Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY AMIT KARMayor Carolee Gifford, Joseph Rothrock, Police Chief Ed Bachart and Joshua Fehnel. PRESS PHOTO BY AMIT KARMayor Carolee Gifford, Joseph Rothrock, Police Chief Ed Bachart and Joshua Fehnel.

Storm water sweeps away extra cash

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 by Amit Kar Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

New part-time police officers Joseph Rothrock and Joshua Fehnel were sworn in by Mayor Carolee Gifford alongside Police Chief Ed Bachert at the Fountain Hill Borough Council meeting June 3. The new hires received a round of congratulations. They will begin working in the community later this month.

Council members later revealed an estimated $750,000 expenditure to comply with Department of Environmental Protection requirements regarding storm water will necessitate the creation of a Storm Water Authority that could legally impose fees, possibly as much as $20 per 500 square feet of living space per household ($60 on average).

Car washes, hospitals, businesses, or facilities with water retention needs could incur more charges. Otherwise the borough may face huge daily fines – as much as $33,500. The work may take as long as two and one-half years, but the entire process is in the early planning stages.

These levies to cover costs would be reviewed by the EPA every five years. However, residents could expect rebates for planting trees, or installing suitable (storm) drainage facilities.

The Storm Water Authority would have to be formed by an ordinance, and solicitor Peter Lehr promised to have a draft document of the ordinance available for review by the next meeting.

The Health & Sanitation Committee reported the grand total of all residential, commercial and delinquent garbage and sewer collection for the month of May was $329,008. Despite the collections, the borough continues in a state of delinquency, though Council President Leo Atkinson noted delinquent collections increased from 13 percent in February 2019 to 63 percent in May 2019. Gifford suggested another clean-up to remove all the garbage accumulated in the borough’s streets and back alleys.

Council also said UGI would be doing major replacements of gas lines and lateral connections over various lengths on several streets, with most of them up to the South Hofford Street intersection. The details will be advertised on the borough website three weeks prior to the start date, which is expected to be shortly after July 4.

In sunnier news, the Atkinson announced that the Community Day will be celebrated July 20 with a rain date of July 27 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (where?)

The next meeting is scheduled for this evening at borough hall.