Street repaving is prioritized
Catasauqua Borough Public Works Director Jeff MacHose listed seven streets he hoped the borough council would approve for repaving this year.
Unfortunately, his plans were ambitious and the cost of repairing all seven streets exceeds budget allocations by an estimated $20,000.
At the July 29 council workshop meeting, MacHose and council members narrowed the selection down after discussing which projects served the most residents and which roads were in the worst shape.
Council agreed there is enough money in the borough budget to pave Circle Drive to Tioga Street and Delaware Avenue. Pine Street will be revamped around St. John Street.
MacHose said the worst street is Delaware Avenue.
Milton Street and 15th Street were on McHose's list, but did not make the cut.
"We had a couple of mistakes last year and it hurt our estimates of costs, so we want to be a little conservative now," said MacHose.
In a another streets matter, Councilman Alfred Regits proposed that School Street be made a one-way east street between Pineapple Street and Howertown Road.
Council will need to advertise the change, as it requires a revision of an ordinance.
In other business, Regits also reported that there has been no word from the Civil Service Commission on resolving the rank order of candidates for the two open positions in the Catasauqua Police Department.
"The two top candidates have taken positions with other municipalities," Police Chief Douglas Kish reported.
Also at the meeting, Howard Lieberman, formerly Economic Development Director for the City of Bethlehem, introduced himself as Whitehall industrial development coordinator.
"When I retired from the city, I set this up as a separate business," he said after the meeting. Lieberman is suggesting that Catasauqua work with Whitehall to create a City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ).
"The concept is similar to what Allentown is using for the hockey arena," he said. The main difference between the two proposals is that CRIZ does not have the right to use eminent domain. And the cigarette tax is excluded.
"I think the state learned a lesson in Allentown on that one," Lieberman. State tax money for businesses in the CRIZ (read commercial enterprises) would help pay for the land purchase.
Lieberman emphasized a point made by some who are opposed to the FL Smidth project the development projects do not succeed without tax revenue reductions.
"With a CRIZ, the state tax money that would be generated would be used to pay bond funding for land," he said.
The requirements are numerous, but the basics are that the two communities would have to pursue a CRIZ. Whitehall has been trying to get the Lehigh Dairy building site converted to a revenue generator for years.
The proposals need to be completed by Oct. 1 and there is no room for a second proposal.
"I think we have a good chance to get this accepted and our state representatives are on board, but we need to put the whole package together," he said.
Lieberman will make his proposal to Catasauqua's Planning and Zoning Committee next week.
"To put this package together, we would need to be meeting every other week," he said.