Allentown, Pennsylvania

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Last reviewed: December 10, 2011

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Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying N
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Public Records N
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Local Taxes Y
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Transparency grading process
”’Allentown”’ is a city in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. The 2010 census reported the population at 118,032, making it Pennsylvania’s third most populous city after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh; it is currently the fastest growing city in Pennsylvania. It is named after William Allen, who founded the city in 1762.

Allentown is a two-time winner of the All-American City Award, recognized in 1962 and 1974-75.[1]

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Pennsylvania city websites

The good

  • Council meeting minutes are published, including public meeting minutes.[2]
  • Elected Councilmembers information is published, including contact phone numbers (even cell numbers) and email addresses.[3]
  • Government public meetings (and council meetings) are published on calendar.[4]
  • Administrative officials are published, including contact information.[5]
  • Audits and Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports are available.[6]
  • Budget information is available.[7]
  • Permits and licensing information is available.[8]
  • Zoning information is available, including FAQ links.[9]
  • Bids are published and sortable.[10]
  • The Quick Links are relevant and an excellent resource for citizens.

The bad

  • Lobbying information is unavailable.
  • Public information is unavailable.

Elected Officials: Council Members

Name Title
Ed Pawlowski Mayor
Michael D’Amore President
Peter Schweyer Vice President
W. Michael Donovan Councilmember
Jeanette Eichenwald Councilmember
Julio Guridy Councilmember
Ray O’Connell Councilmember
Mike Schlossberg Councilmember
William Hoffman City Controller

Administrative Officials

Name Title
Dave Paulus Director, Building Standards and Safety
Sara Hailstone Community and Economic Development
David Van Allen Bureau Manager, EMS Paramedics
Unlisted Finance
Robert Scheirer Fire Chief
James Maley Deputy Director, Human Resources
Roger Maclean Chief of Police

Budget

The total operating revenue for 2011 was $90,918,449.[11]

Stimulus

Allentown received $11,306,976.72 in federal stimulus funding in three contracts and twelve grants.[12]

Pensions

According to the city budget, one of the largest costs in 2011 was the city’s contribution towards its employees’ retirement plans. Five years previous, the amount owed was $6.8 million; in 2011, it was projected to reach $14.7 million. This reflects a 116% increase over five years. The amount owed accounts for almost 17% of the entire general fund expenses.[13]

Local taxes

Real estate taxes and general taxes generated $57,974,952 in 2011, up from 2010 ($49,198,331).

City In the News

  • In November 2011, allegations of “sweatshop conditions” in an Amazon.com facility in Allentown arose after workers complained of frigid conditions after warehouse evacuations last year after some workers were treated for exposure. A September 18 article in The Morning Call highlighted that Amazon hired ambulances to park outside the warehouse last summer on hot days in case workers experienced heat-related problems. A local emergency room doctor said the workplace was an “unsafe environment.”[14]
  • In August 2011, former PA House leader, John Perzel, pled guilty to corruption alleging he misused public money for campaign purposes and tried to cover it up.[15]
  • In August 2011, a Saylorsburg contractor sued Allentown for more than $2 million alleging that the city knew the land where he was to build a route to smooth traffic was contaminated with arsenic and didn’t tell him prior to signing the contract.[16]

References