Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Comm'rs Consider Acoustic Wallpaper For Cavernous Meeting Room

Beth Tp meeting room probably largest in LV
Bethlehem Township's cavernous meeting room, probably the largest in the Lehigh Valley, is more akin to the nave of Notre Dame Cathedral than than a town hall. But over the past 16 years, it's had the same wallpaper, which is now peeling and attached to the wall with staples and duct tape in places. At their January 20 meeting, Commissioners approved a purchase order for new wallpaper from Sobrinski Painting, at a $6,450.00 price. But not until thoroughly reviewing Comm'r Marty Zawarski's request to consider acoustic wallpaper.

Noting that the acoustics in this large room leave a lot to be desired, Zawarski suggested that acoustic wallpaper might improve the ability of the public to actually hear what goes on. As luck would have it, several people in the audience were familiar with acoustic wallpaper. One of them suggested some kind of panel. Planning Chair Lee Snover, who is in the drywall business and was at the meeting, was asked what she thought.

"They look fine to me," she told Commissioners.

But not to the Commissioners. They went for the new wallpaper, along with seven other purchase orders from different vendors for other, unrelated, Township needs totaling over $238,000.

These items are listed on the agenda, and usually include the name of the vendor, the monetary amount, and where the money is being spent. Resident Bill Berry suggested that more detail should be provided for future purchase orders. Commissioner Michael Hudak told Berry that they receive all the details in advance of each meeting.

"You do, but we don't," retorted Berry. "We would like to see what those are for, that's all."

Commissioners agreed to consider ways in which to increase transparency, including the use of the Township web page.

In other business, Kings View resident June Ding, a member of the Block Watch, told Commissioners that her neighborhood is very concerned about the thefts and lack of outdoor lighting in her neighborhood. She also stated that trees planted between the sidewalks and street have overgrown and have uplifted sidewalks, and in some instances, the street macadam and curbs. She said sidewalks are so unsafe she is forced to walk her granddaughter on the street.

"Someone's really going to get hurt," she warned.

"I have to admit this is the first time I've had this issue," stated President Tom Nolan.

Resident Martin Comer told Commissioners that department heads should be present at all meetings. "That way nothing gets lost in the translation," he advised.

As the meeting drew to an end, Commissioners unanimously agreed to re-appoint Tim Brady to the Township's three-person Civil Service Commission, and will advertise for an alternate. They also appointed former Commissioner Paul Weiss to a vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Board.

"You're not getting away that easy," Commissioner Mike Hudak warned Weiss.

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