Sunday, January 01, 2006

BoS Meeting 12/29/05

The Board of Supervisors held a special meeting on December 29, 2005 to pass the 2006 operating budget and to discuss and act on several other unresolved 2005 agenda items. Meredith Bowen (Express Times) and Fred Walter (Morning Call) both published accounts of the meeting. Please read their articles. We will attempt to fill in the blanks.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING - Normally these Minutes are approved with minor changes but this night they were NOT approved because Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas took exception to the section detailing her motion to table the discussion of Permanent Standing Committees until January when Mr. Howell would be there as a Supervisor (so that he could vote) and to continue the liaison structure until then. The Minutes apparently said something else. It was decided to table the Minutes approval until the 12/15/05 meeting tape is reviewed and to vote on them at the January 3, 2006 meeting.

SUPERVISORS REPORTS - Supervisor Donald Miller reported on the condition of the floors in the new gyms. He said that normally the floors are re-coated and sanded annually but because the new floors’ expansion joints were affected by humidity, they could not be tended to until the heat was turned on in the building and they dried out. The installer said that "cupping" is normal and that the floors will dry out. Since the floors will not be done now but will be done in 2006, he moved to escrow the (2005) budgeted $6K to the 2006 budget. This passed in a 4:0 vote (Chairman Ackerman was on vacation with his family and not in attendence.)


  • Township Manager Cathy Kichline reported that Forks has been approved for a stop control signal at the Arndt and Bushkill intersection. She, Chief Greg Dorney, and DPW Director Gary Sandt will get together with PennDot after the holiday to discuss what kind of signal it will be. She added that it will likely be a 4-way stop.
  • Solicitor Karl Kline was pleased to report that he received the decision of the court in the Easton Area Industrial Land Development case (their land is at the northwest corner of the Richmond and Newlins intersection) regarding trucks using Richmond and Newlins Roads. The EAILD wanted trucks to exit onto Newlins Road but the Township gave approval of the project based on trucks exiting onto Richmond Rd. The EAILD appealed the Township’s action. The court decided in favor of the Township. Trucks will not be allowed to exit onto Newlins Road.
DEBITS - The vote on the debits was not unanimous. Nicholas abstained stating that the information was not received until the meeting and that she could not vote on anything she could not review first.


  1. Planning Commission Chairman, Vito Tamborrino, Jr. stated that he was insulted by the Board’s request to re-interview him for his expiring slot on the Planning Commission. He also objected to the (two) positions being advertised as "vacancies" and said that they should have been called "expiring terms." He said he was confused by the Board’s motives to re-advertise for the positions since both he and John (Castrovinci) have asked to continue on. He noted that he has served on the PC for 9 years and as its chairman for 2-1/2 years. He said that he’s been involved in two major "editings" to the Zoning Ordinance and has been through almost half of the development in the Township "during the busiest years of development the Township has ever seen."

    He said that he was given numerous comments of appreciation from residents on both sides of the issue and from some members of the Board when he presided over the recent critical public meeting attended by over 300 residents on a very hot topic, development in the FP district.

    Citing his experience as an architect and construction manager, he dared the Board to find a more qualified person in the Township than himself. He noted that he’s been working in the construction arena for 25 years and knows what it’s like to be on the other side of the table. Tamborrino asked that the Board formally approve his re-appointment at this meeting and "not waste anymore time on politics." He concluded by saying that he is "willing to play and fight for the position" and that he "will - not - go - quietly."

    After some discussion by the Board, it was decided that sitting members of appointed committees and boards whose terms are expiring and who wish to be re-appointed, need not be re-interviewed. Tamborrino then said that if they wish to interview him, let him know and he will be there.

  2. Detective Philomena Sandt presented Supervisor Henning Holmgaard with a plaque on behalf of the Forks Township Police Department in appreciation for his dedication and commitment (to the police department.) Holmgaard praised the "turn around" in the Police Department and thanked Chief Dorney and the entire police department for what they have accomplished.


FINAL ADOPTION OF THE 2006 OPERATING BUDGET GENERAL FUND AND UTILITY FUND - Kichline noted that there was a change in the health care costs and that the amount is reduced by $153K. She said that the original budget figure was an estimate and that the new number is the actual amount. Nicholas asked if the number can be changed at this time and Kline said that since this is the real figure, it can. The budget was approved in a 3:1 vote with Nicholas voting against it. There was no discussion.

APPOINT TWO CORPORALS - Holmgaard turned the floor over to Chief Dorney who stated that he would like to Board to promote two officers, Jack Dressler and Shawn Hummer to the rank of corporal. Both will serve as supervisors on the night shift. He asked that the promotions be effective January 8, 2006. The Board approved with a 4:0 vote.

APPOINT ONE DETECTIVE - Dorney explained that in October the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania instituted a new juvenile matters process and that there is overwhelming paperwork involved. He said that this position’s primary responsibility will be with juvenile matters and he asked that Officer James Rowden be promoted. The Board gave its approval with a 4:0 vote.

APPROVE HIRING OF TWO OFFICERS - Dorney asked the Board to approve the hiring of two new officers to replace the officers promoted to corporals. He gave the names of Sean Stark and Joseph Effting for their consideration. He noted that Stark will be leaving the Nazareth force to join Forks and that Effting is a retired Allentown detective sergeant. The Board approved with a 4:0 vote.

PERMANENT STANDING COMMITTEES - Nicholas made a motion to table until after Howell takes office in January. Holmgaard is the Supervisor who added this item to the agenda. He said that he wanted to leave the Board (his term ends 12/31/05) with this. A lengthy discussion followed in which Howell was invited to participate.

Nicholas said that she doesn’t like the word "permanent" in the committee names (Permanent Standing Committees). Howell explained that the word is a "word of art" in legislative government and that the word "permanent" is used simply "to give the impression to the public and to yourselves that this is an arrangement that has been done with due diligence and a great deal of concern and discussion." It also means that the committees can be changed only with Board approval. The committees exist as long as the Board allows them to exist.

Nicholas also felt that the Community Relations Committee was unnecessary since each Board member does this every day. Howell said that this would be more formal and encompass the website, newsletter, and working with staff to develop a communicative relationship between the Board and the community. Hoff stated that committees are the only way to get 5-year plans done. Miller then suggested that it be put on the agenda for a January meeting.

Tamborrino (PC) asked if the committee meetings will be public sessions? Howell said that they would not be as they are dealing with the legislative function of the Board. Gretchen Gerstel (from the audience) asked if she can go to the two Supervisors on a committee with issues? Hoff explained that, like she can today, she can call a Supervisor, a department head, or the Township Manager with questions and her issue will come back to the full Board for discussion unless it’s easily resolved at the (new) committee level.

The motion to table passed. The workshop session is scheduled for January 19, 2006 at 7:00 PM.


AUTHORIZATION TO HIRE FULL TIME PARKS EMPLOYEE - Terry Hoff, who has worked part time since April 2004 was hired full-time in a 4:0 vote.

AUTHORIZATION TO ADVERTISE ORD. NO. 295/TWO RIVERS COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS - Kline said that in November 1999 the Board approved the Township’s participation in the Two Rivers Council of Governments and that that Ordinance No. 257 had a sunset provision for 12/31/05. This new ordinance needs to be enacted in order to continue the Township’s membership in the Two Rivers Council of Governments and it contains new language that follows the actual inter-municipal agreement and eliminates the sunset provision. The new language says that the Township will participate in the Two Rivers Council of Governments unless the Township gives 30 days notice of its intent to withdraw. The ordinance was approved in a 4:0 vote.

ZONING ORDINANCE 2/07/06 - SET TIME FOR HEARING - Kline explained that in order to adopt the new Zoning Ordinance public hearings by both the PC and the Board are required and that the hearings must be advertised. The hearing date for the PC was set for the PC workshop session on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 7:00 PM and the date for the Board’s hearing was set for Tuesday, February 7, 2006 at 7:00 PM. This will allow the Board to adopt the Zoning Ordinance at its February 16, 2006 meeting.

MISCELLANEOUS END OF MEETING DISCUSSION - Holmgaard revisited the comments of Vito Tamborrino, Jr. and asked if the Planning Commission should be the entity to do the interviews of the new (not those currently serving) people? Nicholas said that she thought the Board should interview people for committees that the Board is responsible for. Hoff remarked that he saw no reason to interview those already serving and made that motion.

Resident Gerstel noted that there are five new people who have applied for the Planning Commission and that that has never happened before (that there are five.) She said that the Board now has an opportunity to get new people and fresh ideas. She added that she saw no reason that those on committees should expect to be reappointed. Tamborrino said that what he said was that the interview process was a "little bit degrading." Holmgaard noted that because they don’t have to be re-interviewed does not mean that they have to be reappointed. Gerstel said that she "just wants it clearly understood."

The motion to not require interviews of those currently serving whose terms are expiring and who want to be re-appointed was passed 4:0. Kichline said that she will call the three people who are on committees who want to be reappointed and take them off the interview schedule. Nicholas added, "Unless they want to be interviewed..."

There was no EXECUTIVE SESSION and the meeting was adjourned.

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