The Tamaqua Borough may join with other local municipalities to get to the bottom of why the company they contracted with to maintain the town's street lights is not performing their duties. The borough signed the contract with MEM, Material Energy Matters, last year to initiate the purchase of street lights from PPL and have the company do the maintenance on the lights. So far, the company has not been responsive and there are multiple complaints of burned out lights throughout the borough.
Borough solicitor Michael Greek said that he had met with representatives from the company and he asked them to "update everyone as to where they're at and what they're doing." Councilman Brian Connely called the communication that MEM sent to the borough "a page of mumbo jumbo." Greek said that he represents other municipalities, including Lansford and Coaldale, that have contracts with MEM, and will meet with other solicitors to determine how to proceed against the company. Greek indicated that part of the problem is that PPL is dragging its feet on the sale of the street lights to the municipalities.
In other ongoing projects in the borough, manager Kevin Steigerwalt updated council on the progress on the wildcat sewer inspections. "The work began on March 2, and continued through the 3rd and 4th. They could not work this week because of the heavy rains and the water level in the tunnel," he said. "They hope to pick up the work next week." After the work is completed, the company, A1, will work with the borough's engineers, Alfred Benesch and Co., to prepare a report. Steigerwalt said that DEP has been informed of the progress.
Councilman Tom Cara presented an overview of the meeting with representatives from PennDOT regarding the Route 309 traffic project. Construction on the project will begin in June and is expected to last for at least six months. The contractor will have an office in town. There will be two twelve foot lanes of travel open at all times and the contractor will not be restricting traffic flow during peak hours of travel, 6am-9am and 3pm-7pm daily. In total, seven intersections will be upgraded along Route 309, along with the intersection at Greenwood and East Broad Street. ADA compliant ramps will also be installed at all of the intersections. "PennDOT has told us it will noticeably get traffic through Tamaqua quicker when it's done," said Cara.
Council approved the purchase of a new diving board and parts for the Bungalow Pool, based on a recommendation by Recreation Committee chair David Mace.
Agnes Versailles, an Owl Creek Road resident, raised concerns about her mailbox, which she said had been knocked over by the borough's plow truck during the last snow storm. Councilman John Trudich said he would take care of the situation.
In other business, the borough adopted a resolution delegating authority for collection of the local services tax to the Schuylkill County Tax Collection Committee. Council president Micah Gursky added that the collection rate will be lower for the Borough than with the previous collector.
Raymond Woodring was appointed as water distribution work leader, effective immediately.
Council accepted a proposal from Grand Prix Excavating of Tamaqua, in the amount of $89,472 for the construction of the Little Schuylkill River Walk Project. The project is being funded by a PA Trails grant and CDBG funds. They also accepted a proposal from Bognet, Inc. of Hazleton, in the amount of $47,978 for the construction of the pool backwash holding tank. This is being funded by CDBG funds and is a requirement for the continued operation of the Bungalow pool.
Parking and traffic committee chair Steve Tertel said that the borough has received handicap parking applications and is going to start reviewing them.
Council also gave final approval, contingent upon approval from DEP and the Schuylkill Conservation District for the six lot subdivision on Owl Creek Road.
Members of the local Girl Scout service unit 193 were also present to complete the requirements for their merit badges.