Sunday, September 18, 2005

BoS Meeting 9/14/2005

The agenda for the September 14, 2005 Board of Supervisors meeting was a short one. The Morning Call sent Joe Nixon to cover the meeting. The Express Times sent no one.

  • Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas reported that she attended the very interesting meeting in Lower Mount Bethel Township where PPL & the DEP reported on the PPL flyash spill. She also said that she was at a meeting that both Supervisor candidates attended with residents of Lockwood Congress. The residents asked her once again that a sidewalk be installed on Old Mill Road so that they can walk (to the stairway down) to the Giant shopping center. Engineer Fred Hay said that an Old Mill Road resident’s landscaping will be altered but that the landscaping is in the right-of-way. Chairman John Ackerman told Hay to get bids and Hay told him that the Giant only contributed $3500 for the sidewalk. A resident of Lockwood Congress added that they DO walk there.
  • Supervisor Henning Holmgaard asked that his lengthy Police Department report be added to the end of the agenda.
  • Ackerman said that he had the Public Works report. He also said that he received a letter from a resident who said that the police told her (and other people walking their dogs) that she cannot walk her dog in Lafayette Park. DPW head, Gary Sandt confirmed that the park is posted with "no dogs allowed" signs. Hoff asked if there was a sign near the pike path on Richmond Road that leads to the park and if there isn’t one there, that one be placed there. Ackerman then suggested that an area be fenced (in the Township park near the airport) for dogs.
  • Kichline welcomed and introduced Jim Farley, the new Finance Manager.
  • Hay reported that the sod was not set properly in the Frost Hollow Swale and it was damaged by the rains the other night. It is being repaired. He also said that he had a meeting with PennDot and a developer (Forks Landing ?) is willing to donate money to improve the Sullivan Trail and Church Lane intersection.

After the reading of the DEBITS/TRANSFERS, Nicholas asked why the Township was paying for 5 Sam’s Club memberships and was told by Kichline that the 5 department heads each had one. Nicholas said that she spoke to someone at Sam’s Club and that it’s possible for a municipality to have just one membership and that whoever uses it, simply must pay with a Township check. Ackerman asked that Kichline and Nicholas work on this.

Nicholas also asked about the Recreation Board money ($30,000) and why it wasn’t on the budget. Supervisor Donald Miller explained that the Rec. Board has a separate budget and audit and that the Supervisors approve it. Miller said that if that they don’t use all of their money, the budget will come down next year.


  1. Nicholas asked if she could attend the Northampton Count Association of Township Officials. Barb Bartok (Board Secretary and Office Manager) will submit the request for her.
  2. Nicholas also noted that someone mentioned to her that the trash cans in the park look bad and wondered if the Township would provide maroon and gold paint to some kids who need Community Service Credits so that they can paint them.
  3. Nicholas thanked Officer Rowden for signing up for the scouts Merit Badge programs for Finger Painting (Printing?) and Crime Prevention. Officer Nicholson will be asked to do the Bicycle Safety Merit Badge.
  4. Nicholas said that people have asked her why there are non-township residents on the Recreation Board. Miller said that the State of PA says it’s okay to have non-residents on the Recreation Board. Nicholas asked if the Township can make its own residency requirement since it would be more beneficial to have someone who lives in Forks on the Board. She was told by Solicitor Karl Kline that it can. The two non-residents’ terms on the Rec. Board have a few more years to run.
  5. Holmgaard said that he had a letter sent to Chief Dorney from a family who has had serious tragedies in their home over the last couple of months, commending the Police Department.
  6. Holmgaard also said that Chief Dorney applied for and received a grant from the Department of Homeland Security for the acquisition of thermal imaging equipment and the training to go with it. The training (in Washington, DC) will take 3 days.


Resident Gretchen Gerstel asked why there were no regular Planning Commission Workshops (Note: The September Joint Meeting was cancelled, as were the July and August meetings.) She thought that there must be something that would cause the Planning Commission to meet. She was told by Ackerman that Charlie Schmel (URDC) was not ready with the zoning changes in time for the September meeting and that he didn’t know why there was no regular workshop session. Kline said that he has no idea either. Ackerman advised her to ask the Planning Commission Chairman (Vito Tamborrino).

Resident Leon Fisher posed a request to the Board for a 4-way stop with red flashing lights at the intersection of Arndt Road and Bushkill Drive. He said that residents are afraid to use that intersection because it is too dangerous. He said that he spoke with Mr. Heckman (in charge of the buses) and that the buses are told not to use that road. He asked that the Board petition PennDot to establish it as a "dangerous intersection." He added that the new Newlins Road Bridge from Palmer Township will result in increased traffic on Bushkill Drive as will the extension of Kesslerville Road. He thought it should be installed before the new school is finished. He said too that he spoke with a PennDot representative (Mr. Chonka) and that PennDot won’t fund the light. Miller said that the Township spoke with PennDot (in the past) and that they told PennDot that the Township would fund the light and PennDot said "no." Hay noted that the intersection was bad in 1971 when he got his permit. Kichline said that she would set up a meeting with PennDot.


The STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX is always of interest. Gale said that the Police Department site lighting is complete and working. Ackerman asked him about the traffic light on Sullivan Trail and Gale said that the emergency controller will operate from both the Police Department and the Fire Department.

He said that the roof leaked where there were no panels yet (Municipal Building) and that "roofers will be roofers." They went home that morning because it was raining at 6:30 when they arrived (and it was a nice day after the early morning rain).

Gale said that they got the Certificate of Occupancy for the Fire Department, that the L&I inspection was passed on Wednesday, and that he wanted to start moving trucks and equipment next weekend. He said that Fire Chief Weis was concerned about equipment being damaged during the construction and that he (Gale) needs the Board’s support to make the move. Supervisor Hoff said that he would work with Weis and that he thinks the move should go forward.

Nicholas asked if network hookup is available in the Supervisors’ room and Gale said the entire building is wired for the network. She said that she would like a computer in that room. Holmgaard said, "No problem."


ORDINANCE NO. 293/SUPERVISORS’ COMPENSATION passed in a 5:0 vote after Kline explained it and the fact that none of the sitting Supervisors will benefit during their current terms. Holmgaard said that he didn’t care but ultimately made the vote unanimous. This will give Supervisors elected or appointed after November 1, 2005 compensation in the amount of $2650 per year. Supervisors elected or appointed after November 1, 2007 will receive $3200 per year.

PATRIOT VILLAGE/PRELIMINARY PLAN APPROVAL - Kline noted for the record that he has represented Mr. Shirey (sic) in the past and that he does not represent him on this particular transaction. This project will have 21 single family lots in the CR district along Sullivan Trail with access from Meco Road. There will be 2 cul de sacs (waivers already received). There will be a bike path connection from the northerly road into Lafayette Park’s bike path. The Planning Commission accepted this plan based on the conditions in the Keystone review letter and that there be an utility easement between lots 7 & 8 for the planned bathroom in the park. The Planning Commission also recommended a short sidewalk or pad for school kids to wait for their buses. Hay asked who will maintain the pad (since it’s not part of the subdivision or in front of anyone’s house?) Ackerman suggested that the people who want it should take care of it. Nicholas questioned the lack of sidewalks. Hay said that there will eventually be sidewalks on the other side of Meco. A suggestion was made that the Township accept a contribution from the developer instead of the pad at this time. The plan was granted Preliminary Approval in a 5:0 vote.

Kichline said that she must publicly inform the municipality of the MINIMUM MUNICIPAL OBLIGATION/MMO’S: POLICE & NON-UNIFORM. She stated the figures are, for the Police $235,163, and for non-uniform $30,192. Ackerman said that this is an obligation that must be budgeted.

REORGANIZATION - Nicholas spoke to this agenda item saying that she is liaison to the Sewer Department which consists of three people, two of whom report directly to DPW Manager Sandt and one in the office who does more than Sewer Department work. She thought that next year there should be different liaisons and that there should be none for the Sewer Department. Kline explained that the Township has taken over all the responsibilities for the operation and maintenance of the system. Ackerman asked her what her restructuring suggestions are. Kichline asked that the Board consider doing away with the liaison rolls because of the Township’s growth and replacing them with Committees made up of two Supervisors and herself (eg. Public Safety, Planning & Community Development, Personnel & Finance, etc.) Nicholas noted that she spoke with David Howell (Zoning Hearing Board) a few weeks ago and he posed that concept to her. Kichline acknowledged that she too, had spoken with Howell. Howell said that most municipalities have these executive functions for Supervisors to perform as an oversight of the administration of the township. Ackerman said that it’s something to think about before next year. Kichline offered to come up with a report on how the interactions might work.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT/ SHAWNEE SCHOOL - Holmgaard said that on 7/22/05, he, Kichline, Superintendent Riker and the Chairman of the School Board met to discuss what the role of the Forks Police Department will be at the Shawnee School. Holmgaard learned then that the district wanted to establish its own police department. According to Holmgaard, the reason he was given for this action was because the district was kept "out of the loop for days" during last year’s firearm incident at the school. He said that according to (non-Township) records, the school district was notified within 30 minutes of the incident. There was to be another meeting.

The district hired Officer Perez (sic), a retired Allentown police officer. On September 2nd Judge Zito signed an order to give two school district officers (Rafael Perez and Louis Coxe) the same powers that local Forks police have, but they are restricted to school property and school buses. Holmgaard said that on September 6th Forks police had to handle a knife incident at Shawnee because Perez told them that he did not have the authority to arrest yet and that the Forks officer spent all day there (on the Township’s, not the school district’s, payroll.)

Holmgaard stated that he wants guidelines from the Board. Kichline added that Chief Dorney (not present) wants Standard Operating Procedures. Kline added that it is important to know what the jurisdiction will be on any school property and school buses.

Holmgaard continued his time-line detailing that he received a letter dated 9/8/05 that was postmarked 9/13/05 stating that a meeting had taken place between Coxe (head of school district security), Dorney, and Perez and that he (Dorney) was to receive some guidelines from Coxe. Holmgaard said that he thought decisions like this should be handled on the level of the school board and/or the school district administration and not someone who works for them (although they should have input).

Kline said that he received a call from the school district’s solicitor yesterday. He said that there must be agreement as to what Forks Police Department’s role will be and that not having one is a very serious matter. The worst case situation must be planned for. Who, for example, will be responsible to transport a juvenile to jail? What about a 911 call? He suggested the best thing to do is for "reasonable people" on the part of the school district and the Township to sit down and work out the S.O.P. (and, then have it approved by the Board of Supervisors) to let the school district know how Forks Township will respond. If not, then the Township should draft S.O.P.s detailing the situations in which the Township will respond and in which the school police will. Right now, nobody knows what the rules are.

Kline also said that the EASD solicitor was not aware of a request for a meeting. He agreed that it is serious and that it is important that the S.O.P. be in place so that everyone understands what can happen in various situations. Kline will call their solicitor tomorrow to let him know that the Township would like to initiate this and get it done as promptly as possible.

There was an EXECUTIVE SESSION to discuss a personnel issue. 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.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

New - The F.A.C. Weekly Survey!

A new feature has just been added to the Forks Action Committee website, a weekly survey question! We will put a link to the survey here in the blog each week... and a link to the previous week's results too. For this week's survey question, CLICK HERE. Try it. You'll like it.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Planning Commission, Where It All Begins

Planning Commission meetings continue to be source of news and surprises. The 9/8/05 one was no exception. Sal Panto formally withdrew the Strausser Enterprises’ proposal for the Village at Riverview Estates. He said that they will come back with a traditional housing development or "maybe even a new concept" sometime in the future. Both Joe Nixon (Morning Call) and Sarah Mausolf (Express Times) wrote all about it on 9/9/05. If you want to know more about the original project see Bos Meeting 3/17/2005, Rally In The Alley and BoS Meeting 6/2/2005.

Other projects were advanced at this PC meeting and some new projects were introduced. Please check out the NEWS page on the
F.A.C. website for information about these and other projects in the Township. You’ll be amazed. Attend the meetings. They really are interesting. They are not all big, crowded special meetings like the one for Kings Mill, but they are where things get off the ground and they are very important. The PC meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 7:30 PM. They have workshop sessions on the 4th Tuesday at 7:00 PM.

By the way, we do not for one minute, think that Kings Mill is kaput. We don’t know when it will be on the Board of Supervisors’ agenda and likely will not know more than one day in advance (lest the room be jammed again). Try to plan your 1st and 3rd Thursday nights around the BoS schedule. Check the Township website on Thursdays to see the agenda online or call the Township office. The agenda deadline is Tuesday at 2:30 PM before the meetings however, the website often does NOT have the agenda posted until sometime on Thursday mornings.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

BoS Meeting 9/1/2005

The September 1, 2005 Board of Supervisors Meeting was one of the longer ones of late. Sarah Mausolf (Express Times 9/2/05) and Joe Nixon (Morning Call 9/2/05) were there as were a handful of residents and developers.

The meeting began with the normal motion to approve the MINUTES FROM THE PREVIOUS MEETING. During discussion though, Supervisor Henning Holmgaard said that he was not at the last meeting but is on the Sewer Authority and wondered why there were questions about the Sewer Authority’s recommendation for septic system education. Chairman John Ackerman stated that the old Sewer Authority was disbanded. Solicitor Karl Kline said that it was no longer an operating authority and that it is under the control of the Board of Supervisors. Holmgaard explained that the recommendation was simply to offer a suggestion to the Board. The minutes were approved 4:0 - Holmgaard abstained because of his absence.


  • Supervisor David Hoff said that he had the Fire Report for August and requested that the Board schedule a work session for October 6th at 6:30 PM so that he can present the 5 year plan.
  • Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas said that the Sewer Department just had regular maintenance.
  • Supervisor Donald Miller had the Parks Department Report.
  • Chairman John Ackerman had the Public Works Department Report.
  • Township Manager Cathy Kichline announced that she was contacted by Lower Mount Bethel Township about a meeting to be held there on September 7th at 7:00 PM with PPL and the DEP regarding the fly ash spill into the Delaware River. She also said that last year’s blood drive was very successful and she would like to schedule another on 10/28/05.
  • Police Chief Greg Dorney stated that he received 42 applications for the police department and that 40 of them will take the test on 10/1/05. The other two have gone to Louisiana.
  • Zoning Officer Tim Weis said that he visited Mr. Mondello (sic) about the parking on Hill Road and he found that the business there is NOT violating zoning. Mondello said that if there are additional cars, they will park on Bushkill Drive and not on Hill Road.
  • Engineer Fred Hay reported that Verizon has moved the pole (Uhler & Sullivan Trail). He said too, that he spoke with someone at Ronca (contractor for Easton Suburban Water) who suggests topping off the state roads, Elizabeth, Frost Hollow, and Richmond. They feel that it would be cheaper and better than trying to just repair them. Hay also reported that 1/3 of the Frost Hollow swale project is complete and that so far, the neighbors are pleased.
  • Solicitor Karl Kline reported that the Township received two notices this week that it is being sued. Two citizens in Lafayette Park (off of Meco Road) have sued Howard Construction because of stormwater runoff and Howard in turn has "joined in" the Township. Kline will contact the Township’s insurer to get the Township "out" of the suits.

During the DEBITS/TRANSFERS part of the meeting, Nicholas noted that Forks needs a sign machine as they have just spent over $3000 on signs. This was researched before she was told and the cost was in the neighborhood of $20K. Kichline will prepare a report for the next meeting.


  1. Hoff reported that he got a letter from Lockwood Congress about a billboard. Kline said that by agreement, the developer has until May 31, 2006 to remove the billboard. Hoff will write to the developer and copy Lockwood Congress. Nicholas said that she will be going to Lockwood Congress on September 12th.
  2. Nicholas stated that she received a promotional packet from a sewer management company (sorry, we did not hear the name) and that the company has free septic education programs. Holmgaard said that septic management is not a Township function. Kichline added that she and Chris Knoll are working on a (septic) program to give to the Board for their approval.
  3. Nicholas received a letter from the Easton Area School District Superintendent, Dennis Riker and he states that there are 2.37 children per household.


David Howell (Zoning Hearing Board) noted that when public agencies educate about septic systems they also educate about wells. Howell went on to say that Lower Mount Bethel Township Supervisor, Robert Schilling has contacted all the local municipalities about the special Supervisors’ meeting on September 7th at 7:00 PM in the Centerfield Community building on Route 611. Schilling said that this is a very important meeting and that PPL and the DEP will be there to discuss what happened, the remedial action, and the long range effect(s) of the incident. Howell said that he hoped Township officials will attend and report back.


The STATUS UPDATE BY ALEX GALE/MUNICIPAL COMPLEX began with Nicholas asking about the card readers noted in Gale’s financial report. Gale said that they are for the rear entry doors and are a security measure. In his general project review, Gale noted that he hoped that the fire department engines will be moved the weekend of September 10th. This is contingent on the L&I (Labor & Industry) inspector coming on the 9th and granting the needed Certificate of Occupancy. Gale said that the offices will move a week or two later. Hoff asked if the cards (for the card readers) will be ready and Gale said that he has enough for the first responders now. He has 60 or so. Gale further reported that there are air conditioning issues in the Police Department, rodents in the generator, the fuel (in the generator is likely) contaminated by bacteria, and the handicapped parking for all the buildings were located (by the engineers) near steep grades and will have to be moved. He said too that he’s having problems following the underground cables for the communications system since they do not go in a straight line and warned of communications disruptions unless he lays a temporary above ground cable. He was told to do that. He suggested that in order for the Township to have room for expansion in the new Municipal Building, that one of the two large offices be eliminated and instead two smaller offices be constructed. He said that the cost for this would be $5-6K and that it would be easier and cheaper to do now rather than later. The Board seemed to agree. Nicholas asked who will be in charge of giving out the entry cards and keeping track of them? Kichline answered that she has currently assigned this to Chief Dorney.

As to the gentlemen’s agreement that he and a Schoor DiPalma managing partner entered into, it disappeared about 30 hours later. Schoor DiPalma wants to get its own bids for the work. But in the interest of time, the $18K will be paid by the Township to get the work done and it will be withheld from the final payment to Schoor DiPalma.

Ackerman then stated that the Board was just made aware (before the start of the meeting) that GALE’S CONTRACT (as construction manager) at the agreed to fixed price had run out on August 1st and that Gale was now working at the rate of $48/hour. He asked Gale if he would continue the project at the previous fixed monthly rate and Gale said that he would not. The original contract has an automatic "extender" (with the hourly rate specified at $48) if the project goes beyond its term (through no fault of the construction manager). He billed the Township nearly $12K for his services in August. Before August 1st he was being paid approximately $6900/mth. Gale said the contract term was estimated at 2900 hours and he has put in nearly 4000. Kline said that the Township’s only options are to continue the contract as is or terminate it and then perhaps renegotiate with Gale. Hoff will meet with Gale and Kichline to see if something can be worked out.

Kichline reported on the REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL STREET LIGHTS for both the Newlins/Upstream and Newlins/Sullivan intersections. She said that she, Weis, Dorney, Sandt (DPW) checked on the intersections. She said that at Newlins/Upstream there is a problem with the rise but not with lighting and since there is no night time pedestrian traffic there, they recommend no street light. At Newlins/Sullivan there are very few night time accidents and no pedestrian traffic. Again they recommend no street light. Ackerman asked that a letter be written back to the resident who requested the lights and advise him to contact his homeowners association as it should be their responsibility to put in a light if it’s needed. The recommendation(s) were accepted 5:0.


RICHARD’S DRIVE-IN/CONDITIONAL USE/LAND DEVELOPMENT - There was a Conditional Use Hearing at 7:00 PM before the regular meeting. The drive-in restaurant will be located next to the old Firehouse complex (tattoo & billiard parlors) on Sullivan Trail and will be open from 11 AM to 11 PM. Based on the review letter from Keystone Engineering, both the conditional use and land developments were approved 5:0.

TOWNE CENTER AT SULLIVAN TRAIL II/LOTS 2 & 4 - Preliminary and final approvals were granted in 5:0 votes for both the subdivision and land development. There will be three retail/commercial buildings on two combined lots (behind Met-Ed). There are no tenants yet and the buildings will be constructed with flex-space. Nicholas asked about space for truck deliveries and we learned that the intended tenants will be "low impact," like a Pearl Vision and perhaps a food place. The largest trucks to serve the buildings will be the sanitation trucks. There will be no berm between the commercial area and the townhouses because none is required in the ordinance for the subdivision.

CIT DEVELOPER’S AGREEMENTS - Kline said that all the paperwork is in order (for the expansion of the school facilities.) It was approved 5:0.

STEEPLECHASE NORTH, PHASE 3 DEVELOPER’S AGREEMENTS - Kline reported that the developer has requested an Indemnification Agreement to get started with the infrastructure work and that all is in order. It was approved 5:0.

OPEN BIDS/COMMUNITY CENTER STORAGE/CONCRETE SLAB - Kichline opened the only two bid packages that the Township received, one from Pinto Concrete ($17,150 plus an adder of $4,400 for excavation and pipe) and one from Nimaris Construction ($22,826 plus adders totaling $13,489). It was decided to award the bid to the apparent low bidder subject to review by staff. Discussion (to get to that point) included the question of who prepared the bid specs - Alex Gale. And, when asked about the reviewing the bid, Mr. Gale refused to have anything to do with that "damned" pad saying that he only helped to prepare the specs. Gale also asked if there was something that the Board doesn’t trust about its professionals. Ackerman said that he thought that bids had to be opened at a public meeting. Kline explained that bids only have to be opened IN public and not at a Board meeting. Vo-Tech will be doing the building.

COMPENSATION FOR BOARD OF SUPERVISORS - Kline explained that Supervisors have been compensated at the same $2,000 for the last 18 years. The current maximum rate allowed by the State for Second Class Townships is $3,250. Kline suggested a two step increase to get to the maximum, $2,600 for the person elected in November 2005, and $3,250 for the Supervisors elected in November 2007. The raise only applies to those elected but not to Supervisors currently serving their terms since they are not allowed to vote themselves a raise. Ackerman made a motion to do the increase in one step to $3,250 effective this November. It died for lack of a second. Hoff then made a motion to advertise the ordinance to do the raise in two steps. It passed 5:0. Holmgaard said that he didn’t care one way or the other; his vote was counted as a "yes."

FINANCE MANAGER - Hoff said that 16 applications were received for this new Township position. Five people were interviewed and two were called in for second interviews. He made a motion to hire James Farley at a salary of $50K with a 6 month probation period to begin Tuesday, September 6th. Ackerman said that he wasn’t ready to accept the conditions the applicant requested, 5 vacation days this year and 12 next year. He wondered if it should be discussed in executive session. Kline said that since its part of the terms of compensation, it could be discussed in the regular meeting. The normal Township policy is that 5 days vacation are earned after 1 year of service. Hoff said that he doesn’t have a problem doing that (negotiating vacation) with a department head or professional person. Ackerman thought that he was hired with 6 months probation and should have to prove himself first. Hoff said that they could offer him 5 personal days this year (between September 6th and December 31st) and 8 vacation days next year in addition to 5 personal days. The vote was 3:1. Ackerman voted "no" and Nicholas abstained because she was not present at the interviews.

RESOLUTION/PAY OFF TATAMY LOAN - Hoff said that after the last Board meeting’s discussion of the Sewer Authority, he spoke to the chairman of the Tatamy Borough Sewer Authority. The Township tried to pay off the loan in 1998 but because of Forks’ method at the time, the payment was refused. Now Tatamy is willing to accept payment in full. Hoff said the Board agreed to this in 1998 and he asked Kline to prepare a resolution. The loan balance is approximately $250,000. Nicholas said that she is the sewer liaison and no one brought this to her attention. She told Hoff that he "stepped on her toes." Hoff said that she is a liaison to the Sewer Department, not the Sewer Authority which is under the supervision of the Board of Supervisors. Nicholas said that both she and Holmgaard are ON the Sewer Authority. She took exception to Hoff asking the solicitor (on his own) to write a resolution and we learned that any of the Supervisors can ask the solicitor to write a resolution. Holmgaard questioned the wisdom of paying off the loan this year since it has a 1% interest rate and that the Township has a big project going on now. He felt that they should wait until the first of the year and put it in the budget. Nicholas said that the Township is earning more than 1% on the money sitting in the bank. Hoff argued that the Township spent two years in court (to abolish the Sewer Authority). Ackerman said that when he was six months into his term, a representative from Tatamy asked him why Forks didn’t pay off the loan. He brought it to the Board and Hoff told him that it was 1% money and why should they pay it off. Ackerman asked him what is different now then it was then? Hoff didn’t recall that conversation. Holmgaard said that this resolution will also dissolve the Sewer Authority. He questioned the money to pay off the bearer bonds and Kline told him that the money was already set aside and the Township is discharged of its responsibility. Wachovia is the trustee of that money. He said that the money will come back to the Township if they cannot locate the people who are owed that money. (?) Hay said that $900K was put into that account. Kline said that once the money was handed over to the trustee, interest stopped being earned on it (for the bond holders.) Kline will check with Wachovia to see how much money is still in the account.

Question from the floor: What will Forks get out of it if Forks pays the loan? Kline said that (1) the Township would have less debt and (2) the Sewer Authority cannot be dissolved if it has any outstanding debt. The Sewer Authority would have been out of existence in 2001 if it weren’t for that debt. He said that the Sewer Authority is NOT needed since the collection of sewer money is handled by the Township. Ackerman said that he was in favor of getting rid of the debt but he is concerned that any money due the Township gets to the Township.

Miller made a motion to table this until more questions (about the interest earned vs. interest expensed) are answered. Hoff said that he voted in 1998 to eliminate the Sewer Authority and when the Sewer Authority met a few weeks ago and made a recommendation not to allow sewers in the Farmland Protection district, he felt that the Sewer Authority was making an attempt at becoming an operating authority. He doesn’t want that to happen even if it’s just over septic systems. He said that the Township spent two years and a lot of money to dissolve it. He feels that the 1% isn’t necessarily the biggest issue here and that he doesn’t want the Township to end up in court again.

Kline gave background on the Township’s decision in 1998 to dissolve the Sewer Authority. He said that the new zoning ordinance was being considered and in it, sewers were prohibited in the FP district. The Sewer Authority wanted to run "cap sewers" through the entire FP district so that in the future, when sewers were needed north of Newlins Road, they could simply be uncapped and used. The Sewer Authority threatened to sue the Board. The Board decided that since they created the Authority, they could dissolve it. The Authority took them to court and after two years, the courts ruled that since the Township created it, it could indeed dissolve it... as long as it had no debt. The assets of the Sewer Authority were turned over to the Township and because of the Tatamy loan, it has existed as a non-operating authority. This resolution will pay off the loan and dissolve the Sewer Authority. Kline said that the irony is that at that time the Sewer Authority wanted public sewers in that area and at the present time the people on the Authority do NOT want public sewers there.

Holmgaard said that he didn’t "know what you two guys smoked." He said that he was on the Sewer Authority at that time and they only wanted to run the sewer line to the industrial park and cap it. He also said that the Board "appoints" people to the Sewer Authority. The Board could have gained control of the Authority by adding Supervisors to the Authority but it didn’t. Hoff said he remembered a meeting in which the Sewer Authority said they wanted to put in the cap sewers and the Board Chairman said that they never have gone against the recommendation of the Sewer Authority. To Hoff this meant that the Sewer Authority, not the Board of Supervisors, was running things in the Township. Mr. Holmgaard ran for his position on the Board on that issue because he didn’t like the way things were being run.

Holmgaard went on to say that neither he nor Nicholas called that Sewer Authority meeting a couple of weeks ago. The chairman, appointed by the Board, called it in order to be little proactive over the Kings Mill proposal for 800+ homes in the FP. If the "by right" plan gets approved, they wanted to have something to give people so that they would be able to take care of their septic systems. Hoff said that he has no problems with that but it should come from the Board of Supervisors.

Miller asked if there was any way that the Sewer Authority as it exists now could become an operating authority again? Hoff said "yes" and that all they would have to do is when they meet in January, put in another solicitor (currently they have Kline). Miller asked if they could take over the entire system and take all the money? Set their own rates? Collect their own money? Kline said that it couldn’t go that far since the resolutions adopted by the Supervisors back in 1998 clearly indicate that it was not to be an operating authority. He said that case law is clear. However, it wouldn’t prevent them from taking positions on political, zoning or other matters that the Supervisors might think is properly the responsibility of the Supervisors. Nicholas asked if this was "all about money?" Kline said no that it was about who is controlling the Township, the Supervisors or somebody else.

The motion to table until October 20th failed 2:3 (Nay votes were Holmgaard, Hoff, & Ackerman. Holmgaard said he voted wrong and wanted the table to pass.) Hoff’s motion to pass the resolution to pay off the Tatamy loan and dissolve the Sewer Authority passed 3:2 (Nay votes were Nicholas and Holmgaard).

2006 BUDGET CALENDAR - Kichline said it was in the packets. There were no questions.

BUDGET REVIEW/JULY, 2005 - Nicholas said that on June 16th the budget was adjusted by approximately $82,000. Since then she found other areas that are well over budget and wondered why these items were not adjusted in June when the major adjustment was done, in particular she noted that Unemployment Compensation was over budget by 515%. Kichline explained that the unemployment cost was unknown at the time and that unemployment costs are something you want to track and not make budget adjustments for throughout the year. She added that a former employee was just awarded unemployment. Nicholas said that she found that wrong departments were being charged for some things. She asked if the budget reports are reviewed before the Board gets them and Kichline said no, that they get them all at the same time (herself included). Nicholas said that finance is part of her job description and she thought that Kichline should look at the reports before the Board gets them so that she can catch the mistakes. Hoff remarked that they will have a Finance Manager soon. Kichline said that he will catch the data entry errors before the reports get to her. Kichline said that she would really like the opportunity to go over the errors with Nicholas.

HIRE PART TIME MECHANIC - The criminal/background check has been completed. Ronald Phillips was hired at a rate of $14.00/hr. He will start on Tuesday. This hiring was approved 5:0.

There was no EXECUTIVE SESSION and the meeting was adjourned.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Special LMBT BoS Mtg 9/7/05 - Coal Ash Sludge Spill

There will be a special Lower Mount Bethel Township Board of Supervisors Meeting on Wednesday, September 7th at 7:00 PM. PPL and the DEP will be there to discuss the coal ash sludge spill - the hows and whys of it and what they are planning to do to keep it from happening again. This meeting will be held in the Centerfield Building on Route 611. The public is encouraged to attend.