|Bethlehem's Town Hall|
As explained by Public Works Director Michael Alkhal, the City is seeking a $250,000 grant for a $500,000 sidewalk repair and streetscaping project along Main Street, between Market and Walnut Streets.
Council member Michael Recchiuti was concerned about the merchants along Main Street who will contribute $125,000 for these repairs. He asked, "Are they on board with this?" Alkhal answered that he will meet with them, but noted that the cost to them is now half what it as when this project was initially proposed last year. Alkhal added that the project would take 75 days to complete, and will start as soon in the spring as possible because merchants would prefer to see the work done early. He promised "minimal disruption" and said work would be limited to one property at a time.
Planning Director Darlene Heller said the $200,000 grant for the City's South Side will be spent mostly on sidewalk repairs along Fourth Street. She told Council that other sources of revenue include $100,000 from a previous grant, $200,000 from the Bethlehem Steel TIF project and $50,000 from Lehigh University.
The only controversial matter, the approval of a new Director of Recycling, has been postponed until July 1, with the administration's agreement.
Two citizens also addressed City Council.
Thomas Carroll, a former City Council and County Judge candidate, informed Council that several members of the public will participate in a reading of the declaration of independence at Payrow Plaza on July 4. The readers will include Judge Emil Giordano, Mayor Bob Donchez and Police Chief Mark DiLuzio.
Steve Antalics complimented the Mayor for using his own car, even though he is on cal 24/7, and told Council that he is "setting a very good example" that needs to be followed by other city workers. He noted that one City employee drives a city-owned vehicle back and forth to Bucks County daily, wasting thousands of dollars in public money. he said only two people, the Police and Fire Chief, should be permitted to drive city-owned vehicles home.
"We should start counting pennies," he reasoned.