Sunday, April 24, 2005

BoS Meeting 4/21/05

There was a pre-meeting worksession to walk the grounds of the new Municipal Complex to decide the fate of what were once thought to be trees. A dozen or so history students from the EAHS attended this BoS meeting. (Aside: It would be interesting to hear their reactions to it.) Joe Nixon's article was in the Morning Call the next day. There was no representative from the Express Times. We will attempt to fill in the blanks.


  • Supervisor Hoff reported that the EMS had an April 12th meeting.
  • Supervisor Holmgaard reported that we have a (police) dog and that Chief Dorney will bring it to a meeting next month.
  • Township Manager Kichline noted that Strausser Enterprises has submitted a subdivision plan for the Riverview Estates 4 acre Recreation Center and requests a joint meeting of the Board and the Planning Commission. The date was set for the regular Planning Commission workshop on May 24th. It will take 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
  • Zoning Officer Tim Weis reported that the Fire Department is up to full steam on the new software. Weis also reported that FEMA/PEMA have learned that there were more homes destroyed (from the April flood) than originally thought.
  • Engineer Fred Hay reported that the Frost Hollow swale homeowner trying to save his silver maple tree has refused to grant an easement to the Township. Hay said that the tree is half dead and he recommends that the Township begin the condemnation process. He also reported on the progress of the pumping station and said that Pheasant Ridge should be done next month.


Supervisor Nicholas asked about a letter from the DEP stating that Zawarski will construct a culvert crossing over a not-yet-named swale. She said that the map mentioned in the letter was not included in her packet. Hay explained that this notification letter is "step 1" and that the culvert crossing is not yet designed.

Nicholas also reported that she, Holmgaard, and Chairman Ackerman attended the PSATS conference on Monday. Among the seminars attended were one for Supervisors to exchange ideas (Nicholas said it was very interesting), one on the E.I.T. and one on a new cable franchise.

Ackerman said that he got a letter from PennDot thanking the Township for its help cleaning up Route 611 after the flooding. He thanked Gheller and the DPW for doing an excellent job. He instructed Kichline to place a 3 day (re)advertisement for the position of Director, DPW.

Nicholas asked about purchasing a sign making machine and Kichline told her that she was waiting for the cost/benefit analysis of same before presenting it to the Board. Nicholas asked that it be done ASAP.


  1. Melissa Heisel, a resident and student at EAHS addressed the Board to ask if something can be done to the timing of the light at Sullivan Trail and Old Mill Road. She said that there is an extended green light and that those traveling north can never turn left (onto Old Mill) if there's traffic. Chief Dorney agreed and said that the Township is looking into it.
  2. Terri Williams, a resident living on Toboggan Trail, said that she is getting water in her cellar. She said that Pete Gheller inspected the holding pond (Lockwood Congress) and said that it wasn't deep enough. Hay said that he inspected the pond and it is not breaching. She said she will call him the next time it is raining hard so that he can see it for himself.
  3. Sue Kocsis, a resident living near the Riverside Estates project asked Weis if Strausser and Segal & Morel had a working hours agreement with the Township. Weis said it was the same as for the earlier phases, 6:30 AM to 7:00 PM and that it is the same for all contractors working in the Township. Ms. Kocsis reported that the contractor and his heavy equipment (the warning horns when backing up) were working Wednesday night until 10 PM. She was advised to call the police and report it and that the police report will be used to fine the contractor. She said she called 23 times last year.
  4. Fritz Weide thanked Kichline for including the total Township (debt) figure on the agenda. He then asked Ackerman if he discussed "nepotism" in the Township with the Board. Ackerman said that PSATS was not concerned about it. Nicholas said that she attended an open session with a group of council people and they said that there is nothing to be done about it and it is not illegal. She further said that applicants must go through the proper procedures to get a job. Weide said that his company has such a policy and that the Board can enact anything it wants. Nicholas explained that the government is different than the private sector. Nicholas addressed Mr. Weide's next contention, that the Board can make an ordinance restricting who can and cannot run for public office and serve on the Board, by reminding him that this is the United States and that the voters decide who gets elected in a democracy.
  5. Virginia Jackson (farm in the TC district) made her second request to the Board to get the storm water runoff liability in writing. She wants it clearly spelled out who will be responsible for water damage to her property and is very concerned about the Townes at Sullivan Trail development going in next door. She was told that it is indicated on the plans that the developer is responsible. Ackerman told her to call Hay or Kichline if she has a problem (with stormwater) and they will take care of it.

The STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX was once again thorough and detailed. He asked the Board if Sullivan Trail is going to be repaved this summer as it may be necessary to hold off on the paving to the road to accommodate the possible changes in heights. Ackerman said that Sullivan Trail will be paved from Easton to Stockertown. Gale reported that the Police Department will be paved next week and that there is one Verizon pole yet to be moved and that he expects a fiasco as Verizon has been uncooperative. He said too that the PD contractor is working on his final punch list and that the electronic door problem was solved today. The fire access and access control system is totally operational. There will be card access to the outer doors and interior keys. He hope that the final inspection for the C.O. will be done next week. The target move in date is May 7th. The trusses for the Municipal Building will arrive next Tuesday. Gale reported that he signed off on the Fire Department roof and that the move in date for the FD will be between June 30th and July 4th. He said that the BoS and he did the "tree walk" and that the parks storage building must be vacated ASAP as they must shut down the water and that it's tough to do that in the summer. Holmgaard stated that he wants to have an "open house" in the Police Station and he'll work out with Dorney if it will be before or after the move. Nicholas brought up the plaque and stated that a "seal and date" are okay with her. She doesn't think that if the taxpayers are paying that everyone and their brothers' names should be on it. Ackerman asked who is paying and Gale responded that the general contractor is.

Kichline reported that no bids were received for the fueling facility so AWARD BID/FUELING FACILITY did not happen. Gale said that 5 contractors picked up bid packages. The advertisement was in the Morning Call. Gale also said that the existing tanks must be eliminated in one month. Supervisor Miller asked where the Township could go to purchase fuel offsite and was told that Deiter Brothers is the closest place and that everybody uses it. Hoff asked Kline what the options are if no one bids. Kline said that he thinks the Township ought to advertise again as well as solicit bids.

The RESOLUTION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF FORKS TO ADOPT THE TWO RIVERS AREA GREENWAY PLAN was approved 5:0. Kichline noted that approval of the plan will give the Township extra points in grant applications.

The RESOLUTION TO ELIMINATE MANDATORY DISTRIBUTION OF 457 PLAN was approved 5:0. Kichline explained that the 457 (pension) plan was for voluntary employee contributions and that it originally had a mandatory distribution provision. She said that the legislation has changed and that the plan document was being amended to allow monies to stay or to roll over. Ackerman asked if there was a cost to leave the monies there. She said that there was not.

Hay said that Seitz has until May 15th to complete the punch list for PHEASANT RIDGE, PHASES 1, 2, & 3/IMPROVEMENTS COMPLETION. Kline said that if it is not done by the first May BoS meeting he would like the Board to authorize drafting the paperwork for a draw on the letter of credit.

Hay said that the developer for the SULLIVAN TRAIL BUSINESS PARK/IMPROVEMENTS COMPLETION is less cooperative and that the site improvement agreement was signed 3-1/2 years ago. He said that this site has "sat and sat and sat" and that they will not be ready by May 1st. Ackerman said that Kline should send a letter and seek authorization to draw on the letter of credit.

The motion to approve the HOLMBERG/EASEMENT AGREEMENT FOR FROST HOLLOW SWALE IMPROVEMENTS was carried 5:0 after Kline said that all was in order.

The FURNITURE - AWARD BID agenda item was added at the start of the meeting. The contract was awarded to Corporate Environments, a Bethlehem based company in a 4:0 (Hoff abstained as he was not present for the presentation) vote. In discussion before the vote Ackerman noted that he was impressed with the filing cabinets that can be added on to. Nicholas said that she likes Herman Miller (office) furniture and that it has a 12 year warranty as well as being the best State supplier. She feels that the Herman Miller line is more expandable and is pleased that the company is based in Bethlehem. Holmgaard said that he wanted to see the warranty written on "two lines of non-legalese bumper to bumper." He noted that there is a $6K upgrade option and that "we would be foolish not to do that." Nicholas noted that that was for all wood furniture and not Herman Miller, although it would be from the same supplier. Miller noted that he is voting for Herman Miller because it is nearby, has a 12 year guarantee, has the State contract, and the supplier is in Bethlehem. Holmgaard stated that he would vote yes if the option also has a 12 year warranty.

There was no CURRENT BUDGET REVIEW. There was an EXECUTIVE SESSION after which a motion was made to relieve Pete Gheller of his position as Director of the DPW. It was carried 5:0. Another motion was made to appoint Pete Gheller to the new position of Facilities Manager at his current rate of pay (to be frozen for 3 years). It too carried 5:0 and the meeting was adjourned.

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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