Federal funds expected to cover cost of Allentown lead pipe replacement

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ALLENTOWN – Municipal officials in Allentown are planning to use federal funds to replace lead water pipes on Church Street.

During the Jan. 25 meeting of the mayor and Borough Council, which was conducted via Zoom during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Councilwoman Martha Johnson, who chairs the Water Utility Committee, said $185,000 that has been provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (also called the COVID-19 stimulus package) would be used to pay for the project.

Johnson said the lead pipe replacement project is expected to be completed prior to the start of streetscape improvements on Church Street. The streetscape improvements will include new curbs and sidewalks and are tentatively scheduled to be completed during the summer.

Resident Wil Borkowski thanked Johnson and Borough Engineer Carmela Roberts “for making the lead pipe replacement project a reality.”

Borough Administrator Laurie Roth said the lead pipe replacement project is expected to be approved when the council meets on Feb. 8. That meeting of the governing body will also be held via Zoom.

In other business, council members authorized the hiring of Levi Krebs as a full-time patrolman with the Allentown Police Department. Krebs will begin work in February. His hiring follows the departure of Patrolman Dan D’Ascoli in December.

Roth said the hiring of a new officer followed the recent promotion of Brian Stab from corporal to sergeant.

In related police news, Councilman Dan Payson said the borough is awaiting delivery of a new police vehicle. He said delivery of the vehicle has been delayed by a computer chip shortage that is impacting the automotive industry.

And, Borough Council President John A. Elder III and council members Michael Drennan, Nikki Darling, Erica Torsiello, Johnson and Payson approved shared service agreements with Robbinsville for automotive repair, brush collection, other services and temporary personnel services.

Mayor Thomas Fritts said Robbinsville “has been a great partner” with Allentown, and Roth explained that “these (shared service) agreements allow Allentown’s Public Works Department to acquire resources, services and emergency personnel at a competitive cost through the borough’s neighboring municipality.”

In unanimous votes, Earle Asphalt Company was authorized to perform fire hydrant repairs ($40,000), sewer line repairs on Waker Avenue ($20,339) and water main repairs at 75 N. Main St. ($6,667).

Finally, Fritts reminded residents Monmouth County Engineer Joseph Ettore is scheduled to speak during the Feb. 8 meeting and discuss the county’s plan to construct a traffic signal at the intersection of High and South Main streets.