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Whitehall Twp. against Allentown's proposed lease of city's water and sewer system

By Stephen Althouse, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 08 2012 10:55:05 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 09 2012 05:19:54 AM CDT
WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

The Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to oppose the City of Allentown’s proposed leasing of its water and sewer system during Monday night’s meeting.

The township relies on the city for wastewater treatment services.

Although Allentown only provides water to a small percentage of Whitehall Township residents, commissioners initially crafted Monday night's resolution during an October 1st workshop meeting as a way “to do everything possible to protect the ratepayers of Whitehall Township,” according to the wording of the resolution.

Only time will tell whether the township’s resolution actually influences any Allentown City Council members to oppose Mayor Ed Pawlowski’s solution to address the city’s long-term pension fund payment shortage or is merely symbolic.

Last week, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski sent a letter to Whitehall Township's manager explaining the lease possibility.  

Pawlowski said: "The City is well aware that it is presently a party to a number of long term agreements with neighboring townships and authorities to provide sewage disposal service and water supply. The City will remain responsible to ensure that the obligations of the City under these contracts are met throughout their terms of the lease, and has fashioned a lease that will require the concessionaire to take responsibility to comply with the requirements of these agreements and to honor their terms and commitments."

In other business Monday night commissioners voted 7-0 to approve the land development consolidation of Fellowship Manor. The vote came after Commissioner Paul Geissinger asked what has been done to address Manor employees at the retirement and nursing home who have been observed throwing a bevy of cigarette butts at Zephyr Park.

Fellowship Manor CEO Robert Zentz acknowledged the problem exists and said employees had been notified that the township does not want them littering the park with cigarette butts. However he added that “employees are doing it on their 30-minute lunch break” and hence, on their own time, leaving him “powerless” to actually do anything about it.

In other business, the seven-member body designated 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 26 as the township’s official Trick or Treat night, with a rain date of Saturday, October 27.

The Fall Parade will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday night.