Tamaqua Borough Council authorized an online bid for up to $22,000 for a 1996 Mack tandem axle dump truck at last night's meeting.
Councilman John Trudich first mentioned the truck at an earlier meeting this month and recommended that council consider bidding on the truck. He said the truck, which includes two snow plows and a spreader, could come in handy during the winter for snow removal. The truck is being offered through the State Surplus Property Program and the bidding ends today. Trudich said that as of last night no other bids had been put in on this truck.
Councilman Brian Connely questioned the purchase of the truck.
“Do we need the truck now? Probably not. Can we use it? Yes. Is it a good deal? Yes," he said. “I'm just leery of buying something going into the budget. I'm not saying forget about it completely. I just want to wait to see how the numbers turn out."
Trudich said that there is money in the equipment fund to adequately cover the cost of the truck.
Georgine Wentz, a member of the Owl Creek Reservoir Commission, referred to a request to use a borough truck to help with repairs to the reservoir's parking lots. She said she was told there was no truck available for volunteers working on the lot.
“It would be a good idea to purchase this truck," she said.
Connely and Councilwoman Cathy Miorelli voted against bidding on the truck, while Trudich and Councilmen Ken Smulligan, Steve Tertel and Micah Gursky voted to bid on it. Councilman Tom Cara was not present.
After a brief executive session, council approved the termination of waste water treatment plant operator Steve Banditelli.
Borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt submitted a request from Houser Auctioneers to place a tent on East Elm Street, between Pine Street and Rolling Mill Avenue on Saturday, Oct. 24, for an estate auction.
Steigerwalt said that the request was due to limited space in the area, and was also pending inclement weather. Council approved the closing of that section of East Elm Street from 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. for the auction. There will be no parking on either side of the street during that time, as well.
Steigerwalt submitted a request from a Marian High School student to job-shadow the borough's code enforcement officer. The request was approved, pending the completion of all waivers. Steigerwalt announced that tax exoneration forms will become available shortly; however, this year, the borough is asking that all requests include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Council approved the installation of a handicap parking space at 518 East Elm St.
During the neighborhood, downtown, and historic district committee report, Gursky advised the rest of council that the property at 205-207 West Broad St., also known as the old Mitchell's building, has another hearing scheduled for Nov. 16.
According to the records Gursky presented, this is the 23rd hearing for the property related to code violations.
“Although we've found the owner guilty, there are appeals and everything and it just seems to drag out," he noted. “This is only one particular property and this is how long it takes. This is ridiculous."
Borough Solicitor Michael Greek said that the owner has made some improvements to the property.
“It's not to the level that we would like, but you have to weigh the punishment against getting it done. Our goal is to get it done," he said.
Miorelli announced that the Reality Tour, a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program, will be held at LCCC, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m.
During the public comment session, Wentz also requested the borough consider reimbursing the Owl Creek Reservoir Commission $2,198.64 that the commission spent to haul dirt and stone for an extension to the parking lot at the first gate at the reservoir.
Borough resident Rich Mislosky asked that borough police officers receive some kind of autism training.
“My son is 14 years old and he's autistic," he said. He also requested that the borough install “autistic child" signs, citing similar signs in the borough of Palmerton. According to Police Chief Dave Mattson, all police officers receive training on how to handle autism as part of basic training.
“We also receive training yearly," he added. “We haven't had a complaint of our handling of autistics or mental health cases since I've been chief."
Mislosky expressed concern that his son might be tased if he doesn't respond to an officer's commands.
“If someone sees my son coming at them, he's not going to respond to the stop command," he said.
Borough employee Karen Davis thanked council for allowing employees to hold a bake sale to benefit the United Way, which raised $410.50.
“I think we're going to try to do it again because it was such a success," she said.
It was also announced that Sue Shafer is the borough's new humane enforcement officer.