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Higher fees for recreation center entry and graffiti violations in Northampton Borough

By Olivia Brochu, Assignment Editor / Web Producer, OBrochu@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 15 2013 11:19:58 PM CDT
NORTHAMPTON, Pa. -

Entry fees to the Northampton Borough Recreation Center were raised by the borough council on Thursday night. The council also voted to increase the fine and reward amounts for graffiti violations.

The new manager of the recreation center had suggested to the council that the price of daily passes be increased after he observed some congestion issues mainly on the basketball courts.

“One of the concerns is that because of the low daily rates people are coming in and tying up the courts and staying there all day long for a nominal fee,” said Gene Zarayko, the borough manager. “The other concern is unsupervised children being dropped off all day. Some have been seen there sleeping at the tables and just hanging out.”

Zarayko explained that the suggested solution would be to increase daily rates from $6 for residents to $10 and from $8 for non-residents to $12. Weekend rates would also be increased to $10 for residents and $20 for non-residents. Supervision of children would also be made mandatory.

Some councilmembers felt that these sorts of changes would not be handling the issue most efficaciously. Some suggested creating a reservation system for the basketball courts. Some felt that the increased fees should be done on a three-month trial. In a final vote, the council decided to respect the recreation center manager’s suggestion and make the rate increases initially proposed without any trial time.

Graffiti incidences caught the eye of councilmembers along Main St. in Northampton Borough, leading to their discussion at Thursday night’s meeting.

“It is an eyesore, totally uncalled for. We need to hit this immediately,” councilman Anthony Pristash warned.

The council decided on a minimum fine of $500 plus costs and restitution per piece of vandalism. There will now be a $200 reward for information or evidence leading to a conviction as well.

Increased fines for dog owners not cleaning up after their pets were considered. Despite signage currently listing the fine for such a violation in areas where this occurs most often, several councilmembers noted that it seemed to be an increasing problem. Instead of increasing the fine, the council decided it made the most sense to simply enforce the code already in place. Ordinance #916 lists a $200 fine for not cleaning up after your pet.