Sunday, September 24, 2006

BoS Meeting 9/21/06

The September 21st meeting of the Board of Supervisors began with a worksession to discuss the Township Manager duties and responsibilities and ended with an executive session to discuss personnel issues, non-uniformed employees contract negotiations, and the Township Manager applicants. Joe Nixon (Morning Call) reported extensively on the budget discussion. We will try to fill in the blanks.

Supervisor Comments:

  • Supervisor John Ackerman said that he attended the Twin Rivers COG meeting along with Supervisor David Howell on September 20th. Ackerman said that most of the discussion was about Emergency Management and that he and Howell will schedule a meeting with Tim Weis, Emergency Management Coordinator to go over many of the issues covered. Ackerman also said that recycling was discussed and one of the suggestions was that it be county-wide. He added that that won’t happen in the near future.
  • Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas presented Harry & Susan Bennett with a letter of appreciation from the Board for heading the steering committee for Forks Community Days and making it a success.

Nicholas also recognized Boy Scout Troop 29 with a letter of appreciation from the Board for all their Community Days work (the flag ceremony, helping vendors, and cleaning up garbage). The Bennetts presented the troop with a $200 donation saying that they performed above and beyond expectations.

Nicholas said that a lot of people asked her if
Community Days will be done again next year and she asked the Board if it would consider hosting it again next year. The Bennetts offered that Lockwood Congress residents will be willing to help (again) and that they really enjoyed it (this year.) Susan Bennett said that she and her husband will do it again and that she hopes that they have the same steering committee. She named Dean Turner, Bonnie Nicholas, Gary Sandt, Chief Dorney, and David Howell as being instrumental in this year’s success. The Board voted 5:0 to stage it again next year in the same time slot.

To view some snapshots of the festivities, click HERE.

  • Nicholas reported that she attended a Wildlands Conservancy program on the financial Benefits of Land Preservation presented by Stephen Small. She said that he discussed conservation easements and tax benefits. She offered copies of some of the literature for anyone who was interested.

  • Nicholas said that 2 people who paid for memorial plaques (new trees) do not like them. It was determined that the form was vague and the Board decided to fix the errors (5:0 vote) at Township expense ($185 each).

  • Nicholas said that she attended a Monday night Fire Department meeting and that it was interesting to see how they check all their equipment. She said that she got a "feel for one of their meetings."

  • Nicholas reported that there are roof leaks in the Municipal Building and that no one can reach Mr. Gale (former project manager). Howell noted that Mr. Gale is no longer in the Township’s employ and that some of the Board did not want him there any longer. Ackerman said that he showed the leaks and broken glass (out front) to the architects during the open house and that "they were really concerned" and were going to look into it. Ultimately it was decided that Pete Gheller (Facilities Manager) and Jim Farley (Finance Manager) will take the lead, find the warranty for the roofs, and see that the repairs are done.
  • Treasurer’s Report - Secretary/Treasurer David Howell detailed the debits (cash paid out) since the last Supervisors meeting.

    Howell’s motion to accept the debits and transfers was approved 5:0.

    Standing Committee Reports

    • Public Safety - Supervisor Nicholas - reported that their meeting is on Wednesday at 5 PM and they will go to the fire department to check cameras. This meeting is open to the public.
    Howell asked if anyone knew what happened at the (EMS) meeting on Tuesday with Everitt Binns. Nicholas said that "we got a letter" 5 minutes before the meeting and she hasn’t had time to read it but the license appears not to be renewed yet since the finances are still unreported. Nicholas added that she will go over the letter with the safety meeting on Wednesday.
    • Public Works - Supervisor Ackerman - reported that the committee (Sandt, Nicholas, Ackerman, and Engineer Fred Hay) met a few weeks ago to go over projects that will begin soon. Hay noted that the contractor is "mobilizing" for the Frutchey Hill work. Ackerman said that Hay will report on the Meco Road signals in his Engineer’s report. Ackerman said too that the DPW is in "pretty good shape for the leaves to fall down." Nicholas noted that "Debi (Tindall - Administrative Assistant) put in for a grant for the leaf vac." The grant was not awarded and according to Sandt it was "something about not putting enough money towards it." Sandt said it will be resubmitted for the December 2nd "go round." He added that "she" has a letter from Grucela’s office about it. Hoff noted that recycling funds can be used.

      Howell asked if there as anything on the sign (for Sullivan Trail) and said he thought it would be on the agenda. Ackerman noted that it was a special item last meeting and it didn’t get on the agenda. Howell said that he thought the sign was to be installed in the REM (Recreational, Educational & Municipal) and if it’s TC (Town Center) then the zoning is wrong. Hay confirmed that if it’s owned by the Township, it should be REM. Weis said that he’s sure it is REM and that there must be a mistake on the map. Howell said that if it is REM that the sign meets all the specifications.

      Nicholas disagreed and read a section from the zoning ordinance describing internally lit signs as mandating white or clear lights only. Discussion ensued about internally lit signs as signs being encased in plastic and that this sign is an "informational" sign and not an internally lit sign. Weis (Zoning Officer) said that he ruled on this as a legal sign and that if the Board disagrees, it can be brought before the Zoning Hearing Board to challenge his ruling. Nicholas said that the outside of the sign must also be approved.

      There was discussion about paying for it and asking the vendor to store it until the site is prepared for installation. Nicholas said that it’s huge and there is stonework to be done. A vote to pay for the balance due on the sign passed 5:0. It will be installed temporarily until the exterior is done and then will be installed permanently. (The total cost for the sign is $62,000.)

    • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Miller - (Note: Miller continues to report on events in the parks as his committee report. The following comments rightly belong in the Supervisors’ Comments section. It would appear that the Parks & Recreation committee seldom, if ever, meets since if it did, he would give a committee report.) Miller presented a written list of everything done in the parks. There was no discussion. As usual he detailed public programs. Miller said that there are three new programs: (1) country line dancing with 30 adults enrolled, (2) kick boxing has a small group signed up, and (3) the high school girls varsity fall basketball league. He commented that these programs "take up the slack until the winter sports start."

      Nicholas asked Miller if he was going to fill out the form for the Girls Scouts Go Green - Adopt A Park Day planned for March 31, 2007. She said that she guesses the Girl Scouts "are going to go around cleaning out parks and stuff." Nicholas asked Miller to "take care of that."

    • Community Relations - Supervisor Howell - reported that the content is ready for the new quarterly publication, the layout is in progress, and are only 10 more ads to sell. He said that no ads have been purchased by Ace Hardware, Strausser Enterprises, Big Woody’s (can’t find any of the principals) or Goddard School (can’t find a contact). Weis said that he can provide the contact information for all of them including Quisnos. Howell said that he will approach them all for ads ("Get ‘em and I’ll get ‘em".)

      Ads have been purchased by Fat Daddy’s, PNC Bank (the Township’s bank), Easton Hospital (a full page), Hines & Kibblehouse, Crayola Factory, Earth-in-Hand, Edwin Stipe, Keystone Consulting, Karl Kline, Forks Marshall Arts, Klair Kennels, Mountain View Kennel, Pitchfork Nursery, Mr. Souders (sic) Law Office, Industrial Communications, Suburban Propane, and more. Of the developers working in Forks, only Tuskes Homes purchased an ad. Hay said that he will "work on" the others.

      Howell said that the Community Relations Committee will spend the rest of the year working on improving the Township’s website. He said that he got a lot of input from residents and the committee will begin to update the site and make it more accurate. Some of the additions will include links to bids, to equipment sales, and to employment opportunities. Howell also said that their last meeting was cancelled due to illness.

    • Finance & Administration - Supervisor Hoff - reported on the committee’s 9/13 meeting. He said that they discussed the computer system, content filtering, the budget, $5K from FEMA, and having Irene (Hess - Receptionist/Utility Billing) take the cash for permits.

      Farley said that the Township is obligated to renew its Sam’s Club membership because it did not give the required 60 days written notice. Four cards will be renewed, the Fire Chief’s, the Police Chief’s, the Facilities Manager’s, and the office Administrative Assistant’s. The Board approved this 5:0. Farley will maintain oversight of the cards and purchases.

      There was minimal discussion of USA Architect’s $20K bill. According to Farley it is for additional work on the Municipal Complex project and would normally have been brought before the Board as a change-order. It will be an agenda item at the next meeting.

    Engineer’s Report - Fred Hay - reported that he met with Mr. Murgia the Friday after the last meeting and will put in another gabion basket in which should take care of Murgia’s problem.

    The plans from the traffic engineer for the Meco Road light were received and processing has begun (Penn Dot time). Hay said that the only change he did was to add the sidewalk on the Met-Ed side which was missing from the plan. He added that people will be able to walk on the bikepath from Lafayette Park, cross Meco, down the sidewalk along Met-Ed, cross the street at Leiser’s and get back on the bikepath.

    Hay reported receiving a letter from Wendy Lagon (sic) about lowering the speed limit on Richmond (at Winchester). He said that PennDot will do a study but wants the Township to maintain the signs should the speed limit be lowered. Sandt offered that signs for every area that is lower than 45 mph must be installed and maintained by the Township. Hay said that he will report on the study as an agenda item at the next meeting. He doesn’t know the range of Richmond that they will study and offered that everything past Newlins is rural.

    Nicholas asked what was going on with the striping at Arndt and Bushkill and Hay said that he will contact PennDot and find out.

    Hoff asked about the Zucksville Road light. Hay said that "they are getting there" but they still have to provide Nehoda with a driveway and to get an easement for offsite stormwater. ("They" are Posh & Zawarski we believe.)

    Hay said too that 3 of the 4 quadrants at Sullivan and Uhlers are being developed and that PennDot was told that the Township would help the Forks Landing developer get a grade easement on the Palmeri side. Hay said that he would like to get all three developers together at once to get the intersection done right. Ackerman offered that the "guy" isn’t going to develop that corner now. The Board voted 5:0 to help Forks Landing get the grading easement (on the right of way).

    Nicholas confirmed that Certificates of Occupancy for businesses in Townes I will not be given out until the lights are installed.

    Howell asked what was going to happen to the light at the old Laneco. Hay said that it will be re-timed and that eventually the Township will be able to re-time all of the lights from a computer.

    Solicitor’s Report - Steven Goudsouzian - said that the grocery zoning challenge hearing is scheduled for October 23rd at 7:30 PM.

    Howell reported that at the Twin Rivers COG meeting Senate Bill 1257 and House Bill 2880 were discussed. He said that they are about cable franchising and are not in the best interest of the Township. The bills would remove a municipality’s freedom to negotiate franchises as well as its right to require that cable companies build out the township. The COG also endorses opposition to the bills.

    A 5:0 vote was taken to send letters to Senator Wonderling and Representative Grucela.


    TOWNSHIP MANAGER POSITION - The question before the Board was whether or not to extend the application deadline for the position. Forty eight applications were received (one was withdrawn leaving 47.) The Board agreed to not extend the deadline at this time and to discuss the applications in Executive Session. Howell thought that there is a good group of applicants (of 10 or so) to interview.

    Another workshop was set for 10/5/06 at 6:30 PM to finish work on the job description and responsibilities.

    RIVERVIEW - EXTENSION OF TIME/RESOLUTION - Goudsouzian said that there are a number of items outstanding in the Riverview project and that he spoke with the developer’s representative and emailed a copy of Hay’s list to him. To date there has been no response to the email.

    Goudsouzian recommended that the Board hold off voting on the resolution before them for the until after the developer gives written agreement to finish the outstanding issues. Hay said that the items on the list are part of the PRD for Riverview and if they are not completed and no time extension is granted (by the Township) the zoning reverts back to what it was before (CR?) and Strausser will not be allowed the density he planned. Hay added that "this is the only way to get Gary to do anything."

    Strausser Enterprises’ accounts are in arrears (to the Township) and its escrow account must be replenished ($55K). The term discussed to complete the outstanding issues was 180 days and 30 days for all monies in arrears as well as replenishment of the escrow account. The extension will not be granted until the list is completed.

    Hoff said that the list includes State and possibly Federal issues like ADA compliance for the clubhouse and for the pavilion. Weis said that the State will not prevent the clubhouse from being opened if they are out of compliance but will not fine them or shut them down for 2 years.

    Howell asked if double yellow striping on Winchester Drive could be added to the list since cars are still going up the middle of the road and if Strausser won’t do it, could the Township do it and add it to Strausser’s tab? Hay thought that can be done.

    The vote was 5:0 to authorize the solicitor to request the developer to sign. If he does sign, then the Board can pass the resolution with the time table for work to be completed and monies paid. After the work is done and the monies paid, the developer will be allowed to come before the Board to ask for a time extension.


    BUDGET CALENDAR - The budget calendar dates were discussed and agreed to in a 5:0 vote. The calendar will be put on the Township website.

    APPROVAL OF MINIMUM MUNICIPAL OBLIGATION WORKSHEETS/POLICE & NON-UNIFORM PENSION PLANS - Farley explained that the Township provided the State with wage figures based on earnings for the 1st three quarters plus an estimate of the last quarter. The State then provided the figures needed. The uniformed budget was over estimated by $5K and the non-uniform budget was underestimated by $26K.

    The Board voted 5:0 to fund the pension plan obligations and 5:0 to amend the 2006 non-uniform pension budget.

    EXECUTIVE SESSION - There was an executive session to discuss the Township Manager applications, a personnel matter, and the non-uniform negotiations. 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.

    No comments: