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‘Prosecuted to fullest extent of the law’

Bath Borough Mayor Fiorella Reginelli-Mirabito is widely regarded as an affable, compassionate public official, willing to assist any resident no matter what the circumstance. But, at the Oct. 5 Bath Borough Council meeting, the mayor let loose with indignation aimed at residents’ behavior that will not be condoned.

What prompted the outrage are aggressive responses by some borough residents who received tickets through the new Bath quality of life ordinance.

Last month, borough Manager Bradley Flynn expressed anger over a resident who nearly assaulted a borough worker because the resident received a citation under the new ordinance. Flynn warned residents who overreact in a manner that can be considered assault or battery will not be tolerated.

“Residents will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

This miscreant behavior continued during September.

“We have code enforcement. If you have a problem with a ticket, please do not come to borough hall yelling and screaming. I don’t want people coming here like that. I will not have screaming; that is simply ignorant. This has to stop. In the end, this is for the safety of everyone,” Reginelli-Mirabito said.

Reginelli-Mirabito went on to describe an irate resident who was verbally accosting the office administrator on the telephone over a ticket. The mayor said publicly that because a resident has been doing something wrong for 20 years, and they were never told about it, does not mean it is OK. She added she will call Pennsylvania State Police about any resident acting in this manner toward borough employees.

In her mayor’s report, Reginelli-Mirabito said the Oct. 31 Treats with a Trooper event, set for 6-8 p.m., is on, along with trick-or-treat night, also 6-8 p.m. She added she has received much positive feedback about the state police traffic speeding reduction efforts within the borough. She thanked a number of volunteers who consistently volunteer to help Bath.

“(There is) a lot of volunteer work I am grateful for,” Reginelli-Mirabito said.

In the hearing of persons present for the meeting, a resident asked about the status of the rental inspection program.

Council President Mark Saginario said council is about 75-percent completed with the program.

“COVID-19 came, and the ordinance is stalled,” Saginario said.

The resident then asked when it will be done.

Saginario replied, “I don’t have an exact date” but added maybe sometime in the first quarter of 2021.

Reginelli-Mirabito, citing a recent rental issue, said, “We need rental inspection.”

The resident continued: “It’s getting worse, and not holding people accountable is getting to be a public health issue.”

He added there is garbage not being cleaned up and there are rats in the garbage. The resident said he had to cut his neighbor’s grass because it was not getting done. He added there are parking problems with other residents parking their cars in a way that obstructs mailboxes, which stifles mail delivery.

“I’m getting fed up and wanting to move,” he said.

Flynn said the issues will be followed up. He encouraged residents to take pictures of violations and call or email the borough office to report issues. He said the ordinance covers these types of infractions.

Councilman Frank Hesch, in his Nazareth Area Council of Governments report, said members met in September. The costs for animal control to the member municipalities did not change. The feral cat program was put on hold. According to Hesch, Nazareth Borough started a voucher program to pay for spaying and neutering feral cats for about $30-plus a cat.

Hesch also reported Lehigh Valley Planning Commission is developing an economic value program to ascertain the value of open and green spaces within communities.

In his borough manager report, Flynn shared earned income tax receipts are down for 2020. He reported EIT receipts in 2018 and 2019 were $302,000 and $314,000, respectively. So far for 2020, receipts are at $220,000. This reduction will impact the borough’s 2021 budget, according to Flynn.

Council member Carol Bear-Heckman requested clarity in the parking meter enforcement regulations.

Hang tags issued to business owners for their employees does not guarantee a metered parking spot, it was noted. Flynn plans to look into the matter and replied that the metered parking spots are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Council and the mayor concluded the meeting by reviewing the budget in preparation of assembling the 2021 spending plan. It is expected to be a no-tax-hike budget for 2021.

The next council meeting is 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at Bath Borough Hall, 121 S. Walnut St., for those to attend in person and on Zoom. Contact the borough office for the meeting codes.