Catasauqua Press

Friday, September 20, 2019

Front St. project approved, at higher cost

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

At Catasauqua Borough Council’s regular meeting June 3, borough Engineer Ron Gawlik announced the bids for the Front Street rehabilitation project. The project is designed to improve the look of sidewalks along two blocks of Front Street.

The borough received a $300,000 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation grant for the project four years back. The grant was predicated on the borough providing matching funds at 30 percent. The estimated cost for the project was $400,000.

Fast forward to the present — the new bid came in at $650,000.

As Gawlik explained, contractors were alerted via PennDOT’s electronic bid system. Borough Manager Stephen Travers informed council members they either approve the project at the higher price or lose the grant. There was no rebid option.

Travers said enough money existed in the general fund to pay the higher cost. Council ultimately decided unanimously to move forward with the project.

Council accepted the resignation of Councilwoman Christine Weaver. Council has seven candidates to fill the position, which goes until the end of the year. At council’s workshop meeting June 24, all the candidates will go through an interview process, which is open to the public. Council will then meet in closed session and select a candidate.

At the November election, there will be two candidates on the ballot, one from each party, to fill the remaining two years of Weaver’s term.

Councilman Brian McKittrick reported council provided the Civil Service Commission with a new set of rules and regulations to clear the way for hiring another police officer. The updated regulations require new additions to the force be police academy qualified.

Police candidates are now initially screened on a countywide basis. The pool of candidates is vastly increased over prior years.

Councilwoman Jessica Kroope was undecided on the need for an additional police officer. She abstained from the voting. Council authorized the police chief to bring on another full-time officer.

Council appointed Ryan Carson and Scott Fairbanks to the planning commission.

The Race Street update from Gawlik showed utilities are relocated and progress continues. Expected completion is November.

Marty Keys asked council about wild animal control. The borough has few options on wild animals. According to Councilman Brian Bartholomew, the game commission, which might be responsible, is not willing to dispose of them. Disposing of dead animals is key. If they are rabid, the carcass can cause an outbreak of rabies.

Kish indicated police are responsible for domestic animals. Critter Control is an outside agency suggested by Kish that might be best able to handle wild animal problems.