Do members of Lehighton Borough Council listen to their constituents?

One councilman wants to prove they do. Dale Traupman, suggested that he and his peers stage informal "neighborhood meetings" to talk with residents and hear their concerns.

The rest of the council agreed and as a result, initially three such neighborhood meetings will be scheduled. Traupman said the dates and locations haven't been determined but will be announced.

He said the meetings might be at the Community Grove, borough park, and maybe even some place on the Heights section.

"The meetings will be an opportunity to get out and get more public input," said Traupman. It was noted no formal decisions will be made at these meetings, but notes will be taken so that the matters discussed will be brought back to the regular council sessions.

Traupman said the meetings of Lehighton Borough Council are always held the fourth monday in the evening. He said the neighborhood meetings will be held on a different night of the week.

He said the format will be an open concept, in which council members won't debate or argue, "just to listen."

"I do like Dale's idea," remarked Melissa Ebbert, a council member.

Traupman said he will set up the meetings and advise the media of the dates and locations.

In other business:

Ÿ The council agreed to allow direct deposit for paychecks. Treasurer Nicole Tessitore said she received a quotation from AD Computer for establishing a direct deposit system for pay checks. The cost will be $25 to establish the system and $7 per pay for the direct deposit of wages up to 35 employees. This is not a "per employee" cost, said Tessitore.

Ÿ It was agreed to accept a vacant house from the Lehigh Fire Company No. 1. The fire company purchased the structure to be razed as part of a building program of the fire department.

Fire Chief Jack Kuller said the fire department will utilize the building for training purposes such as forcible entry and roof ventilation, then eventually have it torn down at virtually no cost to the borough.

Ÿ The council agreed to begin the bidding process for sewer line construction on East Side Avenue, sewer line maintenance on Stedman Avenue and Eighth Street, and street reconstruction on those three streets.

Ÿ Councilman Darryl Arner said the borough has a "sizable investment" in Bank of American which is not generating any interest. On his recommendation, it was agreed to move the funds to two local banks, Jim Thorpe National Bank and Mauch Chunk Trust Company.

Ÿ Robert Strausberger Jr. was appointed to the Shade Tree Commission.

Ÿ The council accepted the resignation of Michael Mriss as the borough's Emergency Management Coordinator.