Northampton Press

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Bath Borough Council passes budget with no tax increase

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 by BILL LEINER JR. Special to The Press in Local News

At the Dec. 2 Bath Borough Council meeting, members passed the 2020 budget with no tax hike. The 2020 fee schedule was also not increased. The current Bath millage is 15 mills.

The last tax hike was in 2016.

After the meeting, Marena Rasmus, office administrator, said the budget includes reducing Bath Borough debt from $330,000 to zero. Budget plans include increasing the capital budget. Rasmus said there are plans to possibly hire a part-time parking enforcement officer. Independence and Penn streets are slated for repairs.

In Mayor Fiorella Reginelli-Mirabito’s report, she plans to assemble a 2020 schedule for Bath Neighborhood Watch. Also, Reginell-Mirabito is hosting and reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to children 3 p.m. Dec. 22 at Bath Borough Hall, 121 Walnut St.

It was reported Paw Park is running smoothly without any issues, and the holiday tree-lighting ceremony was well attended.

Council member Frank Hesch, in his Nazareth Area Council of Governments report, noted animal control costs may be increasing.

Solicitor Blake Marles is working on a possible multi-municipality joint property maintenance board. This would be under the purview of NAZCOG. A goal is to standardize and streamline the processes and better address property maintenance appeals.

Rasmus discussed the effort to address truck traffic concerns through the Transportation Improvement Plan developed by Keystone Engineering. The multi-phased plan would be employed over a one- to five-year period. The work includes widening some intersections and making some Bath Borough streets one way. Council plans to explore grant funding to help pay for the transportation plan through Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

One challenging aspect of the multiyear plan is PennDOT may have to use eminent domain to widen intersections on the numerous state roads that crisscross Bath.

Council is also working with PennDOT to change traffic signals from basic operation to either moderate adaptive or to fully adaptive traffic light signals. The plan is to utilize PennDOT grant funding through the Green Light-Go program.

Adaptive traffic control system is a traffic management strategy in which traffic signal timing is based on the actual traffic demand. For example, when you come to a red traffic light and there is no other cross traffic, the light immediately changes to green. Adaptive systems decrease traffic congestion and increase traffic flow efficiency.

The Green Light-Go program provides state funds for the operation and maintenance of traffic signals along critical state highways. Routes 512, 987, 248 and 329 all intersect in Bath, having caused years of traffic frustration and congestion and more recently exacerbated by additional large 18-wheel trucks traversing in Bath.

In legislative matters, the first reading of the ordinance amending and restating Chapter 625 (vehicles and traffic) of the code of ordinances was completed. The ordinance includes possibly a part-time parking officer and the placement of parking meters.

Initial thoughts are to meter two parking lots in the borough. The 220 W. Northampton St. and municipal building parking lots may be metered. Further plans may include parking meters on streets in the business and historic districts.

Other ordinances under legal review include Chapter 419 (nuisances) amending the motor vehicle nuisances code; a proposed amendment adding a new Chapter 485, to be titled Quality of Life, provides for a ticketing program to resolve property blight and maintenance violation issues in a more expeditious manner; and amendments to the fireworks ordinance, peddling and soliciting ordinance and rental property ordinance.

The next Bath Borough Council meeting is 6:30 p.m. Jan. 6, 2020, in room 102 at borough hall.