The Chairman of the Montgomery County Commissioners says 2014 will be a busy year. Josh Shapiro told WNPV that investments in roads and parks are needed. He also says the county will expand social services opportunities.
“The Human Services Program, commonly referred to as the Navigate Program, where we’ve gotten our human services employees out in the community and poor communities around Montgomery County, the will expanding and growing.”
Shapiro says the county plans to roll out a program to address veteran homelessness and a new economic development approach.
A Superior Court Panel’s ruling that reverses the conviction of Monsignor William Lynn on charges that he sent predator priests to parishes in the Diocese of Philadelphia, where they were again in contact with children, is met with outrage. Karen Polesir is the Spokesperson for the Philadelphia region of The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or Snap.
“He knew what he was doing. He claimed he was doing it because he was told to do it. He’s a grownup and he’s supposed to be an ethical man, so when you are told to put children in harms way, you can say no.”
Polesir is asking people to protest the decision and urges Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams to appeal the decision. Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, maintains that an injustice occurred when Lynn was convicted. Bergstrom says, Lynn is an innocent man. Lynn served 18 months of a 3 to 6 year prison term.
Univest’s Chief Economist Gary Wolfer sees some god news for 2014. Wolfer says natural gas reserves put the country in the best position for energy that it’s been in for generations. But employment numbers seem to be lagging and might remain higher that we were used to seeing prior to the market crash in 2008.
“Unemployment remains very problematic. We saw a nice drop in the unemployment rate in the 3rd quarter, going from 7.3 to 7 percent. Some analysis indicates that there is a structural issue with unemployment, specifically, the fact that there’s many workers still unemployed with their skill rapidly eroding.”
Wolfer says there could still be some potholes along the way, but he expects an improving economy next year.
The Upper Gwynedd Commissioners have approved a budget for next year that more than doubles property taxes. That's an increase of about $140 for the average taxpayer. The budget also includes a 15% increase in sewer rates. That translates into almost $50 for the average consumer. The budget also continues the homestead exemption allowing qualified homeowners to shield $30,000 of the assessed value of their home from taxation.