Oct 18, 2022

Tuerk's First Budget

Back in 2005, I actually studied Allentown's budget, line by line. Since then I have been nicer to myself about such details. Yesterday, Lindsay Weber of The Morning Call reported that Mayor Tuerk announced that there would be no tax increase for 2023, but warned that one would be necessary for 2024.

Although we could use another 80 policemen by FBI standards, the new budget only provides for four new officers. Tuerk did mention that finding qualified candidates is difficult. 

In addition to studying the budget years ago, I would also attend the Community Block Grant meetings, where the city decides which $organizations$ will receive what $federal dollars$.  I recall seeing the administrators from these supposedly non-profit organizations as feeding vultures, competing for roadkill.

These grants are distributed to a growing number of non-profits, which use our money to make instant business people, instant home owners and of course support dozens and dozens of jobs administering the funds. These organizations and foundations have become a growth industry in the Lehigh Valley. Admittedly, some of these programs have social value, such as emergency shelters. Besides the questionable mission of many of these programs ( i.e.,making a business owner), another problem is the  duplication of these organizations. The money spent on offices, utilities, overhead and administrators using these grants could be put to so much better use. Allentown, because of our economic demographics, would be allowed to apply much of this money directly to infrastructure. This approach would benefit the tax payers in multiple ways. More capital projects could be completed with less millage.

Tuerk foresees a 2024 tax increase necessary for infrastructure. Although I don't see it in Tuerk's MO, letting some of these young vultures fend for themselves would make for a better city.


  1. It is just a symptom of what is going on nationwide. No real solutions offered, only symbolism over substance. It is likely that a political leader who actually offers solutions would be reviled and attacked. Just keep the money flowing, no solutions needed..

  2. The Mayor stating that a tax increase is needed next year is an admission of his own incompetence. Instead of planning to hike taxes, he should be framing every spending decision over the next year in terms of what that decision does in terms of preventing a tax hike.

    Just a week ago, Councilwoman Ce-Ce Gerlach proposed using $25-$35 million in excess CARES money to build housing for the homeless. Tuerk should shut such talk down immediately and publicly.

    You wisely point out the non-profit "vultures" that feed off the taxpayers. Why not have an ongoing public scorecard where everyone can see how these non-profits are performing? I've watched for decades and seen hundreds of millions of dollars spent on fighting homelessness and poverty, yet every year the problem remains and the city gets poorer in relation to other municipalities in the area.

    So why do we continue to spend our money with the same groups that are failing us?

    My suspicion is that City Hall never keeps scorecards because the results would not only highlight the failures of these non-profits, but also the elected officials who continue to shovel money to them.

    Finally, what I've heard about the "new" mayor's budget highlights how little things have changed in Allentown City Hall. This budget resembles the same tired thinking we got in the Pawlowski years.

    The faces may have changed, but City Hall apparently has not.

  3. The dirty little secret is that the NGO's that proliferate in the city and live off of tax dollars are nothing more than political action committees for the the city's controlling party.

  4. Someone said if you want to make money focus on the disadvantaged in society. It has become a profitable business in Allentown. How many of these "community organizers" live in the neighborhoods they purport to represent? How many have moved up and out?

  5. Allentown is strictly "Poverty for Profit"... Not one thing the city has done has been a real benefit to the downtrodden but always a real financial benefit to the overlords!!!