Tamaqua Borough Council honored the stellar athletic achievements of Colin Mashack at their regular meeting on Tuesday.
David Mace, the chairman of the recreation and youth committee, presented Mashack with a certificate honoring his accomplishments as District XI AA wrestling champion in his weight class.
In other business, Borough Manager Kevin Steigerwalt announced that additional properties that are illegally discharging sewage into the Wabash Creek have been identified on Hunter Street. Steigerwalt said that dye testing was completed on three properties, and two of them are confirmed to have illegal discharge. Two more properties will be dye tested in the near future.
Steigerwalt added that the property owners have been sent letters and will be required to connect to the public sewer system.
Council received some good news regarding the upcoming East Broad Street bridge project. The project has been delayed until after the Memorial Day holiday, which will allow the annual Memorial Day parade to take place along its usual route. The proposed detour for the event was causing concern among some of the marching units. Councilman Ken Smulligan continued to urge council to ask for more cooperation from PennDOT during the project, which is slated to last 18 months. Smulligan's key complaint is that work is schedule to be done 4 days a week, 10 hours a day. He believes that PennDOT should employ two crews, so that work could be done seven days a week, which would drastically reduce the duration of the project.
Council had a brief discussion of a property at 216 Pitt St., which has been cited several times by the borough's code enforcement officer. Steigerwalt said that recently borough workers had to move 1.3 tons of garbage out of the yard. "It's a case study for code enforcement," he added, citing numerous attempts to contact the owner of the property. He said that the borough does keep track of the man hours and expenses incurred by the borough and the property owner will be billed for them, however, if the owner cannot be found, it will continue to cost the borough resources.
The 2013 CDBG program is coming up. The borough will hold their first hearing for the matter prior to the next council meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, May 22, due to the primary election on May 21.
Council approved handicapped parking spaces for 331 Hazle St. and 66 Bowe St. Council also approved a "no parking" zone on the south side of High Street, between Bowe and Nescopec sts.
Council briefly discussed traffic flow on the side streets in the vicinity of South Pine and Mauch Chunk sts. These streets were not designed for two-way traffic, but with the various changes that have occurred with the updated signals and with the upcoming detour for the bridge project, council is considering making some of the streets one-way. The matter was referred to the parking and traffic committee for further review.
Borough resident Antonio Rodrigue offered to fill in the remaining term of HARC board member Sally Neumann, who passed away. His offer was accepted.
The borough hired Keith Krapf as a part-time police officer. It was noted that Officer Krapf has the DOT certification. Additionally, Mallory Loughman and John Ritzko were hired as part-time lifeguards and Allison Amodea was hired, pending completion of certification, also as a part time lifeguard, for the upcoming swim season.
The borough hired John Gartner as a replacement for retiring water treatment plant operator John Ferry. It was noted that Gartner has all of the necessary qualifications and certifications to assume the position.
Council adopted a resolution approving the Tamaqua Police Department Policies and Standard Operating Procedures. Chief Rick Weaver informed council that there is currently a COPS grant available, which would fund 75 percent of the cost of an officer for the department for three years, provided that the borough pick up the other 25% of the cost, and then continue the employment of the officer for an additional year. Weaver said that at this time the department is "doing pretty well," including the full time officers and a full complement of part-time officers as well. Rodrigue urged council to consider applying for the grant, stating that "any time you can get for one-quarter of the price, it's a good time to buy."
Gursky closed the meeting by informing residents that there is an upcoming judicial sale on May 17th. There will be 15 properties in Tamaqua that are up for judicial sale, which means they are free and clear of any liens. "Anyone can buy these, and many times someone does," he said, referring to out of town landlords or corporations that may just let the properties sit, or may use them as rental properties. "This is a chance for people to control the destinies of their neighborhoods." A list of the properties is available at the borough building or on the county's website, co.schuylkill.pa.us .