East Penn Press

Thursday, December 12, 2019

ALBURTIS BOROUGH COUNCIL

Friday, October 18, 2019 by MAKENZIE CHRISTMAN Special to The Press in Local News

Council dispute borough finances and sidewalks

At the Oct. 9 Alburtis Borough Council meeting, council members evaluated expenses and a request for sidewalk installation on West Second Street.

Members analyzed garbage contract bids, energy provider offers and grants among the borough finances.

Preceeding public comments, the borough discussed the current garbage bids in comparison to their current contract. The borough has the option of extending their current contract or accepting a new contract with J.P. Mascaro & Sons.

Following conversation of garbage bidding contracts, Tim Gaugler, president of Gaugler Contracting LLC presented the borough with an issue regarding a request for sidewalks on a property along West Second Street. Gaugler explained the “final plan” he presented to the borough showed no intentions of installing sidewalks. Now that the construction plans are complete, Gaugler claims he still has not received any formal written request for sidewalks. Gaugler explained that even if he received one now, he no longer possesses the funds to install a sidewalk after meeting the construction budget.

Council president Ron DeIaco informed Gaugler council wishes to place more sidewalks throughout the borough for community safety; this request is not specific to his company. However, the physical installation of sidewalks has been inconsistent.

“We have always been spotty...” DeIaco said. “Some people have sidewalks, some don’t... last year we put sidewalks on Walnut Street so kids could walk to school...We either have to do it somewhere or nowhere.”

Gaugler’s concern led to a debate among council as to whether installing sidewalks during construction is more cost effective than installing them afterward and which option better benefits the borough.

“It’s much cheaper to put sidewalks in when you’re building a house...” DeIaco said. “That was the thinking behind [the request].”

Vice-President Steven Hill found the idea of installing sidewalks as each individual property underwent construction unsensible.

“It doesn’t make any sense to put two little sections of sidewalk [instead of one long sidewalk],” Hill said.

Council member Hector Vasquez questioned if Gaugler could install both sidewalks since he plans to construct another house on a lot next to the property in question. However, Gaugler advised the board that installing sidewalk once all the lots finish construction would be more beneficial to the borough.

“I’ve been [in business] for 35 years,” Gaugler said. “If you want to put in sidewalks that’s great, [but] the time to put it in is when all the lots are done.”

The borough agreed to look further into the issue.

Moving forward, council discussed a proposal from APPI Energy, an energy provider, but decided to continue business with the borough’s current provider, PPL Electric Utilities.

The meeting ended with discussion of other borough finances including a small water and sewer grant, the Public Utility Realty Tax and 2018 small water and sewer grant reimbursement.