The Borough of Bath Council held their first in-person meeting since March, with the option for residents to participate virtually via Zoom. Several safety measures were taken to keep council and residents safe. Social distancing, masks, and temperature checks were required and council members split themselves between council chambers and individual offices, chiming in via Zoom.
One of the evening’s topics of discussion was disturbances caused by fireworks. Since their legalization several years ago, municipalities across the state have struggled to enforce their use. In the Borough of Bath, it is illegal to detonate a firework within 150 feet of an occupied structure, meaning fireworks are illegal everywhere the borough.
“Fireworks are a problem across the borough, the county, and the state,” said Council President Mark Saginario. He added that police are trying their best, but it is hard to enforce.
Mayor Fiorella Mirabito added that she has received resident complaints before, during, and after the July Fourth celebrations. In a discussion with the Pennsylvania State Police, she was told that troopers will be on the scene if they can be. However, an influx in complaints makes it hard to keep up.
If residents want a change, she added, they should call their state representatives. Only they can pass legislation to end the sale and use of fireworks.
Solicitor Blake Marles added that residents who complain about fireworks have to be willing to call the police and testify as a witness.
“Everyone wants to complain about it,” he says, “but no one wants to call out a neighbor.”
In addition to speaking out against fireworks, residents were also encouraged by council to speak up if they see CDC social distancing guidelines being ignored. Mayor Mirabito said that she has received several complaints from residents in regards to local businesses not following health and safety regulations.
Residents who have complaints can call the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 877-724-3258. Only the state can enforce its COVID-19 guidelines.
Council announced several steps that have been taken to keep borough employees and residents safe in the wake of COVID-19. During their meeting, they also voted to sanitize and clean the borough’s fire department building.
While no one working in the building has tested positive for COVID-19, there are EMS officials using the building who travel around the area and may have been in contact with COVID-19 patients. Out of an abundance of caution, the council unanimously agreed to clean the building. Mayor Mirabito also voiced her support for the decision.
Borough hall and the public works building will not be sanitized because access has been restricted for most of the pandemic.
Saginario praised the borough office staff and borough manager Brad Flynn for their dedication throughout the pandemic. They not only continued daily operations, he said, but took on the added burden of managing a pandemic response in the process.
“To keep business going and dealing with pandemic at the same time…It has not been easy,” he said, “But everyone is doing their part.”