EMMAUS BOROUGH COUNCIL
Emmaus Borough Council unanimously approved a five-year lease renewal with the Seven Generations Charter School at its June 19 meeting.
This lease agreement allows the school to use a section of the borough owned building on 33 E. Minor Street. The lease starts July 1 with an annual rent of $155,428, which will have a 1.5 percent increase annually until the end of the contract, which will have the rent up to $220,156 by 2021.
Council President Brent Labenberg said the lease agreement and school’s monthly rent will help pay the cost of the recently purchased former Rodale building which will be converted into the new borough hall. The money will also go toward renovations for the new building.
“Once the building is paid off, by then rent will be close to a quarter million dollars which will be a quarter million dollars that the taxpayers will have to go toward anything that’s needed in this borough, which the list grows every year, so this was a wise investment,” Labenberg said.
“I know there are people out there who feel otherwise, but there are a lot of people that don’t know the finances of the agreement,” he stated.
“We’re fortunate to have someone who is responsible and is educating children in the borough here,” Councilman Roy Anders said. “It’s a good win for us and the residents as well.”
In other business, Richard Farmer was presented with the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award for his work with the Friends of the 1803 House, the Emmaus Heritage Alliance and the Emmaus Arts Commission.
“The annual Emmaus Borough Volunteer of the Year Award was created to recognize those outstanding community volunteers, whose unselfish and dedicated service to the Emmaus organizations has made a significant difference to our community,” Councilman Chris DeFrain said.
Farmer has lived in the community for close to 50 years, and was part of the committee which established the Friends of the 1803 House. He served on the committee from 1976 to 1984 and returned in 2007 where he remained president until 2011.
“Well, I wrote a piece a few years ago about loving your family and loving your community, and that’s pretty much how I feel about what I do,” Farmer said.
“The importance of volunteers in our community can’t be overstated,” DeFrain said. “A lot of hours are put in to make this borough what it is, and the volunteers carry a heavy load with that.”
The Volunteer of the Year Award was started in 2005 and is funded by the Commemorative Gardens Foundation. Candidates for this award are picked and awarded by council.
Laura Hodes was presented the annual student excellence in art award to a recent high school graduate by the Emmaus Arts Commission. Hodes is a 2017 graduate of Emmaus High School. She received $500 in gifts cards to Dick Blick Art Materials and Conversational Threads, and will attend Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia in the fall.
Council approved a 10-year lease agreement with Knauss Homestead. The lease will be terminated May 31, 2027, with the rental amount being $1 per year. “They’ll [Knauss Homestead Preservation Society] be taking care of the billing, they’ll be raising funds and investing plenty into this building,” Councilman Wesley Barrett said.
Council also approved a two-year lease agreement with East Penn Neighbors Helping Neighbors for rental of the 151 E. Minor St. property. The first year will be $1,000 per month for rent and the second year’s rent will increase to $1,020 per month.