The Emmaus Borough Council approved a 6.8 percent tax increase as well as a new sewer fee of $49 a year at the Dec. 19 council meeting.
Borough Manager Shane Pepe reiterated from the previous council meeting the tax increase is being generated from the $750,000 of increases in salaries, benefits and pensions from the new increase in borough staff.
Areas where staff were increased included the ambulance corps, a full-time public works employee and the police department which is now fully staffed for the first time in several years.
Emmaus Borough council voted 7-0 in favor of a first reading to raise taxes for the fiscal year of 2017.
The proposed ordinance will raise taxes by 5.5065 mills. A mill is a $1 tax on every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. The 5.5065 mills will be split between a general tax fund of 4.8754 mills and a fire fund tax of 0.6311 mills.
Councilman Nathan Brown stated immediately the tax increase was not due in part to the purchase of the new borough offices.
Emmaus Borough Council held a brief meeting Nov. 21.
The decision on the heating oil, kerosene, diesel and unleaded fuel bids were discussed.
Council voted 7-0 in favor of awarding Lehigh Fuels with the heating oil and kerosene bids and a new company called Talley Petroleum was awarded the unleaded and diesel fuel bids. The heating oil will cost $1.65 per gallon, kerosene $2.19 per gallon, unleaded fuel $1.70 per gallon and diesel fuel at $1.68 per gallon.
There was a public hearing dealing with the Keystone Community Façade Grant held at Emmaus Borough Council chambers Nov. 7 before the regularly schedule council meeting.
The idea of the Keystone Community Grant is to improve the exterior looks of businesses downtown.
The Emmaus Borough Council conditionally approved the preliminary and final land development plan for the Emmaus Public Library expansion project at the council meeting held Oct. 17.
Krista Pegnetter, the library’s director, said they have been working on this project for 10 years.
“We hit a couple hurdles along the way, the recession hit, the depression hit, it got worse, but also FEMA declared the property a flood plain,” Pegnetter said.
“As the world turns, Chief [Charles] Palmer would like to hire former Chief [David] Faust as a part-time employee,” Borough Manager Shane Pepe announced at the Emmaus Borough Council meeting Sept. 19.
Faust, who retired in March after being the Emmaus Borough Police Chief for 16 years, would be hired as a part-time police officer at $20.16 an hour. Pepe said he would mainly be working the Emmaus High School sporting events.
At the Aug. 15 Emmaus Borough Council, Mayor Winfield Iobst announced the Emmaus Halloween Parade will be held Oct. 15 while Trick-or-Treat night will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28
In other business at the council meeting, Resolution 2016-31 was passed which will allow Borough Manager Shane Pepe to apply for the Charlie Stemer Intern Grant. This grant will give the borough money to hire interns.
Councilman Nathan Brown said at the Aug. 15 council meeting, the borough received official notice it is in quarantine in regard to the Spotted Lanternfly.
The insect is an inch-long black, red and white spotted insect which attacks pines, grapes and fruit trees.
The Emmaus Lions Club presented the Emmaus Police Department with their new K-9 Ronny at the Emmaus Borough Council meeting June 20.
Ronny, donated by the Emmaus Lions Club, was purchased from Progressive K-9 Academy LLC, Walnutport, and was originally imported from Holland. The price for Ronny, who is a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, was $12,200 which included the 320 hours of training for both the dog and his handler.
Charles Palmer was appointed as the new chief of police at the Emmaus Borough Council meeting held June 20.
Council chambers was completely filled by friends and fellow police officers as Palmer took the oath of office which was administered by Mayor Winfield Iobst.
Palmer has been a police officer for over 30 years, 22 of which have been with Emmaus. He has been working as active chief since former chief David Faust’s retirement in March and will start his official term July 1. His salary will be $96,500.