During their meeting on Monday, June 7, the Borough of Bath Council listened as several residents told stories of littered parks, vandalism, loud parties, illegal parking, and more.
While many of these incidents brought up by residents that evening were centered around Old Forge Drive and Creek Road, vandalism, litter, and other disturbances have happened around the borough, leaving the public works crew to clean up the mess and frustrated residents wondering where to turn.
“Enough is enough,” said Mayor Fiorella Mirabito. She urged residents to call the Pennsylvania State Police so that every incident is recorded.
“Other incidents have happened,” she said. “A little boy was locked in the dog park and no one called state police! Everybody needs to call.”
Council President Mark Saginario added that a new code enforcement officer, who just returned from active military duty, should help bring about change.
“He is pretty energetic and proactive,” he said. “I do not think he is going to put up with anyone’s rudeness out there.”
Like Mayor Mirabito, Saginario encouraged residents to speak up when they see something amiss.
“If you have any complaints, you do not have to wait for this meeting,” he said. “You can call the office [or state police] at any time.”
With the increase in vandalism over the past several years, council discussed adding more security cameras to public spaces, such as parks. This is a move that Councilman Tony Kovalovsky calls “common sense.”
Several cameras are already in place at undisclosed locations throughout the borough. One of them recently caught a group of juveniles in an act of vandalism. That footage, said Mayor Mirabito, is now in the hands of state police. The imagery is so clear that the juveniles have been identified and even tied to incidents in East Allen Township.
“I push for borough council to please put cameras in all the parks,” she said. “I think we can do some solid enforcement and state police have something to go on.”
The costs of these cameras are being explored by the borough. Manager Brad Flynn said there are also grants available.
Cameras at the parks will also help protect new equipment that will soon be installed. Councilman Barry Fenstermaker announced that a new volleyball net, sliding board, and teeter-totter will be installed at Keystone Park later this summer. The Bath Republican Club has also offered to raise funds and donate playground equipment to the borough.
In other news, council began discussions on the possibility of a stormwater runoff fee. This fee is something surrounding municipalities, like Bethlehem and Northampton, are also considering. MS4 requirements implemented by the DEP and EPA are requiring that boroughs reduce stormwater pollution by 10 percent. This will require the construction of stormwater basins and other infiltration systems. A fee would be charged to all parcels in the borough because all properties contribute to stormwater runoff.
Flynn said that several Northampton County managers have attempted to work with state legislators, without much “traction.” The possibility of the County forming a governing authority has also been explored, meaning fees would be levied by the county as opposed to local municipalities.
While no fee has been agreed upon yet, council will be exploring ways to “put pressure on the county to form an authority…[and] regionalize these efforts.”
Councilman Frank Hesch said he would bring up the idea at the next NAZCOG (Nazareth Area Council of Government) meeting.