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Montgomery Commissioners approve numerous county bridge repairs

By Lou Gombocz, Jr., WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 20 2014 04:55:57 AM CDT
NORRISTOWN, Pa. -

The Montgomery County Commissioners Thursday morning awarded multiple bridge design services contracts totaling over $305,000 to area engineering and architectural firms to begin the repair and refurbishment of eleven of the 65 county bridges classified as structurally deficient.

"We said we were going to do it and we did it, “ proudly stated Vice Chair Commissioner Leslie Richards  who also noted because of her civil engineering background, she felt it her duty to see county bridges be brought up to code.

When asked why the current commissioners have been so proactive with regard to bridge repair, Richards remarked,  “Bridge work is not necessarily considered glamorous, “ and added,  “There will be huge improvements for all the bridges in the county.”

According to Richards, 65 of the county’s 132 total bridges need repairs or about 50%.

Commissioner Chairman Joshua Shapiro said Thursday's contract awards begin a $30 million county infrastructure improvement “that we will focus on for years to come.” He specified that the eleven bridges currently designated for design services will take about one and a half years to complete.

In other business, the commissioners voted to allow Upper Providence residents a 30-day grace period beginning June 23rd to pay their 2013 school and real estate taxes or prove to the county they already made such payments with i.e., a canceled check. County financial officials found a number of tax payments  were never recorded and/or forwarded to them or the local school district by Beverly Nohl,  the former local municipality tax collector.

According to the passed resolution, the county’s financial records are unclear as to whether individuals who are currently showing up on delinquency lists simply did not pay their taxes or if they did,  those payments were either lost or not properly processed.

The resolution explains  that during the “30-day amnesty period “, residents who would have normally paid their 2013 taxes to the local tax collector and who attempted to do so unsuccessfully may now make their payments directly to the county through its agent Northeast Revenue without any additional delinquency fees or interest.

Deputy Treasurer William Caldwell explained that as of January this year, Nohl  failed to properly forward 2013 tax monies to the county and the Spring Ford School District.  

Following reviews by the County Treasurer’s and Controller’s Offices, officials determined Nohl was not adequately performing her tax collecting  duties and was unresponsive to both county officials and residents attempting to pay their taxes on time.

According to Deputy Controller Bernadette Vereb, Nohl was stripped of her duties and her records seized in February of 2014 following her third accounting audit last November 2013. She noted the last time Nohl remitted taxes to the county treasurer’s office was July of 2013.

Vereb said her office provided Nohl with plenty of opportunity to improve her tax collecting performance, however, she just could not satisfy the position’s requirements and cited personal health issues as the cause.

Nohl did not run for reelection last November.