Tamaqua council approves 2014 budget
Tamaqua's 2014 budget is a done deal. Council voted 4-0 to approve the tentative budget, which includes a 1.5 mill tax hike, the borough's first in four years. Councilmen Dan Evans and John Trudich were not present.
The budget includes approximately $3.5 million in spending from the general fund and a total expenditure of approximately $7.6 million.
Council also voted to approve a $9.4 water revenue bond in order to finance improvements at the water treatment plant. The bond consolidated all of the outstanding loans that the water authority had and will save the borough between $70,000 and $80,000 over the life of the loan.
Council also advised the public that the sale of the community center will be finalized on Dec. 16.
In other business, council approved the tax claim bureau repository sale of 345 East Union St. to Robert Stackhouse.
Council heard from several members of the public regarding the rental property and code enforcement practices of the borough. Dan Riegel and Kevin Linkhorst shared concerns with council regarding the changes in fee schedule and the requirements for rental property owners to have their properties inspected.
They proposed that council set up a meeting between council, the code enforcement officer, and contractors and landlords so that the requirements and policies can be explained and better understood. Council agreed to set up a meeting.
Ronald Coleman, of Lehigh Street, asked council to look into posting Lehigh and Spruce streets with "No Trucks, only local delivery" type signs.
After weight restrictions were placed on the Wabash Creek Bridge on West Broad Street, trucks began using South Lehigh Street and Spruce Street as an alternative way through town.
"Recently, the borough had to pump out a sewer main up there. I hope that sewer isn't collapsing," said Coleman. "You're going to be replacing more lines, more streets," he added. "The trucks are going that way because there is nothing telling them they can't."
Council voted to put "No Truck" signs, excluding local deliveries, on both North and South Lehigh streets and at Spruce and South Railroad Street.
It was noted there are several local businesses and the school complex in that area, which will still require truck traffic, but the borough hopes to cut down on the through traffic.
Mayor Christian Morrison asked residents to be vigilant in the wake of recent break-ins and petty thefts.
"They're stealing copper from unoccupied buildings, breaking into cars," he said. "We've made some arrests, but we need the help of the public. Give us a call if you see something suspicious. We'll find out what's going on."