Farmers Market approved by Bath Council for the 8th year
Farmers Market will open again on Thursday afternoons and Sunday mornings in 2008. Farmers Market President Larry Lower appeared before Bath Town Council, at the Tuesday, December 18 meeting, to request approval for the markets to continue.
Lower asked council to allow the Sunday market, April 27 - October 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (except Apple Butter Festival weekend), to continue on the south side of Fairfax Street between Washington and Mercer streets.
The north side of the Fairfax Street would be closed, except for emergency vehicles, for vendor parking, loading and unloading.
Lower also requested permission for the Thursday market, June 26 – October 9 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., to continue on the south side of Fairfax Street north of Washington Street and backing up to the park.
Access to Fairfax Street from Wilkes Street would be closed to all but emergency vehicles and the first seven parking meters on the south side of the street would be blocked.
Lower said the hours of the Thursday market are being changed from 3 – 6 p.m. to 2 – 5 p.m. because foot traffic after 5 p.m. was minimal. He also noted that several thunderstorms after 5 p.m. had interrupted the market this summer.
Council approved the requests unanimously.
A good year
Lower said that 2007 was a good year for the Farmers Market. He said the Sunday market ran for 26 weeks with 16 vendors. Approximately 18,000 people visited the Sunday market, making 15,000 purchases.
Lower estimated 20 to 25 percent of visitors were tourists and 75 percent of visitors to the market were repeat customers.
The Thursday market attracted an average of 215 visitors a week with 153 purchases, Lower said. He estimated 95 percent of visitors were local customers.
Mayor Susan Webster said that she has not received any complaints about the Thursday market from store owners and only a few parking complaints.
Lower said the Farmers Market will work with local business owners this year on new marketing ideas. He said the market is also looking at a farm-to-table program for restaurants and other customers.
Many restaurants used the Thursday market to buy fresh produce, Lower said.
Lights not lit
The town's Christmas decorations are up along Washington Street, but residents may have noticed that they are not on at night.
The fire at the courthouse and a subsequent fire in a power transformer at the corner of Congress and Washington Streets this summer destroyed the electrical service for the Christmas lights.
We will have to work on getting the electricity fixed for next year, Webster said.
The town will have to pay a private contractor to install the service after getting permission from Allegheny Power and Verizon to put the service on the telephone poles.
One of the town's failed water pumps has been repaired and is being used as a spare for the one working pump. A third pump is still out for repair.
Water Department and town officials are working with Randy Watson of Thrasher Engineering and Fire Chief J. J. Steiner to determine why the pumps are failing, in hopes of finding a solution to the problem.
Webster also asked Watson for a preliminary estimate on replacing 21,000 linear feet of water pipe, mostly outside of town, in preparation for the next water project.
Councilman David Crosby is in the process of drafting a new water rate ordinance that will establish a flat rate of $9 per 1,000 gallons with a minimum of $54 for 6,000 gallons or less.
The rate increase is needed to insure the town can meet debt service on loans necessary to expand the water plant and do another large pipe replacement project.
The town has had a moratorium on new water taps since August 2005. There are approximately 400 names on a list waiting for new water taps.
I don't see how, under current conditions, the moratorium can be lifted anytime soon, Crosby said.
Webster said that once statistics are compiled after the current billing period, the town will determine whether the moratorium can be lifted.
The state requires the moratorium be lifted if water consumption drops below 80 percent of capacity.
Extra patrols for holidays
Chief Jim Minton said the police department will have extra patrols during the holiday season.
Minton also reported that the reserve officer program is off and running. Reserve officers have helped with funerals and are routinely checking that stores are locked and secured at night and that alleyways are clear.
Minton said reserve officers Daryl Lay, Jim Slough and Helen Wulzer are receiving training from police and Parking Control and Reserve Officer Gene Kilduff.
Minton noted that Reserve Officer Helen Wulzer was called in on one occasion to search a female suspect and help escort the suspect to Eastern Regional Jail.
Minton said that digital cameras needed to document crime scenes have been received.
Councilman and Chairman of the Public Works Committee Scott Merki said the town's street crew has done a great job clearing the streets after each of the two storms so far this year.
They did a real good job on the streets. We know because we are out there driving on them all the time, Minton added.