"We had what I would call a heart-to-heart discussion," Brown told his colleagues, adding it was done to air out differences and grievances between council and the organization.

Brown admitted even he has wavered in his support for Main Street Partners, but explained it is on the verge of a positive "directional and regenerational shift" because of its affiliation with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

He said Main Street Partners hopes to raise $11,150 through events this year and get out of debt.

"I feel confident that I can support Main Street Partners again," said Brown.

Council member Brian Holtzhafer went after Brown like a prosecuting attorney after Brown made statements crediting Main Street Partners with improvements in town.

"They've done many great things," said Brown. "They took a building that was assessed at $500,000 and turned it into $1.2 million. That's great for our tax base."

He was referring to the revitalization of the former Main Street Gallery at 187-191 Main St. He said that project involved no financial contribution from Emmaus taxpayers.

When pressed by Holtzhafer about that property being reassessed for $1.2 million, Brown said "that is factual."

But Pepe said it is not factual, because the county has not yet reassessed the property. "That's what you told me," said Brown.

"We have to get this relationship straightened out," declared Holtzhafer. "We've got to be speaking truth here."

Holtzhafer said "the $1.2 million is complete speculation at this point. If the county comes back and says the building's worth $600,000 that's what it's worth."

Pepe said the state has estimated the new value of the building at $1.2 million.

Brown said 11 small businesses also will benefit from a façade grant through Main Street Partners. "The assessment value will increase and more tax revenue will come in," he predicted.

But Holtzhafer stressed facade improvements don't necessarily lead to reassessments that increases the value of buildings, which would increase tax revenues to the borough.

Pepe said even if the assessment doesn't increase, facade improvements do increase the resale value of a property.

Seeking middle ground, council member Wesley Barrett said: "All the projects that have occurred do in the end have a net positive for the borough of Emmaus."

Anders said Main Street Partners are doing good things for the community and Emmaus needs a strong Main Street program.

After the meeting, Brown said relations between council and Main Street Partners began to deteriorate when council reduced, then eliminated, funding to the program. He said council last provided funding -- $5,000 -- in 2012.

He said in prior years, council's support to the program was up as high as $20,000. He said other municipalities with Main Street programs give them much more every year.

Brown said having a Main Street program also benefits Emmaus when it applies for state and federal grants.

LERTA debate

During his committee report, Brown also raised an issue Emmaus council has been considering for a couple of years: proceeding with a LERTA project in the borough.

"This is something that needs to happen," said Brown. "Maybe not for 2014, but for 2015. This is something we need."

LERTA stands for Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance. The state program is designed to redevelop properties in areas classified as under-utilized, blighted and/or brown fields.

The program allows those who develop eligible properties to avoid paying full real estate taxes for up to 10 years. "It's a tax abatement program," explained Brown. "They incrementally pay taxes on their reassessed value."