North Catty council appoints positions for new year
North Catasauqua Borough Council held its first meeting of the new year Jan. 6.
The night began with the biennial organization meeting, wherein all the various council positions, borough roles and committee members were nominated and voted on by council. All posts remained largely the same, with Councilmen Peter Paone and John Yanek remaining president and vice president, respectively, of council.
Fire Chief Shawn McGinley and Solicitor Steven Goudsouzian will also continue their roles in service to the borough.
One notable change was the addition of borough resident Ernie Keller to the zoning hearing board. Keller will join fellow residents Jim Englert and John Pammer, who will continue their tenure on the board for the next two years.
During the reorganization meeting, council also voted to instate the 2020 garbage fee of $305, which is maintained from 2019. Payment of the garbage fee within the first 30 days will be rewarded with a discount of $20 off for senior citizens and $10 off for other residents. This will be the final year for this current garbage removal contract, so the borough plans to find a new contract soon to cover 2021 and beyond.
After voting on all the appointments and reorganization matters, borough council continued with its regular meeting.
Former councilman Billy Duch visited to say thank you for his four years on council. Having reached the end of his term, Duch decided to move out of the borough and not seek re-election.
Goudsouzian asked council to carry two motions to apply for grants toward the upcoming storm sewer reconstruction project. With the Pennsylvania Water Supply Grant, Paone is hoping to secure $300,000 for the project. He also has meetings with other funding sources already scheduled.
Goudsouzian addressed several notable properties in the borough. He confirmed there are tenants living at 1020 and 1022 Second St., a building that has not yet been cleared for occupancy. Pending the results of a re-inspection held earlier this month, the occupants will be served a cease and desist order.
The property at 1151 Front St. has been sold, and the new owner will be informed of the insufficiencies that need to be remedied to bring the building up to code.
A default judgment was made on the property at 408 Buttonwood St., and it will be up for sheriff’s auction in the next few months.
Travis Brett, public works supervisor, received council’s approval to have two large trees removed near the Masonic lodge at 1103 Sixth St. The trees are very tall and becoming a concern for neighbors, so Brett plans to have them removed this spring.
Brett went on to request permission to bid on a used bucket truck to replace the borough’s vehicle that lost its lift mechanism last year. The new truck is a 2006 model with roughly 42,000 miles, at a cost of $32,000. Council approved the request, and the bid will be placed, following an inspection of the vehicle by the public works department.
In his police chief’s report, interim Chief Chris Wolfer announced officers Leighton Pursell and Antonio Tramonte will be creating a training program for new hires. Wolfer, Pursell and Tramonte have all completed numerous training and educational courses over the past year, many of which were taken in specific preparation for this new program.
Wolfer reported on the 406 calls made in December, which included 161 traffic stops and 43 citizen assists. Mayor William Molchany Jr. commended the entire police department for its work last month and particularly thanked Wolfer, noting he has been doing a great job as interim chief for the past six months.
Several borough organizations observed the holiday season through charitable giving. The fire department became aware of a family who could not afford Christmas gifts, so the department surprised them with bags full of gifts, toys and more. Fire Chief Shawn McGinley described it as an incredibly rewarding experience and hopes to have the department reprise its role as secret Santa this year as well.
The recreation committee donated $300 worth of gift cards to six students in need at Catasauqua Middle School. Typically, the entire $300 donation is awarded to a single family, but the committee found individual donations would be more impactful this year.
A borough family was going without heat last month when their gas was shut off, but Mrs. Nothstein’s Helping Hands stepped in to pay the bill with help from the recreation committee. Borough Treasurer Annette Englert — sister of the late Deb Nothstein, for whom the charity is named — expressed her admiration for all of the charitable organizations in North Catasauqua.
Borough council will continue its meeting schedule of the first and third Mondays of every month. The next meeting will be held 7 p.m. Jan. 20.