During their public meeting on May 19, the Northampton Borough Council unanimously approved the borough’s Joint Act 537 Plan with Allen Township. Required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, this plan outlines improvements the borough must make to its sewage facilities to meet projected capacity.
The last time the two municipalities drafted an Act 537 Plan was in 1989. Since then, usage has expanded drastically due to new development. In 2016, their sewer agreement expired, leaving developers in Allen Township unable to purchase new EDUs from the borough and halting all certificates of occupancy. The borough and township were embroiled in a 5-year-long lawsuit as a result. However, this joint plan is the first step in bringing that court battle to an end.
As of the May 19 meeting, attorneys from both sides were preparing paperwork to end the lawsuit. What results is a new 10-year sewer agreement between Allen Township and Northampton Borough. Northampton will be required to provide 300+ EDUs to the township in addition to expanding its facilities to take on extra capacity as it is needed. Meanwhile, Allen Township must pay the borough over $450,000 in back payments.
When council asked borough manager LeRoy Brobst whether the new Act 537 plan provides for enough capacity in the future, Brobst said engineers were careful not to “box” the borough into a corner.
“I feel confident with what we have,” he added.
In other news, the borough continues to look for seasonal help. Several seasonal workers, including lifeguards, were hired on May 19. The pool will open on June 4, depending on staff availability.
The seasonal public works crew also asks for residents’ patience as they work to keep up with lawn maintenance and grass cutting made difficult by recent storms. Brobst assured residents that all will be “corrected” soon.
Meanwhile, Councilwoman Judith Haldeman praised a group not typically recognized during public meetings: the borough’s trash collectors.
When a borough resident fell outside her home and was unable to get up, she said it was the trash collectors who heard her cries for help and came to the rescue. In an unexpected twist, Haldeman revealed that the woman the men assisted was her mother.
“I send absolute thanks for what they did,” she said.
Another item of note during the meeting was a request for diaper changing stations in the bathrooms at Canal Park and Atlas Field. Angelica Griffin spoke at the meeting on behalf of her fellow NAA football moms and dads.
There are many young parents with infants, she said. Both moms and dads have to change their babies’ diapers out in the open or walk blocks to their cars to change diapers in the heat. Changing stations in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms would offer relief.
“I’ve changed thousands of diapers,” Councilman Trevor Stone said. “I am in support of baby changing stations everywhere.”
Brobst said the borough will see what it can do to meet this request.
The next Northampton Borough Council meeting will be Thursday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m.