Sunday, December 18, 2005

BoS Meeting 12/15/05

The Board of Supervisors December 15, 2005 went on in spite of the ice storm. The bad weather did not prevent Joe Nixon, Morning Call, from attending. Please read his article for details on the budget discussion. The planned 6:30 PM workshop session to discuss Supervisor-elect David Howell’s proposal (for standing committees to replace the current liaison structure) was cancelled due to the scheduled absence of the two of the Supervisors. It will be rescheduled in January 2006. Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas noted that Mr. Howell will be present (as a Supervisor) then.

  • Supervisor Nicholas said that she had the Sewer Authority minutes available.
  • Supervisor Henning Holmgaard noted that the Police Department is now accredited. Holmgaard, Township Manager Kathy Kichline and Officer Jim Rowden attended the ceremony. Chief Greg Dorney was absent due to a family emergency. The Commission consisted of 16 members representing 1204 individual police departments in the State. Thirty-three are accredited – Forks Township is one of them. One department was decertified because of non-compliance. The Borough of Jenkinstown became 32 and Forks Township was 33 in the accreditation process. Greg Dorney and his department accomplished this feat in 18 months. Of the 125 standards, Forks met and passed 118 – the remaining 7 were non-applicable. All of the police peers sitting at the table voted yes for Forks to be accredited. If the department does not keep the standards up, they can be decertified. Dorney said that the department will be reassessed every three years by three assessors . Two proofs of compliance will be necessary for each standard. Holmgaard said that new seals will be placed on Township police cars. Rowden is our accreditation manager. He is eligible to be part of an assessment team in the future. Dorney is also eligible to become a member of the commission.
  • Holmgaard said that a blue spruce has been acquired from Wayne and Nancy Docker (Forks Elected Auditors) and Jennifer Long. It is 28 feet tall. The township will replace it with an 8-10 foot tree. The blue spruce tree ball will weigh 25-30 tons. John Ackerman asked how much it would cost to move it to its new home. Holmgaard said that the cost was unimportant.
  • Supervisor Don Miller presented his Parks Department report. The recreation season is in full progress. Wrestling matches have been scheduled and basketball/volleyball play will continue until March. There are 30 teams from Forks Township this winter.
  • Director of Public Works Gary Sandt said that they are still working on leaves, using the vacuum and/or a bucket to pick them up. Sandt mentioned that they were still working on the roads, both leaves and snow. They are picking up 18 loads per day. Some people were happy with their progress – some were not.
  • Township Manager Cathy Kichline noted that seven letters had been received for the Planning Commission vacancies. Also received were applications for the Vacancy Board and for the Recreation Board. Holmgaard said that the Board needs to appoint Planning Commission members as soon as possible – or January 3rd at the latest. Kichline mentioned that it was necessary to review the letters and interview the candidates. Copies of the letters of interest were already in the Board members packets (except for Ackerman’s which were handed to him directly.) Ackerman suggested that a workshop be scheduled to discuss and interview candidates. This is now scheduled for 5:30 PM on January 03, 2006.
  • Nicholas questioned Kichline regarding a web-site meeting. Holmgaard said that he had called the meeting, not Kichline. Bonnie said she had difficulty locating the members of Planning and Zoning on the web-site. Every time she clicked on them, she ended up with an entire listing of township staff.
  • Nicholas said that she would like to see a checklist of all maintenance schedules for each building. She wants to make sure that all buildings are checked on a regular basis so that "we don’t end up with any leaky roofs." She recommended establishing a maintenance schedule for each building and said she would like to see them.
  • Police Chief Dorney had nothing to report on other than the accreditation (see above).
  • Finance Manager Jim Farley said that he met with the (hired) auditors this week.
CORRESPONDENCE - Holmgaard noted that Supervisor David Hoff sent a letter with his comments on the new committee structure (proposal) and that he approves the concept.


PERMANENT STANDING COMMITTEES PROPOSAL - This item was tabled for further review in January. Nicholas suggested the continuation of the liaison relationships until a workshop could be re-scheduled.

GODDARD SCHOOL/LAND DEVELOPMENT PLAN - Plans were presented by Hanover Engineering for the 8,000 sq. ft. Goddard School (previously approved) as part of Sullivan Trail I. It is on the last parcel of land in the development. The Planning Commission gave conditional approval for 30 parking spaces, a reduction in the number required. Subject to Engineer Fred Hay’s letter, it is not necessary for it to go before the Zoning Hearing Board. Additional parking spaces can be provided if necessary at a later date. It was also noted that ingress and egress driveways were being provided per the Planning Commission’s recommendation. Hay said that it was a clean plan and recommended approval. The motion passed 4-0.

ELSIE BROWN/MINOR SUBDIVISION - This plan for a two-acre lot off Klein Road was presented by East Penn Engineering. John Daub, Elsie Louise Brown’s nephew and power-of-attorney, said that Elsie Louise Brown wishes to put the remaining farm in the "conservation district." He met with the Planning Commission last week. He has received an easement from Mrs. Brown for the septic system for the subdivision. Brown will turn the rest of the farm over to the County for "farmland preservation." Ackerman explained that the development rights were given to the County. Ackerman said that he helped to write the law, Act 515. Act 319 allows building of one house on two acres per year during 10 year period. One house is being presented now and one will come in next year in January. This needs to be done before the farm can be accepted into "farmland preservation." Ackerman said he had farmed this land for many years. Bonnie Nicholas thanked Daub (and his family) for their generosity.

KNOLLWOOD ESTATES SUBDIVISION - AMENDMENT TO PHASE I/IMPROVEMENT AGREEMENT - Ben Jon Road will be rebuilt by the developer, Nic Zawarski. An agreement has been signed and the Township will return the $28,000 deposit.

HOWARD HOMES LITIGATION SETTLEMENT - Two homeowners had a problem with storm water in their backyards and brought suit against the developer because they were not satisfied with developer’s response to their problem. Howard Homes then sued Forks Township. Solicitor Karl Kline recommended paying a $1,000 nuisance fee to settle the case, with the inclusion of a "no guilt" clause. The motion was approved.

FINAL ADOPTION OF THE 2006 OPERATING BUDGET GENERAL FUND AND UTILITY FUND - The proposed budget includes 4% raises and not the 3% as recommended at the last meeting. Since there is no (employee) review process in place, it was suggested that the Board go with the 4%. Supervisor Miller did not object to 4% raises and added that all managers were doing a good job and deserved 4%. He said it was just keeping up with inflation. The motion to accept the budget ended in tie vote, 2:2. Ackerman and Nicholas voted nay and Holmgaard and Miller voted for it.

Holmgaard said that a budget was needed before year-end and suggested meeting on December 29th to review it as well as agenda items 07, 08, and 09. At that time, the budget will be re-visited and all remaining issues will be dealt with.

There was no EXECUTIVE SESSION and the meeting was adjourned.

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