Catasauqua Press

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Borough, UGI partner on street repairs

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 by BILL LEINER JR. Special to The Press in Local News

Council talks preliminary budget numbers; taxes, trash fee could increase

During the Oct. 28 Catasauqua Borough Council workshop meeting, borough Manager Steve Travers informed council UGI is partnering with the borough to assist with street repairs and paving.

UGI pledged $136,000 toward street upgrades, according to Travers. He also noted UGI plans to assist the borough with future road improvements in 2020.

A total of $236,000 will be spent on streets by the end of the year. Sections of the following streets are on the list for paving and repairs: Chestnut, Railroad, Linden, Limestone, Mulberry and Church streets and Howertown Road.

Treasurer Sandra Gyeseck reported the budget is, at this point, showing a $450,000 shortfall.

“We are trying to get the (tax) hike to the 0.5 millage range or less,” she said.

Travers indicated the trash fee may increase a small amount.

While sewer rates are expected to remain the same, water may rise in cost for residents.

“This is a preliminary document. It is a work in progress,” Vincent Smith, council president, stressed.

“These are real numbers,” Councilman Brian McKittrick said. “In the past, money was shifted between different accounts. That is not a good way to budget.”

“There is no fluff in this budget,” Travers responded.

Council has until December to finalize its budget.

Travers said a preconstruction meeting was held to begin the roof repair process at the George Taylor House.

Jessica Kroope noted there are plans to hold a colonial night at the George Taylor House Jan. 4, 2020. More information is forthcoming.

She reported the George Taylor House Association is drafting bylaws so it can apply for 501(c)3 nonprofit status. The house is already incorporated in Pennsylvania, which is a 501(c)3 requirement.

It was noted attaining this status will allow the group to seek different contributions and funding alternatives for the historic structure.

McKittrick said the county fire marshal has been invited to the February 2020 workshop to advise on a solution to residents allegedly starting fires in their backyards. He said residents have been complaining that some neighbors have 55-gallon drums, and other smaller containers, in their backyards where they are burning wood. Council plans to obtain burning ordinances for review from other municipalities as it works toward a solution.

Mayor Barbara Schlegel mentioned the Halloween parade was a success. She also reported next year’s parade will be Oct. 21, 2020.

There are several openings on the following boards and commissions: shade tree commission, planning commission, water authority and civil service commission. Contact the borough office to apply.

Travers announced there is a proposal from CodeMaster Inspection Services to provide code enforcement. Plans are to discuss the proposal at a future meeting.

Councilman Gene Schlegel reported the public works department is working diligently to address water pipe leaks in the borough.