The Emmaus Borough Council has chosen not to be locked into regular two-year agreements regarding the size of its donation to the Borough's Fire Department.
In its first meeting on Monday night, the council removed a line from Ordinance Number 1103 reading "If lawful, council may set the financial donation for a period of two consecutive years.”
Some council members felt comfortable keeping the line in the ordinance because the word “may” allowed interpretation for future council decisions. The borough solicitor noted he found no legal way that the council could be bound to the two-year provision requested by the fire department.
“This opens Pandora’s box,” Councilman Barrett said. “It doesn’t mean anything, so why pretend that we are going to do it? It will create tension down the road. We want the fire department to feel comfortable, and if we leave something with some gray area to it we leave it open for tension.”
Council members also raised concerns that such a precedent could pose difficulty when looking at other groups that did not have the same privileges such as the Ambulance Corp., the Public Works Department and the Police Department.
The council voted against an initial motion to pass the ordinance as it was. Councilman Mike Widdel then made a motion to omit the questionable line and the motion was passed unanimously.
The ordinance still provides that council will budget funds for the Emmaus Fire Department in their annual budget.
A second reading of Ordinance Number 1103 will take place during the council's first meeting in December where it will face it's final vote.