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Mayor seeks support for bells initiative

At the April 26 Catasauqua Borough Council workshop meeting, Mayor Barbara Schlegel read a resolution from the Pennsylvania State Mayors Association asking that church bells ring 7 p.m. May 2 in a collaborative effort called Bells Across America.

The goal of the initiative is to honor those deemed essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents are also asked to ring bells or make noise for three minutes.

Schlegel also thanked all who assisted with the April 25 drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic. The event was coordinated by Hartzell’s Pharmacy and Catasauqua Borough and was held at the borough’s fire department facilities.

Borough Manager Steven Travers thanked Schlegel, council President Vincent Smith, Councilman Gene Schlegel, Hartzell’s Pharmacy, the fire department, fire police and emergency management for their collective efforts at the clinic. Travers said 240 vaccines were administered during the clinic.

The April 26 meeting also referenced pending ordinances and resolutions being prepared for adoption at the May 3 meeting. The ordinances and resolutions were reviewed in depth at a previous meeting.

Borough Solicitor Jeffrey Dimmick stimulated a discussion about nuisances on rental properties such as bedbugs. The discussions were about strategies of how to remediate nuisances. No firm solutions were developed.

Gene Schlegel asked Dimmick to look at the borough’s tree ordinance to examine what can be done about trees on residents’ properties that may present a safety issue. Schlegel noted some of these trees are dead.

Dimmick responded the nuisance ordinance may cover safety issues involving trees.

Engineer Vanessa Nedrick said costs are being developed for planned projects. She suggested council members make decisions if they want to move forward on projects.

She reported the road program meeting with the public works committee produced a list of roads in need of improvement. Four roads have been identified as priorities - with a repair cost in excess of $300,000.

At a public utilities committee meeting, Nedrick said it was reported a fluoride system change would be about $90,000. The borough would have to decide if fluoride remains in the borough’s water.

Councilman Brian McKittrick, chair of the public safety committee, reported a couple of handicapped spaces are being removed because they are no longer needed by the residents at their current locations.

Councilman Paul Cmil, chair of the public utilities committee, noted he is disappointed with the cost of repairs to the public utilities buildings and equipment. He asked to have the needed repairs prioritized.

Councilwoman Deb Mellish, chair of the planning and zoning committee, said the beekeeping ordinance is being developed. It is being patterned after Emmaus Borough’s beekeeping ordinance.

Mellish added Catasauqua Main Streets, the borough’s business organization, is planning a Meet the Council Candidates night. Date and time are to be announced.

In his recreation committee report, Gene Schlegel floated the idea of a community fire pit. He reported he wants to speak with a local municipality that has its own communal fire pit to learn what rules and procedures it has in place. He said he will report his findings to council.

Gene Schlegel also reported he procured a former U.S. postal mailbox to be painted red for kids’ letters to Santa Claus. He plans to finalize details and report back to council next month.

George Taylor House now has homemade curtains on its windows, it was reported. It was noted the GTH is now a venue for those who desire an 18th-century-style wedding.

Activities are being planned at Catasauqua Park and Playground for this summer, it was noted. Summer concerts at the community park will begin June 4.

Dimmick reported he came across old documents from Catasauqua. He noted one is a handwritten Fuller Company deed from 1886 and is suitable for framing.

The next Catasauqua Borough Council meeting is 7 p.m. May 3. It will be a hybrid meeting with both in-person attendance and a virtual option. Visit catasauqua.org to obtain the call-in number and access codes for the meeting.