During their monthly meeting on Monday, February 4, the Borough of Bath Council voted to keep the borough’s polling place at St. John’s Lutheran Church. The vote came after resident complaints following last year’s election.
Mayor Fiorella Mirabito told council she received at least ten complaints on Election Day about accessibility to the polling place. While she acknowledges that the church is handicapped accessible and a “great space,” she reached out to Northampton County to see whether the new borough building could serve as an alternative polling place. The county inspected the borough building and gave it a passing grade; however, council gets the final say.
Immediately, parking became council’s major concern. Councilwoman Michele Ehrgott said that the church has more parking, while Councilman Barry Fenstermaker voiced concerns about emergency vehicles trying to navigate through the polling traffic. Councilwoman Carol Bear-Heckman said it would be difficult for traffic to get back onto 512 without a signal.
It was these concerns that prompted council to vote 5-2 in favor of keeping the polling place at St. John’s. Only Councilwoman Phyllis Andrews and Councilman Frank Hesch opposed.
In other news, the borough also voted to return liquidated damage fines to JP Mascaro. Previously, the borough sought damages for four repeated incidents of missed pickups at the same borough property. Under the borough’s contract with the trash hauler, they can seek up to $100 in liquidated damages per each occurrence. The total comes out of the borough’s bill.
JP Mascaro customer service manager Mark Cesare was in attendance. He asked council to forgive the fines.
“We have a good relationship with you guys,” he said. “We work with you guys as much as possible.” He cited donations of trash collection boxes during major borough events.
Council acknowledged that the percentage of missed pickups is “minor.” When the numbers were calculated, they equaled less than .05 percent.
“Overall, they are doing what they are supposed to be doing,” said Councilman Hesch.
Council agreed and voted to wave the fees, but Borough Manager Brad Flynn warned JP Mascaro representatives that any incidents of trash and recycling being mixed together “have to stop.”
Finally, the borough’s Public Safety Committee recommended against issuing a building key to representatives of the Bath Museum.
“Once there are too many [keys] out there, it would create issues,” warned Councilman Tony Kovalovsky. He cited liability and insurance concerns.
“We want to display our history,” agreed Council President Mark Saginario, “but we are up against other obstacles.”
Saginario cited expensive technology and an open layout.
In order for the museum to remain open on its usual third Saturday of the month, council said a borough representative must be present.
Councilwoman Bear-Heckman volunteered to be present.
Mayor Mirabito also volunteered should Bear-Heckman be unable to attend.
“We are very proud of this and what you have done,” she said, “[but] we are liable.”