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Deadline set for wildcat sewer connections

Published March 21. 2012 05:02PM

Tamaqua property owners who still haven't connected their wildcat sewers to the borough's sewer system now have a deadline to get connected.

Council voted to require sewers to be connected by August 28th, almost one year after the initial deadline of August 29th, 2011, that Department of Enviornmental Protection (DEP) gave the borough to complete the project.

According to borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt, the fines for not being in compliance with the borough's sewer ordinance could run between $300 and $1,000 per day.

Council president Micah Gursky said that so far, the borough has seen "really good cooperation" from residents, but he also said that he felt some property owners would wait until they were forced into making the connection. Councilman David Mace said that there was some leniency with the initial deadline due to the fact that there were only a limited number of contractors who were willing to do the work. "They just got overloaded," he said.

Resident Tony Rodrigue asked council if the possibility exists that the borough will go ahead and make the connections and then bill the property owners after the fact. Steigerwalt said that the borough may consider that at a later date.

Steigerwalt advised council that he is putting together the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) proposals for this year. The borough's allotment has again decreased from last year's grant, which was $121,679, to $103,203.

Steigerwalt asked council for any recommendations to include in the proposal. So far, he has included administrative costs, demolition projects, and street reconstruction, in the application.

Councilman Tom Cara asked if the sewer project could be funded with CDBG funds. Steigerwalt said that it was a possibility, but the borough currently has housing rehabilitation funds available that could also be used.

Steigerwalt said that a fourth item that is under consideration is the purchase of a cover for the community swimming pool. According to Mace, the cover would be used to keep debris out of the pool.

Council has received some feedback from PennDOT representative Dennis Toomey, who was at the council meeting earlier this month and faced an extensive grilling by council and the public over the recent traffic changes in the downtown. Steigerwalt read from an email from Toomey, concerning the no turn on red signs at the intersection of Pine and Mauch Chunk streets.

PennDOT indicated that they are willing to allow right turns onto Pine Street from Mauch Chunk Street, provided that the borough remove two parking spaces along Pine Street, before the intersection.

PennDOT said they would allow parking in those spaces during Sunday morning church services, and the sign at the intersection will be modified to not allow right turns on red from 8 a.m.-noon on Sunday. Council approved PennDOT's recommendation.

Steigerwalt advised council that the rehabilitation project of 223 Pine St. has been completed.

The street sweeper will also begin running throughout the borough, and will resume the regular sweeping of posted streets the second week in April.

Council approved June 2 as the opening day for the Bungalow Pool. Pool rates will be the same as last year and pass applications will be available at Borough Hall and throughout the community beginning April 2.

There was a brief discussion concerning the closing date of the pool. Last year, the pool had to close early when the majority of the staff returned to college. Recreation committee chair Mace said that the hiring process is ongoing and after that is completed, they will be able to determine the closing date. "If all goes well, I'd expect to be open until school resumes," he said.

Council approved a proposal from CSI for a software upgrade to the camera system that is currently being installed throughout the town. Police committee chair Ken Smulligan explained that the software would allow the license plate recognition software and the cameras to coordinate with each other.

Mayor Christian Morrison said that all of the squad cars will have laptop computers onboard and the software will communicate with them.

Council heard from resident Virginia Moyer, who is having a difficult time pulling out of her driveway due to cars being parked on either side of it. According to Moyer, she does not have good visibility, particularly when vans are parked in the spaces adjacent to her driveway. Morrison noted that all of the parking in the area is being done legally. The matter was referred to the parking and traffic committee.

Councilman John Trudich asked to be allowed to spend up to $7,000 on equipment, including steel plates for trench work, a roller, and a trailer, at an upcoming sale. Council approved the request.

Council heard from Nancy Paisley, the leader of Girl Scout Unit 310, regarding an extensive upcoming cleanup project the Girl Scouts will be organizing, including the Middle Ward and East End Playgrounds, and the Little Schuylkill River. Paisley said that their unit has received a $500 grant from the Girl Scouts to assist with the project.

The Girl Scouts are asking for community volunteers to join them on their cleanup day, which will be March 31st, at all of the areas. They will also be holding an Earth Day celebration to mark the completion of the event, on April 22nd, at the Middle Ward playground. "We need bodies," said Paisley, who said that they also have volunteers from the high school, and plan to invite the Boy Scouts to assist them as well.

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