East Penn Press

Thursday, December 12, 2019

ALBURTIS BOROUGH COUNCIL

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 by MAKENZIE CHRISTMAN Special to The Press in Local News

Public safety concerns raised by residents

Several neighbors attended the Sept. 25 Alburtis Borough Council meeting to raise awareness to an ongoing property issue.

Residents informed the borough of what they felt was a public safety issue — as a result of the recent severe thunderstorms, significant amounts of water gather in the yards of those located on Chestnut Street. Despite their continuous inquiries over the years, no storm drain has been installed, leaving the properties to face erosion and occasional flooding.

Keith McDermott explained he often finds sinkholes in his yard and built a dune to ease the water intake as a result of his basement nearly flooding. Like McDermott, most of the neighbors felt frustrated they must utilize their money to temporarily solve the issues rather than receiving the assistance they sought for years.

Michelle Parise showed the borough pictures of flooding in her yard while describing the inconveniences excess runoff creates.

“We can’t even get our lawn mowed properly half the time,” Parise said.

Out of all the properties, the attendees unanimously agreed Tim and Nancy Bickert experience the most damage.

The couple have been Alburtis residents for nearly 35 years and claim “there’s always been a drainage issue.”

Neighbors explained during showers or thunderstorms, rain runoff travels to their yards from above properties and sometimes spills out onto the street causing concerns for public safety.

Board President Ronald DeIaco and Vice President Steven Hill repeatedly questioned the public concerns to clarify no efforts on the borough’s behalf have been made to resolve the issue. Ultimately, the neighbor’s informed the board no storm drain or curb is in place to ease the water flow along Chestnut Street and School Street.

DeIaco ended the discussion by informing the resident’s the borough would search for solutions.

“This is a serious issue, I understand,” DeIaco said. “And we’re gonna do what we can. We have systems to direct and redirect [water] but evidently that’s not sufficient enough for your neighborhood ... We’ll see what alternatives we have to solve that issue and we’ll stay on it.”

Following the flooding concerns, the borough analyzed the sanitary sewer system pump station evaluation. The evaluation explains that the pump station has aged well and recommends minor additions including a trash basket and rail system, fencing and an alarm dialer among others.

The council agreed that among other priorities on their agenda, they plan to develop the suggested add-on’s in a two or three stage project and seek approval for spending at the next meeting.

The meeting ended with conversation of funding for this year’s Alburtis holiday festival. Borough Manager Sharon Trexler explained the company that typically services the festival with horse drawn carriages cannot attend this year and the alternatives are more costly. DeIaco suggested with proper funding, the borough could potentially match community donations or cover the difference to hire another company for horse drawn carriages.