Borough appoints fire inspector
At its regular meeting Nov. 5, Catasauqua Borough Council appointed Ray Anthony to the newly created position of fire inspector.
The position allows the borough to conduct its own fire inspections. Anthony is also a part-time police officer and can issue violations. Before creating this position, fire inspections were done by outside parties.
In other business, Councilman Eugene Schlegel reported he has had discussions with the county about handicapped access to the Pine Street bridge. He indicated the county will take action to incorporate ramps to the bridge, but there are other complications. One immediate concern is the sidewalks are not wide enough to allow two wheelchairs to pass unimpeded. There is a plan to replace the Pine Street bridge, which will resolve the problem, but the replacement is not imminent.
There are a few discrepancies in the request to rezone property across from Sheckler Elementary School. The property is zoned as a conservation district, and the school district wants to change the zoning to residential. A developer is interested in purchasing the property to build a town house subdivision. The solicitor is reviewing the documents and will make the necessary adjustments.
Council and the fire department have expressed their concern for months on a potential evacuation problem with the senior hi-rise apartments on Third Street. Emergency Management Coordinator Joseph Carl reported he is reviewing an emergency operation plan presented by the new management team. The borough’s concern is that seniors on the upper floors need to have mobility to get down the stairs in the event of an emergency that renders the elevators inoperable. Fire Chief Richard Hertzog indicated at prior meetings a fire emergency would create a serious problem if firefighters needed to carry residents from the upper floors to safety.
According to Carl, the new emergency plan addresses the physical limitations that residents may have. Carl expects the final plan to be complete and available for review by the end of the year.
Council approved an extended employment contract with Eugene Goldfeder to continue as zoning officer. The contract may be an at-will contract, which would allow the borough to cancel the contract at any time. The at-will provision will be verified by the solicitor.
Volunteers are needed to decorate the George Taylor House for the Christmas season. There was no defined contact point for volunteers.
The borough has two openings on the borough authority. The board was designed to be a local oversight on the operation of the water and wastewater utilities.
Council is ready to appoint police officers to fill three vacancies on the police force. Background checks are underway for the people who are qualified on the Civil Service Commission list. Councilman Brian McKittrick suggested the borough hire a fourth officer. Borough Manager Stephen Travers is preparing a cost analysis to see if the extra officer can be added to the 2019 budget.