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Catty to seek federal funding

At the April 5 Catasauqua Borough Council meeting, borough Manager Steven Travers explained a resolution to authorize the request for funding from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act. The deadline for action was April 9.

Travers reported the office of U.S. Congresswoman Susan Wild, D-7th, contacted the borough to alert officials about this grant opportunity.

The resolution indicated the approximately $900,000 request would be for use at the Iron Works project. This drew almost immediate objection from Councilman Brian Bartholomew, who lamented over the funds going solely to the Iron Works project, saying there are other funding needs in the borough. He asked if some of the money could be used in other areas of Catasauqua.

Travers attempted to explain the need for swift action. Bartholomew reported he did not feel comfortable voting now.

Borough Engineer Vanessa Nedrick noted the deadline to apply for these funds was April 9.

“We only were made aware of this opportunity last Friday (April 2),” Nedrick said.

Borough Solicitor Thomas Dinkelacker suggested the resolution can be amended to reflect other needs in the borough that fall under the grant criteria.

Vice President Brian McKittrick, running the meeting in board President Vincent Smith’s absence, requested the initial resolution be approved and then an amended resolution be voted on.

Both resolutions were approved. The federal funding, if approved, may be in the form of a single payment, or 50 percent up front and a second payment later.

Mayor Barbara Schlegel thanked Catasauqua first responders, as well as those from outlying municipalities, for their work in combating the April 3 house fire that claimed the life of a borough woman.

Schlegel reported the Catasauqua community yard sale will be held 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 8 at the firefighters training area on Race Street. Proceeds benefit the police K-9 unit.

Council passed Northampton County’s request for an agreement of sale to provide easements to three parcels of private property along the D&L Trail. The goal is to have 10 feet as the standard trail width.

Amanda Heist was appointed building code enforcement officer.

Councilman Cameron Smith moved Catasauqua’s first-ever, 28-page employee handbook for a vote to adopt. The handbook was approved.

Nedrick said the plan is to evaluate borough roads, needs and costs in order to develop a multiyear road plan. Bartholomew, public works chair, pushed back on a multiyear plan. He noted if we tell residents their street will be paved in two years and that does not happen, the residents will be unhappy.

Nedrick noted the street inventory is done with costs being developed. McKittrick suggested this matter be discussed at a public works committee meeting to provide council guidance.

The next public works committee meeting is 6 p.m. April 20 at the municipal complex, 90 Bridge St.

Nedrick also gave an update on the Race Street parking project draft. So far, expectations are there will be ample parking for residents, trees will need removal at the parking lot and the parking lot will be totally illuminated.

Councilmember Debra Mellish noted Historic Catasauqua Preservation Association is holding a community yard sale 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 1 at Catasauqua Park and Playground, 501 American St.

Mellish also suggested council move to advertise the rental inspection ordinance for adoption at the May council meeting.

The next council workshop meeting is 7 p.m. April 26. This is a hybrid meeting containing in-person and virtual components. Visit catasauqua.org for the call-in number and access codes.