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Issue 8 — Thursday, September 22, 2016
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Brown Launches Petition
To Reverse New Jersey
Tax Grab

EAST STROUDSBURG – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants Pennsylvanians who work in New Jersey and make $35,000 or more a year to pay higher income taxes to New Jersey, under a decision he announced on Sept. 2. In response, Rep. Rosemary M. Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) has published a petition on www.RepBrown.com for Pennsylvanians who work in New Jersey to have their voices heard and ask Christie to reverse this decision.

Christie revoked a 39-year-old tax agreement between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which allows interstate commuters to pay income taxes in their state of residence. Without the two-state agreement, Pennsylvanians working in New Jersey would have to pay New Jersey’s graduated income tax instead of Pennsylvania’s flat income tax.

“I believe the best solution to this issue would be to reinstate the Pennsylvania-New Jersey Tax Reciprocity Agreement, which has worked well for nearly four decades,” Brown said. “I encourage residents of Monroe and Pike counties who work in New Jersey to sign this petition and urge Gov. Christie to rescind his decision and keep tax reciprocity. This is an unfair and unilateral tax grab.”
Nearly 19,000 residents of Pike and Monroe counties work in New Jersey. Pennsylvania residents who work in New Jersey and make $35,000 or more a year, would be subject to New Jersey’s higher tiered rates. Further, if their taxable income in New Jersey is $40,000 or more, they would be responsible to pay more than 5.5 percent in income tax, a 55 percent hike.

“All the money that would be sent to New Jersey is money that could be benefitting our communities here at home,” Brown said. “Not only would residents be expected to pay higher taxes to another state, but the tax filing process would be much more difficult and inconvenient to an already hectic lifestyle.”

For more information about this petition, or any state-related issue, contact Brown’s district office in East Stroudsburg located at 143 Seven Bridge Road, by calling 570-420-8301. Information can also be found on online at RepBrown.com or Facebook.com/RepRosemaryBrown.

New Ordinance Regulates Street Signs, House Numbers
By Wayne Witikowski

DINGMANS FERRY — Delaware Township residents and business owners are now required to post their building address numbers, according to the board of supervisors at their meeting last week.
Supervisors unanimously passed Township Ordinance 111 after a public hearing that took place midway through the meeting. Notifications were expected to go out starting this week informing residents of the requirement. Supervisor Jeff Scheetz reinforced the ordinance statement that it ensures the public safety and security of the community ensuring better emergency response time.

Property owners can get their street numbers, established by the Pike County 9-1-1 Emergency Call System, by calling 570-296-1911 and then purchase the number sign from either the Delaware Township Ambulance Corps or the Dingmans Fire Company with their building number imprinted for an $18 fee.

The ordinance says the sign for a home, which must be four to 12 inches in height, can be any color, although many of them already shown are in blue and must be posted securely between two and eight feet off the ground. The number must be in bright, reflective material to contrast with the background in three-inch-high upper case lettering. The sign must be visible for at least 50 feet and all shrubs or snow that may block it must be cleared from the front of it at all times. The sign also can be posted on the house as long as it is within 50 feet from the edge of the street.

Anyone who does not comply is subject to a $1,000 fine which if unpaid could lead to a jail sentence of up to 30 days. There is no deadline for when the signage must be completed, but the supervisors said that could be further amended into the ordinance.

Street signs, meanwhile, must be visible for at least 250 feet from the intersection in all directions on a public road and 150 feet on a private road. The ordinance reads “All public and private streets, driveways and access roads in the Township which serve two or more principal structures shall be named and posted with the street sign name in accordance with this section.”

Township Administrator Krista Predmore pointed out afterward that private communities are responsible for posting their own road signs, if needed. Supervisor Tom Ryan said cutting of brush that may be obstructing road signs is the community’s responsibility. Resident Mary Lou Corbett praised the ordinance during the hearing, saying, “It’s a waste of time (of responders) finding the house that does not have the blue sign. It’s mainly about finding the house, not finding the street... for complete story, get this week's issue.

Bushkill Outreach Director Announces Retirement

BUSHKILL — Kate Newman of Bushkill Outreach, which has helped families in need in Bushkill and throughout Pike and part of northern Monroe counties since 2000, is retiring as director at the end of September.“I’ve prayed about it and feel this is exactly the right time to go,” said Newman, whose mission has grown to service 300 families in need annually, most recently at the Dutch Reformed Church of Bushkill on Route 209 near the Bushkill Falls intersection on the property of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Newman, whose volunteer workforce has grown to 55 in recent years, said no succeessor has been named but said the outreach’s Board of Directors expects to name a director within six months. As for Newman’s next step, she said she plans to work at a small orphanage in Budalangi, Kenya, next year under the international Ebenezer Project. Newman said Pocono ProFoods, a “huge contributor,” and WalMart of East Stroudsburg provide much of the food along with other local businesses and scouting groups as well as church and school drives. They have given support to families facing challenges of serious illnesses, unemployment and underemployment.

Along with food, there also is clothing, mostly donated by local residents, as well as a coat drive. The Bushkill Outreach Flea Market has been a leading fundraiser held throughout Memorial Day weekend for the past 38 years at different locations, the last seven at Lehman Township Community Park. A popular Christmas Cottage of donated holiday decor sold at reduced prices open in November and December, run for many years by Lehman Township resident Rose Capitelli, also is a major fundraiser for the outreach. Newman said the outreach has a relationship with the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army to provide toys for children of families in need at holiday time. The outreach also directs funding and food donated by local service organizations to qualifying families in need at holiday time.

“She and her commitment will be missed,” said Christine Guaranaccio, who oversees the food pantry that also helps support other food pantries in the area as needed. It also provides food for dinners at the Reformed Church of Bushkill every Thursday night and at St. John the Apostle Church in Marshalls Creek the final Sunday of every month as well as some donated food for nonprofit fundraising events. “This change will be seamless. They won’t miss a step,” Newman said. “It should keep going along very solid, with a good operating body.”
“It won’t be the same without her but we won’t miss a beat,” said Guaranaccio... for complete story, get this week's issue.

Boro Council Eyes Rental Property Inspections

MATAMORAS — The Borough Council approved advertising for an ordinance that would authorize an annual inspection of rental properties.
The council approved moving forward with the development of this ordinance at the regular council meeting held earlier this month at Borough Hall. Only Councilman Dayne Losee voted “No.”

Borough Solicitor Eric Hamill reported that the Borough Planning Commission had reviewed and recommended the ordinance to the council. Borough Code Enforcement Officer Bob Fitch explained in an interview after the meeting that increasingly absentee landlords own the rental properties in the borough.

The purpose of the ordinance is to allow the officer to assess whether rental buildings are property maintained for the safety of occupants and neighbors. Fitch said that the inspection would show whether a rental property conforms to the International Standards Code of 2009.

That code covers basic quality-of-life issues, presents minimum fire-safety standards, such as alarms, compliance to state building code, and whether a building has adequate accessibility. Accessibility particularly affects those who have difficulty walking, who use canes, have visual impairments, or other impairments. The ordinance requires that the landlord provide a 24-hour contact number in case of emergency.

The inspection would also seek to eliminate long-term property deterioration and the potential that the building might reduce neighboring property values. Inspection could flag if a property becomes hazardous by abusive neglect... for complete story, get this week's issue.

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