ALLENTOWN – In a unanimous vote, the members of the Allentown Borough Council have passed a resolution supporting the Hope Fire Company’s grant application seeking funding for the purchase of personal protective equipment.
Council members took the action on Nov. 13.
The Hope Fire Company, which is based in Upper Freehold Township, serves a 48-square-mile area with a population of 8,700 people in Allentown and Upper Freehold Township, according to the resolution.
The fire company’s service area includes three schools, one daycare facility, 6 miles of Interstate 195, multiple churches, Allentown’s waste water and water treatment plants, and several electrical substations.
The fire company receives financial support from the governing body of each municipality, from donations from residents of Allentown and Upper Freehold, and through fundraisers. With current financial limitations, there is no available funding with which to acquire replacement equipment, including tools, vehicles and personal protective equipment, according to the resolution.
Council President Thomas Fritts, Councilman Rob Schmitt, Councilman John A. Elder III, Councilwoman Johnna Stinemire and Councilman Robert Strovinsky voted to support the fire company as its officers seek a grant in the amount of $128,320 to be used for the purchase of permanent protective equipment for 40 firefighters.
In other business, Borough Attorney Greg Cannon reported that representatives of Allentown met with staff members from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as the borough seeks to move forward with plans to construct a new waste water treatment plant on Breza Road.
Officials have said the new infrastructure would replace the borough’s aging waste water treatment plant. The new facility, known as a package plant, will fit in the footprint of the existing plant, Cannon said.
He said the borough engineer is coordinating all of the permits that will be required to construct and operate the new treatment plant.
Cannon said Allentown paid a $150,000 fine to the DEP for violations relating to the discharge of elevated levels of ammonia into Doctors Creek and said that most importantly, “I am trying to limit” any possible future fines.
A revised schedule calls for Roberts Engineering to complete plans for the new waste water treatment plan by February 2019. The plans will be submitted to the DEP for a review that could take two to three months, Cannon said.
The process of putting the project out to bid after the DEP gives Allentown permission to proceed would take three to four months and construction of the new treatment plant would take between 18 months and two years (possible completion late 2020), according to the attorney.