Catasauqua Press

Thursday, November 23, 2017

N. Catty budget plan in the works

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 by JAMES BUNTING Special to The Press in Local News

Departments’ wish lists will depend on progress of Willowbrook project

As North Catasauqua Borough’s departments prepare their spending for next year, one big variable remains: Will the proposed Willowbrook development stay on schedule?

The borough finance committee presented its proposed 2018 budget to borough council members at their Oct. 24 meeting.

Each of the borough’s departments submitted a wish list of items to be considered for next year’s spending. During the budget review, council President Peter Paone explained all departments will be receiving less than their requested share, but wish-list items would be quickly addressed if the proposed Willowbrook development stays on schedule.

“A large part of our discussion centered around if and when that project goes through because that would translate to roughly a 10-percent increase in revenue,” Paone said.

“There’s the balancing act — when do we expect this to go through, and when do we expect it to become occupied?”

According to Councilman Joe Keglovits, the borough could see an influx of roughly $3 million through the Fuller Family Trust development.

In addition to taxes and fees, the developers are responsible for other contributions to the borough. For example, the developers have agreed to pay $600 for every newly occupied home to the borough’s recreation fund.

Council agreed to take some more time to review the numbers and will look to pass a motion on the budget at a future meeting.

In other news, council unanimously supported the borough’s blight ordinance — formally named the North Catasauqua Borough Blighted, Vacant, Abandoned and Dangerous Property Ordinance — that was drafted by Solicitor Steve Goudsouzian. The motion was passed to push for a resolution at the sinking homes of 1022 and 1024 Second St.

As of Oct. 28, the new owners of both properties have 60 days to show significant progress in resolving the structural issues.

Paone said both owners have expressed interest in fixing the damaged properties, instead of demolition by the borough. If the owners fail to show the borough’s requested progress, the properties will officially be posted on the blighted list and subject to numerous fines.