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Community invited to decorate tree

During the Nov. 15 North Catasauqua Borough Council meeting, Marc Hillenbrand, representing North Catasauqua Betterment Committee, updated council on the committee’s plans for a public Christmas tree decorating event at North Catasauqua William J. Albert Memorial Park, 701 Grove St.

The committee members will put up a live Christmas tree under the pavilion at the park Dec. 12. The committee will invite the public to join them in decorating the tree that day 1-3 p.m.

Everyone is encouraged to bring ornaments from home, but the committee will also have an arts and crafts table for people to make their own ornaments for the tree. The borough asks residents to only bring wooden or plastic ornaments, as some may be knocked off and broken glass could pose a hazard.

Because the tree will be outside, Hillenbrand noted the committee is not responsible for the condition of any ornaments used.

“You can put them on at your own discretion,” Hillenbrand said.

The tree will remain up until the start of the new year.

Two new junior councilpersons, Avery Daku and Sydney Gebhardt, were sworn in at the meeting.

In other business, Treasurer Annette Englert said a 2022 quote from TruGreen Lawn Care & Management came back with a $700 increase. A year’s worth of service will cost the borough $1,413.49 for the park and $715.06 for borough hall. Public works Supervisor Travis Brett said the increase comes as no surprise given the recent rise in chemical prices and that TruGreen “does a nice job.”

Englert asked council to approve the 2022 general fund budget in the amount of roughly $2.26 million and the 2022 sewer fund budget of $755,000. The budgets will be publicly advertised before council votes to officially adopt them next month.

Englert informed council the bills listed during the last meeting have not yet been paid due to lack of funds. This is primarily due to costs on large grant-funded construction projects in which the borough had to pay for work completed before the grant funds were fully dispersed.

There was $25,000 taken out of the sewer fund and put into the general fund to cover costs, but Englert expects she’ll need to take out $75,000 more to avoid incurring fees on the unpaid bills.

Brett suggested hiring Daniel Boyer for the open public works position. Council approved the hiring, pending an interview.

Brett also informed council he has found somewhere to take the borough’s leaves. A local farmer offered to take leaves at $55 per load, and the borough should start unloading them at his property shortly. Brett asked borough residents to be patient.

“If the weather permits, we’re gonna get the leaves up,” Brett said.

Brett thanked Gary Gotabeski, of Colonial Landscaping in Catasauqua, for donating the tree that will be used for the recreation committee’s tree-lighting ceremony, planned for 6 p.m. Nov. 28 at the playground.

North Catasauqua Police Association will be present at the tree lighting for a Toys for Tots toy drive. New and unopened toys will be collected during the event. Questions can be directed to Officer Brian Douglas at 610-266-4065.

The police department will hold its second Fill-A-Cop-Car food drive for Thanksgiving 3-5 p.m. Nov. 20 at the park. Donations can be dropped off at borough hall anytime before Nov. 20. The department will then deliver the meals to the chosen families before the holiday.

Fire Chief Roger Scheirer informed council the fire department will be taking two engines to the annual Catasauqua Area School District bonfire at Sheckler Elementary School Nov. 24.

The fire department will also be collecting registration forms and gifts at the fire station for the 2021 Secret Santa. Gifts can be dropped off 6-9 p.m. Nov. 29 and Dec. 5, 6 and 10. Santa will be escorted around the borough starting 10 a.m. to deliver each gift Dec. 12.

Call the fire department at 610-266-1969 or email secretsanta@ncfd18.com with any questions.

Mitchell Lewis, junior councilperson, addressed council on behalf of the residents of the 1000 block of Second Street. The residents reportedly have complaints regarding a vacant home at 1024 Second St., which has a handicapped-parking spot taking up street parking, despite being currently unused.

Borough Secretary Tasha Jandrisovitz reported the property was recently purchased by a new owner, who intends to bring it up to code. She said the public works department will be removing the parking signage and efforts to address all of the residents’ concerns are “well in the works.”