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John Kachmar for Mayor of Bethlehem:

Why I’m running for Mayor of Bethlehem

MY CITY IS IN TROUBLE, I just had to step up…

After managing and leading cities and counties for 28 years, it has been hard to see my hometown mismanaged.

Here are the problems:

  • ZBethlehem has a seriously underfunded pension fund ($60+ million)
  • ZPolitics and nepotism are creeping into staffing decisions. We need professionalism. The city business administrator hired his wife as the Parks and Recreation director.
  • ZExcessive spending and revenue hunting are affecting new development.
  • ZThe current mayor and city council raised taxes 3 out of the past 4 years including a new stormwater fee (a hidden tax applied unevenly to elderly and lower income residents) and an 8.5% increase in water rate fees – all in a pandemic year.
  • ZMore taxes and fee increases are coming unless we do something.
  • ZWe need to support and defend our police and public safety workers.

With extreme left-wing politics creeping into Bethlehem City, it is time for someone to stop the proposed new spending and manage the city for all, not just the special interests. I am that leader.

I want to give back to my city before I retire.
I am not a politician.

I have gained the skills and experience to make the changes necessary for a prosperous and sustainable future in Bethlehem.

Here’s how:

  • ZI am an expert in managing and leading cities and counties.
  • ZI utilize national best practices in city management.
  • ZI will bring an open and transparent approach to city government, listening to all the people, not just the most vocal. I will form a citizen’s budget committee and bring a conservative and understandable budget forward.
  • ZI have a solid record of not increasing taxes and of developing creative solutions to vexing problems.
  • ZI will improve the productivity of city staff with more efficient practices and less politics in the workplace.
  • ZI can help guide the Bethlehem City Council on how to save money and avoid further tax increases. I’ll present good estimates of what things actually cost before committing to making ideas into realities.

As Mayor, I will get the city back on track financially and set a new course for years to come. My leadership and management will provide the skills needed to better direct the city than continue with politics as usual in Bethlehem.

THE CULTURE IN CITY HALL NEEDS TO CHANGE.
WE WILL FIND MORE COST-EFFICIENT WAYS TO PROVIDE CITY SERVICES BY INCENTIVIZING CITY EMPLOYEES TO DO THEIR JOBS BETTER.

You cannot learn management and leadership in a classroom. I know how to unleash the potential behind our most important resource: our city employees. The City of Bethlehem has almost 800 employees. With a budget of $80 million annually including personnel costs of $57 million or 72% of the budget, the City of Bethlehem has enough people and money to operate our city effectively. I have learned how to operate city services more cost effectively.

While supporting our talent, we must also review our priorities. I am very concerned about the years and years of adding people and programs to the payroll and budget without proper planning. This lack of planning has left Bethlehem with an enormous pension burden that was not budgeted for properly and is not fair to our homeowners and current employees. Bethlehem taxpayers will be supporting retirees for a long time because it appears the pension fund is underfunded. The costs are out of control, and we must solve it now or face catastrophic choices in the future. Under my leadership, we can put Bethlehem on a solid footing again.