As construction of new houses proceeds along Walbert Avenue in development of the Rutz farm by the Jaindl Land Company, attention is turning to the section at the former Shoemaker home.
In a proposal approved by commissioners at the May 1 meeting, South Whitehall will pay the cost of relocating two PPL poles in order to have roadway improvements along the frontage of the Shoemaker property.
Parkland School Board and administration, during the April 26 seminar, reviewed the proposed $186.5 million budget for 2019-20 and reported the tax rate needed to provide for it.
The plan calls for a 15.77 mill tax rate, a 2.27-percent increase over 2018-19.
For each $100,000 of assessed property value, a property owner would have a $35 increase in taxes.
The impact on the average residential assessed value of $227,870 would be an increase of $79.75 over the previous term.
The Grove Street park playground in South Whitehall will be receiving new equipment and other improvements this summer.
The park is located south of Walbert Avenue near Columbia Street and Whitehall Avenue, north of Route 22.
At a recent South Whitehall commissioners’ meeting, Director of Township Operations Randy Cope commented on the project.
“We are rebuilding pocket parks,” Cope said. “We sent a survey to surrounding residents in January.
“We met with a few different sales representatives.”
When a resolution to support statewide cyber charter school funding reform was presented at the April 16 meeting, Parkland School Board President Lisa Roth said the legislature was finally going to do something about the troublesome issue.
School Director Bob Bold, a member of the legislative liaison, cautioned not to count on it.
Board member Rob Cohen, who opposes payments to poorly performing charter schools, also commented.
“This is a minimal effort our legislators are considering,” Cohen said. “This is a baby step.”
The new Parkland elementary school, Veterans Memorial, under construction on an 18-acre site in Upper Macungie Township, has become a prominent landmark east of Schantz Road on the western side of Twin Ponds Road.
Rob Avitabile, senior project manager for Alvin H. Butz Inc., commented on the school during the April 16 school board meeting.
“We’re right on budget as of now and we’re tracking a little bit ahead of schedule,” Avitabile said.
He reported all of the roof is in place, and some bricks have already been set.
South Whitehall Director of Community Development George Kinney is on a mission to eliminate advertising signs which appear in the township every weekend.
Kinney said most are placed by builders or real estate agents who are hosting open house events to promote sales.
“These bandit signs are not permissible,” Kinney said. “They are often advertising things not in the township.”
He noted one builder is the worst offender.
Kinney reported township staff go out Saturday mornings to pull up the signs but many times new signs crop up in their places.
To provide additional space and updated facilities for employees and the public, South Whitehall has adopted a campus master plan which includes two additions to the existing township building at 4444 Walbert Ave.
The oval roadway and landscaped area and the exterior of the structure will remain unchanged.
However, an addition will be erected behind the existing building for administrative personnel on the main floor.
The lower level will provide increased space and improved personal quarters for the police department.
Parkland School Board recently approved the 2019-20 district calendar.
Although staff will report for professional development the last week in August, the first day for students will be on Sept. 3.
Superintendent Richard Sniscak said the calendar follows the same pattern as previous years.
He noted the district tries to create a common calendar with Lehigh Career and Technical Institute so both schools generally follow the same schedule.
The calendar designates 183 days for students and 190 for teachers.
South Whitehall Director of Finance Steve Carr estimates the campus master plan project will cost $7.5 million to $8.8 million.
The actual amount will depend upon design features.
Carr stated the annual payments on the loan would range from $404,140 to $478,085.
He expressed good news for the township regarding financing.
“We can fund a lot of this with what is already in the pipeline,” Carr said.
He noted new construction projects in South Whitehall could yield $315,000 in new tax revenue this year.
When the South Whitehall Administration Building opened in 1973, the population of the township and the number of employees were far less than they are now.
During the April 4 commissioners’ meeting, representatives of various departments described the shortage of space everywhere and the inadequate facilities for public and staff.
They brought along many photos to illustrate the need for expansion and improvement, even with some additions and renovations done to the structure in 1986 and 1993.