The MUNICIPAL SOFTWARE PACKAGE was conditionally awarded to a local company Applied Micro. This was a unanimous vote based on COST only. Apparently the other package (Sun Gard?) that the special committee checked into was too expensive for Forks' resources in the committee's estimation. The "conditions" include a REWRITTEN contract and that when the contract is altered to suit the Board, the price will remain the same. Supervisor Nicholas said that the contract presented to them had a clause in it holding the vendor harmless should a software loss due to equipment failure occur and in addition, the vendor declined to give a list of recommended hardware stating instead that the Township's existing equipment was adequate. We applaud Supervisor Nicholas' diligence. Supervisor Holmgaard stated that he would take care of the contract and price issues and he agreed with Nicholas that the contract was unacceptable and "needs to be rewritten."
The 2005 TOWNSHIP BUDGET/FIRST SUBMISSION apparently warranted little discussion EXCEPT that Chairman Ackerman stated quite definitively that he would not vote for it with the line item for a Director of Finance (for $45,000) in it. He said that the Township Manager was to perform those duties. Supervisor Nicholas agreed and said that she wanted the line item REMOVED from the budget. Holmgaard wanted it left in just in case it was needed. Nicholas said that if it was there, the money would be spent and she thought that waiting until after the new software was in place and the new building completed would be better. At that time, if the position was still needed, they could revisit the discussion. A vote was taken and it was a 2:2 tie. Both Holmgaard and Miller voted for it. Hoff was not present. It will come before the Board at the next meeting. After it is approved, there will be a 20 day period in which it (the budget) is available to the public for scrutiny.
The FEE RATES/NON-RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS agenda item was TABLED until next meeting by Supervisor Nicholas. She requested that comparable figures from nearby municipalities be compiled and presented to the Board so that they could better consider this issue. Apparently an unnamed developer wants to commit to an $8.4 million business/site in the Township but wants relief from $8,000 worth of fees first. Nicholas compared $8K to $8 million and said it was not a significant amount of money for a project that size. She also said that that land could not be used for residential construction and didn't understand why lowering the fees was being considered for this project. It was explained that they were considering lowering the fees for ALL non-residential development. Dean Turner (Planning Commission) advised her to "think globally" as the Planning Commission was trying to encourage non-residential development over residential. Bob Fretz (sic), a former Supervisor commented that during his time on the Board they had worked very hard to establish the fees. He said that if they reduce them they will undo all of that work. The implication was that these fees slow things down. He's right.
COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR, NOT AGENDA ITEMS:
- The first test of the new five minute rule occurred when Amy Farley (sic) presented her investigation into the reasons for part of her home being ruined last January when pipes froze. Apparently no Certificate of Occupancy was ever issued for her dwelling. In November 2003 she and her family purchased an older home that had been extensively remodeled by three former owners. She contacted the Secretary of the Board of Supervisors, Don Miller, but he did not respond to her. She has had extensive discussions with Zoning Officer Tim Weis. What she learned in all this time is that although permits had been issued for some of the improvements to the home, inspections were never done because the permits had expired. The reason we state that this is a test of the new five minute rule is because to stay within that time period Ms. Farley spoke VERY quickly and it was difficult to understand all of the issues. Weis did state that there was more to it and that a Supervisors' meeting was not the forum for it. Ms. Farley said that he had told her that they could be fined $500/day for living in a house without a C.O.
- Brent Wood (sic) who lives on the corner of Wagonwheel and Meco Road related to the Board that he was told by a Forks Township police Corporal to bring his problem to them. Apparently his neighbors consistently go through the stop sign on the corner and the police do not have the manpower to be effective. He was advised by the Corporal to keep coming to meetings. He was also told (by the police) to take photos of the scofflaws' vehicles showing their license plates. He suggests raising taxes to hire more police or to put in speed bumps. His wife runs a daycare out of their home with as many as 10 children in it and there had been close calls. He vowed to continue to speak/appear at meetings until this problem is solved.
- Dean Turner (Planning Commission) admonished the Board regarding their conduct at recent meetings stating that "they were not as professional as they used to be." He said that it seemed that there were adversarial relationships. He applauds the new Time Limits (the five minute rule).
- Stan Kocher (former Supervisor) learned that the lime kiln and stone wall on Frost Hollow Road were not on PennDot's hit list. They are on the National Historic Record and will be preserved.
REPORTS AND OTHER AGENDA ITEMS OF NOTE:
- Supervisor Miller was given the go-ahead to hire a part time Equipment Manager for the Community Center at $10/hr. The candidate has been selected. We missed his name, sorry. He is the current Equipment Manager at Easton High.
- Chairman Ackerman apologized to the Board and to the Township residents for allowing Field Construction Manager Alex Gale into the Executive Session at the last meeting. He said that the Township Manager, Kichline, asked him to let him attend. He thought it was a personnel issue. It was not. She was wrong to do that for sure. He should NOT have been in the Executive Session.
- Township Manager Kichline reported that 13 feet of Frost Hollow Road (from Route 611) will be under repair in the next few weeks and that the construction company will work through the winter until that section is repaired.
- Township Engineer Fred Hay, said that Met-Ed has withdrawn its Land Development Plan since all they will be doing is a driveway to their storage area. He stated that the Township wants to expand its right of way on Meco Road and Route 115 and wants sidewalks. Met-Ed wants a waiver from the SALDO.
- Engineer Hay also reported that the Township will "smoke test" the sewers in the Heather Lane area (remember their problem?) and that a pipe on Camellia Road had a broken flap which caused water to flow into the yards on Heather Lane. The pipe problem will be fixed.
- Field Construction Manager Alex Gale discussed fuel storage tanks for diesel and gasoline at the new Municipal Complex. He suggests buying fuel for automobiles from local gas stations to avoid the environmental issues that large storage tanks can cause. Tim Weis said that a tank will be necessary for fire trucks as there are no diesel stations nearby that can accommodate them. Gale also asked the Board to be more specific about how much input they want re. such things as landscaping, furniture, and space assignments for the Police Department. The Board suggested that Chief Dorney (not present) do a presentation.
- SULLIVAN TRAIL COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT/SKETCH PLAN was Tabled as no one from the developer's office was present. This is the old Laneco property.
- Roger Naut, a Heather Lane resident (the new part) asked for a waiver of a street tree. He was not informed by the developer or the real estate agent when he purchased his new home about the plans for a tree in his yard and went ahead and spent thousands of dollars on landscaping. Now the developer wants to complete his obligation to the Township and stick a tree in the middle of his yard (in the 10' right of way that he didn't know existed either). He brought photos. Fred Hay was instructed to look at the property and see if the tree cannot "go someplace else."
- TOWNE CENTER AT SULLIVAN TRAIL II - Preliminary Plan was presented. This includes the old pole storage yard behind Met-Ed and will have its entrance on Meco Road. There will be four commercial plots there. Both Holmgaard and Nicholas requested that the commercial go in BEFORE the 76 townhomes. The drive through will connect with Towne Center I. The developer is requesting 4 waivers one of which is the required slope of the detention basin. Another is a waiver of the geological study. Supervisor Nicholas wished to be on record as opposing the waiver of the geological study. Engineer Hay said that the Township is sinkhole prone and that most sinkholes are caused by BAD ("shoddy"?) construction practices. That got a laugh. He thinks that the money should NOT be spent on geological studies. A vote was take re. the waivers. It was 3:1 with Supervisor Nicholas voting NAY.
- ESTATES AT BUSHKILL CREEK received Final Plan approval. This is the old Upstream Farms site.
Our objective is to relate what is experienced at Forks Township meetings for those who cannot attend. We are attempting to be as factual as we can. If we make a mistake, tell us via email or Comment here in the blog, and we will do our best to correct it. We are not perfect. We want to get it right.