topic at hand.

We at C.E.P.T.A. are pleased to host events that provide a platform for the public to ask questions and leadership to express their direction allowing transparency and engagement.

Please invite your friends and neighbors know about this free C.E.P.T.A. event and we look forward to seeing you there.

If you are interested in our programming and would like to get updates on our future topics and/or would like to join our organization please send us an E-mail at ceptapa@gmail.com

Light refreshments will be available.
Have a question? Please call 610-965-3556

Sponsored by C.E.P.T.A. (Concerned East Penn Taxpayers Association)

Follow-up on CEPTA’s January Meeting

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President’s Report

by John Donches

 

We had another very informative presentation to over 30 attendees on the state of “Property Tax Elimination” in Pennsylvania at our January 20th C.E.P.T.A. event. The presenter, Mr. David Baldinger, is a well-known and regarded citizen specialist on this legislation. He has been totally involved with this since the days of Sam Rohr’s introducing it in the legislature in 2009. Mr. Baldinger reported and that there seems to be enough bipartisan backing this new legislative session to pass the bill this year and that we are now at the threshold to getting the State government to be singly responsible to fully funding our school districts as it is supposed to do according to our PA Constitution:

B. EDUCATION

SS 14. Public school system.

The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.

(May 16, 1967, P.L.1037, J.R.3)

And therein lies the problem stated as “Shall Provide” and as the State legislatures see it that means passing on bundles of educational cost from the State down to the local level, especially through unfunded mandates from the PA Department of Education.

Here’s an interesting history of public schools in PA:

http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/rg22ahr.htm

If passed this legislation, better known as “HB/SB 76 would eliminate the property tax. It would raise personal income tax from 3.07% to 4.34% and increase sales tax from 6% to 7%, also the number of things that are taxable would expand to help make property tax elimination feasible; however there are many good tax exceptions. Link to bill and exceptions:

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/799686-hb-76-property-tax-bill.html

Mr. Baldinger mentions the positive effects being that eliminating the expense/cost of property taxes would be a dramatic boost to the economy as it puts your property tax dollars back into your pocket to spend on the things you want and need and would be a real boost to home sales as the property tax money can now be used to help purchase the home.

How much money would you have to spend to equal the amount you pay in property tax?

Let’s see if the sales tax goes up from 6% to 7% that means for every dollar you spend on taxable items and services $.07 goes to tax. So for every $10,000.00 spent you’ll pay $700.00 in tax, conversely every $1000.00 in property tax paid you’ll need to spend $14,285.00 on taxable items. Link to average property taxes paid by county in PA:

http://www.tax-rates.org/pennsylvania/property-tax

In Lehigh County, with an average property tax of $3004.00 one must spend almost $43,000.00 on taxable items and services per year to make up the property taxes paid. This is especially important to those on a fixed income as they tend to spend a lot less on stuff in their later years and the beauty of this legislation is it prevents anyone from losing their home due to taxes. It is a fairer consumption based tax vs. a government based value tax. You can determine your tax burden based on what and when, even if, you’ll buy something vs a fixed amount of tax regardless of if you can afford it or not.

 

 

CEPTA January Meeting – How PA property tax elimination works

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“How PA property tax elimination works”

Come out and find out the difference.

Should public schools be funded by property taxes or by sales and income tax changes?

Explained by Mr. David Baldinger

 

DATE: Tuesday, January 20th. , 2015

TIME: Doors open at 7:15 and meeting starts at 7:30 PM

PLACE: Fire company #1, 50 S. 6th St. Emmaus, PA 18049 corner of 6th & Broad Sts.

FOR DIRECTIONS click here.

All meetings are free and open to all the public. Please invite a friend.

 

Pennsylvania’s two pension systems, the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) and State Employees Retirement System (SERS), are underfunded by no less than $50 billion, using the most optimistic calculations. Increasing the burden on you, the taxpayer until a solution is passed through legislation.

 

Click link below to get a good explanation on the public pension crisis in PA

http://watchdogwire.com/pennsylvania/2014/05/30/pension-reform-benefits-teachers-taxpayers/

 

If $50 billion doesn’t sound scary enough, consider this, it isn’t going anywhere but up, up and away until real pension reform legislation is passed. We need to have meaningful discussion and action to prevent a total melt down.

Mr. Baldinger will explain how he feels eliminating the current property tax system we use to presently fund our public schools can be better handled by slight changes to our sales and income taxes. The biggest benefit he stresses is that the government will no longer be able to use inability to pay property taxes to force a homeowner to lose their home due to foreclosure. Find out why the local property taxes always seem to increase at such a quick pace and how these changes will help force the State legislators to address the issues of fair school funding.

 

See link below and find out about the presenter and his organization

http://www.ptcc.us/pcta.htm

Property taxes, which are used to fund the school system and the pensions for PSERS, are going to sky rocket for the next ten years mostly due to this $50 billion and climbing pension crisis. The money used to fund these pensions is money that is directly being taken away from education spending.

So bring a friend, come out to find out how you can learn about the issues and better understand the choices necessary to make changes that will benefit you.

 

We hope our meetings are interesting, helpful and encourage you to become active and involved.

C.E.P.T.A. is always looking for new members and would enjoy your help, input and questions.

If you would like to view videos of past meetings go to: https://ceptapa.wordpress.com/

Light refreshments will be available.

Have a question? Please call 610-965-3556 or E-mail- ceptapa@gmail.com

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