Sunday, October 09, 2005

BoS Meeting 10/6/2005

Both Sarah Mausolf (Express Times 10/7/05) and Joe Nixon (Morning Call 10/7/05) reported extensively on the 6:30 PM presentation of the Fire Department’s Five Year Plan. Please read the articles for the details. The presentation was done by Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Weis and was thorough and direct. Our Fire Department is indeed planning for the future. Kudos and thank you.

  • Supervisor David Hoff (and liaison to the Fire Department) thanked Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Weis for the presentation at the workshop (and everyone else for their participation.)
  • Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas suggested a bicycle lane instead of a sidewalk for Old Mill Road (and the Lockwood Congress residents’ request.) She thought that the road is wide there and that it (the bicycle lane) would be cheaper than a sidewalk. Engineer Fred Hay said that it could be crosshatched (painted diagonal lines) all the way to Towne Center Boulevard.
  • Nicholas also said that she was at the Manager’s Meeting and that Police Chief Dorney wants all the men to use their card keys for fuel. She feels that all the employees who are going to use the fuel should have his/her own card key and not have a group share one key. Township Manager Cathy Kichline said that it cannot be done until all three buildings are completed.
  • Nicholas requested that "Re-organization/liaison" be added to next meeting’s agenda.
  • Chairman John Ackerman asked if the Township has a contractor to service the air conditioning system in the new building. Kichline said that the Township will have to accept proposals. Ackerman further asked if the Township is going out for bids on gas and oil and was told by Kichline that she and DPW Director Gary Sandt are working on it. He asked if anything was done about a four-way stop at Arndt Road yet and was told that it was part of Kichline’s report. He asked, too, that Jeff Laura (sic) (ambulance?) be added to the next meeting agenda. Kichline said that it would be more appropriate for the October 18 budget workshop and he was advised of that by letter (although he has not yet received the letter.) (Aside: The Express Times printed a legal notice stating that there will be two budget workshops, one on October 17th at 4:30 PM and one on October 18th at 4:30 PM).
  • Ackerman also asked how quiet the dust collectors at Old Castle are and Hay told him that their operating permit must be renewed every year. Next he asked about Tax Collector June Vale’s memo regarding political sign permit fees. She wondered why Forks is the only municipality in the State collecting such a fee. Solicitor Karl Kline explained that the issue is one of "free speech" and that the fees are returned to the candidates after the election (providing they have removed all of their signs within 7 days after the election.) Zoning Officer Tim Weis said that only one candidate did not get his money back because he did not pick up his signs and the Township had to collect them. Ackerman was also told, when he asked, that permit fees are collected from County Council candidates.
  • Kichline reported that she had a conversation with PennDot regarding the Bushkill Drive and Arndt Road intersection. A letter was requested (by PennDot). A meeting will be set up to discuss the intersection and why Forks wants traffic control there. She said too that the Memorial Tree drive is going well. And, she reminded the Board that the Halloween Employee Blood Drive is scheduled for October 28th and that there will be a Conditional Use Hearing for Strausser Enterprises Recreation Center before the next Board meeting on October 20th (at 7 PM). She also said that Hay’s office has compiled a package on on-lot sewer management. It will be available to the Board with recommendations at the next meeting.
  • Dorney updated the Board regarding the police department’s accreditation process. The first of the final phase will be on Monday, October 10th. He thanked Public Works Director Gary Sandt, Alex Gale, Pete Gheller, Kichline and others for their help. If all goes well, by Thanksgiving, Forks Police Department will be the first and only accredited agency in Northampton County.
  • Finance Manager Jim Farley said that he is working on coordination of the budget process and the new software.
  • Hay reported that the Frost Hollow swale project is close to completion. And, he mentioned that Brachilano (sic) Paving will be working on the Suburban Water Company trenches soon.

During the DEBITS AND TRANSFERS portion of the meeting we learned that Recreation Land Acquisition is funded by developer fees.


  1. Resident Joan Schultz (sic), a retired EAHS teacher and 42 year Township resident said that 6 years ago she requested a trash collection rate reduction (because she is only here six months of the year) and got it. Her new bill did not reflect her discount so she called the Municipal Building and was told she had to speak to Kichline but that she was not there. So she wrote to Kichline about it but got no answer. She came tonight because her issue is on the agenda. (See REFUSE PAYMENT POLICY agenda item for more.)
  2. Two residents from Chestnut Commons Association, Ruthie (didn’t catch the last name) and Arky de Stephano (apologies for the spelling) brought their swale stormwater problems to the Board’s attention. They showed photographs and said that the swale has deteriorated in the last year or two because of the additional runoff (from new houses) and new huge stones. Ackerman asked that Hay look into it.


STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX - There were no questions for Gale regarding the projects finances. Nicholas asked if the schedule was the same as last time and was told that it was very close and that he will know better by the end of this month.

Some of the things that Gale reported include:

  • Schoor DiPalma feels that the Township’s numbers are incorrect and that they have given him other numbers. Gale feels that he may end up getting Kline involved.
  • The site contractor made a "sad attempt" to fix the landscaping and Gale recommends killing what’s there and regrading at the contractor’s expense.
  • The large trees (60%) are to be spring plantings and Gale will stake everything out this fall.
  • The communication network cabling contractor is behind and may need to be changed.
  • The Simplex fire and security connections were completed today (dedicated phone lines with the County). Employee training is not yet done.
  • The contractor for the underground cabling is 1-1/2 weeks behind and no more interim cabling can be done until the network cabling is in. Gale is asking Verizon for thoughts on an interim solution.
  • The move to the new firehouse "went okay" and the fin tube heating covers will be in by the end of work on Friday.


LAFAYETTE MEADOWS/ADDITIONAL STREET LIGHTS - Accepted in a 5:0 vote after Solicitor Karl Kline explained that it is a standard resolution from Met-Ed for the activation of street lights and Kichline said that all was in order.

RESOLUTION 051006-1 BUSHKILL RIDGE ESTATES/ACCEPTANCE OF STREETS - Accepted in a 5:0 vote after Hay said that all was in order.

RESOLUTION 051006-2 STEEPLECHASE SUBDIVISION/DEED OF DEDICATION FOR STREETS IN PHASES 1 & 2 - Accepted in a 5:0 vote after Kline stated that all was in order and Hay said that he had inspected them.

GOLLUB PARK - After lengthy discussion and input from residents near the park, the vote was rescheduled to the next meeting on October 20th. Hay explained that he had finished the survey of the park. It is located at the very eastern end of Paxinosa Road. He said that there was a meeting on Monday with the property owners about how to continue public access to Gollub Park. Hay’s office staked out the center line of the right-of-way and think that an 8' rec. path can be put in to get to the park.

Kline explained that at the turn of the century people who owned property just laid out roads and lots without regard to topography. He said that there were two roads laid out (and if a road is not opened within 21 years after it is laid out on a plan, it cannot be opened as a public road.) The lot owners have the private rights of access over that "paper" street. There used to be a trolley line to the "point" but it did not follow the road and over time, people thought that that was the road. However, the old trolley line goes over private property. He said that another road was put in but it missed the right-of-way road.

Nicholas said that she was back there and asked if an 8' wide path would be acceptable and was surprised to learn that the Township was not responsible to make a road for the residents to get to their property. She further wondered if the Township path was going to be used by the residents to get to their property (if the path goes down the middle of the right-of-way.) Hay clarified that the path will be of mulch or stone and can run down the side of the right-of-way. When she asked if the Township could give the property owners a gravel path to get back there. Hay said that "if you want to build a road, you build a road. If you want to build a rec. path, you build a rec. path." He recommended that the Township not be involved in the liability of providing vehicle access (a public thoroughfare) to private property and said that no one else in the Township has access provided by the Township.

One of the property owners, Pete Rossi (Zoning Hearing Board), said that if the mulch path is kept to the south of the 30' right-of-way, that the mature trees that are in the right-of-way will come down (be cut) in order that he get access to his lot. He needs a 10' lane to his property. Kline explained that there should be a separation between where people are walking and where cars may be moving. Paul Harrison, a resident near the park, said that there isn’t much traffic and that people are already walking on their "driveway" now to get to the park. Another resident asked that the Township mark the path so that people going to the park are not using private property to get there. Ackerman asked to continue this to the next meeting to give other Board members time to go back there to see the site. Nicholas asked who is going to move the pole that is in the middle of the right-of-way?

RIVERVIEW WEST/FORKS TOWNSHIP RAILROAD LAND SWAP AGREEMENT - Kline explained that this is a land exchange between the developer and Forks Township. He said that in 1988 Forks bought the old railroad bed and that part of it is already a walking trail. Riverview Estates was required to build a recreation path that "honors the land that Forks has in that area." Riverview West asked when they presented their plan, if they could rearrange it to give the Township what it wants, a rec. path. The Township agreed as long as the path connects at both ends. Supervisor Miller questioned whether it connected and was assured that it does. The land swap agreement was accepted in a 5:0 vote.

FORKS TOWNSHIP YOUTH ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT - Accepted with a 5:0 vote and no discussion.

REFUSE PAYMENT POLICY - A motion to not give any discounts to anyone was passed in a 5:0 vote. Kichline explained that the "conversion to Utility" caused this to be an issue because up until then, 12 accounts were given credits but that there was no written policy. She asked if the Board wanted to continue doing this. Supervisor Henning Holmgaard asked if the Township paid for waste pick-up on a per lot basis and was told that it does. Ackerman said that if some people don’t pay for the full year, then the rest of the taxpayers pick up the tab for them. Hoff said that no other senior citizens groups who asked were granted discounts. Miller said that the refuse collection companies who submitted bids were asked about senior discounts and none of them agreed to do it.

AUTHORIZATION TO PURCHASE VACUUM LEAF LOADER THROUGH PACC - This budgeted item purchase was approved in a 5:0 vote. Ackerman passed around flyers to the Board and Sandt explained the trucks features and that it can hold 5 times what our current truck can handle.

TRICK-OR-TREAT/OCTOBER 31, 2005 6:00-8:00 PM was passed in a 5:0 vote.

POLICE DEPARTMENT/SCHOOL INVESTIGATION S.O.P. - Holmgaard said that this was a continuation of his report from the last meeting. There was a meeting on 9/28/05 and Chief Dorney was asked to prepare the Standard Operating Procedures. Ackerman said that he thought it was very complicated and suggested that they wait for Easton to give Forks direction. Holmgaard said that "we cannot operate without some guidelines." Dorney explained that this policy states that Forks will respond to any and all emergency calls for assistance. It also says that Forks can go to the school for something that happened outside of the school (if they are conducting an investigation.) Ackerman asked if Forks could then go to Lafayette College (Metzger Field) and was told that Lafayette has its own police department but that Forks would assist in an emergency if requested. Nicholas said that she liked the fact that the EASD Police Department will have to call Forks through the (county) emergency system and that Forks will not respond to cell phone calls. She felt that this covered the Township from lawsuits. Nicholas also liked the fact that the document spelled out that the EASD police will be the primary police department at the school. The S.O.P. was accepted in a 5:0 vote.

BUDGET REVIEW (AUGUST) - Discussion began with Nicholas stating that there are a lot of budget items OVER 100% (over budget already - about $62.8K over in fact). She wondered if another budget adjustment should be made now. Kichline said that a budget is a guide. Kichline felt that in the case of gasolene in particular, that the Board will want to see that the Township is over budget. Nicholas said that the Township will be way over on Mr. Gale’s costs by the end of the project. Ackerman asked Kichline if she is monitoring his time sheets. She said that she is.

There was an EXECUTIVE SESSION to discuss personnel issues. No action was taken 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.

1 comment:

It's a FAC said...

We were reminded that we missed the announcement about the Forks Family Bike Ride scheduled for Saturday, October 15th (weather permitting). Registration and bike inspections (by Genesis Bike Shop) begin at 10:00 AM and the ride starts at Noon. See the flyer for more details.

The ride is sponsored by the Forks Kiwanis and registration proceeds will be donated to Katrina Fund. Sharcs Doggie Stand will have refreshments for sale with proceeds donated to the Breast Cancer Fund.