During the January 25 Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting, supervisors appointed township resident Jason Frack to the board’s vacant seat. The seat was previously occupied by Bruce Frack, who dedicated his time to the township for nearly two decades before resigning in December 2021. Jason Frack will complete the remainder of his term, expiring in January 2024.
“Jason Frack would be a good addition to the board,” said Supervisor Paul Link. His motion to appoint Frack to fill the vacant seat was unanimously accepted.
Frack was one of two candidates to apply to fill the vacant seat. Supervisors opened the vacancy up to applications from the public on January 3 and had 30 days to approve an appointment.
In other news, Andrew Martin of Barry Isett & Associates updated the township on the ongoing joint 537 Plan with Northampton Borough. At the time of the meeting, Martin said she still had not heard from Northampton’s engineer as to where the borough currently stands on their end of the intermunicipal plan.
For the plan to be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Allen Township must outline how they intend to provide sewer service to their residents. Due to an expired agreement with Northampton, the township is exploring new options, including a hookup with Catasauqua Borough.
Martin said Catasauqua’s engineer indicated they “do have the capacity” to take on EDUs from Allen Township. She estimates that the township could redirect roughly 1,400 EDUs to Catasauqua. This total is out of the 1,800 currently allocated to Northampton. The remaining EDUs would stay connected to Northampton.
“We would get everyone connected that has a planning module, has approvals, has subdivision plans, and [still have] a buffer of about 30 EDUs,” Martin told the board.
While no official cost estimate is yet prepared, Martin said costs will be “relatively minor” in the “grand scheme of things” to connect to Catasauqua.
Supervisor Gary Behler said the next steps should be meeting with Catasauqua officials to dive into a deeper conversation and “really get a good feeling of where each side is at and what each side is willing to do.”
Solicitor Lincoln Treadwell said he is already setting up a meeting with the borough. Martin added that the township will be meeting with Northampton and DEP on February 3 “to hopefully get feedback of where the borough [of Northampton] is on their plan and what they plan on doing.”
Also discussed during the meeting was the allocation of the township’s American Rescue Plan funds. Over $527,000 was awarded to the township by the U.S. Treasury during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans for spending the funds must be finalized by the end of 2024 and all funds must be spent by the end of 2026.
The federal government has recently expanded where municipalities can spend funds, which Township Manager Ilene Eckhart says “takes some pressure off the township.” Now, money can go toward anything that is a regular government expense.
“That opens us up to equipment, roadwork, building repairs, [and] charitable donations,” Eckhart told the board.
Behler said he would like to see some of the funds used to renovate the township’s fire hall, which is also the township’s new administrative building.
With over a half-million dollars available, supervisor Dale Hassler said he would like to see a portion of the funds go to charitable organizations.
“That is what [the program] was really designed for…to help the people that are hurting,” he said. “I’m sure we can use the money here, but the whole concept of the thing is to help the people.”
Behler said he would be on board with this plan but suggested funding be opened up to township businesses as well to “make it fair across the board.”
Hassler suggested making an application so charities, nonprofits, and businesses can apply for a maximum number of funds.
“A couple thousand dollars can help anybody,” he said.
Finally, the supervisors motioned to close the township’s dog park later this season. For several years, the dog park has closed for a six-week period, typically in March and April after snowfall has ended, to allow the park’s grass to grow back after the winter months. This has prevented mud and damage and has resulted in a “much more usable park for the summer months,” said Eckhart.
The parking lot will also be closed during this time. In years past, few individuals have continued to park in the lot and jump the fence.
Eckhart will monitor temperatures and notify the board and residents as to when the park should be closed.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be on Tuesday, February 8 at 7 p.m.