Coaldale Borough council on Tuesday agreed to hire Tamaqua Trash Transfer and Recycling to collect refuse and recyclables and accept bulky items for spring and fall cleanups for the next five years, beginning July 1

Tamaqua Transfer, which holds the current contract, was the lower of two bidders for the job, offering to do the work for $955,758 on a five-year contract.

The other bidder, Solid Waste Services Inc. (J.P. Mascaro and Sons), asked for $1,037,580.

The borough currently pays Tamaqua Transfer $175,000 a year for its services.

In other matters, council president Sue Solt read a letter from Michael Erbe, chief of operations of the Coaldale Community Ambulance Association. Erbe wrote that the Regional EMS Council inspected the organization on Feb. 1 for licensure.

"We are presently waiting for our insurance package to be completed. We expect to be back in service within 10 days or sooner. We look forward to working with council when we get final approval of our license," Erbe wrote.

Council did not comment on the letter.

The borough switched from the Coaldale Community Ambulance Association to St. Luke's in late 2007 after years of tension between the organization and some borough officials. The Coaldale Ambulance group has been out of service for some time.

Also on Tuesday, Solicitor Michael Greek advised against several recommendations made by Mayor Richard Corkery. Corkery said he has heard concerns from residents about the borough fire siren. He said he spoke with Nesquehoning Mayor Tony Walck, who said his borough firefighters use pagers and no longer use the fire siren. Corkery said Coaldale firefighters have pagers, and that the siren, which he called a "public nuisance," should be dismantled.

That prompted Fire Chief Richard Marek to ask for the name of the person who filed the complaint. "I don't honor, or I don't respect, a person who can't sign their name to a complaint. They know who they are dealing with when they deal with me," he said.

Corkery said there was no official complaint filed. The complaint came to him during the Wednesday hours he keeps at borough hall for residents to stop by and chat about whatever is on their minds.

Greek said the matter should be sent to committee for review.

Corkery also said council should bar fire and police chiefs from holding council positions (neither are currently on council) because it would be a conflict of interest. Greek said the fire chief office is volunteer, and that council could not prevent a fire chief from seeking a council seat. State law, he said, prevents the police chief from holding an elected office.

Corkery also said that Fifth Street where drivers enter from Route 209 should be repaired.

He also said ordinances should be posted before adoption so residents could read and offer opinions on them. Greek said the ordinances are published before adoption in the TIMES NEWS. He advised against further notifications.

In other business, council engaged in a spirited discussion about what should be done with the Coaldale Complex, which is the former Coaldale High School at Sixth and West Phillips streets. Corkery said the second floor of the old building is beyond repair and is a liability. The complex houses the Carbon County Head Start program. No conclusion was reached.

Council also agreed to sell a 2004 Crown Victoria police cruiser. The car has 134,000 miles on it and will be sold to the highest bidder.

Also on Tuesday, Councilman Joe Hnat urged council to avoid spending any more money than is absolutely necessary. This time of year is financially thin for the borough because tax revenues have yet to start rolling in, he said.

Also, council agreed to hire Alfred Benesch & Company, Pottsville, as the borough engineer.

Finally, council again advised Chad Warman that it cannot handle his complaints against the Lansford-Coaldale Joint Water Authority. Warman attended a water authority meeting in January, upset because it turned off service to the house he rents because he didn't pay his bill on time. He was supposed to have a 30 day time period to pay, but the service was turned off much sooner, he said. In fact, it was turned off in the morning of the day he had arranged with the authority to pay the bill.

Warman had come to Coaldale Council prior to the water authority meeting to complain. he was told then that council has no say in water authority business.

Warman also complained to Coaldale council Tuesday about Police Chief Tim Delaney. He took aim at Delaney for stopping at Delaney's house during the day and "going here, going there, and making up his own ordinances."

Greek explained to Warman that the chief is salaried, and is called out at any time. it's perfectly all right for Delaney to go home for lunch, Greek said.

Council and Greek quickly set Warman straight that the chief does not "make his own ordinances."

Warman, who has a snake, was upset because the borough recently adopted an ordinance governing exotic animals, and claimed it was because Delaney doesn't like snakes. Councilman Tom Keerans told Warman existing exotic animals were "grandfathered in," so he doesn't have to fret about his snake.