Northampton Borough Council met Thursday, November 15 to discuss final approval for the 2023 budget, snow and ice removal, and to consider various requests.
First, council began by unanimously granting final approval to the 2023 annual budget.
Next, council members unanimously approved an ordinance fixing the tax rate for the Borough of Northampton for the 2023 year. The property tax will be set at 11.5 mills and all other taxes previously enacted and reenacted will remain the same. There will be no tax increase for residents.
Borough Solicitor Brian Panella had a reminder for residents that under Borough Ordinance Article 4, Section 210-22, property owners must clear out snow and ice around their area and sidewalks within 24 hours of the ending of the snowfall. This includes fire hydrants, which must be entirely shoveled out.
Various boards and commissions such as the Board of Health, Zoning Hearing Board, and Planning Commission have vacancies if residents are interested, and the borough is also looking to hire a clerk. More information about these positions can be found on the borough website, www.northamptonboro.com.
In other news, Vice President Julia Kutzler stated that several fire departments responded to a fire at 2121 Hokendauqua Ave.
“The damage from the actual fire was minimal, however, the sprinkler system necessitated evacuating the building, the power had to be shut off, and the American Red Cross came and provided shelter to the residents that could not stay with family or friends,” said Kutzler.
When asked about the status of the tenants, Borough Manager LeRoy E. Brobst stated that the property management company would need to have the building inspected and they were going to be contacting Key Codes to do a walkthrough to make sure everything is as it should be. Brobst explained there are three units that have some work that needs to be done, but that all other units should be occupied within the week.
Kutzler also shared that Northampton has secured a public safety grant for $14,300 to replace the sign at the fire station.
Next, council unanimously approved the request for a handicapped parking zone at 1213 Main St. by Northampton Diner.
Council also unanimously approved a request from UGI, which will allow UGI to update services within borough limits. UGI is requesting relief from the moratorium that prohibits street excavation between November 1 and March 31.
“If you are aware of the steel plated 10th and Main Street, it currently covers a medium pressure station. The connection through this goes to Washington Avenue between Main Street and East 10th Street and much of the territory to the east of Washington Avenue. They are proposing to replace the services on Washington Avenue and Lincoln Avenue and a few small other areas for two purposes: first, if the medium pressure station at 10th and Main Street should fail, the entire area would be without gas service, and second, once the area is updated, the steel plate can be removed and permanently restored,” Brobst explained.
Council hopes that this will eliminate potential accidents from the steel plate once it is removed and the road is permanently restored.
Last, Kutzler shared the Northampton Borough Police Department’s report for the month of November. There were 468 total dispatches, which included 128 incidents, 14 accidents, 30 traffic citations, two non-traffic citations for disorderly conduct and harassment, 98 parking tickets, 13 domestics in progress, 47 9-1-1 incidents, and 11 arrests for DUI, fleeing and attempting to elude, harassment, resisting arrest, terroristic threats, and other.
Assistant to the Borough Manager Brian Welsko also reported that this meeting would most likely be the last meeting without livestreaming because cameras are being installed within the next two weeks.
The entire council wished residents a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The January council meetings will be held Thursday, January 5 at 7 p.m. and Thursday January 19 at 7 p.m. in the Northampton Borough offices, located at 1401 Laubach Ave.