Tamaqua Borough Council had a new president last night, butonly for the evening.
Councilman Stephen Tertel announced his resignation from council, effective May 13. However, before he left, the other members of council thought it fitting that he serve as president in honor of the 12 years that he has served the borough.
President Micah Gursky stepped down at the beginning of the meeting and handed the reins over to Tertel.
Tertel said that his resignation was due to family and work obligations that will require him to leave the area.
"He has done a very fine job as a council member and also as a community member," said Gursky, "Whatever community he's going to, they are going to gain a good citizen."
Over the years Tertel has filled various positions and been a member of many committees, including vice-president of council, member of the civil service commission, and most recently, as chair of the parking and traffic committee.
In his letter of resignation, he thanked council members and borough employees for working with him over the years.
In other business, council members heard from a member of the community whose neighbor's home on Union Street is infested with bedbugs. According to the resident, the neighbor rents the home and is currently in the process of moving out.
"He's moving away from the damn bugs is what he's doing," said the resident, who contacted the borough's code enforcement officer, James Barron, regarding the infestation.
After Barron inspected the place, an exterminator also reviewed both properties. According to the exterminator, when the tenants moved out, the bugs became more aggressive and migrated to the neighboring property, looking for food.
The resident said that he had already disposed of several items of furniture and paid to have his property treated, however, until the neighboring property was cleaned up, he and his family would still be at risk for infestation and it could continue to spread to the other properties that adjoin the structure. He also brought a family member along to show council the bite marks that have been caused by the bugs.
Once the property owner is cited, they have to be given time to act. Borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt said that the property owner has been given until Saturday to clean up the property. If it is not done by that time, the borough will step in and hire an exterminator and then pursue the owners for the incurred costs.
Gursky thanked the property owner for coming forward.
"It is good of you to notify us. I hope other people hear this," he said. "It's good of you to be so proactive."
Council accepted a bid from Tamaqua Transfer and Recycling for a three-year refuse collection contract in the amount of $538,513 per year or a total of $1,615,542 for the length of the contract. Steigerwalt said that he was pleased with the bids.
"The annual contract is actually less than we're paying now," he said. It has not yet been determined if this will affect the garbage rates in the borough.
Councilman John Trudich questioned the $89,000 that the borough is currently owed in late garbage bills. Solicitor Michael Greek said that when the delinquencies are addressed by his office, they usually have a 70-80 percent rate of return. Trudich also said that the total delinquencies in the borough, including water and sewer, are around $205,000.
Councilman Brian Connely said that although the number is high, it is still one of the lowest delinquency rates in the area.
Council approved a request for $6,100 to pay for the construction of a basketball court at the Owl Creek Park. The park commission has already raised $4,500 toward the project and needs a short-term loan from the borough to complete it. The borough will loan them the additional $1,600.