At the Whitehall-Coplay School Board meeting June 11, the board adopted the 2018-19 budget. The new budget is $70,386,888 and is an increase of 4.05 percent from the previous year.
The budget increases taxes by 0.6181 mill, bringing the total property tax rate for school taxes to 17.2108 mills. The increase is 3.73 percent and will cost the average homeowner an additional $106.53 annually.
The school budget has a provision that any savings during the year in excess of 7.5 percent is used to fund teacher pension commitments.
At its workshop meeting June 5, Coplay Borough Council reviewed revisions to a proposal by DVS Enterprises for an apartment complex along the Ironton Rail Trail and across from an existing complex on Coplay Road and gave tentative approval.
Because the development is so close to the IRT, council expressed concern over a concrete bulkhead on the property and maintenance problems it may cause. A survey showed the bulkhead is borough property, but council was assured that DVS would make every effort to ensure the swale in the area would be properly maintained.
Plant Manager David Harleman outlined the Coplay Whitehall Sewer Authority’s 2018 program for relining sewer mains and manholes.
The contract to rework sewer mains was let to Insiteform, which will reline 2,000 feet of sewer main lines.
“In the past, we did a lot of relining to reduce inflow and infiltration as part of the EPA mandate. This project is a little different,” he said. “These lines are being redone because they are older lines that are structurally failing.”
Relining the sewer mains will postpone the need to dig up the lines and replace them.
Coplay Borough is assessing a bid from Land-Tech Enterprises Inc. for work on Saylor Park. The bid — $827,000-plus — is in line with expectations.
Borough Engineer Daniel Witczak will review the application and ensure it meets specifications.
The competing bid was more than $1,000,000.
At Coplay Borough Council’s meeting May 1, Councilwoman Janet Eisenhauer acknowledged receipt of a $25,000 grant from the Trexler Foundation.
“Trexler has been good to Coplay. The only stipulation we have on the grant is to spend it on Saylor Park. They want a report to show how the money was spent by the end of November,” she said.
Trexler also gave $1,800 to the library. Those funds will be used for a new computer.
Eisenhauer announced the borough signed a contract with Paychex to do payroll.
At CWSA’s regular meeting April 19, Attorney John Stover announced a settlement over the Allentown Waterfront project.
“This has been a long two-year battle, but we have a resolution that meets the needs of both organizations,” he said.
Disagreement centered on a 36-inch interceptor line owned by CWSA that delivers sewage to the Allentown Wastewater Treatment Plant. Plans for the waterfront called for the interceptor to be moved. CWSA objected if the costs were to be incurred by ratepayers. The waterfront partners did not want to pay the costs involved.
Each year, the Lehigh Valley chapter of the West Point Society presents the Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Character Award to an outstanding junior at Whitehall High School.
For 2018, the award goes to Aziz Atiyeh.
Mike Tauber, a Whitehall and West Point graduate, presented the certificate on behalf of the West Point Society.
“This certificate recognizes high school juniors who demonstrated the leadership and character that comes with individual achievement while helping others attain their goals,” Tauber said.
The April 19 meeting of the Coplay-Whitehall Sewer Authority (CWSA) was its annual review meeting. Key members of the audit and review teams gave their detailed reports to the board.
John Barry, from Brown and Brown Insurance, was first to present his performance assessment.
“This was a tough year for insurance claims,” he said. “Losses caused by disasters topped $135 billion, which was the largest loss we have ever recorded. Worldwide, there was an estimated $330 billion in uninsured losses. The U.S. share of the losses was nearly 50 percent.”
Coplay Borough Council voted unanimously to approve a new bond issue at its regular meeting April 10.
The new note is a $1.8 million general obligation bond. Funds from the loan will be used to pay off an existing obligation, purchase a new firetruck and fund soft costs for a proposed new municipal building.
The ordinance established a sinking fund for the bond obligation. A sinking fund requires the borough to set aside money for the repayment of the debt.
Coplay Borough Council took a long look at the details of the Saylor Park plans during its workshop session April 3.
The renovations were designed as a fast-track project, so the park would be open in time for the borough’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2019. One lane of the fast track was to order some equipment ahead of time, so it is ready for installation as soon as the preparation work is complete. Some of the pre-ordered items include a pre-engineered pavilion, portable bleacher stands, benches, etc.