Lehighton Council hosts first neighborhood gathering
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Dale Traupman, a member of Lehighton Borough Council, addresses borough residents during an informal gathering at Skyline Park on North Third Street. Looking on are, from left, borough residents Pamela Eck, Russell R. Young, Jack Zanders, Debbie Zanders, Frank Frable, borough council President Grant Hunsicker and borough secretary Brenda Koons. Another neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Tuesday along Stedman Avenue.
In Lehighton, there's a yard filled with old vehicles, a trailer, wood, and other debris. And beside being an eyesore, it's a haven for skunks.
Also in the borough, there's a wooden judging stand at the Lehighton Community Grove which needs major repairs. How long will it be left there in the current condition?
A noisy alarm at a home on Ninth Street goes off any time of the day and night and irritates neighbors.
And, people in Lehighton are placing their trash at curbside days before garbage pickup and not being fined, as an ordinance allows.
These were some of the topics discussed during an informal meeting last night between members of Lehighton Borough Council and residents.
Initially a dozen residents attended the gathering held at Skyview Playground on North Third Street. People left before it ended, but others came. In all, about 20 attended the hour-long session at various points.
Council member Dale Traupman, who organized the meeting, and the president of the council, Grant Hunsicker, fielded questions, concerns, and discussions from the public.
Traupman said, "Very few people make it to monthly (council) meetings," which are held in the municipal building. That's why he decided to host some neighborhood meetings at various sites in the borough.
The next one will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday along Stedman Avenue in the Heights section of town.
No formal minutes of the meeting are kept. No action is taken on any of the concerns or complaints. Traupman said matters brought up at the neighborhood gatherings will be brought to the regular council meeting. Throughout the meeting he took notes.
Also attending was borough secretary Brenda Koons, who was there as a citizen and not in an official capacity.
Several residents complained about the messy yard between Third and Fourth Street, in which the property owner is a collector of what they consider "junk." They said the accumulated items extend to the individual's porch.
One resident said he has attended borough council meetings in the past regarding this property, but no action was taken.
"We have caught skunks galore," said nearby resident Debbie Zanders.
Hunsicker said, "The problem is, we don't have a zoning officer."
Traupman noted that the borough manager is acting as zoning officer. He told the residents who complained, "At least we're listening to you," and indicated the complaints will be discussed.
He added that he is a newcomer on the council, stating, "What you said to council five to 10 years ago, I can't answer."
Resident Frank Frable had a list of numerous items to present to the council members.
Frable would like to see free parking at meters for handicapped drivers.
He would like to see regular police reports in the TIMES NEWS.
He appealed to the council to not expand the borough's water system to other areas where developments are occurring, stating the water should be for borough residents.
Frable asked if a profit was made on the Lehighton Municipal Swimming Pool last year.
He is concerned that line painting is occurring too late in the year.
He questioned the judge's stand that sits at the community grove.
He wondered if the borough annex on Third Street is operating at a loss.
"It's time to put on the brakes and stop writing a blank check," Frable said. "And use common sense."
Traupman said the borough has hired a new treasurer and he is optimistic expenditures will be closely monitored.
"Are they enforcing the garbage ordinance," asked one woman.
"No," responded Hunsicker.
Traupman said enforcement is the responsibility of the police department, which works under the direction of the mayor.
It was noted by the council members that garbage is not supposed to be put at curbside before 6 a.m. Thursday. Empty cans must be brought in by 9 a.m. Saturday.
In concluding the meeting, Traupman said, "We're aware that there are problems in Lehighton."
He said, "I think Lehighton's a nice little town. Ninety percent of the people take pride in their homes."
Jack Zanders remarked as the meeting ended, "I feel better."