The Emmaus Borough Council unanimously voted to pass the first reading of the 2019 budget at the Dec. 3 meeting, which will include a 13 percent tax increase.
The new $16.6 million budget will include a property tax millage rise from 4.874 mills to 5.6654 mills. A mill is a $1 tax on every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. With this 0.79 mills increase, homeowners with property assessed at the borough’s average of $161,100 will be paying an extra $127 for this year.
The Emmaus Borough Council unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement with the local firefighters union at the Oct. 15 council meeting.
Council President Brent Labenberg said negotiations have been going on for about three months, as they were starting a brand new contract from scratch. He said the negotiation was educational on both sides and he “believes everybody is happy that it’s fair.”
“The borough’s happy that it’s within our budget, which is our main concern because we don’t want to have to address a tax increase for this,” Labenberg stated.
At the Oct. 1 Emmaus Borough Council meeting, it was announced the developers for the potential convenience store on Cedar Crest Boulevard will be at the planning commission meeting Oct. 11.
Emmaus Borough Manager Shane Pepe said the planning commission will focus their attention on the land development piece and the plan being submitted and whether or not it fits within the land development ordinances.
President of the Emmaus Youth Association Tom Ashleman attended the Sept. 17 Emmaus Borough Council meeting to address concerns.
“There’s been challenges from the EYA perspective about our relationship with the borough,” Ashleman said. “Rather than that continue to fester and get worse, our approach is that we want to be very upfront and honest with the borough and talk a little bit about what our views were.”
Ashleman said he wanted to speak at the council meeting in order to make sure the issues were visible for everyone.
The Emmaus Police Department was given its fourth Chief’s Accreditation Award at the Emmaus Borough Council meeting Sept. 4.
Dick Hammon, accreditation project manager for the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, said the police department received its first accreditation in 2006 and has been re-accredited every three years since.
“It gets harder as time goes on,” Hammon said. “I think a lot of people misunderstand the program and think that once you get accreditation it’s a simple thing; it’s not a simple thing.”
Emmaus Borough Council announced at its Sept. 4 meeting Whitetail Disposal, of Montgomery County, will take over as the borough’s refuse and recycle hauler starting next year.
The new trash hauler will also come with a new schedule, which will involve splitting up the trash and recycling pick up over a three day period in Emmaus. Councilman Jeff Shubzda said this will make it easier for trucks to get in and out of Emmaus and affect less of the school traffic.
Officers Robert Alburger and Vincent Murante III were promoted to police sergeants at the Emmaus Borough Council Aug. 20.
These promotions are contingent upon a successful completion of a one year term of probation.
“I think the residents of this town are genuinely proud of their police department,” Councilman Wesley Barrett said. “Hearing the general chatter, the department is very happy and the residents are very happy with the performance of those two individuals and department as a whole.”
Emmaus Borough Council unanimously voted to once again apply for the $50,000 facade grant at the July 16 council meeting.
This grant is part of the Pennsylvania Keystone Communities Program funding, which allows businesses to receive money to fix up the exterior of their buildings, whether it be signage, painting the facility, new doors and windows or other improvements .
Emmaus Borough Manager Shane Pepe encourages businesses interested in the grant program to get their applications in to the borough soon.
Resident Josh Schmidt spoke before the Emmaus Borough Council at the May 21 meeting regarding the aging equipment and safety concerns at Lions Park.
Schmidt said he took his 3-year-old son to the park on Sunday night and had to leave due to missing equipment such as support beams, shards of glass and overall old equipment which was unsafe for his son to play on.
Borough Manager Shane Pepe said council is aware of the equipment issues at the park and the equipment in general “doesn’t meet modern codes.”
The Plan Southwest Lehigh is a drafted, multi-municipality agreement between Lower Macungie Township, Lower Milford Township, Upper Milford Township, Alburtis Borough, Macungie Borough and Emmaus Borough. This plan would allow municipalities to “enter into an agreement with the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission to assist with the development of an updated multi-municipality comprehensive plan.”