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Allentown agrees to LCA lease but not without protests

Published On: Apr 25 2013 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 26 2013 07:12:57 PM EDT

Allentown agrees to LCA lease but not without protests


A horrible mistake or Allentown's salvation?

After 13 months, the debate over the city's proposed lease of its water and sewer systems is over.

And in the end the Mayor got his wish.

But not before getting an earful from angry residents.

It was a long night last night.

In the end, it was the aye's that had it.

Allentown City Council Chamber was packed with passionate people on both sides of the water and sewer lease agreement with the Lehigh County Authority.

"You are passing the debt and the burden of bad mistakes that we have made on to our children," said resident Jim Powers.

"This is the only option on the table today and you know what? It's a pretty good option," said resident Damian Brown.

The meeting brought in a slew of business leaders who backed the plan.

And at least one Lehigh County Commissioner who urged council to reconsider a hurried yes vote.

"There's no easy solution Allentown's pension problem and crisis we all know that," said Lehigh County Commissioner Lisa Scheller.

But the deal you have in front of you is a bad deal.

After hours of debate, council member Jeanette Eichenwald, on record against the lease, made a motion to put it on hold.

"I am deeply distressed that no one would second the motion so that we could have a discussion," said Eichenwald.

After more than four hours the lease was approved by a vote of 6 to 1.

Most of the City Council members who voted yes explained why, including Cynthia Mota who dialed in for the meeting from Venezuela where she is recovering from an illness.

"I don't have a hidden agenda like what a few people are saying I just want what is best for the city," said Mota.

LCA will take over the water and sewer system in 90 days after the lease is signed.