Tamaqua Borough council last night opted not to pay a $2,500 bill submitted to them by Municipal Energy Management, Inc. for work that the company did in association with the sewer plant HVAC project.

The borough entered into an agreement with the company to coordinate and manage the borough's street lights, with a guaranteed savings for the borough. Since then, council contends the company has failed to meet their end of the contract.

The company has been notified by the borough that they are in violation of the agreement. Several other surrounding communities have run into the same problem with MEM. Borough solicitor Michael Greek said he is meeting with the other communities' attorneys to determine how to proceed. Council continued their discussion of the traffic problems that continue to plague SR309, south of Tamaqua.

An accident along the stretch of highway claimed the life of a Lehighton woman earlier this month. Several members of council and borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt met with representatives from PennDOT to discuss the situation. "They didn't recommend doing a full-fledged study. They suggested submitting requests," said council president Micah Gursky.

To comply with that request, Police Chief Dave Mattson submitted a letter outlining his recommendations, which include lowering the speed limit in the area, and installing warning signs and flashing lights. Mayor Christian Morrison said, "the sky is the limit with suggestions," however he offered that "what is going to limit this is funding. We all know the cheapest solution is probably what we're going to get."

Council voted to have the paper street section of Union Street surveyed to determine what is borough property and what is private property.

Based on a recommendation from the public safety committee, council agreed to proceed with the purchase of $7,371 of safety and shoring equipment. "By law we need to do this," said public safety committee chair Brian Connolly, "but safety is obviously the first thing." Connolly said that the borough will consider making the equipment available for rent to local contractors or other municipalities. Money from the equipment fund will be used to pay for the items.

Council accepted a letter of retirement from borough worker Jeffrey Oakes, effective June 30th.

Council voted to proceed with the demolition of a property at 525 North Railroad Street. Greek advised council to file the appropriate legal paperwork necessary to get a court order to demolish the property since it is privately owned. Gursky expressed frustration that the property had been acquired by a private company, Street Stage Inc., at a county sale. "We did protest it and the county sold it to them anyway," he said.

He added that the company has obtained several other dilapidated properties throughout the county and is not maintaining them either. "It's disturbing," he said.

Borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt advised council that the river walk project along the little Schuylkill River will start today and will continue for about two weeks. The water line relocation for the Center Street bridge project has also started. "That should not have a great impact on traffic as most of the work is being done in the evening," said Steigerwalt.

Steigerwalt said that the borough will be advertising the unimproved lot at 311 Orwigsburg Street and the 2001 Crown Victoria police car for sale.

Council approved a request from the New Life Assembly of God to hold a community fair on September 10 at Willing Park and the Community Center.