Joining the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce energy pool has turned out to be a good thing for the Borough of Tamaqua. Shannon Smith, the member services director of the chamber, addressed council at its regular meeting Tuesday night.
"The borough has saved $9,600 over the last quarter," she explained. Smith also projected that by the end of 2010, the borough stands to save $38,400.
Smith said that so far, 340 of the 900 members of the chamber have joined in the energy pool, and estimated that doing so will save local businesses about $1.5 million this year. Although the pool is only open to members of the chamber, Smith added that employees of chamber members are eligible to participate in a residential pool, as well. Council President Micah Gursky pointed out that the annual savings will equal a little more than half a mill for the borough.
The borough also adopted the fee schedule for the 2010 swimming season at the H.D. Buehler Memorial Pool. School district residents' season and daily pass rates will not change from the 2009 season; however, out of district residents will see their seasonal pass rate increase from $20 per individual to $50, and their daily rates double from $5 to $10 on weekdays, and from $6 to $12 on weekends. Pass applications are now available at the borough hall, the Tamaqua Public Library, and at several other businesses throughout the community. Pass applications are due by May 1, to be received by opening of the pool, which is scheduled for June 5.
Borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt noted that the property at 23 Market St. has been sold successfully through a real estate auction held on March 24.
"There was one successful bidder who bid the minimum prices of $4,000," he said.
Council approved an operation and maintenance responsibility agreement for the Tamaqua Central Business District Project that will be completed by PennDOT. Traffic signals will be replaced at the major intersections along Route 309 and also at the intersection of Route 209 and Greenwood Street.
"They've agreed to decorative posts and mast arms," said Steigerwalt, which will bring the project in line with the previously completed Streetscape program. Steigerwalt added that the removed signals will be given to the Borough to use for spare parts.
Plans for the Owl Creek Community Park are under way. Steigerwalt said that the Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission has received and opened bids for the project. Upon approval of the bid, construction on the playground should begin in late spring or early summer.
Council approved a handicap parking space at 5 North Lehigh St.
Council heard from several residents of Rolling Mill Avenue who are concerned about speeding vehicles along the street, particularly on Wednesdays, when people use it as a short cut to avoid the farmers' market traffic. Council referred the matter to the parking and traffic committee.
Resident Mike Polyak asked about the status of the former Eames Bakery building. A section of the roof collapsed earlier this year and the area surrounding the building is currently blocked off. Steigerwalt said that the borough has been working with the owner, who has been cooperative.
The building has been reviewed by the insurance company, as well as structural engineers, and at this point, the plan is to demolish the larger building. Resident Dan Miorelli asked if the building was still eligible for the KOZ status.
Council also approved an ordinance establishing flood plain rules and regulations. This ordinance updated a previously existing ordinance.
"This is not a requirement for anyone to do any modifications to their homes," said borough solicitor Michael Greek. "It's only for new construction." Councilmen John Trudich, Steve Tertel, and Ken Smulligan voted against the ordinance. Council also approved the 2009 International Fire Code.
Council approved the following requests: the Tamaqua YMCA to use the pool from 9:30-11:30 on weekdays;, Diakon to distribute free shingles vaccinations to adults over 60 during the farmers' market check distribution on June 1 from 10 a.m. to noon; the Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce to hold its seconnd annual fishing derby at Rabbit Run Reservoir on April 10; and Bethany E.C. church to hold its Wednesday Waterside Whistlestop Ministry on Wednesday afternoons from 2:30-3:p.m. at the pool.