Saturday, December 18, 2004

BoS Meeting 12/16/04

Joe Nixon of the Morning Call wrote up all the important items from the 12/16/2004 Board of Supervisors Meeting. He was the only reporter there. It was one of the shortest meetings we have attended in a long time and was certainly in keeping with the Holiday spirit! There were no outbursts and no finger pointing during the whole meeting. There were also NO COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR (NOT AGENDA ITEMS).

The FINAL 2005 BUDGET was adopted with the revisions recommended on 12/2/04. It passed unanimously. Supervisor Nicholas recommended that individual names be removed from the salary figures before it is published and that the total number of employees in a given salary figure be summarized. Township Manager Kichline agreed to do that.

Authorization was granted to Solicitor Kline to advertise the new Township Ordinance #290 which deals with the EMERGENCY AND MUNICIPAL SERVICES TAX. This is in response to the recent signing of House Bill #197 which allows municipalities to eliminate the $10 OPT and replace it with this new $52/per person tax. It will be assessed on each person whose place of employment is in Forks Township. Those earning less than $12K per year will have to file for an exemption. If the tax is withheld from their paychecks, they will have to file for a refund at the end of the year. The new tax will become effective January 2005. (Aside: The ad appeared in the
Express Times on Friday, December 17, 2004). It will be adopted at the Re-organization Meeting on 1/3/2005. Note: If you work in any other municipality in PA, you will be subject to the EMS Tax that they are levying. Not every area will charge the $52 maximum rate.

HODGES TECHNOLOGIES was (conditionally) granted a three year contract for maintenance of the Township's computer system. Discussion ensued when Supervisor Nicholas pointed out that the first page had January 2005 - December 2005 as the contract period, yet inside the contract period was listed through December 2007. The annual fees will be $25K for year 1, $26K for year two, and $27K for year three. Nicholas asked why this contract was presented to the Board at the last minute. She also questioned the sparsity of the contract as it looked like a letter. She asked the solicitor for his opinion. Kline asked Kichline if they used this vendor before and what the track record was. Kichline said that the Township has used them for at least 4 years and that their experience has been good, especially for the Police Department. Kline then said that 4 years experience is certainly a good thing. Conditional Approval was given for the contract pending correcting the date range on the first page and receiving it on company letterhead for signing. (It was printed from an email to Kichline for presentation to the Board.)

STOCKERTOWN BOROUGH'S REQUEST to purchase some of Forks' sewer capacity was turned down. Kichline was directed to write a letter to them stating that Forks is unable to meet their request. The Borough had asked to purchase 106K gallons per day of Forks' capacity. Forks purchased additional capacity a few months back. During the discussion it was noted that Stockertown really has two issues, a need for more capacity and a need to get it to the treatment plant in Easton. They need pipes from either Palmer or Forks. They will have to go directly to the Easton Sewer Authority to purchase their needed additional capacity.

During the brief CURRENT BUDGET REVIEW it was noted that the Fire Department has trucks undergoing repair right now and that the bills will not come in until next year. The trucks were damaged during Hurricane Ivan. The repair funds are in the 2004 budget and carrying the monies over for 2005 was requested and approved.

  • Alex Gale reported that the major site work on the new municipal Complex is just about closed out for the year. The new trusses for the Firehouse have begun arriving and are being installed. He has prepared a "book" on all the damage from the Thanksgiving Day winds. Supervisor Nicholas said that she has some photos that her son took and will put them on disk and get them to Mr. Gale. The insurance investigation is ongoing. Also, there are 20" X 30" dedication plaques for each of the three buildings. He requested text (for the plaques) from the Board.
  • Supervisor Hoff reported that the final EMS meeting of the year was held and that the different services felt that they are working together as well as ever.
  • Supervisor Nicholas reported that the Frost Hollow Pumping Station will be completed in the Spring. Rain has been a factor in the holdup.
  • Supervisor Miller reported that activities in the Community Center are in full swing and that the tree lighting was a success.
  • Township Manager Kichline stated that the accounting software conversion is going well and that she will schedule two (2) Conditional Use items for the Board's second meeting in January.
  • Chief Dorney presented each of the Board members with copies of the new Police Policy Manual for their review.
  • Pete Gheller reported that leaf removal is completed and that the plows are ready for winter.
  • Solicitor Kline reported that as expected, the Delaware Nation has filed an appeal and that it will be around for quite a while yet.
  • Supervisor Hoff had a Residential (?) Summary from the Pennsylvania Economy League regarding taxes and he suggested that the Supervisors look at it. (Aside: We looked up the PA Economy League online and found this item re. taxes. We don't know if it is what the Board was given but the site has many interesting items on it for those who like to dig in and learn more.)

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.

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