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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Bethlehem Tp Comm'rs Ponder New Yard Waste Policy

President Malissa Davis
Yard waste. That was the dominant topic for Bethlehem Township Commissioners at their August 6 meeting. Public Works Director Richard Grube wants a new policy that will ban contractors from dropping off yard waste.There's no room.

Under the current policy, any township resident can drop off yard waste at the recycling center. So can any township contractor or even an outside contractor who is disposing of a resident's yard waste. In past years, that has been no problem because Green Pond Nursery was willing to accept the mulch at no charge. But last winter, the nursery stopped accepting township mulch because it had no room, either. As a result, the Township has been forced to use a hauler seven times to dispose of the mulch at $250 for each 80-ton tractor trailer load.

"If this continues, we're going to have the problem year after year," said Ass't Public Works Director Richard Kanaskie. "We have so much of it that we'll never be rid of it."

Commissioner John Gallagher asked whether the mulch could be at township facilities. Kanaskie answered that it is at some locations, but a special kind of mulch must be used at playgrounds and around the community center.

Grube and Kanaskie say that, in Bethlehem, all contractors are banned from using the recycling center to dump yard waste, even those who reside in the City. "We would like the township to follow this same policy and not allow contractors to dump yard waste at our facility," they write in a memo.  They add that contractors can take yard waste to Grinding Acres on Freemansburg Avenue and pay a fee.

Public Works would like a new policy in place by the beginning of the year so that contractors have some advance warning. Commissioners took no action because both President Michael Hudak and Vice President Tom Nolan were unavoidably absent. Malissa Davis served as President in their absence.

In other business, Commissioners voted 3-0 to award a $378,417 contract with Grace Industries for improvements to Housenick Park. They include ½ mile of paved walking trail, a gazebo, scenic overlook, children’s nature play area and landscaping. Davis explained that nearly all the money for this project comes from outside sources.

Grace Industries was the lowest of four bids that went as high as $651,000.

Commissioners also voted 3-0 to direct Solicitor Jim Broughal to prepare a new ordinance to address littering and dumping within the Township. Police Captain Greg Gottshall has warned that the current laws are inadequate.

They also voted 3-0 to impose an annual $500 registration fee on banks that foreclose on vacant homes so that the property can be maintained if the bank fails to do so.

Davis also suggested that the carpentry contract at the Archibald Mansion be revised to include the $17,500 cost for fixing the shutters. Broughal said he would need to review the contract first.

Resident Barry Roth scoffed at the Vo-Tech's hesitation at doing this work as a volunteer project. Davis said it was because of the lead paint. "I sprayed lead paint when I was at Vo-Tech, and I'm still alive," he said, as a tooth fell out. "I'm still here," he said, as another one came out .

Lead poisoning has been directly linked to permanent brain damage. "That's an old wives' tale," said Roth, as he picked up his teeth.

Finally, Commissioners considered a proposal that would permit the athletic association to use a 6.59-acre park nestled at the end of Anthony Court for soccer practice by no more than 20 girls, age 5, twice a week. This park is located at Bethlehem Estates, one of the Township's swankier neighborhoods. Six years ago, residents there were upset that kids were using the park to play soccer and threatened litigation.

At that time, Anthony Court resident John Murphy reminded Commissioners that his is a wealthier neighborhood. "Do you guys have any idea how much taxes we pay in that community there?" he asked. "I guarantee that, with five houses, we're talking $60,000 a year."

"You should not have a park in a residential community," he argued.

Commissioners took no action on this proposals. Solicitor Jim Broughal said it is "more of a political issue" than a legal one.

Blogger's Note: I like to publish at midnight or soon thereafter, but simply forgot to publish this last night. I think I have lead poisoning.


Anonymous said...

"At that time, Anthony Court resident John Murphy reminded Commissioners that his is a wealthier neighborhood. "Do you guys have any idea how much taxes we pay in that community there?" he asked. "I guarantee that, with five houses, we're talking $60,000 a year."

This guy is at the wrong meeting. He should go to the BASD school board and whine about the property taxes, Bethlehem Township has a modest tax rate and provides excellent services. I'll be the Township is getting about 10% of that tax bill the guy is griping about.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am quoting that guy from a meeti g six years ago. He was trying to establish that he is an aristocrat and should not have to contend with things like kids.