The Bath Borough Council met Monday, November 6 with a busy agenda.
During public comment, resident Carol Bear Heckman of the Bath Farmers Market shared that the market will have a special pop-up event right before the holidays on Saturday, November 18 at their usual Monocacy Creek Park location from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., which will also include three new vendors.
Heckman stated that the market was asked to have all vendors complete the required paperwork and provide the $25 fee for the event. However, she requested that council only require the three new vendors to do so since the other vendors from this year’s market have already filled out their paperwork and paid their associated fees.
Council agreed and unanimously passed a motion that would only require the three new vendors to comply.
During reports, Borough Solicitor James F. Kratz stated that as a part of NAZCOG, the borough was informed that a land development application was submitted to Upper Nazareth Township for a 100-acre parcel of land on Penn Dixie Road with five existing uses, which is proposed to be subdivided into six lots with one of those lots being the potential site for a 624-square-foot warehouse.
Under the agreement of NAZCOG, Upper Nazareth Township had to notify all municipalities that are a part of NAZCOG, making them aware of the significant development in order for neighboring municipalities to be able to review and determine if the development would have an adverse impact and any concerns would then be communicated to NAZCOG.
Borough Engineer Ronald B. Madison noted that the site proposed would impose an adverse impact on traffic as well as existing physical limitations of the borough’s roads due to problems with the turning radius for tractor trailers to turn at the borough’s intersections where the roads are unable to be widened.
Based on concerns Madison pointed out, council unanimously approved a motion to submit their findings to Upper Nazareth Township, NAZCOG and PennDOT.
In other business, council considered an agreement with Chadwick Schnee of Schnee Legal Services to provide right-to-know law solicitorship due to the increased volume of RTK requests the borough has received this year. Kratz recommended the agreement based on Schnee’s expertise in RTK law and identified that this would free up time for other borough needs since he is getting bogged down with RTKs.
Additionally, the agreement would be for the remainder of 2023 and all of 2024, after which council could reconsider the need of an appointed RTK solicitor.
Council unanimously approved the appointment with Schnee’s hourly rate being $215 per hour, which is less than Kratz’ current $220 per hour and will not require a retainer.
During discussion of MS4 projects, council approved an agreement with Salzmann Hughes for legal services at a cost not to exceed $18,000 relative to the formation of a Storm Water Authority and a storm water utility fee program due to their expertise in this area.
Next, council unanimously approved authorization for the advertisement of the 2024 schedule of meetings including borough council and its sub-committees. As noted, the 2024 borough council meetings will be held on the second Monday of each month beginning in January.
Council also unanimously approved the reappointment of Jay Mills to an additional five-year term to the Bath Water Authority, and a resolution naming alternate third-party UCC, zoning inspectors and code enforcement officers.
During discussion of the 2024 budget, council unanimously approved authorization for the borough manager to create an MS4 fund with a business checking account at ESSA Bank and Trust with an opening balance of $75,000 transferred from general revenues to establish the MS4 fund from the tax account, as well as the public advertisement of the proposed 2024 budget that includes the general fund, solid waste fund, MS4 fund, capital improvement fund, highway aid fund, fire protection fund and the operating reserve fund.
Discussion of the 2024 budget also included raising the property tax a half mill from 16.95 mills to 17.45 mills, which is a 3% increase to help fund the borough’s MS4 projects.
Council members unanimously voted to include the millage increase in the public advertisement of the 2024 budget, which will be voted on during the December borough council meeting.
In lighter news, the borough’s holiday festivities will include the annual tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, November 26 at 6 p.m. at Monocacy Creek Park with free horse and carriage rides, hot chocolate, cookies and a visit from Santa, as well as Yuletide in Bath, which will have characters, ice sculptures, and much more, the Santa Run presented by the Bath Fire Department with Santa visiting children throughout the borough, and the Candy Cane Hunt presented by the Lions Club at St. John’s Church at 2 p.m., all on Saturday, December 16.
The next Bath Borough Council meeting will be held on Monday, December 4 at 6 p.m. in the borough’s office building, located at 121 S. Walnut St.