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Resignation opens 4th ward council seat

At the Jan. 19 Northampton Borough Council meeting, council voted reluctantly to accept the resignation of former President Anthony Lopsonzski Jr. from borough council.

Lopsonzski Jr. is moving out of the borough, and the Pennsylvania Borough Code requires that council members reside in the borough of their elected office.

Accolades continued from Mayor Anthony Pristash and council members at the loss of what was described as an excellent, community-spirited public servant.

Borough Solicitor Brian Panella informed council it has 30 days from the time of the meeting to appoint a replacement council member or the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas could appoint one.

Because of the ward division structure of the borough, the applicants must be from the fourth ward, which is generally considered the Newport area.

Newport was one of the three villages, including Siegfried and Stemton, that merged in 1902 to form Northampton. Each of the four wards comprising Northampton has two elected council members, totaling eight council members, with a mayor elected by the entire borough.

If interested in local elected office on Northampton Borough Council and a resident of the fourth ward, contact the borough office at 610-262-2576. Applicants must be a resident of the fourth ward for at least one year in order to apply.

In other business, council approved ordinance 1226 to amend ordinance 1207, which establishes regulations for the registration, inspections and licensing of residential rental properties and housing occupancy within Northampton Borough; minimum standards for rental properties; and violation penalties for noncompliance and appeals. This ordinance is available for review by residents by contacting the borough office.

A request from Northampton Police Chief Bryan Kadingo was approved to send two police officers to a two-day training on a first responders grant-writing class. The class is May 8 and 9, at a cost of $499 per officer.

The planning commission requested council grant a favorable approval to the borough’s zoning hearing board to provide variances for the project at the former Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4714 building, 1204 Main St. The council action waived the installation of a shade tree and allowed for the planned number of parking slots at the future apartment building.

Councilmember Kenneth Hall noted the borough received a Grow NORCO grant in the amount of $34,000 that can be used to purchase a new police vehicle.

Hall also reported the borough 2022 financial accounts are set begin Feb. 13.

Councilwoman Judy Haldeman said the borough received a $400 anonymous donation that will be applied toward the pool memorial.

Haldeman also said the AARP tax preparation service will begin Jan. 30 at the Northampton Recreation Center, 1 Lerchenmiller Drive. Potential tax service recipients must contact the rec center to schedule an appointment to have their taxes completed.

According to Haldeman, there is an inaugural meeting of the Northampton Garden Club planned for 10 a.m. Jan. 28 at the Northampton Fire Department, 4 Lerchenmiller Drive. The club is charged with a near-total makeover and beautification of Canal Street Park. The Rev. Jerry Marz is the current organizer and leader of the effort.

Councilwoman Bonnie Almond reported the fire department received its new command vehicle - a 2023 Chevrolet Silverado. Additionally, the fire department is holding a purse bingo Feb. 25 at the fire station. Doors will open 11 a.m., and bingo will begin 12:30 p.m. Food and refreshments will be served.

Councilman Ron Glassic noted the borough received several comments about last month’s livestreaming of council meetings. The video was reported as very good. There are reportedly some improvements needed with the audio. It is important residents who approach the microphone in council chambers speak directly into the microphone, so the residents online can hear what is being said.

Councilman Trevor Stone requested meeting attendees, both in-person and virtual, consider applying for openings on the borough’s planning commission and/or the zoning hearing board.

Council Vice President Judy Kutzler, who was the acting president during this meeting, reported the police department responded to 476 calls during December 2022. There were arrests for burglary, DUI, retail theft and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Pristash said a recent visit with new state Sen. Nick Miller, D-14th, was a benefit, as Miller wants to learn more about and assist Northampton council in moving the borough forward. Pristash also thanked state Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-18th, who diligently helped Northampton with many projects and assistance during many years.

Boscola was redistricted out of Northampton. Miller represents the newly created district in the state legislature.

Pristash said he looks forward to the development of the Northampton Garden Club and looks forward to assisting the members with their goal of improving the park.

The next Northampton Borough Council meeting is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at 1401 Laubach Ave. It is a hybrid meeting, with both in-person and virtual options. Contact the borough office to access the meeting virtually.