Sunday, February 04, 2007

BoS Meeting 2/1/07

On February 1st at 7:15 PM, the Board of Supervisors interviewed Forks resident Georgeann Wambold for the open seat on the Planning Commission. The regular meeting started at 7:30 PM and ended after an Executive Session. Both Joe Nixon (Morning Call) and Courtney Lomax (Express Times) were there. Please read their articles. We will try to fill in the blanks.

Supervisor Comments:

  • Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas said that Police Chief Greg Dorney made her aware that residents are bringing animals to the police department to avoid paying fees at the SPCA. The SPCA contract was recently changed because residents in Forks, as well as in other contracted municipalities, were allowed to bring stray animals to the SPCA with the municipalities picking up the tabs. The system was abused. Now, under the new contract, only the animal control officer or police officers may bring animals to the SPCA (in order for the Township to pay the bill). Anyone else may bring animals and if they do, they will be expected to pay. According to Dorney," 90% of the time, Tommy (Forks animal control officer) takes care of 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 - announced that their next meeting is Tuesday, February 6th at 5 PM.

Public Works - Supervisor Ackerman - was absent and Supervisor Miller noted that the committee will meet next week.

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 said that he and Howell met with the "athletic association to discuss the dances at the Community Center" and that the dances are on the regular agenda (item 2 under Unfinished Business).

Community Relations - Supervisor Howell - reported that the migration of the Township’s website to the new host was problem free. The committee will now begin addressing website upgrades to insure that it is informative and interesting. Howell also said that the new edition of the Forks Quarterly is anticipated at the end of March. He added that insuring that the Forks Quarterly is produced in a timely manner (as well as meets the policy standards) will be a principal responsibility of the new (not yet hired) Township Manager. The committee is now collecting articles for it and the Board will see a list of advertisers at the next meeting.

Finance & Administration - Supervisor Hoff - reported that the committee met last week with a T-Mobile representative. The representative was asked to come back with a plan of where T-Mobile wants to place the tower. Miller will meet with him next. The committee will meet with the representative again in March. Hoff said too that the committee set and prioritized its objectives and agenda for the year. The next meeting is scheduled for February 14th.

Engineer’s Report - Fred Hay - reported that PennDot presented its plan for a flashing light at Arndt Road and Bushkill Drive. Hay explained that there are 4 corners, 3 of which are electrified. PennDot picked the corner that has no electricity for one of the 2 standards. Hay will go back to PennDot to see if another corner can be selected.

Hay also reported that Mr. Art Panzini’s water issue on Zucksville Road should be corrected. PennDot donated pipe and 2 inlets were installed by the Forks DPW. The new house (across Zucksville from Panzini) will not have its water problem corrected until spring.

Solicitor’s Report - Karl Kline - reported State mediator met in a second session with the non-uniformed employees bargaining unit and that a counter proposal was received. He said that discuss this with the Board in Executive Session.

Kline also reported that a revised proposal has been received from General Code. This one is based on the electronic document that URDC provided. The price drop is somewhere around $1100. This will be on the next meeting’s agenda.

Comments from the Public

  • Gretchen Gerstel - addressed her comment to Howell and asked when he was going to keep his campaign "assurances" to hold town meetings. She asked that he set a date. Howell replied that under the committee structure (that replaced the liaison structure), a new committee, the Community Relations Committee, was formed and that its meetings are open to the public. He and Nicholas are on the committee and it meets twice a month, the 2nd Wednesday at 9:00 AM and the 4th Wednesday at 4:45 AM. Gerstel said that although she attends some of the meetings, many in Forks cannot because they work. Nicholas noted that she cannot attend the 9:00 AM meetings. Howell said that if evening meetings are needed in the future because of major issues such as the upcoming Comprehensive Plan, meetings may be held in the evening and residents will be encouraged to attend those meetings. Howell said too, that residents can email him as well as contact him by phone. He added that the liaison structure has allowed the Township to function without a Township Manager and without a DPW Director for the last several months without problems. Howell said that the committee structure is a "great achievement by this Board and one of my promises... a deliverable" and that "it is a shining example of progress for this Township."
  • Sandy Hanks - mentioned a piece that she received in email recently from the Express Times about an upcoming Agricultural Land Use Workshop scheduled for the Hotel Bethlehem on March 15th from 1-4 PM. Topics included in the program are laws about agricultural land protected from development (farmland protection), the Right to Farm Act, and municipalities planning codes. Hanks suggested that at $25/per attendee, the Board should send representatives from the Board, from planning, and from zoning.


VACANCY/ELECTED BOARD OF AUDITORS - Forks resident Sandy Hanks volunteered (from the audience) for the position. She was appointed in a 4:0 vote to fulfill the term ending 12/31/07 (vacated by Wayne Docker). Hoff noted that the position is up for re-election in November and that Hanks consider running for the upcoming 4 year term.

ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION/YOUTH DANCES - Dan Martyak, vice chairman of the Forks Township Youth Sports Organization spoke to the procedural and rules changes that will be implemented should the Board allow the dances to continue. In short they include:
An appointed commissioner of dances - to finish out this season’s (4 dance) schedule there will be 2 commissioners, Kevin Wall and Butch Scerbo.

  • Chaperones will all wear color (neon) armbands. The commissioner(s) band will be a different color.
  • Dance rules violations will have consequences. Lights will go on and the music will stop. If it happens a second time, the lights will go on, the music will be stopped, and the offenders will be escorted to a room away from the dance. There will be a chaperone in the room.
  • The rules will be read aloud before the dance.
  • The DJ will not play any inappropriate music.
  • Kids will be carded and those without ID cards will not be allowed in the dance unless their parents sign them in - this covers the Catholic school students who do not have school issued ID cards. If their rides have left and cannot sign them in, they will be escorted to a room where they will remain until the dance is over. There will be a chaperone in the room.
  • The drivers of cars dropping off dance attendees will be given a copy of the rules.

Martyak said too, that if parents do not show up on time, a chaperone will stay with the children until they do show up.

Hoff asked that someone from the FTYSO update the Board after the next dance. The tentative date of the next dance is February 23rd. The Board voted 4:0 to allow the dances to resume.

PLANNING COMMISSION APPOINTMENT - After discussion of Georgeann Wambold’s meeting attendance and her experience as a previous applicant for both Recreation Board and Planning Commission vacancies, the BoS voted 4:0 to appoint her. Wambold was the only applicant for this re-advertised opening.


KINGS MILL FARM - This item was stricken from the agenda. It will be on the February 8th Planning Commission (PC) agenda and on the February 15th BoS agenda. (Note: It is for the plan filed before the new zoning ordinance took effect last year. In February 2006, 187 two acre lots were proposed on 436 acres in the Farmland Preservation District. This is referred to as the "by-right" plan.)

Howell asked if it was simply a procedural error (that it was placed on the agenda) and asked too, if there is ever a time that the BoS could "exempt" the PC from dealing with an issue and take it on themselves? Kline explained that the SALDO and the Zoning Ordinance specify that plans go before the PC and the PC makes recommendations to the Board. He said that he thinks its "appropriate" that it go back to the PC for another recommendation since the developer is offering "yet another extension." Kline said that if there was an emergency situation in which there was a time deadline that would be missed and result in a "deemed" approval, that direct Board action would be warranted.

JORGE PEREIRA MINOR SUBDIVISION - The 2.4 acre property is on Old River Road and is bordered by North Delaware Drive. There is an existing home on the lot. The subdivision was approved in a 4:0 vote.

There was an EXECUTIVE SESSION to discuss a personnel matter, a matter of potential litigation (???), and the collective bargaining negotiations. No action was taken by the Supervisors during the Executive Session 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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