Homeowners in the Borough of Northampton have received an early holiday present.
The administration, at the Nov. 17 council meeting, announced real estate taxes for 2017 will not be raised — a relief after property taxes went up one mill in 2016.
Borough Manager Leroy Brobst prepared his first proposed budget for council. He succeeds longtime borough Manager Gene Zarayko, who retired in May and died Oct. 25. Much like Zarayko, who cited his budget messages as “no frills,” Brobst also presented an austere spending plan.
The Borough of Northampton is putting the finishing touches on preparations for its annual yule tree-lighting ceremony, set for this coming Sunday, Nov. 27, beginning 5:30 p.m. at Main Street and Laubach Avenue.
Borough council, at its Nov. 17 meeting, stated the fire department’s aerial fire truck will escort Santa and Mrs. Claus 6 p.m. to the celebration.
“A choir of students from Good Shepherd Catholic School will entertain those gathered with a concert of Christmas carols,” borough Manager Leroy Brobst told council.
The 11 veterans honored Nov. 10 by Sacred Heart Senior Living, Northampton, for their military service had stories etched in their faces as some recounted their experiences many years ago.
Take Walter Fedorak, for example. He ran away from home at 18 to join the U.S. Army.
Donning a cap with World War II lettering, Fedorak, 92, sat down for a brief chat — with his wife, Mary, at his side — to share some of his journey through the 1940s experience. The couple, who had resided in Whitehall Township, now share a room at the Sacred Heart Senior Living complex.
The newly reduced speed limit on Willowbrook Road — from 35 mph to 25 mph — is not making many motorists happy, as can be observed by a stream of brake lights and frustration on drivers’ faces.
The lowering of the speed limit results from an Allen Township request to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to place 25 mph signs along Willowbrook Road until approximately May 2017, so road widening can continue and be completed in a timely manner, while keeping the safety of workers and drivers as a priority.
Northampton Borough Manager Leroy Brobst is preparing the 2017 budget — the first for him since taking the reins of the position June 1.
Brobst succeeded retiring borough Manager Gene Zarayko, who died Oct. 25.
The plan should go to council for review likely at the Nov. 17 meeting.
Although there has been no official word on whether real estate taxes will be raised or be retained at the present 10-mill rate, Brobst said he is keenly aware of this first budget he is tackling and the property tax rate needed to meet the community’s needs.
Gene Zarayko, who died Oct. 25, only five months after retiring as borough manager for Northampton, had strong Konkrete Kid values and leadership skills, a commitment to the community and a fierce dedication to continue moving the town forward.
These sentiments were echoed by borough officials and friends of Zarayko in the days since his death.
Gene Zarayko, who served as Northampton Borough manager for 30 years, died Tuesday at his Newport Avenue residence. He was 76.
Borough council lauded Zarayko at its May meeting, citing a host of contributions he made to the community and its residents. In paying tribute to Zarayko, who shunned the limelight and rather recognized others for their service to the borough, council agreed, “Gene bled orange and black.”
The Borough of Northampton’s comprehensive plan — a guide and blueprint for the direction the community takes in the future — will receive a review by the borough planning commission for an update.
Borough council at the Oct. 6 meeting directed the five-member planning commission to make a thorough study of the present comprehensive plan, come up with ideas and then make recommendations to council.
There was no timetable set for such a submission to borough lawmakers.
Allen Township Board of Supervisors at its Oct. 13 meeting heard a request from a contractor who wants Willowbrook Road closed for two months during roadwork associated with the massive Fed- Ex Ground project — a measure, he says, is necessary for the safety of the work crews and the public.
As the lengthy talks on solving the problem continued back and forth at the meeting, Chairman Bruce Frack backed the road’s shutdown, with conditions.
During Northampton Borough Council’s Oct. 6 meeting, members discussed Halloween events and scary antics, including minor changes in the Jack Frost Parade route, Emmaus parade organizers banning candy being tossed by participants and recent reports of individuals dressing as clowns and frightening both children and adults.
The Jack Frost Parade, set for 7 p.m. Oct. 20, will begin in front of Northampton Area High School on Laubach Avenue. It will travel from Laubach Avenue to 19th Street, continuing to Main Street, then to 14th Street and back to Laubach Avenue.