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Whitehall to assess fee for credit, debit payments, raise pool fees

Phil Gianficaro
Whitehall Township Commissioners voted to purchase an $80,000 trailer hauler and approved township fees on Monday night.

WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. — Whitehall residents who make payments to the township with a credit card or debit card now will be assessed a 3% fee on all transactions.

Also, some swimming pool fees for township residents will increase for the 2024 season.

Township commissioners voted unanimously to assess the charge, which will apply to debit or credit card payments made by mail, phone, via the internet or in person.

The fee will be charged to the cards at the time of the transactions to cover fees charged to the township by card companies.

"We're not making money off this fee."
Jeffrey Warren, vice president, Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners

“We’re not making money off this fee,” board Vice President Jeffrey J. Warren said.

Currently, only real estate taxes and trash removal can be paid by credit or debit cards.

Among the swimming pool fees for township residents for the 2024 season, the only increase from 2023 are the resident adult season pass and resident student pass, both of which increase by $5.

Season admission fees will be:

  • Resident Family Season Pass (2 adults, 2 children): $155.
  • Additional Child: $25.
  • Resident Adult Season Pass: $65.
  • Resident Student Pass (up to and including 2024 high school graduates): $55.

General admission fees:

  • Resident/per person, with photo ID, age 6-61: $10.
  • Children under age 6: Free.
  • Persons 65 or older: Free.
  • Veterans, military personnel with proper ID: $3 discount.
  • Non-resident, (Monday-Friday, 3-7 p.m. only): $10.

Buying tractor hauler, more

Also Monday, commissioners bought an $80,000 used Mack tractor hauler.

Commissioners voted unanimously to accept a bid of $80,141.51 to buy a used 2020 Mack Anthem 64T Day Cab tractor heavy hauler from TransEdge Truck Centers of Allentown.

The purchase is being made to correct deficiencies in the safe movement and transportation of heavy equipment to and from work sites throughout the township.

Last year, the township bought a lowboy trailer — a low platform flatbed trailer used to haul heavy equipment — that will be attached to the day cab.

“This is people hating on the truckers."
Whitehall resident Anthony Kopec

Also Monday, commissioners voted unanimously to prohibit vehicles from using brake retarders on Mauch Chunk Road between Schadt Avenue and Rural Road.

A retarder is a supplemental brake used to augment or replace some of the functions of primary friction-based braking systems, usually on heavy vehicles.

Retarder brakes slow a vehicle, but are not designed to stop it completely, as their effectiveness diminishes as a vehicle’s speed lowers.

While in use, a brake retarder makes a distinctive staccato sound, which can be quite loud, resulting in the desire by residents to limit their use in populated areas.

Violators will be fined $300 plus costs.

The township required written approval by the state Transportation Department, which conducted an engineering and traffic study, before being permitted to prohibit brake retarders.

Resident Anthony Kopec argued the fee for violating the new ordinance is too high.

“This is people hating on the truckers,” he said.

Board President Thomas Slonaker said the decision was made to limit the noise from those vehicles in residential neighborhoods.

Other business

In other business, during the public comment session, John Kelly, a member of the Whitehall Township Recreation Commission, urged the board to advertise both internally and externally for the vacant volunteer fire chief position.

Mayor Joseph Marx has appointed as Joseph Shambo interim fire chief.

Such advertising would allow the board to hear from the strongest candidate pool, the former firefighter said.

Fifty additional intersections have been designated as Stop Intersections throughout the township. The list of intersections can be viewed at whitehalltownship.org.

The board approved the appointments of the following:
Casey Zalena and Vincent Misuraca to the township planning commission.

Loriann Fehnel to the traffic impact advisory committee.
Michael Frana to the recreation commission.

David Willgruber and Fady Salloum to the environmental advisory council.

Charles Fisher to the Industrial Commercial Development Authority.

In other business, Isaac Martinez was appointed as a member of the fire police department.