Five Point Plan:
Ed helped initiate the High-Tech Security Network by securing state and federal grants, has rebuilt the police force by hiring 80 additional police officers since he took office and cleaning up crime hot-spots. As a result, crime has dropped in Allentown year after year. This past year, he secured funding for 20 new police officers and worked with the Police Department to launch tip411, an internet-based tool that enables the public to text message anonymous tips to police. Ed will continue to find innovative new ways to further reduce the crime rate during his next term.
Initiated Hi-Tech Security Network: Ed secured state and federal grants to implement a state-of-the-art security surveillance network with over 80 cameras watching city streets.
Decreased Crime: City crime statistics have dropped for the fifth year in a row according to the FBI and state police. Over the past four years, crime has decreased by over 26%; violent crime declined by over 19%. In 2010, almost every mayor area of crime decreased.
Tackled Quality-of-Life Issues: Ed cleaned up crime hot spots and targeted graffiti vandals, irresponsible landlords and nuisance crimes, such as excessive noise. Ed staged the first ever “Landlord Hall of Shame”, calling out slumlords and targeting problem properties in the community.
Strong Fiscal Management
Ed worked in conjunction with City Council to transform an inherited 8-million-dollar deficit into a 14-million-dollar cash reserve. He spearheaded the effort to transform a city drowning in red ink into a model of fiscal responsibility, helping Allentown weather the nation’s economic downturn. Ed has not raised property taxes in nine years. In 2012, he addressed the devastating police pension fund crisis by offering an innovative solution, which will place the City on a solid fiscal path for decades to come.
Streamlined Government Spending: Ed reduced the cost of labor across the board – as a result we now have the lowest staff level in almost 30 years. Ed tackled the big issues, like our dramatically increasing health care costs and massively rising pension obligations. Ed converted traffic signals to LED technology, reducing electrical consumption and saving more than $120,000 annually. He reduced Allentown’s vehicle fleet and consolidated EMS billing services to create a more efficient department.
Decreased Debt: Ed decreased the city debt and in 2010, the city had the lowest overall debt level in 10 years.
Reduced Labor Cost: Ed sat down with public employee unions and crafted fair and responsible labor concession agreements with two of our largest unions: SEIU and Police. Through some tough negotiations, he put the city on a more sound fiscal footing, saving more than $15 million dollars for the tax payers, over the next five years.
Ed helped to bring over a billion dollars in new investment and numerous new jobs to the city since assuming office. He oversaw the creation of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ), which will bring a Sports and Entertainment Arena and an office complex, thereby transforming Allentown. This anchor project will revitalize the urban core and spur further economic development throughout Allentown, making the area a prime destination to live, work and play.
Attracted Development: Ed helped spearhead efforts to bring the Iron Pigs to Allentown and build Coca-Cola Park, the new PPL Building, the Butz Building, several new restaurants and a new arena to house the Philadelphia Phantoms to open in 2013.
Redeveloped Abandoned Properties: Ed led the transformation of the former Exide Battery plant from an EPA brownfield into a $22 million investment by Bennett Toyota. He also forced the sale of blighted downtown buildings, such as Sal’s Spaghetti House, the Colonial Theater and the Americus Centre hotel, for redevelopment.
Parks and Recreation Improvement
Revitalizing Parks: Ed assisted in refurbishing the city’s parks system, including creating a state-of-the-art playground at Cedar Beach Park. Due to his efforts, Allentown is now designated as a Playful City USA Community, for the third year in a row. He will continue to facilitate the improvement of the recreational facilities and the enhancement of the park system.
Preserving South Mountain: Ed plans to conserve the South Mountain Reserve, assuring this urban forest remains a healthy and vital asset to Allentown.
Re-Created Communities: Ed addressed issues in some of Allentown’s most challenged neighborhoods, transforming Hanover Acres into the now-beautiful Overlook Park, and re-developing Cumberland Gardens on the south sides of the City. Ed is creating new housing opportunities in areas like Old Allentown and other center city neighborhoods, which will continue the progress of Allentown’s revitalization.
De-Converted Blighted Properties:
Ed initiated the Old Allentown Neighborhood Redevelopment Project to purchase blighted multi-unit properties and convert them into single-family homes. The project also includes building new homes downtown.