The Catasauqua Borough Council discussed the proposed purchase of the FL Smidth property at their meeting on Monday night. Council did not vote on the proposed decision because Council Member Mitzi Smith was absent from the meeting.
The proposed plan for the property is a deal between the Borough and Weston Solutions. According to Council, Weston will purchase the property and the Borough will purchase the building that is currently located on the property. The building will be renovated to accommodate the fire department, police department, and borough offices.
According to Council Member Vincent Smith, the proposed purchase will cost the residents of the Borough an average of $160 per year in tax increases. According to Borough Manager Eugene Goldfeder, this number could be higher or lower depending on the new assessment of the property by the County.
Council President Brian Bartholomew proposed an alternative plan to Council at the meeting. Bartholomew suggested purchasing the vacant bank located on Bridge Street, renovating the building and putting the police station and borough offices in it. He then proposed moving the fire department to a row of properties across from Sheckler Elementary on 14th Street. According to Bartholomew, Catasauqua Superintendent Robert Spengler would “relish the idea of having the fire station close to the school.” Bartholomew stated that this alternative plan would cost approximately $3 million versus the FL Smidth plan’s projected cost of approximately $7 million.
“Having multiple buildings in different locations is not cost effective,” stated Council Member Brian McKittrick.
Council was unable to agree on this counter proposal’s cost. Smith discussed the plan with Council and stated that after the purchase of the bank and properties on 14th Street and the completion of the appropriate renovations the plan would cost an estimated $6.5 million rather than Bartholomew’s $3 million estimate.
According to Smith, Council plans on voting on the proposal “within the next few weeks.”