At the September 22 meeting of the Lehigh Township Supervisors, which began an hour earlier than usual at 6 p.m., they addressed preliminary budget concerns and awarded the long-anticipated bid for work on the Cherryville intersection.
The meeting was extended for the budget discussion which included looking into two new body cameras for the police department, as part of the capital improvement plan, and digital radios. The Public Works Department said there was no need to replace generators, which could be pushed off to another year. They are, however, looking into getting a new skid loader for approximately $120,000. Chairperson Cindy Miller was skeptical of allocating funds to a loader that is rarely used.
“We need to put out $120,000 on a piece of equipment that we don’t use a lot?” she asked.
The Parks and Recreation Department requested new rules and regulations signs, as well as a hot dog roller for the concession stand, to be included in the budget. Township Manager Alice Rehrig noted that medical costs will be going up between seven and eight percent and real estate taxes will be around $5,000, a reduction from last year because of a better collection rate. An upgraded e-mail platform is also in the works. They can either renew for $621 annually, or go with a new service for $645 for the first year with a $1,200 a year subscription after. Although the new service is more expensive, Rehrig said that they will be forced to upgrade eventually. She also addressed putting some funds towards updating the Township’s website. The final approval of the budget and further discussion will take place at a meeting later this year.
Work at the intersection of Route 248 and Blue Mountain Drive in Cherryville has been ongoing for years. The project, now in its fourth stage, will culminate with a new Turkey Hill on the opposite side of the road from the existing one. After accepting final bids before the last meeting, the supervisors passed a motion to accept a $433,052 bid from Lehigh Valley Site Contractors, based in Easton. Their bid was over $8,000 lower than their nearest competitor. The board seemed relieved to be moving forward.
“This is a happy night,” Miller said, noting that they have been working on this project for over five years.
Township Solicitor David Backenstoe finalized revised language in the short-term rental ordinance that would stand up to challenges of exclusionary zoning. The ordinance now defines transient visitors, includes a provision that anyone who wishes to rent rooms has to fill out a detailed application with the Township that must be renewed every year and can be revoked after two ordinance violations, sets a maximum of five bedrooms in short-term rental properties and requires proprietors who don’t reside or have an office on premises to apply for an exception. The motion to advertise the ordinance passed while some residents in attendance clapped.
Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month in the municipal building. Because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a teleconference option is available with the number listed on the township’s website. There has been a time change for upcoming meetings. Instead of the usual 7 p.m. start, the October 13 meeting will be at 6 p.m.. The October 27 meeting will be at 5 p.m. with a discussion of an inter-municipal liquor license transfer first on the agenda.