Catasauqua Press

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Mayor vetoes business ordinance

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Proposed legislation heads back to Catty council for review, revisions

At Catasauqua Borough Council’s end-of-year meeting Dec. 20, Mayor Barbara Schlegel vetoed a business registration ordinance passed by council at its last session.

In her letter to council explaining the veto, Schlegel said most of the information requested in the ordinance is already available. The major concerns are security and privacy.

“Anyone can get the information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA.) Some businesses might have proprietary processes. The floor plans could be used by people intent on doing harm to the business,” she said.

Another objection was the proposed ordinance was not supported by the full committee.

“It is not required that something be supported by the full committee, but it is normally the agreement that helps support the measure,” council President Vincent Smith said.

Police Chief Douglas Kish is in favor of the ordinance. He wants to have a file of all floor plans on businesses in the borough.

“It helps us if there is a problem. We know where someone can hide,” he said.

Kish also has a problem keeping business information current.

“If there is a change in an alarm company or a contact point, we don’t get the information updated,” he said.

Council voted 4 to 3 to override the veto and fell one vote short. Five votes are needed to override a veto. The idea will go back to committee for revisions.

In another issue, property owner Brian Kroope asked council for a ruling on a small house he is renting. The prior renters left the property in shambles, and Kroope spent significant dollars bringing the property back to livable standards. He has a tenant for the property, but the tenant needs to move in before the end of the year.

To meet the borough’s requirements for renting, the property must be inspected. To be inspected, all bills must be paid. Taxes are paid, but there is a garbage bill due. Kroope offered to pay $200 per month until the balance is paid. He made the offer in good faith after consulting with Smith.

“He (Smith) said to be sure to make it something I can afford,” Kroope said.

If Kroope defaults on the payment, his rental license for the property is revoked, and the tenant must move out. Kroope said he understood the situation and his commitment.

Councilwoman Jessica Kroope abstained from voting. Councilman Eugene Schlegel attended via conference call but was unable to continue into this part of the meeting. The vote was 3 to 2 against the assistance measure. Councilman Brian Bartholomew and Smith voted to allow the payment plan.