Sunday, January 21, 2007

BoS Meeting 1/18/07

The January 18th regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors was preceded by the Weis Market Conditional Use Hearing. That meeting ran until 8:00 PM and was not concluded. It will resume on Tuesday, February 6th at 6:30 PM. Please read the newspaper accounts by Courtney Lomax (Express Times) and Joe Nixon (Morning Call) for details of the hearing.


The Board of Supervisors meeting began after the Weis Market Conditional Use Hearing late finish and ended with an executive session. Much of the regular meeting was spent on the Forks EMS status update. Fire Chief Bryan Weis also presented the Fire Department Year End Report. Both Joe Nixon (Morning Call) and Courtney Lomax (Express Times) reported on the EMS segment. Please read their articles. We will try to fill in the blanks.

Supervisor Comments:

Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas said that the (contracted) Township Auditors suggested that the Board get audits from all the non-profit organizations to which the Township contributes money and/or uses (fire, recreation, etc.). Nicholas said too, that it would be a good idea for Department heads to submit reports of all employee training. Howell said that he believed Barb Bartek tracks that information and can report periodically. Nicholas also asked Finance Manager Jim Farley to compile a list of all contract due dates for the Board. He is working on it.

Treasurer’s Report - Secretary/Treasurer David Howell detailed the debits (cash paid out) since the last Supervisors meeting. Acceptance of the debits and transfers was approved 5:0.

Standing Committee Reports

Public Safety - Supervisor Nicholas - reported that their next meeting is Tuesday, February 6th at 5 PM. She has asked every member to bring a list of what he/she hopes to accomplish in 2007.

Public Works - Supervisor Ackerman - reported that the committee met with crew chiefs on Jan. 4th (?). They discussed what they have been doing and what they intend to do with their workers throughout the year. The next PW Committee meeting is scheduled for Jan. 23 at 7:00 AM.

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 reported that the new storage addition to the back of the Community Center has been completed and that the old storage space has been completely refurbished as a rental room for parties, meetings, etc. Miller also noted that the CC is booked for 3 of the next 4 months.

Community Relations - Supervisor Howell - reported that at a recent informational meeting, the current webhost was discussed as not meeting the storage capacity needs of the Township (website). The consultant, New Arrivals Studios, recommended changing to Valuenet, a Florida company. If paid annually the rate averages $14-15/mth. The vote was 5:0. The conversion will be done by the end of the month. (Note: This was item 3 under UNFINISHED BUSINESS).

Howell also said that he will be sending a memo to each of the committees to begin work on the next articles for the Forks Quarterly (Spring 2007). He will advise them of the upcoming deadlines.

Finance & Administration - Supervisor Hoff - reported that the committee met on 12/20 and on 1/10/07. At the December meeting, they met with the Township bond council, Gary Pulcini, to discuss refinancing the bonds. Pulcini recommended not changing them at this time. The committee also met with Mel Hodges (Hodges Technologies) for a status update on the computer system. Two representatives from the Principal Group attended the January meeting to discuss the Police Pension Fund. The final (2006) pension report is expected in February and the representatives will attend the March committee meeting. Hoff said too, that the committee is setting goals and objectives for the year. And, he said that a Verison representative is coming to the ½4 meeting discuss the proposed Verizon cell tower.

Engineer’s Report - Fred Hay - agenda items only.

Solicitor’s Report - Karl Kline - reported on four items beginning with the vacancy on the Board of Elected Auditors because of the resignation of Wayne Docker. Mr. Docker submitted a formal letter and it was received by Kline on January 12. The Supervisors have 30 days to fill the term. It will be advertised. Kline reminded the Board that the Elected Auditors do not audit and serve only to set the wages of Supervisors who are employed by the Township in another capacity. This term expires on December 31, 2007.

Kline said that the State mediator met in session with the non-uniformed employees bargaining unit and that there will be a second meeting next Tuesday. He said that he will report on the 1st meeting in Executive Session.

Kline reported that the Easton Area Joint Sewer Authority has sent the Township a bill for additional charges for past years. Farley is in contact with accountant to get more detailed information as the numbers do not agree with the Township’s figures. A letter from the Township representative on the EAJSA, Henning Holmgaard, was in each Supervisor’s packet. It will be discussed by the Finance Committee.

Also noted, was that testimony in the grocery store zoning challenge was not concluded on January 8th and will be continued on February 26th at 7:30 PM



  • CHAIRMAN - David Hoff in a 3:2 vote (Ackerman & Nicholas voted nay).
  • VICE CHAIRMAN - Don Miller in a 4:1 vote (Nicholas voted nay). (Ackerman was nominated but declined.)
  • SECRETARY/TREASURER - David Howell in a 3:2 vote (Ackerman & Nicholas voted nay).

GENERAL CODE CORRESPONDENCE/REVISED PRICING ESTIMATE - This item was tabled after Kline explained that URDC has yet to send the electronic file of the new Zoning Ordinance to General Code. The electronic file is needed to reduce the price quoted. Kline will advise when a revised proposal is received and the item will then be placed back on the agenda.

WEBSITE HOST - See above - Community Relations Committee report.

FORKS TOWNSHIP E.M.S./STATUS REPORT - BILL KEIFER - Mr. Keifer, President of the Board of the Forks EMS summarized the work done to get Forks EMS running again. He said that February 17 is hoped for date to open as a BLS (basic life support) provider provided that the Board of Supervisors supports it. Keifer also noted that he was notifying the Board that Forks EMS will not be supplying ALS (advanced life support) services in the immediate future and that Suburban has agreed to continue to do so.

Howell noted that a business plan must be presented so that it can be reviewed by the Public Safety Committee which will make recommendations to the Board. Hoff asked Keifer if they plan to be a full time or part time BLS provider. Keifer said that they will be full time with two 12 hour shifts.

Dr. Everitt Binns, Executive Director of the Eastern Pennsylvania EMS Council was in attendance and spoke to the work that has been done. Binns said that he will recommend to the State that Forks EMS receive a provisional license for BLS and that ALS is not in its foreseeable future. He said that Forks is covered by Suburban, which he described as a "supreme" ALS provider.

Binns said that the Supervisors must designate Forks EMS as a BLS provider in order for them to get a provisional license. The squad will be under strict conditions, including providing a (first) 30 day staffing schedule to the EMS Council, giving a 30 notice to Suburban to vacate (BLS), as well as submission of operational reports to the EMS Council. Provisional licenses are for 12 months at a minimum. Forks EMS must also work out a billing agreement with Suburban and they must provide 24/7 service.

Keifer will attend the Public Safety Committee meeting on February 6th (5:00 PM).


RESOLUTION #070118-1/DEEDS OF DEDICATION - STREETS IN BRIARWOOD SUBDIVISION - Kline said that the streets are completed, inspected, and that the equivalent Liquid Fuels monies ($1103.12) have been paid by the developer. The roads were accepted with a 5:0 vote.

RESOLUTION #070118-2/DEEDS OF DEDICATION - STREETS IN STEEPLECHASE NORTH SUBDIVISION, PHASE I - Kline said that the streets are completed, inspected, and that the equivalent Liquid Fuels monies ($1100.11) have been paid by the developer. The roads were accepted with a 5:0 vote.

FIRE DEPARTMENT/YEAR END REPORT - Fire Chief Bryan Weis presented the department’s 2006 report. The summary data showed a 22% incident increase over 2005 as well as 114% increase over 2000. Forks Fire Department is the 2nd largest and the 3rd busiest in the Northampton County. He said that the average response time is 6.7 minutes. Weis detailed 2006 grants and donations totaling $147,011. This figure represents 94.2% of the department’s operating budget.

Weis said too, that the department is working on State accreditation and expects to achieve it by the end of 2007. A longer term goal is to attain ISO Class I status. That target date is 2010. The department also intends to do a community outreach program that will teach employees in the township how to properly handle fire extinguishers. His presentation ended with applause. Other members of the fire department were in attendance.

WEIS MARKET/PRELIMINARY APPROVAL - Because the Conditional Use Hearing held at 6:30 was not concluded and will be continued on February 6th at 6:30 PM, this item was removed from the agenda.

There was an EXECUTIVE SESSION to discuss the collective bargaining negotiations and personnel matters (DPW Director and Township Manager). No action was taken by the Supervisors during the Executive Session. After the session, the Board voted 5:0 to advertise the DPW Director position 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.

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