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  • Brad Chambers

Lower Saucon Offers Deal to Hellertown Over Library


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UPDATED: The formal offer letter from Lower Saucon Township to the Borough of Hellertown is included at the bottom of this article.


After close to two years of disagreement and feud between Lower Saucon Township and Hellertown Borough, could there be some light at the end of the tunnel? Based on the deal offered by Lower Saucon Township to Hellertown Borough, perhaps.


Upon the start of the September 20, 2023 Township Council meeting, Council President Jason Banonis announced that Council had met in executive session prior to the start of the public meeting to discuss “ongoing litigation.” He then transitioned to citing a recent audit of Hellertown Borough and their apparent financial troubles [read more].


“With that [financial] background, we discussed today in executive session an offer, to be made to the Borough of Hellertown.” Council President Banonis then laid out the offer for Council’s consideration.


Firstly, the Township would offer “2 years of [Hellertown Area] library funding at $125,000 per year, beginning January 1, 2024.” Banonis added that in addition, the Township would receive proportional HAL board seats beginning January 1, 2024, and that an amendment to the HAL by-laws was needed to allow for that provision.

Additionally, Township residents would receive PA ACCESS from HAL effective January 1, 2024, and the Borough of Hellertown would need to provide a statement regarding their funding levels toward the library for the next five years, due to the Township by October 31, 2023. The Township also seeks commitment from Hellertown Borough to explore partnerships with larger libraries, or to create a ‘library authority’ with other local libraries.


The proposed offer was not contained to only the library. The proposal also includes an offer for the Township to purchase the Hellertown Compost Center (which is physically located in Lower Saucon Township), at the current assessed value, to be completed by December. 31, 2023. Also, in exchange LST would provide compost services to HB residents for a period of 10 years, subject to renewal, at a cost equal to what HB is currently charging LST residents, to begin on Jan. 1, 2024.


Regarding the community pool, Township residents would have access to the Hellertown pool at the resident rate for the 2023-24 season. Banonis explained that in the past, Township residents were able to pay the pool’s resident rate, but that the Township would reimburse Hellertown Borough for the difference. Instead, as part of the deal, the Township would make two capital payments in the amount of $25,000, in 2024 and 2025.


The comprehensive deal requires a response no later than Oct. 12, 2023, and if the offer is not accepted it is automatically rescinded.


Also, as a condition of the deal, both the Township, Borough, and HAL would drop all current litigation, except for the Township’s litigation against the PA Office of Commonwealth Libraries (OCL).


Council passed the motion to direct the Township solicitor to formally make the offer to Hellertown Borough by a 4-1 vote. Ironically, one of the library’s staunchest supporters on Council, Priscilla DeLeon, was the lone detractor from making the offer to the Township’s neighbor.


As it stands, the ‘ball’ is now in Hellertown’s ‘court’, as they have at least two public meetings to discuss and debate the offer prior to the Township’s imposed deadline.


The full details of the offer can be read here in the official offer letter from Lower Saucon Township.



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