Lehigh Valley

Emmaus saves taxpayers nearly 100K

Borough adopts interns and a do-it-yourself approach to projects

EMMAUS, Pa. - Emmaus has saved its taxpayers almost $100,000 in professional fees this summer, by using local college interns to implement a geographical informational system (GIS) to map the borough's entire infrastructure, and having borough public works employees replace the roofs on the town hall and pool bathhouse buildings.

According to councilman Wesley Barrett, chairman of the borough's administration committee, summer interns Eli Bracken of Kutztown University and Xiaying Huang of Lehigh Carbon Community College made a detailed presentation to the committee on the multiple mapping and assessment projects of Emmaus' infrastructure components.

The presentation included the interns' surveying and digitally mapping all the borough's sidewalks, curbs, urban trail connections, bike routes, manhole locations, water valve location boxes, water and sewer line data, and street lights, poles, and tree locations.

They also were responsible for surveying and creating maps for the 10th Street culvert project and well station number seven.

Barrett said now if a water connection were to burst, the exact location would be much easier for public works employees to immediately pinpoint and repair, since the information would be readily available on the borough's GIS digital software which replaced written card files.

Borough Manager Shane Pepe stated the value of the interns' work was worth over $50,000 if the borough had contracted the services of a private civil engineering firm.

He also said he was happy the interns received practical municipal work experience while furthering their education.

Barrett said the interns worked efficiently and continuously checked and rechecked their data.

In other business, council approved not to rebid for new roofs for the town hall and community pool bathhouse, but to have borough public works employees complete the work, and hire Haberstumpf Home Improvements of Emmaus as consultants to oversee both projects.

Pepe explained it will now cost the borough approximately $20,200 for each roof with a total savings of $38,000 over the original bids Emmaus received a year ago.

The city will purchase the materials for each roof at a total cost of about $17,500, he said.

Pepe also noted Haberstumpf would serve to guide and supervise each project and provide guarantees for the materials and leakage protection in addition to imparting roofing skills to borough employees.

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