The deadlock over the Easton Area Joint Sewer Authority voting system and budget threatened the future of Easton Sewage Treatment Plant. Although a budget was finally approved, the suburban municipalities of Forks and Palmer townships, Wilson and West Easton continue to object to a bloc vote system that gives Easton control.
The sewer authority, the city and and Pfizer Inc. were named in an lawsuit filed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for violating federal discharge limits, and the $14 million upgrade of the sewer plant was completed. The renovations meant the release of some 500 building permits. The state Department of Environmental Resources had placed a moratorium on the permits until the sewer plant discharge was up to state and federal standards. EASTON
The lack of a permanent shelter for the city's homeless eventually led Easton officials to offer the former Raub Supply Building on Bushkill Drive to a non-profit group called Safe Harbor Easton. The homeless continue to be housed in area churches until the building is renovated. Early this year, tempers erupted over the homeless issue with homeless men setting up tents in Centre Square after the city closed a church shelter because of code violations.
Alvin L. "Skip" Fairchild Jr. was named Easton's police chief in June. The 18-year veteran succeeded William Cunningham who resigned in March. Fairchild's advocacy of a physical fitness program for officers has placed him at odds with the police union, which opposes sanctions for those who fail to make the grade.
Easton started recycling this fall, and so far participation is far greater than expected, forcing city officials to upgrade collection schedules.