By Jack Firneno
State Rep. Scott Petri announced last week that New Hope Borough will receive a $72,000 Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund Grant for improvements at the Free Library of New Hope and Solebury.
The grant, provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, is used to provide matching construction grants to municipalities that sponsor state-aided public libraries. It pays up to 50 percent of the eligible costs for planning, acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of public libraries.
“New Hope Borough will use the matching grant to upgrade electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at the library, and to install lighting and repair windows,” Petri said.
“Public libraries are some of our most valuable resources. This is a sizable grant that will help defray the cost of improvements at the Free Library of New Hope and Solebury and will enable the library to better serve the citizens in our area.”
As chairman of the House Ethics Committee, Petri is also proposing legislation that requires public officials and public employees to forfeit their pensions if they please guilty or no contest to a felony offense or any crime related to their official government position.
The legislation would close a loophole wherein, state employees and officials can currently plead to “non-forfeiture” offenses to avoid the penalty.
“I believe that any state employee or state official who violates the public trust by committing a felony or any crime related to his or her public office or employment should forfeit his or her pension,” said Petri in a statement last Friday.