Land management, storm water plans addressed
The Sept. 21 Hellertown Borough Council meeting was fraught with technological issues, with the usual tool used for its public live-stream – Facebook – being non-functional due to constantly muted audio. Public viewers were instead immediately invited to the WebEx platform to join the meeting, with the link posted on the borough’s Facebook page about 20 minutes in.
The meeting was joined in progress as Carolyn Yagle of Environmental Planning and Design, LLC, provided a preliminary presentation of the 2020 Saucon Valley Multi-Municipal Comprehensive Plan. The plan, which “identifies the goals and strategies for land use and growth management” in the borough and the adjacent Lower Saucon Township, was described as largely unchanged from the 2009 version. The final version will be fully presented publicly with a special Saucon Valley Partnership meeting on Oct. 14.
Christine Mildner of Barry Isett and Associates presented the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS-4) status report. The annual report evaluated the borough’s awareness and prevention of – and response to – storm water issues from July 2019 through June 2020. Mildner characterized the borough’s general management as good and particularly praised its drainage and flooding awareness efforts through Facebook and other media platforms.
Mayor David Heintzelman encouraged residents to check out the newly-installed art pieces at Borough Authority Park, which are part of resident Erica Shorb’s much-discussed Art Walk project. Although Shorb was unable to attend the meeting due to the aforementioned technical issues, she did leave a comment on the borough’s Facebook page which read, in part, “I just wanted to extend my thanks for taking a risk and letting me put together the Hellertown Community Art Walk… I especially want to thank [Public Works Director Barry Yonney] and his crew for giving some guidance and help with the setup last week.”
Council President Thomas J. Rieger publicly thanked the borough’s respective departmental collective bargaining groups for agreeing under fiscally uncertain circumstances to a wage freeze through 2021, contingent upon the borough agreeing that there will be no layoffs. Rieger described the Police Association Memorandum of Understanding, which was approved later in the meeting, as the last of these agreements for the remainder of the fiscal year.
In other business, the council voted to hire a new sanitation laborer and to approve facade improvement grants to a recently-approved pizza restaurant at 662 Front St. and the Saucon Valley Karate Academy building at 46 West Water St. Borough Manager Cathy Hartranft reminded borough businesses that grant funds are limited and to submit their applications without hesitation.