Poll: 61% of Lower Saucon voters support Bethlehem Landfill expansion
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Poll results released by Bethlehem Landfill reveal an overwhelming majority of Lower Saucon Township voters would prefer allowing the landfill to expand over the alternatives of raising township taxes or cutting emergency services, should the landfill have to close its doors.
The landfill provides approximately $2 million per year in host benefit fees to Lower Saucon Township, historically accounting for about one-third of the township’s budget. The poll, conducted by Harrisburg-based Harper Polling in early October, asked voters what the township should do if the landfill, located at 2335 Applebutter Road, is forced to close in the coming years and Lower Saucon loses one-third of its annual budget.
A strong 61 percent majority of survey respondents support allowing the landfill to
expand over raising taxes (8 percent) or cutting emergency services (5 percent) to fill
the budget gap.
The following is an official statement from Bethlehem Landfill regarding the poll effort
and its results:
“The poll of non-partisan voters confirms the value the Lower Saucon community places in Bethlehem Landfill. We provide good paying jobs, contribute millions of dollars in taxes and host benefit fees, and purchase goods and services locally. Combined with our commitment to operate a safe and environmentally responsible facility, these benefits bring value to Lower Saucon Township, and it is our hope to continue to bring these benefits to our community.”
The survey also asked voters their opinion of Bethlehem Landfill. A 39 percent plurality of those surveyed have a favorable opinion and just 28 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Another 32 percent were unsure.
Township voters’ support of landfill expansion echoes the unanimous recommendation from the Lower Saucon Economic Development Task Force in August 2014. The task force, consisting of area businesspeople and representatives from local organizations, voted 12-0 to recommend that Lower Saucon Township Council vote in favor of the landfill’s expansion.
Following are two key questions asked in the voter poll:
Q: If the landfill closes, do you think the township should address the budget shortfall by raising taxes, making cuts to emergency services such as police and fire departments, or should the council vote to approve the landfill expansion?
- 61%: Allow the landfill to expand
- 8%: Raise taxes
- 5%: Cut emergency services
- 26%: Not sure
Q: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of IESI Bethlehem Landfill?
- 20%: Very favorable
- 19%: Somewhat favorable
- 13%: Somewhat unfavorable
- 15%: Very unfavorable
- 32%: Not sure
Matthew Brannon – (484) 264-3979