Lehigh Valley

Easton Council approves three-year police contract

City also moves ahead on pollution reduction

EASTON, Pa. - Easton officials welcomed the city’s newest police officer and formalized a new contract with the police at Wednesday’s regular council meeting.

Mayor Sal Panto swore in Officer Kyle Transue, Easton’s 61st officer and the first officer to be hired into the new police station on North Fourth Street.

Officials also approved a new three-year agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police, Washington Lodge #17. The contract starts with a 1.5 percent salary increase for police officers and increases to 3 percent by 2020.

The raises, an outcome of lengthy negotiations with the police union, were passed in a resolution setting Easton’s salaries and wages for 2018.

In other news, city officials are getting closer to knowing how much Easton’s EPA-mandated pollution reduction plan will cost residents and businesses.

Right now, the number is around $7 a month per single family property. Larger lots will have to pay more depending on how many single family properties could fit onto the lot, according to council member Dr. Roger Ruggles.

Easton officials passed a resolution okaying engineering firm Amec Foster Wheeler to develop the pollution reduction plan.

This is necessary because the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA require an MS4 — Municipal Separate Storm Sewer — permit to discharge stormwater into the river.

The Lehigh River’s water quality is low because of sediment discharge, and with 138 outfalls into the river, Easton must now reduce sediment content or lose its MS4 permit.

Easton must lower its sediment content by 10 percent, or 36 tons annually.

A plan of action is due to the EPA by June, and once the EPA agrees to the plan it becomes a set trajectory for the city.

“This is the whole new landscape of regulation that we’re dealing with,” David Hopkins, director of public works, said.


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