An unusual joint resolution is being prepared for consideration by both Allentown City Council and Lehigh County commissioners, to get both bodies represented on a local committee aimed at ending chronic homelessness.

In an unrelated matter, City Council soon will consider whether it wants to impose $500 fines on anyone who removes "any official notice or placard" placed on a property by a city official - including but not limited to notices posting a property as uninhabitable or on illegal housing units.

Both issues came up during Wednesday's City Council meeting, where City Clerk Michael Hanlon was recognized for 25 years of service to Allentown.

The 58-year-old Hanlon has worked with four mayors - Joe Daddona, William Heydt, Roy Afflerbach and Ed Pawlowski - and more than 100 City Council members in the last quarter century.

Allentown City Clerk Michael Hanlon

Michael Hanlon

Hanlon said he started on March 6, 1989, as a legislative aide to City Council.

"Thank you very much for all those years," City Council president Julio Guridy told Hanlon.

"We really appreciate all the work you do for the city and for us. You're kind of like the mediator for us in a lot of things and you do a lot of research. I'm sure everybody on council would agree with me that we really need you."

Hanlon and Deputy City Clerk Tawanna Whitehead serve as City Council's administrative staff in City Hall.

"I always say I'm the city's chief paper pusher," he joked.

Hanlon said what he enjoys most about the job are the people he meets and works with, adding: "I get to do something different all the time."

The $500 fine

The proposed ordinance imposing a $500 penalty for removing city notices and placards was referred to council member Joe Davis' community and economic development committee.

That committee will discuss the proposal at its 5:15 p.m. March 13 meeting. Davis said his committee will make a recommendation at City Council's March 19 meeting.

The proposed ordinance warns that "any unpaid charges relative to this penalty may be subject to a lien being placed upon the property."

Davis said no fine is imposed now if someone removes an official city notice or placard from a property.

He explained the penalty "is just another tool the city will be able to use to combat these situations where somebody just takes a tag off."

He said such notices might be removed by property owners, by someone trying to sell a neighboring property or even by people who go to abandoned houses and try to rent them out. Davis said "that doesn't happen a lot, but if it happens once, it's too much."

He said council member Peter Schweyer said is the author of the proposed ordinance.

A proposed joint resolution

Schweyer also is developing the homeless commission resolution for his colleagues on City Council to consider, while county commissioner Geoff Brace is doing the same for his fellow commissioners to consider.

Their goal is to get one member of City Council and one county commissioner on the local Commission to End Chronic Homelessness.

"In my six years on council, I've never seen a joint piece of legislation between the county commissioners and the city," said Schweyer.

'There hasn't been a lot of cooperation between Lehigh County Board of Commissioners and City Council. Frankly, we've been at odds with each other over things like the LCA {water and sewer lease] deal and certain KOZs."

Schweyer said both he and Brace want to do something about the homeless issue.

With more direct government involvement, he said if there's a need for additional dollars to help the homeless, "we can look for resources to do so."