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Former authority member takes issue with lack of appointment

Published January 22. 2014 05:00PM

Tamaqua's Borough Council meeting Tuesday featured an active public comment period, during which John Tracy questioned council's refusal to act on the recommendation of the borough authority that he be reappointed to a five-year term on the authority.

His term would have begun this month. At a meeting earlier this month, council appointed Phil Houm to fill the vacancy.

"I take issue with Councilman (Tom) Cara and his statements that authority members were uncooperative," said Tracy.

Cara defended his comments, saying he had asked someone he works with who is familiar with water operations.

"He went with me to look at our plant and he said it was about to fail," said Cara.

Cara said the operators told him they were using parts from the secondary, backup system to repair the primary system and if a part failed, "that was it. The system was going down."

"You are exactly right," agreed Tracy, who went on to explain he was not against doing the repairs. "We didn't have the money to go forward. The big issue is that we needed $9 million. You can't just borrow that in a few weeks," explained Tracy.

Tracy said during the water meetings, everything that was brought up regarding the improvements and repairs was improved. Tracy also added that in the last five years, Cara has not attended one water authority meeting, to his recollection.

Tracy then asked why council voted against appointing him to the borough authority, which has nothing to do with the water authority. Cara responded that "these appointments are for five years, and you need to have some background and some reasons to vote for a person."

Gursky interrupted, stating "The buck stops here. We don't have to have reasons to appoint them or to not appoint them."

Gursky added that Tracy "served well for many years."

Later in the meeting, resident and former council member Cathy Miorelli questioned the appointments to the authorities and the lack of advertising for the vacancies.

"As a tax paying citizen, I don't understand, especially if you're replacing someone there have been questions about," she said. "Why wouldn't you advertise and try to find the very best to put on those authorities? I would think you'd want scientific members of our community on that authority."

Council also heard from resident Kenny Miller, 27 Center St. Miller's water line runs through an adjacent property that has been condemned. Miller explained that during the last cold snap, the water line froze, causing his property to have no water.

"She gave me maybe an hour and a half to go in there and try and thaw them and I couldn't get them thawed," Miller said. "I can't maintain my water line because it goes through her house."

Miller said the neighbor then "threw him out" and he has been denied access to the property since. Miller asked that the borough consider running a water line in the alley by his property so he can connect directly.

Resident Kathy Nunemacher informed council that her sewer line had blocked over the holiday and after the plumber worked to unclog her sewer, he said that root growth is blocking the main line and catching everything that is coming out of the pipe.

Nunemacher said she had had the same problem a few years ago.

Borough Manager Kevin Steigerwaltwill look into both the Miller and Nunemacher issues to see what, if anything, the borough can do to help.

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