EMMAUS BOROUGH COUNCIL
J.P. Mascaro & Sons has become a familiar topic at the Emmaus Borough Council meetings.
Councilman Jeff Shubzda said the health, sanitation and codes committee met with Mascaro to, once again, voice concerns regarding trash pickup. This meeting came about after Borough Manager Shane Pepe saw the garbage hauler combining recycling and refuse together last month.
Shubzda said after committee members voiced their concerns, which included missing trash pickups, not picking up recycling, missing whole areas, not complying to the school zones and not leaving the borough in time, they allowed Mascaro to give reasoning as to why they are having such issues.
Mascaro said they use the same trucks to pick up trash and recycling, which could possibly be misinterpreted by residents. According to Shubzda, they were very adamant about the day Pepe saw them combining trash and refuse together, saying “that was the only time it ever happened.”
Shubzda said one thing Mascaro did point out, which will be discussed with Pepe, is how trash is being put out by residents. According to Mascaro, trash and recycling are being put into containers with no stickers on them, so haulers are misinterpreting and throwing everything in the trash.
Shubzda said they are going to find a way to educate the public in the proper way to put out trash, which will hopefully alleviate some of the problem. Pepe said he put some brief information in a past newsletter, but they have much more information they need to send out.
“We’re not excusing Mascaro by any means, but it has turned into a free-for-all out there with a number of residents,” Pepe said. “I think they [Mascaro] probably could have quadrupled the number of photos that they sent us.”
Shubzda said the borough is working on getting stickers printed for residents to put on recycling cans as well as applying for a grant this year to hopefully get specific recycling containers for residents to use.
Councilman Wesley Barrett noted from a public standpoint, the issue has become something about which residents are very concerned. He said, however, the borough “can’t just go ‘We’re firing them;’ it’s just not that easy unless you want to be involved in endless lawsuits. It’s never that simple.”
Barrett said the message is loud and clear and “you [Mascaro] can give us every excuse that you want. At the end of the day, we need you to do your job correctly and we will stay on you until that is done.”
In other meeting news, council passed Resolution 2018-8 authorizing Pepe to apply for a Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Program Grant. The grant is for $300,000 with a 15 percent match from the borough. The borough was awarded a $260,000 grant in 2017 to help repair severely damaged manholes and correct an inflow problem.
Pepe said the fact they received the first grant was quite surprising, but an additional grant for phase two would help immensely. Phase two involves continuing the repair of the roughly 580 manholes in town, including replacing ladders, adding inserts or replacing the foundation wall. Pepe said each manhole is different.
Pepe noted two major sewer meters in the borough, one of which would cost between $40,000 to $60,000 to replace and the other roughly $25,000 to replace, will be considered.
Pepe said one of the concerns Allentown has with all of the municipalities involved in the administrative order from the Environmental Protection Agency, is if the meters are accurate and reading correctly.
“They think they’re maybe getting ripped off at the far end of the line because more water is flowing than what the meters are saying,” Pepe said. He said while they “tend to disagree with that” the borough will be doing readings in the meantime, and if they do need to replace the meters, this grant would pay for replacement.
Councilwoman Terri Sorg-McManamon mentioned the Pennsylvania Cable Network approached her wanting to a do a 24-minute segment on the Borough of Emmaus. The network, which will air the series about Pennsylvania boroughs in May, will begin filming Emmaus either at the end of March or the middle of April.
Sorg-McManamon said she and Pepe have started to work on a script and outline for the filming.