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Borough council approves loans

Before the Jan. 25 Catasauqua Borough Council workshop meeting, council held a special meeting to review a number of ordinances.

The first considered was ordinance 1399, regarding a PENNVEST loan. PENNVEST is the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority. Among other activities, it provides low-interest loans and grants for new construction or for the improvements to publicly or privately owned drinking water, stormwater or sewage treatment facilities.

PENNVEST agreed to fund a loan for an emergency generator at the borough’s water plant. The 20-year loan, in the amount of about $500,000, will have a 1-percent rate that will grow to 1.743 percent during the life of the loan.

Borough Manager Steve Travers noted the borough received an excellent interest rate. The loan is expected to close in March.

Ordinance 1400, a tax anticipation loan for $397,000, was passed unanimously. The loan will provide budgetary liquidity and cash flow until property tax revenues paid by residents move into the borough budget during the spring.

A motion was approved for the selective demolition of buildings for the Iron Works project. After a lengthy discussion questioning the demolition plan by Councilman Paul Cmil, the motion was passed 6-1. Cmil voted in opposition to the motion.

The special meeting ended, and council’s workshop meeting was called to order by council President Vincent Smith.

Travers reported incoming revenues continue to be about 20 percent below budget.

Mayor Barbara Schlegel noted a police applicant, who is a veteran, “is a true asset for the community.” She endorsed his hire.

Solicitor Jeffrey Dimmich reported working on several items, including the Fireman’s Relief Association bylaws.

Councilman Eugene Schlegel asked Dimmich about the status of the 501(c)3 application for the George Taylor House. Dimmich reported the bylaws are completed, and the application for 501(c)3 status is near completion. Dimmich noted the IRS has delays in its services due to the pandemic.

In her engineers report, Vanessa Nedrick said she met with Travers about the Race Street parking lot. She said the parking lot development is moving forward.

The Race Street parking project is an integral element of the plan to improve traffic flow through Catasauqua. The parking lot will provide parking for nearby residents who will lose on-street parking due to the streets plan.

Councilman Cameron Smith, chair of the general government committee, had no report.

Councilman Brian McKittrick, public safety committee chair, noted a resolution assembled by the solicitor regarding a pub/restaurant issue will be discussed at a public works meeting Feb. 15. The meeting is open to the public.

Cmil, chair of the public utilities committee, had no report. He plans a committee meeting in February.

Councilwoman Debra Mellish, planning and zoning committee chair, reported the rental inspection ordinance is moving forward.

Councilman Brian Bartholomew, public works committee chair, thanked the public works department for its efforts serving the borough.

The next meeting of council is 7 p.m. Feb. 1. It is a virtual meeting. Visit catasauqua.org for the call-in and access numbers and also for information about accessing council committee meetings.