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Mayor twice assumes rare role as tiebreaker

Mayor Lee Ann Gilbert was called upon twice to break a tie vote at the Emmaus Borough Council’s Aug. 15 regular meeting.

The Emmaus Halloween Parade Committee requested the start time for the 2022 parade be moved from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. to allow more daylight time for setting things up in the staging area.

Citing years of tradition, council President Brent Labenberg expressed reluctance to the idea. Council Vice President Chris DeFrain remarked changing the start time would affect the Halloween In Emmaus 5K Race that precedes the parade a half-hour earlier. Councilwoman Teri Sorg-McManamon was of the opinion that a half-hour would not make much difference as people line up early already.

The vote to change the parade start time was 3-3. Mayor Lee Ann Gilbert, in favor of moving up the time to 7 p.m., broke the tie.

The Halloween Parade will be scheduled 7 p.m. Oct. 15 with the rain date of 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16.

Reach LV Youth Recovery Center requested to hold a basketball showcase event for Aug. 26 at Emmaus Community Park. While the organization was already renting a pavilion, there was uncertainty on event details in regard to if they planned to reserve a basketball court. Council voted 3-3 to allow the event.

The mayor again serving as tiebreaker asked, “Are you going to cancel the event and refund the money?” before voting in favor of allowing the event.

The council unanimously voted to provide the center with an option to reserve a basketball court for around $50 for a 4-hour time slot.

Council members voted unanimously to honor a Cyclocross event request for Sept. 11. When it came to charging the organization a $180 fee for the day, the voting was 5-1, with Councilwoman Shana Baumgartner voting “nay.”

Board President Gene Clock of the Knauss Homestead Preservation Society led a special presentation on the historic site. He put in a request for a peach festival after updating the council on progress the nonprofit is making on restoring the 1777 house and circa 1900s barn.

He reported the asbestos siding has been removed from the barn to expose the original wood. They are also addressing issues with the slate roof. The society looks to convert the barn into a community event center.

Proceeds from the peach festival are to benefit the homestead.

Reconsideration of a Train Noise Quiet Zone was sidetracked. Council decided it would be too expensive to arrange.

The planning commission volunteer application interview is to be handled by the health and sanitation department.

A second reading and adoption was held of amendments to Chapter 15 §602.2.A of the Emmaus Borough code regarding “Removing residential disabled parking signs on the public streets located at 529 Minor St. and 234 Adrian St.”

In her mayoral report, Gilbert described the recent grand opening of Nowhere Coffee Co. at 318 Main St. held Aug. 13.

Baumgartner, a parks and recreation committee member reported Bernadette Patterson was appointed to the recreation and entertainment commission with her term expiring June 7, 2025.

Attending remotely, Adam J. Priest, of Macungie, was congratulated as the borough’s new hire as assistant EMS chief. The council voted unanimously to employ him at $76,000 per year with a two-week vacation and college tuition reimbursement for future education. Borough Manager Shane Pepe noted Priest had “the right stuff” and had been serving as a paramedic with Emmaus Fire and EMS since April.

The 1996 Emmaus High School graduate has had experience as a firefighter since 1996 and as an emergency medical technician since 1998.

At Baumgartner’s encouragement, there were six “ayes” for Resolution 2022–31 regarding disposal of municipal records. These items dated back to 1961 and were no longer needed. They had just taken up too much storage space.

Led by DeFrain of the budget and finance committee, Resolution 2022-32 on the budget bill list was approved unanimously.

Regarding community relations, planning and development, Sorg-McManamon reported the committee has made progress on Vision 2030.

In his borough manager’s report, Pepe was happy to say pool revenue is up to $138,520 from $127,668 last year. Concession stand revenue was also up from $52,581 last year to $61,082. He cited fried Oreos as a big hit.

Pepe said things have been going forward with renovations to Borough Hall. Framing for the rear garage is up with the steel coming earlier than expected. Ductwork is done, but HVAC units have not arrived yet. Roof work is to begin in September. “While a lot can change,” he cautioned, it appears they will be able to move back in May 2023.

Labenberg announced an executive session for after the public forum on “personnel and litigation.”

The next Emmaus Borough Council meeting will be held 7 p.m. Sept. 19. Meetings continue to be temporarily located at 139 N. Fourth St. at St. John’s UCC.

PRESS PHOTO BY ED COURRIER Emmaus Mayor Lee Ann Gilbert casts the first of her two tiebreaking votes to change the start time of the Emmaus Halloween Parade from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in order to allow more daylight time for set up in the staging area.