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Resident questions council on operation of borough annex

Published November 23. 2010 05:00PM

A Lehighton man has once again taken Borough Council to task for its operation of the borough annex.

Resident Edward Conarty Jr. on Monday again questioned council as to how many tenants are inside the annex at North First Street.

Conarty said he has discovered discrepancies of the tenants' payments compared with the balance listed in their leases.

Councilman Dale Traupman told Conarty there are seven tenants. Of those, Traupman said only one, the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, doesn't have a lease.

As a result, council agreed to attempt to negotiate a lease with the D&L National Heritage Corridor. In the event that doesn't occur, the borough may evict them.

Based on his figures, Conarty told council the borough is owed nearly $23,000 in uncollected rent.

Solicitor Jim Nanovic told Conarty he should give his information to council for them to investigate.

Conarty then questioned the amount of tenant space, because when some of the leases were written years ago, a certain room had so much square feet.

"You know nothing about commercial leasing and went into it," Conarty said. "Are we going to consider to subsidize this?

Councilman John Bird told Conarty he believes council will "make a good-faith effort to look at it."

Traupman told Conarty that he spent over five hours to measure the square footage versus tenant usage.

"The buildings had new numbers, and some of the rooms are actually different," Traupman said. "The square footage they're using is correct."

Conarty then questioned why the kitchen area is being utilized despite the fact that it isn't covered in any lease.

Council President Grant Hunsicker then got into a heated debate with Conarty.

"All of us are taxpayers," Hunsicker said. "Are we sitting up here arguing?

The annex is the former Lehighton Area Junior High School that was converted by the borough into office space in the mid-1990s.

The borough obtained grants and loans for the project.

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