Bethlehem Press

Friday, January 24, 2020

Article By: Nate Jastrzemski

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 by Nate Jastrzemski in Local News

With the help of some big grants, borough council hopes to buy a fire truck and a Muffin Monster.

And while members spent over a half-hour talking about basketball courts, nothing else they discussed was actual kid talk.

Assistant Fire Chief Jon Rossi had recently gotten grants for new equipment such as a heat-sensor camera, and he presented council with an actual fire engine – one Palmer Township is willing to part with – to explain his plans. He said he’s currently looking at new and used engines, comparing pricing on available trucks before applying for the grant he has his eyes on.

Meanwhile an aged pumphouse serving about 1,000 households in the town’s southwest quadrant may see some much-needed modernization.

Borough Engineer Justin Coyle said the pumphouse, located next to council member Justin “Peanuts” LaBar’s garage on Market Street, has required ever-increasing maintenance and replacement parts over the past 18 months, and explained many ways its outdated technology is sucking up borough time and money rather than wastewater.

Borough Manager Judith Danko said she and Coyle have been working on a state Department of Community and Economic Development rant application they think will serve the borough well, especially as the electrical, mechanical and capacitor failures at the pumphouse are costing thousands of dollars.

“Upgrades are pretty much critical,” Coyle said, “You’re living on borrowed time.”

One thing that will increase the efficiency and longevity of new pumps will be a Muffin Monster; an industrial grinder that pulverizes debris like a super-powerful garbage disposal.

Coyle and Danko said to get the grant application in on time in October, they must begin now, but it will definitely be worthwhile: Estimates for the construction are at about $150,000, and with the grant the cost to the borough will be only $30,000.

“It’s a substantial grant,” Coyle said.

Council has also heard from residents regarding speeding along a dangerously curved section of Market Street which is marked at only 15 miles per hour. Residents are scared somebody will get hurt and are tiring of all the property damage from speeding vehicles striking their own cars, yards and homes.

One speaker, Maggie Calo, said, “Every week somebody plows into my house or something.” She asked for solutions.

Some council members and solicitor Jamie Kratz were worried about liability issues with speed bumps, but Jim Smith suggested a rubber type of bump that can be removed in winter when municipal vehicles need to clear streets.

For 10 minutes a half-dozen conversations filled the hall simultaneously as everybody ventured ideas, complaints, options and pleas.

Council President Homer “Bud” Lorrah finally called an end to the subject for this meeting and said, “We’ll all take it up for discussion and see if we come up with something.”

The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 8 at borough hall, 600 Monroe St.