Lehighton Borough Council this week hired Spotts, Stevens & McCoy (SSM) of Reading as its professional engineer.

The firm replaces Bruce Steigerwalt of Mahoning Township, who announced his resignation in September to be effective Dec. 31. Steigerwalt had served as the borough engineer for several decades.

The council interviewed representatives from four firms on Nov. 19 for the position, deciding on SSM.

Richard Celmer, of SSM, told the council it will work with Steigerwalt on the transition and won't charge the borough for any services until "we get up to speed with current projects."

Borough Manager John Wagner said Steigerwalt donated a lot of his time to the borough, meaning engineering costs for the municipality are likely to increase.

Wagner said references for all four firms were checked and that any of them would have been a good choice. The other firms interviewed were Cowan Associates, TMG Associates, and Keystone Engineers.

In other business, the borough received a letter of resignation from its zoning and code enforcement officer, John Quinn, who is resigning effective Nov. 30.

Wagner was appointed as the deputy zoning officer.

Anyone interested in serving as zoning officer should make application at the Lehighton Municipal Building.

In other matters:

Ÿ The council agreed to waive a $34.29 late fee on the utility bill of the Lehighton Athletic Booster Club. Sheila Knappenberger, club treasurer, said she took over as treasurer in June. She said the bill was paid two days late because she didn't have permission to pay the bill until the club met. The council stressed that it is a one-time waiver of the late fee, and urged her to get permission to pay the bill as the club receives it instead of waiting for the meeting date.

"I can't see penalizing a group that raises funds for the youth of the community," said councilman Lee Getz, and suggested that her future bill payment gets pre-approval from the club.

Ÿ The council approved a parking space for the borough manager in front of the Municipal Building.

Ÿ Mayor Donald Rehrig said there will be free-parking in downtown Lehighton from Friday, Nov. 27 through Jan. 2. This means shoppers who patronize downtown merchants won't have to put money in their parking meters.

Ÿ Chief of Police Matthew Bender urged council to adopt regulations requiring that alleys be kept passable. He said the police have been ticketing some vehicles which have been parked on the asphalt in alleys. He said it is difficult some times to get snow plows through the alleys because of how people sometimes park. He added that it would especially be hard to get emergency vehicles such as fire trucks through these alleys.

Attorney James Nanovic, the borough's solicitor, was directed to look into putting together such an ordinance.

Ÿ Bender said a woman called and asked if her son could do a ride-along with the police department for a senior project. The council agreed that ride-alongs are prohibited because of insurance and liability concerns. Wagner said he will contact the woman and suggest an alternative senior project for the student. Students must do 60 hours of community service as part of their graduation requirements.