HAWLEY - Hawley Councilwoman Michelle Rojas is looking at a variety of grant programs that could benefit borough residents, some of them rather novel ideas. She discussed them at the Council meeting, Feb. 8th.Rojas found a grant for a “spillway generator” that could supplement the borough’s needs to power street lights. The point would be to save money on the electric bill, which reaches thousands of dollars a month to light the streets.
The proposed generator would conduct electricity from a turbine in the flood protection spillway in the Middle Creek.
She said there are generators available that would protect the fish by blocking them from being drawn in. There are companies offering the generators that would visit the community to determine the feasibility.
Councilwoman Elaine Herzog said that that anything that may save the borough money is worth looking at. Rojas will be investigating further.
[Historical aside: Hawley Borough’s electrical power was first supplied by a water turbine. Hawley Electric Company formed in 1896 across the road from Electric Street, utilizing the power of the Paupack Falls. Dorcester House Antiques is located in the building today.]A grant is available for smoking receptacles, to cut down on litter. Mayor Kevin Hawk suggested they could be used within 100 feet of the playground, although they don’t have to be placed in the park. Councilwoman Elaine Herzog advised having the Parks & Recreation Commission discuss it further. A grant for a canine corps (K9) is available. Police Chief Daniel Drake advised not pursuing it at this time. Another grant can be sought for police safety vests; Drake will see how many are needed. Rojas also raised the discussion of utilizing a Smartphone app that can be used by the public to pay parking tickets and other services. Another idea was to expand the concept to allow landlords to pay their rental ordinance fee through an app. Rojas will explore the concept further.
Council also discussed the need to go through a federal certification process of the flood levee whch was built over 50 years ago to protect the town from further inundations from rising river levels.
Rojas explained that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reviewing communities with levees, taking a fresh look at data to be sure that the levees remain adequate. The proactive review was spurred by the lessons from the Hurricane Katrina disaster in Louisiana in 2004.
Congress required that the local communities have opportunity to do an analysis and submit their own data, to show what is adequate or needs upgrading. Storm data and needs to protect communities can change over the decades.
The process could be quite costly. Rojas will be checking for grant funds.
Hawley Council meets on the second Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall, 94 Main Avenue.
[For more meeting items see the Wednesday, Feb. 15th edition of The News Eagle.]
Editor’s note: This story was compiled from information supplied by Borough President Ann Monaghan, Councilwoman Michelle Rojas and Borough Administrator Andrea Racht.