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State Rep Justin Simmons Report

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The Weekly Roundup
Friday, November 30, 2018  The latest news from the State Capitol
Blue Church Road Bridge UpdateA meeting was held last week with PennDOT officials at the District 5 headquarters in Allentown to discuss the project to repair the Blue Church Road Bridge in Upper Saucon Township, which was damaged by last summer’s flooding. We were told the bridge had to be closed due to safety concerns after an inspection revealed severe deterioration to the structure. The bridge will remain closed until it is replaced.

We learned the earliest the bridge can be replaced would be next summer, but a number of issues have to be resolved before the time schedule is finalized, including permitting, property acquisition and protecting the habitat of the Bog Turtle, which is an endangered species.

PennDOT agreed to provide project updates to my office, which I will pass along here and on my Facebook page. Updates will also be provided to the township and posted on PennDOT’s website.

State Grants Awarded for Recreational Improvement Projects

I am pleased to announce that state grants totaling $567,900 have been awarded to two entities to fund recreational improvement projects in the 131st Legislative District. The funding was made available through a program administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

A $45,000 grant for Emmaus Borough will go toward the preparation of a comprehensive recreation, park and greenway plan. Even though the borough’s park and recreation board successfully operates the park system, the conditions and uses of the facilities need to be assessed, improved and updated accordingly.

In addition, Wildlands Conservancy Inc. was awarded three grants, including $313,000 for the acquisition of 45 acres in Salisbury and Upper Saucon townships for an addition to the South Mountain Preserve, $168,000 for the acquisition of 45 acres in Lower Macungie and Upper Milford townships for an addition to the Reimert Memorial Bird Haven, and $41,900 for the acquisition of 18 acres in Upper Milford and Upper Saucon townships for connection to the South Mountain Greenway.

Have You Applied Yet?

Monday, Dec. 31, is the deadline for older adults and residents with disabilities to apply for rebates on rent and property taxes paid in 2017.

At last count, more than 425,000 Pennsylvanians had applied to the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program through the Department of Revenue.

The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650.

Eligibility information and forms are available on my website at RepSimmons.com or by contacting one of my district offices.

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Coming to an End

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period continues through Friday, Dec. 7. During this time, you may make changes to various aspects of your coverage.

If you have questions about your Medicare coverage, APPRISE, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program in Pennsylvania, has counselors who are specifically trained to answer your Medicare questions.

Click here to contact APPRISE or to find an APPRISE event near you.

Montgomery County residents can learn about APPRISE counseling services by clicking here or by calling (610) 834-1040. ext. 120.

Veterans Outreach

Free assistance is available to area veterans and their families at my district office in Coopersburg on Friday, Dec. 7. A veterans outreach specialist from the American Legion will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to answer questions about veteran benefits and help file claims.

Please call (610) 282-0160 to schedule an appointment. The office is located at 21 N. Main Street, Unit 9, in the borough.

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