The Northampton Borough Council met Thursday, May 18 to discuss various requests, the vacant 4th ward council position, and committee reports.
To begin, council unanimously approved the request from Covenant United Methodist Church of Moore Township to use the portable band trailer on Sunday, August 27, as well as the request from Northampton Area High School to have fire police available on Friday, June 2 for traffic control for the class of 2023 graduation ceremony with rain dates of either Saturday, June 3 or Sunday, June 4.
Following, council unanimously approved the request to construct a handicapped parking zone in the area of 814 Main St. based on the recommendation by Police Chief Bryan Kadingo.
Next, council unanimously approved the request to apply for a Community Development Block Grant for an amount not to exceed $20,000 to fulfill one of the requirements of the River Central Comprehensive Plan for an update to the Zoning, Subdivision, and Land Ordinances.
Council also unanimously approved a request from the Northampton Fire Department for permission to use one of the fire department’s SUVs to attend the Annual Fire Expo in Harrisburg.
In other news, council considered the applications of Jason Donohue and Ronald Knopf to fill the vacant 4th ward council seat.
Donohue, who has lived in the borough for 22 years and is an equipment operator for Whitehall Township’s Public Works Department, was appointed by council to fill the vacant seat. Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr. abstained from the vote due to running against him in the election.
Borough Solicitor Brian Panella explained that the next step will be informing the elections office because Donohue was appointed to a separate seat than he applied for, so they will need to determine how they want to proceed and if this appointment would be timed out with the election in November.
Panella added the seat will most likely appear in the November elections. If Donohue is not elected in November, he will serve until the first Monday in January.
During committee reports, Administration and Finance noted that they have received a check from the insurance carrier in the amount of $53,598 as payment for a police vehicle that was totaled in an accident and that they received the quarterly franchise fee from Service Electric in the amount of $6,035.28.
Building, Land, and Recreation reported that the organizers of Paw Prints on the Canal are looking for volunteers to help with their bake sale for their event, which is scheduled for Sunday, June 11. Individuals interested in volunteering should contact the borough office.
Public Works and Sewer reported that the street sweeper has some severe mechanical problems due to the engine in the back that operates the vacuum system being beyond repair. However, replacement parts or a replacement engine are not available, so they are exploring the possibility of replacing the entire unit using liquid fuels funds, which would cost around $150,000.
It was also reported that a complaint had been filed with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency who passed it on to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and they then forwarded it to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the storage of hazardous material in different areas of the Northampton Memorial Community Center.
On Monday, May 15, Borough Manager LeRoy E. Brobst went through the building with a representative of EPA and the Department of Environmental Protection, and no hazardous materials were discovered. The question arose due to a portable surgical setup that was stored in the building in 1958 by the Civil Defense. Arrangements are being made to remove the artifacts from the building.
Next, Mayor Anthony Pristash reported the Monarch Butterfly Project officially broke ground and distributed a few tons of topsoil.
Pristash also noted that he met with the property owner of the now closed PNC Bank whose goal is to fill the building with a business or even multiple businesses due to its prime location for business in downtown Northampton. Individuals interested in occupying the space should reach out to the borough manager or mayor.
Additionally, Pristash expressed that Senator Nick Miller awarded the borough with $25,300 for surveillance equipment.
Councilwoman Judy Haldeman shared that Kaden Rossanese’s Eagle Scout project to build a paver pad outside the Northampton Borough Fire Department to honor active, retired, and/or fallen firefighters, police officers, and EMTs has officially sold at least 30 bricks and will soon begin construction.
Haldeman also announced the borough pool has been painted and filled with water in preparation for the upcoming opening, but they are still waiting on the diving board and slide to arrive. To date, only one season pass for the pool has been sold, but individuals interested in purchasing passes can obtain them from the Recreation Center.
Councilman Lopsonzski suggested offering Catasauqua a reduced rate pool pass due to their pool being defunct.
The upcoming Northampton Borough Council meetings will be held Thursday, June 1 and Thursday, June 15 at 7 p.m. in the borough’s municipal offices, located at 1401 Laubach Ave.