Sunday, November 06, 2005

BoS Meeting 11/3/05

The November 3, 2005 Board of Supervisors regular meeting was preceded by a 6:30 PM budget workshop and, at 7:15 PM, by candidate interviews for Forks’ open slot on the Easton Area Joint Sewer Authority.

The BUDGET SESSION focused on three main topics:
  1. Whether or not to contribute $5600 to the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, the group that runs shelters in Easton (Safe Harbor), Allentown, and Bethlehem - The Township has not contributed since 2001. (In 2001, the group was promised that contributions would be an annual budget line item.) A resident noted that the director of Safe Harbor gets a salary of between $50K-$100K. Chairman John Ackerman weighed in against the contribution stating that he felt that the money should stay in the Township since the Township does not benefit from the shelters. Supervisor Henning Holmgaard said that he is for it but would like to see the CACLV budget first.
  2. Wage increases for salaried Township employees - It was decided after discussion to give the salaried workers the same 4% raises that the collective bargaining unit got. Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas thought that raises should be granted based on evaluation criteria and she objected to a 4% across-the-board-increase. There were no employee evaluations performed in time for budget planning. Township Manager Cathy Kichline will prepare a form and do evaluations prior to next year’s budget meetings.
  3. The police department budget - It was decided to hire another full time office and promote one to corporal so that the department will have supervisory coverage 24/7.

Please read Sarah Mausolf's Express Times (11/4/05) artical for more details. (Note: A Morning Call reporter was there but did not write up the meeting.)

Two candidates, (Supervisor) Henning Holmgaard and Carl Dicker, were interviewed for the Forks vacancy on the EAJSA. Both gentlemen have excellent qualifications for the job and both are willing to report to the Board at meetings. There is no compensation for this position.


  • Nicholas had the report of the Easton Area Joint Sewer Authority stating the sewer capacity of the businesses in the Township.
  • Holmgaard said that the Police Department is proceeding with the accreditation process. The final walk through should be on the 14th or 15th of November.
  • Supervisor Don Miller said that this weekend all three of the Township’s football teams are in semi-final playoffs. The finals will be next week. That will end the fall season and then the winter season will begin with basketball and wrestling.
  • Ackerman reported that residents of Heather Lane called after the recent heavy rain about sewers backing up into their houses. Engineer Fred Hay said that this was the first he’d heard about it.
  • Ackerman said that he’s received two calls from residents wanting to know what happened to the Township’s newsletter. There was discussion about it now being absorbed by the news section on the Township’s official website. Holmgaard said that the Township was going to print out and mail the news page to residents who have no online access (and request copies). Kichline said that she will.
  • Kichline asked that two items be added to the meeting’s agenda, heat for the new parks building and whether or not bids are needed to remove the old fuel oil tanks. Both were added.
  • Fire Chief Tim Weis said that the Fire Department’s furniture move is almost completed.

Holmgaard mentioned a letter written by Solicitor Karl Kline to the EASD. There was no discussion and the letter was not read.


  1. Resident Ken Nagy raised two issues. The first was a comment that the 2006 budget was much like his in that there is "more demand than cash." And that the Community Action League’s $5K request may not pave a road but it will go far to provide some service/assistance in the Township. His other point concerned the consolidation of the Easton Water Authority and the Easton Suburban Water Authority. He asked the Board to invite them to speak to us about it and what its impact will be on Forks residents. Kichline will invite them.
  2. Dan Secorak (sic) of Newlins Road West asked the Board for help to slow down the traffic on his road. He said that the speed limit is 25 mph and that the police have been ineffective in enforcing it. He suggested speed bumps. He said that he must back out of his driveway and it’s very difficult now that the road has been resurfaced. He said that he has been living there since 1961 and will sue the Township if he gets hit. Holmgaard told him that the Township has a "zero tolerance" policy for speeders and there are no warnings given, only tickets. Ackerman said that there is nothing they can do except ask the police to "set up speed traps and what have you." Holmgaard said that all Township roads have 25 mph speed limits.


STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX - There were no questions from the Board regarding Gale’s financial report (written and not orally presented). Some of the progress items that Gale listed include:

  • The old firehouse will be demolished on Saturday and should be reduced to a pile of rubble by Monday.
  • Schoor DiPalma’s recommended HVAC revisions to fix their mistake are being undertaken by the mechanical contractor. If it doesn’t work, they will have to go back to the drawing board. Nicholas asked if the engineer will be back-charged. Gale said that there are quite a few items that have to be looked at to see what can be recouped from the engineer. He said that it’s a sizable number and that he can indicate those that added additional costs to the project and are directly attributable to the lack of good engineering.
  • The Police Department will get a bike rack pad.
  • The reworking of the landscaping at the PD will be done in the spring and the contractor knows that it is his responsibility.
  • The paneling for the Municipal Building is two weeks away.
  • Because local contractors have been unable to bend the aluminum arches for the Municipal Building main lobby windows without breaking them, a California company is doing it. They should be here in another week. Nicholas asked how much extra this will cost and Gale said there will be no extra cost.
  • The second Board of Supervisors meeting in December (the 15th) will be held in the new meeting room.
  • The new fuel system is ready for use but the paperwork is not yet complete. They are awaiting a visit from L&I.

Nicholas noted that the project schedule now extends from December to May. Gale said that the project has phases and that taking down the old building (phase 3) was not in the original schedule. She noted that the budget for one part of the project is at 92% and the other is a 76%. Gale said, "We’re right there." Nicholas remarked, "You got it. You spend it."

GOLLUB PARK - At Holmgaard’s suggestion, this item was tabled until all the easements needed are in hand. The discussion began with Hay’s report that he was at the park site with Mr. Arcury who said that he would consider granting access for emergency and maintenance vehicles over the old trolley line on his property. This would be a "limited easement." Hay said that with this easement only a 4' wide footpath would be needed for people walking to the park and that the path could meander and not involve cutting trees.

Kline explained that in the past Arcury was willing to give a "license" to the Township for emergency/maintenance access but that a "license" could be cancelled. Now Arcury is offering a limited easement. Kline further said that a limited agreement from the Krauses would also be necessary. Kenneth Krause said that he will also give an easement for the path (over a corner of his property.)

Pete Rossi said that the hoped the Board and Arcury would come up with a solution or he WILL be taking down trees and putting in a wide roadway. He said that if a footpath goes in, he will have to do just that. He also said that there is a little sliver of land up there that could solve the whole problem if they got an easement from Met-Ed and filled it with a truckload of dirt so that they could get down to the paper road, Valley View. He could then put in his own driveway without taking down trees.


COUNTRYSIDE ESTATES SUBDIVISION, PHASE 2/DEVELOPER’S AGREEMENTS - Kline stated that all was in order for this Pannucio development. Passed in a 4:0 vote.

RESOLUTION 051103-1/USE OF LOT #41/FORKS FARM - Kline explained this as a 40 year old issue that now needs to be resolved. The development was laid out in the 1960s for single family detached houses and there was a disagreement between the Supervisors and the developer about a barn that was to be torn down after three years of use as an office. The developer recently went to sell the lot with the barn and the title searcher found this old agreement saying that the barn was to have been torn down. This resolution will waive the requirement that the that the barn be demolished and subject any improvements made to it to the current SALDO and Zoning Ordinance. Miller asked about anything requiring maintenance of the barn. The resolution was approved in a 5:0 vote.

FORT JAMES III - RR CROSSING & EAST/WEST EXTENSION OF BRADEN BOULEVARD - Ackerman "excused" himself from discussion since 19 acres of the land involved is his. J.G. Petrucci, developer for this proposed industrial park (124 acres north of Fort James and extending to Uhler Road) asked the Board to petition the P.U.C. to get a grade crossing over the railroad tracks so that Braden Boulevard can be extended through the site. He said that the Board's help is crucial as there is no public agreement with Norfolk Southern to allow a crossing. Norfolk Southern told the developer that their policy is to NOT grant such an agreement unless two other crossings (in the Township) are vacated. Kline said that it is appropriate for the Township to help.

The developer indicated that he will provide a link to an area reserved for a right-of-way which is part of the Modern Concrete project and goes through a residential lot to Glover Road. Nicholas suggested that the developer get a right-of-way agreement from the Yautz Farm (at the lower end of their property) or from the residential lot now. Ackerman said that he has another road alignment possibility and does not want the developer to bind themselves at this time. He did not want to discuss it yet. The Board agreed to petition the P.U.C. in a 4:0 (?) vote.

PURCHASE OF SEWER CAPACITY - CRIVELLARO - Kline explained that the sewage treatment plant allots usage capacity to municipalities. Some time ago, the Crivellaro family bought some of Easton’s unusable capacity (Easton had more than it could use given that it is "built out"). Crivellaro took what he needed and is now trying to sell his extra capacity. The EAJSA restricted Crivellaro to sell his excess capacity only to Williams Township where the Crivellaro farm is located. Williams Township is not part of the EAJSA and was told by the EAJSA that it could buy the capacity and sell it to any other municipality within the EAJSA. Williams Township is willing to buy it from Crivellaro, keep the 9K/gals/day that they need, and sell the remaining 21K/gals/day to Forks Township at $6.80/gal. The purchase was authorized in a 5:0 vote.

FIRE DEPARTMENT/FIVE YEAR PLAN - Supervisor David Hoff (liaison to the Fire Department) recommended that this be adopted. Ackerman asked about the funding for the tower and Hoff said that they are counting on the EMS Tax for the five year plan and for the tower itself, the fire company volunteers are willing to commit $175K (50%). Hoff thanked all the people who put time into preparing the 5 year plan. The plan was passed in a 5:0 vote.

BUDGET ADJUSTMENT: $393,000. FROM CARRYOVER TO 436.300 STORMWATER IMPROVEMENTS - This adjustment was necessary because the Frost Hollow Swale improvement bids came to $790K and there was not enough in the capital improvements fund. It passed 5:0.

SIGN MACHINE - Ackerman suggested holding this purchase over until next year even though it is in this year’s budget ($20K). Holmgaard said that many of the Township signs (those abutting State roads) are not in compliance. Kichline said that there is no place to keep the machine at this time. Ackerman changed his mind after it was pointed out to him that the machine will get more expensive if they wait to buy it. The purchase was authorized in a 5:0 vote.

ORDINANCE NO. 294/NO PARKING ALONG PORTIONS OF OLD MILL ROAD (AUTHORIZATION TO ADVERTISE) - The authorization to advertise this ordinance was granted in a 5:0 vote. It will establish "no parking" and create a bike lane on the north side of Old Mill Road from Knox Avenue to Marigold Drive. This was done to avoid the construction of a sidewalk for the residents of Lockwood Congress.

BUDGET REVIEW/SEPTEMBER - Finance Manager Jim Farley said that the main over-budget items can be explained. He stated that there was additional audit work in 2005, that the price of fuel is up, and that the Township chose to fill the new tanks. Nicholas asked about the unemployment compensation over budget item and was told by Kichline that one person will be coming off unemployment in 2006 and that it’s a "guessing game" since they don’t know in advance if someone will be laid off.

PARKS GARAGE HEATING - Kichline explained that the proposals are higher than expected and therefore heating the new parks garage needs to go out to bid. She has the advertizement prepared. This was authorized in a 5:0 vote.

TANK REMOVAL - Centerpoint Tank’s proposal to remove the old fuel storage tanks came in at $10,495. Ackerman reminded the Board that if there is any contamination in the tank, cleaning it is not included in the proposal. It was decided in 5:0 vote to add the tank removal to Centerpoint’s existing contract. They will be asked to reduce the price by $496.

An EXECUTIVE SESSION was held to discuss several personnel matters and one real estate matter. 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.

No comments: