The Northampton Borough Council met Thursday, January 5 for a reorganization meeting, to discuss barn apartments on Franklin Street, an amendment to the Rental Inspection Ordinance, and a reminder regarding garbage litter for residents.
First, council unanimously approved the annual designation of the depositories for borough funds and established fees for the filing of applications, permits, and licenses. Noted increases for residents will be fees at the Recreation Center and the building, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical permit fees due to raised prices by Key Codes.
Council then approved the appointment of the Sewage Enforcement Officer and a resolution that allows the borough to charge potential developers for engineering fees that are incurred by the borough. The borough currently uses Lehigh Engineering Associates for these services.
Sylvia Wasko was appointed to a three-year term on the Zoning Hearing Board, which will expire on Dec. 31, 2025. There is still one vacant seat available for interested applicants on the Zoning Hearing Board.
Donna Zangari was reappointed to a five-year term on the Board of Health, which will expire on Dec. 31, 2027.
Current Planning Commission member Jeffrey Odenwelder was reappointed to a four-year term, which will end on Dec. 31, 2026. There is still one vacant seat for interested applicants on the Planning Commission.
Councilwoman Judith Haldeman was appointed to a five-year term on the Municipal Authority Board, which will end on Dec. 31, 2027.
There are two vacant seats on the UCC Board of Appeals, and the borough currently has no applicants.
Residents interested in applying for the positions on the Zoning Hearing Board, Planning Commission, and UCC Board of Appeals can pick up an application at the borough office.
In other business, council unanimously approved the construction of four barn apartment units in the former borough garage on Franklin Street. Each unit will be a first-floor unit with two bedrooms, a sprinkler system, and two designated back-in parking spaces.
Next, council unanimously approved a request to amend the Rental Inspection Ordinance, which will improve its application. A copy of the amended ordinance will be advertised and available for public view.
In other news, President Anthony S. Lopsonzski Jr. announced that he purchased a house that is outside of the borough, and therefore, regretfully submitted a letter of resignation. Lopsonzski Jr. emotionally thanked his father, Councilman Anthony S. Lopsonzski Sr. for encouraging him to become a council member and president.
Borough Manager LeRoy E. Brobst reported that the borough received a final distribution of the 2021 rebate from PA Municipal Health Insurance Cooperative in the amount of $37,249.18.
Brobst also shared that the borough received notification from Northampton County that the grant application for $8,000 for the “Plan Targeting Trail Users” project was approved. The borough was also notified that the grant application for remediation of the sewer line on Canal Street was approved for $70,000, which could possibly be used in conjunction with the PA H2O grant application for $2 million.
Vice President Julia Kutzler announced that the fire department will be receiving the new command vehicle that was in the 2023 budget. Additionally, the new garage doors were successfully installed at the fire station.
Councilman Ronald Glassic reported that members of the Public Works Department have been repositioning the rock salt in the borough bins because one of the conditions when purchasing under the Co-Stars agreement required that the borough be committed to a certain tonnage. Therefore, the Public Works Department is making room so they can order more rock salt for the stockpile, which will be paid for with Liquid Fuels funding.
Next, Councilwoman Bonnie Almond shared an official complaint regarding garbage litter. As a reminder, she read the following ordinances: “It is the duty of every owner of property and every person occupying any dwelling unit within the borough to provide and keep at all times a sufficient number of containers to hold all municipal solid waste until collection by authorized solid waste collector. All solid waste shall be placed in containers for collection. Containers shall be durable, watertight, and made of metal or plastic. Securely tied bags may be used where such bags can be used without being torn open by domestic or wild animals or blackbirds/crows. Containers shall be removed from collector locations immediately after collection. The owner shall maintain the premises in compliance with the applicable codes of the borough, shall regularly perform routine maintenance, and promptly make any and all repairs to fulfill this obligation. Tenants shall comply with all applicable codes and ordinances of the borough. Violations and penalties of the code and ordinance is any person who violates any provision of said section upon conviction shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $600 and/or imprisonment for a time not to exceed 30 days.”
Almond expressed that garbage is becoming a nuisance in several sections of the borough and that containers are blowing around streets and alleys. To help eliminate this issue, Almond suggested updating the website to include these details and penalties for violators, as well as include the ordinances with each account’s garbage bill next year in hopes of improving the quality of life in the borough. Almond added that she would like to see all Northampton Borough ordinances enforced and violators penalized as stated in the ordinance and by law.
Last, Councilwoman Judith Haldeman announced that the Garden Committee organizational meeting will be held Saturday, January 28 at 10 a.m., and that everyone is welcome to attend.
The next Northampton Borough Council meetings will be held Thursday, January 19 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m. in the Northampton Borough offices, located at 1401 Laubach Ave. For residents that cannot attend in person, the meetings are now being live streamed with a link on the borough’s website home page.