25 Tamaqua properties remain unconnected to sewer system
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Pictured is Swatara Street in Tamaqua. The street is currently closed while borough workers and contractors perform sewer and water line repairs.
With slightly more than a month remaining until the hookup deadline, Tamaqua still has 25 properties that need to be connected to the sewer system.
Borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt updated Tamaqua Borough Council as to the status of several projects last night.
"The work being done on Swatara Street will connect six of those properties," he said, adding that several others are in various stages of being connected.
Council received a letter from Kiersten Smith, a resident of West Rowe Street, who asked why her neighbors had been informed that they needed to connect last year, and she was only advised that she needed to connect in May.
"This was not the only property that we found out after the fact," said council president Micah Gursky. "It is unfortunate."
Councilman Brian Connely said that he wouldn't be surprised if more issues were discovered in the future.
"This is the kind of thing, because of the age of the main, things like that, the more we look, the more we're going to find," he said.
Property owners who have been advised and have not connected by the end of August could face code violation penalties from the borough.
Council received information from the Schuylkill County Tax Collection Committee that Centax, the original collection service, hired to collect by the committee will no longer be collecting the borough's earned income tax and local services tax. Instead, Berkheimer will replace them immediately.
Gursky asked how checks that have already been mailed to Centax will be handled.
"They won't be delinquent, will they?" he asked.
Councilman John Trudich, the borough representative to the committee, said that checks will be turned over to Berkheimer. Anyone writing out a check now should make it out to Berkheimer.
Council voted to spend not more than $200 on advertising the property at 223 Pine St. The borough is currently accepting sealed bids for the property that they acquired and rehabilitated.
The parking and traffic committee had a busy month. Two handicapped parking spaces were approved for 107 and 118 Clay St. Signs were removed from 156 Spruce St., 261 W. Rowe St., 126 Gay St., 312 Layfayette St., and 214 Greenwood St.
A motion to install "No Parking This Side" signs on the east side of Oak Street from Penn to Spruce streets was approved. That request was by Elm Street manager Kathy Kunkel on behalf of the South Ward Neighborhood committee.
Council denied the request to install a "Clergy Parking Only" sign near the intersection of Mauch Chunk and Water streets.
Council considered the possibility of making South Patterson St. one-way from Hazle to East Broadstreets, however, further discussion is needed before a final decision is made. This proposal is to help eliminate the blind corner of the building at 420 E. Broad St.
Council also discussed placing "No Parking" signs on South Pine St., from Broad to Cedar. The area is currently a no parking area, however, there are concerns as to whether or not it is adequately posted.
Councilman David Mace, chair of the recreation committee, submitted a bill for $240 for new umbrellas for the lifeguard chairs at the Bungalow. There was some discussion about whether the funds would come from the Bungalow Commission fund or the general fund. Trudich said that the commission has other plans for its funds. Council approved the payment from the general fund.
Council said that the new code enforcement company is currently experiencing a backlog.
"There is more here than they anticipated," said Steigerwalt.
He added that they have added additional personnel to help handle the backlog.
Councilman Tom Cara expressed concern that the borough may exceed the amount of work that the firm was contracted for.
Steigerwalt said that summer is typically the busiest time of year, due to high weed and grass complaints.
Council heard from several residents of Owl Creek, including Pete Trudich and Joe Salla, regarding speeding in Owl Creek. An emotional Trudich brought a photo and the ashes of his 9-year-old cat that was recently hit by a car while crossing the street.
"What if this was a kid?" he asked council.
Salla said that mornings and evening rush hours are the worst times and asked that the police run speed checks on the road during those times.
Mayor Christian Morrison said that members of council had met with the Tamaqua School District over concerns about buses traveling on Washington and Lafayette Streets. Morrison stressed that the borough is not asking for buses that currently pick up or drop off students to be discontinued, but they are asking the school district to consider alternate routes for buses that are using those roads as a shortcut in or out of town.
Council held a brief executive session to discuss real estate and personnel matters.