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Fireworks woes

Following the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Catasauqua Borough Council, during the July 12 council meeting, discussed the use of fireworks in the borough.

“There was more blue smog in Catty than in Los Angeles,” said Brian McKittrick, council vice president and public safety committee chair.

Catasauqua Mayor Barbara Schlegel reported seeing children setting off fireworks with their parents present.

Despite the complaints, no arrests were made, as police are required to catch offenders in the act of detonating the fireworks, which makes enforcement difficult.

Schlegel suggested that residents annoyed by the fireworks detonations call their state representative to register complaints.

Councilman Gene Schlegel suggested holding a borough fireworks display to hopefully tamp down resident fireworks usage in the borough. McKittrick said the liability insurance cost will be a deterrent for this idea but added he would put the suggestion to the public safety committee.

In other business, a resident reported fire pits in the borough are placed illegally near property lines and too close to buildings, creating safety issues.

McKittrick advised the resident to call the police, adding the fire pit must be in use for officers to cite the offender.

Another resident requested an update on the traffic speed study on Pine Street between Second and Fourth streets. Police Chief Douglas Kish said the results will be complete within six weeks.

A resident, also a member of Catasauqua Main Streets, questioned how issues of overgrown weeds and trash can be addressed in the borough. Council President Vincent Smith noted the public works department can handle most of these issues, but it may take a volunteer effort to assist with the challenge.

Smith suggested involving the general government committee, Main Streets volunteers and public works to join together to coordinate a consistent cleanup effort.

The Main Streets representative also requested moving some of the group’s items currently stored at the George Taylor House. Borough Manager Stephen Travers asked that an inventory be taken of what needs to be moved to another location. Public works will facilitate the items’ relocation.

Another resident raised an issue with the proposed expansion of Catty Corner Neighborhood Pub and Pie, 301 Mulberry St. The restaurant’s management wants to extend the dining area within 3 feet of the boundary line. The resident alleged there are noise issues now and suggested the issues might increase if an expansion occurs.

Smith said the zoning hearing board heard the matter and conditionally granted approval. The final ruling with conditions is not yet in, so council cannot act on the decision.

Anthony Brichta submitted a written solicitor’s report and noted he will be evaluating the zoning hearing board’s decision on Catty Corner.

Travers reported the new vehicle orders were reviewed, and a plan is being developed for purchase. Orders need to get in soon to procure the vehicles in a timely manner. Travers also said the water plant generator arrived, and the transfer to the new generator may occur within several weeks after the new generator piping arrives.

Barbara Schlegel announced a Battle of the Balloons, between the fire and police departments and Catasauqua Area School District students, is scheduled for Aug. 22 at Catasauqua Park and Playground, 501 American St.

She also thanked the George Taylor House committee for a wonderful July 4 celebration.

Councilman Cameron Smith, general government committee chair, said his committee is discussing a potential business registry.

McKittrick requested a vote on adding a part-time police officer, David A. Faust, to the police roster. Council voted unanimously to hire Faust, who will assist Kish in working toward accreditation of the police department.

Councilman Paul Cmil, chair of the public utilities committee, reported he is asking the engineer to assist in clarifying issues with public utilities.

Councilwoman Debra Mellish, chair of the planning and zoning committee, reported her committee is working with code enforcement to report problems in the borough.

Mellish said the bee ordinance is “on the back burner.”

Gene Schlegel, recreation committee chair, said the committee efforts are running smoothly. A new ad hoc committee, called Friends of the Parks, is seeking more members. One major goal of the group is to assist with fundraising to possibly reopen the swimming pool in 2022.

Historic Catasauqua Preservation Association is sponsoring its Fest O’ Fall along Front Street in October, to build upon the successful StrEAT Fest, which was held in April.

Borough council has a workshop meeting set for 7 p.m. July 26. It is a hybrid meeting, meaning both virtual and in-person options are available. Visit catasauqua.org for the access codes to view virtually.