During their meeting on Thursday, November 2, Northampton Borough Council welcomed a new borough employee to their wastewater treatment facility. Council unanimously voted to hire Benjamin Rutherford as a sewer plant operator trainee after an interview process with Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst and several members of council.
Rutherford, a new borough resident, has previously worked for Hatfield Meats in their waste treatment plant.
“I like what I do a lot,” he told council. “I’m very committed to my job.”
Outside of work, he says he enjoys spending time taking care of his home and being with his family.
Rutherford was welcomed warmly by council.
“I think we made a good hire,” said Councilman Ronald Glassic, who was part of the interview process.
“I think he is going to make a great addition to the sewer plant,” added Councilman Trevor Stone. “He is an outstanding young man.”
In other news, council rejected a motion to place 18 to 25 parking meters on Main Street between Keichel Court and Richard Paul Alley. A total cost of $9,300 to $12,900 was estimated for the meters, not including installation. In total, meters in the borough bring in roughly $250 per week.
“Does the community really feel the need for a parking meter at that expense?” asked Councilwoman Judy Haldeman.
“Who is this really benefiting?” wondered Stone. “I’m not really sure this is benefitting the business owners.”
He worried that adding meters would increase long-term parking in nearby parking lots. Instead, he suggested 15-minute parking signs.
Councilman Glassic was also not in favor of adding meters to Main Street, citing the high cost and low return on investment.
“[This is] potentially a 20-year return on investment,” he calculated.
Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr. however, supported the idea of metered parking.
“What the parking meter is designed to do is to change the occupancy of the parking space after one hour…it guarantees that the space will be open eventually,” he said. “There are several new businesses in there that are struggling…the meters were intended to help defray this situation.”
Despite this, council voted to reject the meters.
In other news, Ryan Homes, the developer currently constructing the Northampton Crossings townhomes development, approached council for a temporary “No Parking” area along West Alley to store building materials. This would be in effect until the project’s estimated completion in spring 2024.
Council was largely not in favor of this request due to the disruption it would cause current residents. Council worried that materials could sit there for a prolonged period of time.
“There are already complaints on parking there,” said Councilwoman Judy Kutzler. “They have an open space area. Why can’t they use that?”
Council rejected the request, asking the developer to present alternative solutions.
Finally, a representative from Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure’s office presented the borough with a check from the 2023 CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) program for $70,000. This funding will be used for the future Canal Street sewer improvement project.
Before ending the meeting, council reminded residents to pay their respects to Northampton’s hometown heroes on Sunday, November 12 at 2 p.m. during the annual hometown heroes celebration hosted by the Northampton Area Historical Society. The ceremony will be held in the Northampton Area High School auditorium, with doors opening at 1 p.m. and music beginning at 1:30 p.m.
The next council meeting will be Thursday, November 16 at 7 p.m.