Rep. Marcy Toepel Spearheads Legislation to Fund County Parks, Non-Profits
Rep. Marcy Toepel (R-147) unveiled legislation Monday that would bring approximately $1.2 in additional funding to Montgomery County parks and two area non-profit human services agencies.
Mission Kids, based in Blue Bell, is an agency which advocates for children who are victims of child abuse and Norristown’s Laurel House provides services for victims of domestic violence. Both non-profits are county-funded and aid local families.
Under the state Gaming Act, monies from casinos go to the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which the redistributes the money as it sees fit. The money would have been distributed as grants within the county through the Business in Our Sites, Tax Increment Financing Guarantee and the Water Supply and Waste Water Infrastructure programs.
According to Toepel, under House Bill 2552 the money would be deposited into dedicated accounts for the county parks and the non-profits, approximately $900,000 for parks and $150,000 each for Mission Kids and Laurel House, a big source of funding considering the budget deficit the county was working with.
“It came about last fall when the county was talking about their budget and serious cuts being made, especially in the parks department,” Toepel said of the origin of the bill during a phone interview Tuesday.
“We talked about ways to keep the money in Montgomery County. The number one complaint about cuts in the budget was cuts to the parks… This will help us preserve our park in the 147th, [Green Lane] the biggest park in the county.”
“We are profoundly grateful today for the presence of these legislators,” noted Montgomery County Commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro at Monday’s press conference. “It’s critical for people to see these people and parties working together. Reaching this point [with new legislation] is not easy in government but Rep. Toepel persisted.”
Toepel said the only obstacle she can see to getting her legislation passed is the little time left, 11 days to be exact, in the fall session. But she noted she will be doing a lot of legwork over the next few weeks to ensure the bill has support on both sides of the aisle.
The bill awaits referral to a standing House committee. For more information, visit Toepel’s website at RepToepel.com.
At a press conference Monday in Norristown, Rep. Toepel, Rep. Mike Vereb (R-150), Rep. Todd Stephens (R-151) explained that House Bill 2552 would redistribute monies from the Valley Forge Resort and Casino, 2 percent of the facility’s gross income, to the county’s Parks and Heritage department for maintenance and refurbishment and to Mission Kids and Laurel House.
The bill was a joint effort between the three legislators and the Montgomery County Commissioners.