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Catasauqua receives more than $1 million in grant funding

At the Aug. 31 Catasauqua Borough Council workshop meeting, borough Manager Steven Travers reported more than $1 million in grant money has been bestowed on Catasauqua.

The grant awards include a $425,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Services for the Lehigh Canal interceptor rehabilitation project to address stormwater runoff, $525,000 from the Department of Community and Economic Development Multi-Model Transportation services for the Iron Works site project and another $109,000 for COVID-19 costs through a county block grant.

In other business, Travers reported a letter to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was referred to the general government committee as directed by council President Vincent Smith for the committee to approve the verbiage. The letter addresses council’s displeasure for the length of time it took PennDOT to complete the Race Street bridge project completed earlier this year.

Councilman Gene Schlegel inquired if the Halloween parade and trick or treat are canceled. Travers reported the parade, at this point, has not been canceled. No decision has been made about trick or treat.

Schlegel also asked if Travers can create a plan to increase the payment of bills. Travers indicated he is working with Solicitor Thomas Dinkelacker, and an executive meeting may be held to update council on their efforts.

Smith asked Travers if the Willow Street parking lot project is moving forward. Travers noted the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved the removal of debris, which will begin soon. The Willow Street project is funded entirely by a Community Development Block Grant. The funding is about $96,000.

Councilman Brian McKittrick said the recreational burning ordinance will be ready to advertise next month. It is expected to require a recreational fire to be 25 feet from a structure and not to occur on a wooden deck.

Recreational burning is a safety and nuisance issue, noted McKittrick. Schlegel requested the burning ordinance be widely advertised, so residents are aware of it.

McKittrick also noted there are two bills in Harrisburg to eliminate the state fireworks law. A goal is to return increased fireworks regulation to local communities.

Councilmember Debra Mellish’s zoning committee report included the effort to develop a plan for rental inspections. Suggestions include a mandatory two-year inspection of all rental properties. Fees for inspection are expected to be re-examined.

Smith said he wants the rental inspection ordinance to be fair and a win-win for renters and landlords.

McKittrick added the rental inspection needs to promote safety for residents and landlords. He expressed there is a problem in Catasauqua with absentee landlords.

Travers also reported the swimming pool evaluation report is completed. The next step is determining the cost for repairs.

The next Catasauqua Borough Council meeting is 7 p.m. Sept. 8 in council chambers at 90 Bridge St. or virtually. Check the borough website for call-in codes.