Tamaqua Police Chief David Mattson has informed borough council of his intent to retire as of April of this year. Council read a letter from Mattson dated Jan. 16 at last night's meeting and voted to accept his retirement as of April 2.
Mattson has served as the chief since 2007, following a career as an officer with the borough. Council President Micah Gursky thanked the chief for his services.
"He has had a really nice career here, both as an officer and as a chief. We wish him well in his retirement," Gursky added.
Council also voted to approve several sales of real estate that the borough currently owns. A sales agreement for a single family home at 223 Pine St., that the borough had purchased and renovated, was approved in the amount of $63,600 to Trevor Moseley. The property had been advertised for sale several times and finally listed through a local realtor.
A lot at 101 Washington St. was also sold for $5 to Dr. Jonathan Bingham. There was some discussion about the $5 offer; however, Councilman David Mace said that the borough spends more than that "two minutes" when it comes to shoveling the snow and cutting the weeds on the property. Additionally, the proposed buyer intends to put a small house on the property and it will return to the tax roll, which means more income for the borough.
A vote to sell the property for $5 ended in a tie between the six councilmen present. Mayor Christian Morrison cast the deciding vote to proceed with the sale.
Council accepted a bid in the amount of $4,851.50 from Warren Speegle for a lot at 319 Rolling Mill Ave. According to council members, Speegle owns adjacent property on Pine Street and plans to extend the back yard of the property.
Lots at 113 Washington St., 319 Washington St., 234 Columbia St., and 307 Gay St. did not receive any bids.
Council received communication from Andrew Leibenguth, requesting permission to hold a Walk for Animals in conjunction with the Tamaqua Volunteers association and the Tamaqua YMCA. The request was approved.
Tamaqua Transfer submitted a letter advising council that it can no longer pick up televisions, computer monitors, peripherals, and other similar devices at curbside. They are working on a solution that will allow them to recycle the items; however, for the present, items can be dropped off at the transfer station for a fee. Public works director Rob Jones said that they are limited to how many of the items they can hold on site and they are starting to back up.
Jones advised council that the borough may have uncovered additional wild cat sewers in the area of Hunter Street and Cottage Avenue. Jones said that during a neighbor dispute over a line, the borough got involved and discovered the lines exit the rear of the property instead of coming out and joining the main. He estimated that there may be four or five properties involved.
He added that a few more properties were also tested on Rowe Street, but they were connected to the municipal sewer.
"This is a problem we could be chasing potentially forever," Gursky said.
The borough will deal with the properties as they are uncovered.
Upon the recommendation of HARC, council approved certificates of appropriateness for the installation of a deck and windows at 300 and 304 East Broad St., a sign installation at 111 East Broad St.; and the restoration of 112-118 West Broad St., including the demolition of a garage. They also approved the demolition of a garage at 211 East Broad St., due to the fact that the property with the garage is not listed as a contributing building to the historic district.
Mace provided council with a picture of the slide that will be installed at the Howard D. Buehler Pool for the start of the 2013 swim season. Council approved the advertisement for bids for the Dutch Hill Playground equipment installation.
Council held a brief discussion of the financial state of the borough. Councilman Tom Cara expressed concerns that the borough is continually borrowing money from the High Rise fund to cover expenses. Councilman Brian Connely pointed out that this is a temporary measure until tax moneys are received and then the money is paid back.
Connely added that the water and sewer authorities have begun reviewing their equipment. Some of the equipment at the sewer plant has been in service since 1962 and will need to be upgraded or replaced.
"We need to start looking to make improvements," he said. "We're researching some financing options so we can make some presentations, but we want to make everyone aware of what is going on."
Herb Curvey asked council to address rumors that there will be no parades held during the construction and detour that result from the East Broad Street Bridge project. Council said that there are no plans to cancel any parades.
Council members also held an executive session and announced they will hire two full-time employees, one for the street department and one for the water department. They will begin the hiring process using applications that are already on file. Both of the positions are budgeted items.
Council also held an executive session on Jan. 18 to discuss personnel matters.