Trick or treat?
The Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners met via Webex Oct. 5 for its monthly workshop meeting.
Though it was previously reported Whitehall Township would still endorse trick-or-treat night, recent events may force a change. The original plan was to have 6-8 p.m. Oct. 30 as the official trick-or-treat time for children in the township; however, with one school in the Whitehall-Coplay School District already having to close for a few days due to a COVID-19 outbreak, Mayor Michael Harakal Jr. is now on the fence about the decision.
Commissioner Charles Fisher asked what other townships and municipalities were doing, as many have set official nights. Harakal confirmed many are now retracting, or considering retracting, the decisions due to outbreaks.
The board will continue the discussion at its Oct. 12 meeting.
In other business, Whitehall Township Police Department is requesting a few purchases to enhance its daily operations. Bill 29-2020 proposed the purchase of body cameras for the department overall, while Bill 30-2020 requested the purchase of three 2021 Dodge Charger vehicles for the police patrol division.
Jeffrey Warren was the only commissioner to speak on the request, stating the bids for the vehicles came in very low and noted this would be a good purchase for the department.
Whitehall Township is looking to utilize the Tyler Technology financial management software system, Incode edition. The software, which has a price tag of more than $25,000, has received positive feedback from those using it in Allentown; however, township resident Edward Hozza Jr. discussed a negative experience he had with the company.
Hozza, former township mayor and now Lehigh County director of administration, had worked with the system in the county and shared the difficult relationship he had with customer service.
Commissioners are likely to decide on the system purchase at next week’s board meeting.
Bill 31-2020 requested a general obligation bond of $8,700,000 for funding capital projects, including the construction of the new emergency services building and other capital projects in the township. Chris Gibbons, a certified financial planner, was present to back this request, stating this type of bond is much more favorable than a bank loan, as the current interest with this bond is only 2.28 percent.
Commissioners also discussed the preservation of the historic Mickley Prydun Farm. Resolution 3137 is requesting a grant aimed at restoring the farmhouse. Much of the concern over this was available money and a group to organize and oversee the process.
Board of Commissioners President Philip Ginder proposed a possible committee.
Hozza stressed the importance of this preservation.
“People move to the Lehigh Valley for our quality of life - mainly in Whitehall,” he said. “It would be catastrophic if we lost [the farmhouse].”
Harakal is also in favor of preserving the home, adding he would serve on the committee, along with Commissioners Michael Dee and Warren.
More discussion surrounding a possible Mickley Prydun Farm committee will take place at the next meeting.
The board finished the meeting with reappointments, all with terms ending Sept. 30, 2023.
Joseph Wilfinger was reappointed to the recreation commission/historical society.
Robert Miller was reappointed to the recreation commission/garden club.
John Kelly and Elizabeth Fox were reappointed to the recreation commission.
The board of commissioners will next meet 7 p.m. Oct. 12. To join the meeting, visit whitehalltownship.org for more information.