After 10 years of service, Tamaqua fire chief Tom "Oakie" Schlorf will be stepping down.
Tamaqua Borough Council acknowledged Schlorf's contributions with a special presentation at last night's council meeting. Thomas Hartz, Jr, the current assistant fire chief, will be stepping up to the helm, effective January 1, 2011. Council also appointed James Connely as first assistant fire chief, Mark Boyle as second assistant fire chief, and Mark Bower, as third assistant fire chief, also effective January 1.
Council also applauded borough worker Bob Rinker, who will be retiring after 31 years of service to the Borough.
Council president Micah Gursky also presented a brief overview of the borough's year, citing the Streetscape project that was completed on East Broad Street and the repairs to Pleasant Row, just to name a few projects that were completed. However, this year, Gursky also commended the number of peopleinvolved with the borough, including the various commissions, board, and park organizations, as well as borough employees.
"A lot of people are involved in making this borough work," he said.
He added that it has been a difficult year for many of those associated with the borough, citing two long time borough employees – Richard Skasko and Rhea Schuetrum – who passed away, as well as 18 other borough volunteers and employees who lost family members.
"It's a big family. It's a community. It's important to acknowledge the things that we do and the people who are involved in it," he said.
In other business, council approved the final budget for 2011 and the corresponding tax ordinance. Taxes will remain the same for residents next year, with the millage set at 16.75 mills for general purposes and 0.5 mills for the building and equipment fund. Councilman John Trudich opposed the tax ordinance, asking that the millage for the building and equipment fund be set back at 1.0 mills.
The borough adopted an ordinance approving a guarantee agreement for a water revenue note in the amount of $250,000. This will allow the water authority to seek funding for the water line relocation that will accompany the Center Street bridge replacement project.
Council issued a certificate of appropriateness for various roof, window, and front and rear entrance improvements at 115 West Broad Street, based on a recommendation from HARC. Council also approved the planning commission recommendations for waivers for the proposed Tamarack Square development in the Owl Creek section of the borough.
Council reappointed James Gormley to the board of health for another five year term. Judith Hadesty was also reappointed as health officer for 2011. Andrew Kane and David Kupchinsky were also reappointed to the planning commission. Karl Smulligan was reappointed to the zoning hearing board.
Council denied a request from the WIC center at 139 West Broad Street to provide an exemption from parking meters for staff parking. The center requested the exemption as employees are required to leave their posts in order to feed the meters, resulting in a disruption of services.
Council will hold a hearing regarding a request from Louis Yelito, asking the borough to vacate a section of Union Street that runs between his two properties. The hearing is set for 6:30, January 18th, prior to the regular council meeting.
Council received a letter from Ida Piccin, of Owl Creek, asking that two pipes that had been damaged during a sewer installation be repaired. Several council members noted that the pipes are located on private property and are the property owners responsibility.
Borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt advised that the water boil advisory that had been in place for a section of Hometown since Sunday has been lifted.
Christmas trees can also be put out for collection through the month of January. Steigerwalt asked that they be put out on regular trash collection days. The borough will collect the trees and recycle them.
Steigerwalt reminded residents that within 24 hours of a snow storm, sidewalks and walkways must be cleared of ice and snow.
Resident Ronald Bowman, of Spruce Street, asked council to look into school buses that are parking along Spruce Street during the day.
"If traffic stays in their lane, they're going to go into the back of a school bus," he said. "If they don't, they're driving into oncoming traffic."
Gursky recommended that the school district be contacted about the parking.
Council set the calendar of meetings for 2011. They will continue to meet on the first and third Tuesdays of each month; however, the meetings will be moved from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Gursky announced that the borough has received the Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau Government Tourism Partner Award for 2010.