Northwestern Press

Saturday, March 23, 2019

L.C. board OKs land leases

Wednesday, December 19, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES Special to The Press in Local News

Lehigh County commissioners approved leases of agricultural land to three farms during their Dec. 12 meeting.

Approval included a 10-acre plot east of Leaser Lake, Lynn Township, leased to LET Farms Inc., also known as Turner Farms, Mantz Road, Germansville. LET Farms will pay $650 per year for the lease.

Also leased were seven acres at the intersection of Broadway and Cedarbrook roads, South Whitehall Township, to Weinhofer Farms LLC of Whitehall.

Weinhofer Farms will also lease 21 acres south of Lehnert Road, Whitehall Township, and will pay $1,155 annually for the lease for both properties.

The board also approved a lease of Tract 1 through Tract 5 comprising 233 acres of the Seem Seed Farm to Dennis P. Trexler Farms/Leroy C. Stahler Inc., Limeport, for $35,164 per year for Tracts 1 through 4; and $80 per acre for Tract 5.

In other matters, Frank Gerlach, a case worker with the Office of Crisis Intervention thanked commissioners for their support of non-union employees during this year’s budget hearings.

“The Human Services Department is really struggling all over,” he said. “We’re on the front lines. We need all the help we can get.

“Take care of people in human services. Let’s take care of workers. Look beyond the numbers.

“We have the same goals. Let’s work together and accomplish those goals.”

The board approved the appointment of Kyle A. Russell as warden of Lehigh County Jail.

Russell, a longtime Northampton resident, is currently a deputy warden in Berks County.

He has 17 years experience in corrections management.

“He is the right man for the job,” Lehigh County Executive Armstrong Phillips said in remarks to commissioners at their November meeting.

Russell, at that time, said he “fell in love with corrections” early in his career.

When quizzed briefly by commissioners in November, Russell said mental health is a great problem in the corrections system.

Commissioners previously signaled approval of the appointment by voting for Russell’s appointment in a first hearing vote.

Sarah Andrew was reappointed to the Aging and Adult Services Advisory Council and Patrick Palmer was appointed to the council.

Votes were unanimous except for Commissioner Percy Dougherty who was absent from the meeting.

A third appointee, Robbie Matthews, was also approved but without the vote of Councilwoman Amy Zanelli who voted against the appointment.

She was not convinced Matthews’ qualifications were suitable for the job.

Commissioners gave approval to a contract with William G. Sherr for title services in connection with sheriff sales.

The contract with Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania was approved by commissioners for the fifth program year.

And, they also gave preliminary approval of a lease with Adams Outdoor Advertising for a 3.5-acre site near the northeast end of the Hamilton Street bridge.

Adams will maintain an advertising sign on the site. The company will pay $7,325 per year for the lease.

Coroner Scott Grim’s office will receive a new Ford Explorer and replace obsolete equipment with new X-ray equipment as per an amendment of the 2018-22 Capital Plan approved by commissioners.

The board also gave preliminary approval to salary levels for Lehigh County row officers.