Catasauqua Press

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Council looks to appoint fire inspector for borough

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Emergency management official talks of flood control funding for pool area

At Catasauqua Borough Council’s workshop session Oct. 29, council reviewed an ordinance calling for the appointment of a fire inspector. Ray Anthony has been nominated to fill the position. He is not only qualified as a firefighter, but also is a part-time police officer. The new position will allow local authorities to investigate fires.

Council reviewed the hazard mitigation plan and is expected to pass the measure at its next session, set for Nov. 5. Councilwoman Christine Weaver indicated the borough has 44 projects that could receive funding once the plan is passed.

Joseph Carl, borough emergency management coordinator, gave an example of one project.

“There is money for flood control projects,” he said. “There was talk of raising the dam height above the pool. Maybe we could get funding for that project.”

Steps are being taken to initiate the much-discussed credit card payment plan. Borough Manager Stephen Travers reported the borough signed an agreement with BB&T for credit card payments. He expects the system to be online in a matter of months.

At its next meeting, council is expected to vote on a zoning change for Iron Works. The present zoning ordinance dictates that street intersections define a parcel or lot. The change would allow the developer of Iron Works to designate parcels such that a parcel could have more than one intersection. Iron Works still requires the developer have a mixed-use developmental plan.

The school district is trying to sell property across the street from Sheckler Elementary School. The property is zoned conservation district. The school district is asking for a change to residential zoning. The preliminary plan has town houses on the property.

Councilman Brian McKittrick wants to change Tunnel Alley to a one-way street going west. Council will listen to any objection to the move at its next meeting.

Police Chief Douglas Kish reported five candidates passed the civil service test for police officers. All candidates are undergoing background checks. The police force has three vacancies, but McKittrick made an argument to hire four new officers. He said an additional officer would cut back on overtime, reduce the number of part-time officers and prepare for future contingencies. McKittrick wanted to be sure the request is reviewed by the borough manager and mayor before the budget for 2019 is finalized.

In a related move, council will address spending approximately $3,700 for the new FACT Duty™ weapon-mounted cameras. The technology, created by weapon technology company Viridian, is a camera attached to the gun barrel that gives an unobstructed view of what the officer sees. The camera is automatically turned on when a weapon is drawn from the officer’s holster. All full-time officers will have the new camera system. Catasauqua is the first police department in the state to equip officers with this technology.

Councilmen Brian Bartholomew and Eugene Schlegel expressed their disappointment that decisions are being made without council’s review. According to Bartholomew, various emergency personnel from around the county are using the old plate shop for training. They have permission, but it was never discussed with council. According to Kish, training has been conducted for months.

Schlegel was also disappointed that the new mural was painted at the entrance to the borough.

“It looks bad and is not in keeping with the rest of the borough or the murals on the other wall,” he said.

Council discussed upcoming events in the borough. Booze with the Bobbies is scheduled for 5 p.m. Nov. 8 at Taylor House Brewing Company, 76 Lehigh St. There will be a firefighter memorial starting 1:30 p.m. Nov. 10. Set for noon Nov. 10 is the new mural dedication. The tree lighting at the George Taylor House will be 5 p.m. Dec. 2. There will be a Cookies with the Cops event 5 p.m. Dec. 20 in the community room at the municipal complex, 90 Bridge St.