Sunday, June 10, 2007

BoS Meeting 6/7/2007

The first Board of Supervisors meeting in June had only a quorum (3) of Supervisors in attendance. Neither Supervisors Nicholas nor Hoff were there. The press was though. Please read Madeleine Mathias' (Morning Call) coverage of this very short meeting. At 6:15 PM, interviews of the four applicants for the open seat on the PC were conducted and at 7:00 PM the three Supervisors went on a walking tour of the proposed T-Mobile cell tower site (in the park.)

Supervisors Comments

Supervisor Miller reported that baseball is winding down and that there will be a big 4th of July tournament with a lot of area teams. Summer basketball starts this Saturday at 9:00 and there are 157 teams in this year's summer basketball program. Miller said that this is the largest summer basketball league in Pennsylvania - and that's what is posted on the website and "no one has argued with us yet."

Treasurer’s Report - Secretary/Treasurer Howell detailed the debits (cash paid out) since the last Supervisors meeting. Acceptance of the debits and transfers was approved 3:0.

Standing Committee Reports

  • Public Safety - Supervisor Nicholas absent - no report. Fire Chief Bryan Weis said that there were no committee meetings last month and that time was running out on the bid the fire department received for a new utility truck body for the 1989 utility truck. The bid ($14,937) is from Reading Body Works and is under the Harrisburg PAC program. Also, Weis said that the body replacement is budget item. Reading Body will replace the rusted body (the cab is in good shape) and paint the entire truck. The Board approved it in a 3:0 vote.
  • Public Works - Supervisor Ackerman said that the committee met last week and that DPW Director Mark Roberts report was available to anyone who wanted to see it "after the meeting." Township Engineer Fred Hay updated the Board on:
    • Arndt Road & Bushkill Drive - blinking lights - the bid award is an agenda item.
    • A Township storm-water project - Newlins Road.
    • Meco signal - PennDot permit application received - work may be completed this year.
    • Mitman Road - repaving from Zucksville to Bushkill Drive.
  • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Miller - Miller gave no committee report. His announcements have been moved to Supervisors' Comments above.

  • Community Relations - Supervisor Howell said that the that Township Manager Rick Schnaedter would report on the committee's discussion items during his manager's report. He specifically asked that the webcam be discussed.

  • Finance & Administration - Chairman Hoff absent - no report.

Township Manager's Report - Schnaedter reported that the surveillance camera in the parking lot is "up and running" and that the $1900 amount listed in his written report to the Board for tree transplanting was incorrect and should be $1200 "for the two of them." He also said that he had some ballpark figures from the current website provider for a webcam to televise meetings. He requested a joint meeting of the Administration & Finance and the Community Relations Committees to discuss this further.

Engineer's Report - Hay said that he will not be at the next Board of Supervisors meeting and that his associate, Kevin Horvath will stand in for him.

Solicitor's Report - Solicitor Kline reported that the PEMA fire truck loan closed on May 24th. It is at 2% for 15 years. He also said that Riverview Estates withdrew its final plans for Phase 6 and that he received the Zoning Hearing Board written decision to the appeal of Ordinance 298. Kline described the ZHB decision process as (1) vote, (2) decision, and (3) written decision. He added that it will likely be appealed (by the appellants) to the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas. Please read Madeleine Mathias (Morning Call) for more.

Zoning Officer Tim Weis asked permission of the Board to post on township/employee bulletin boards the availability for sale of two police cars that no longer run and that are worth less than $1000 each. The Board granted the request in a 3:0 vote and Kline remarked that anyone in the Township can bid on the vehicles.

Planning Commission Vice Chairman Dean Turner announced that the Planning Commission will organize committees of volunteer residents for the public input part of Comprehensive Plan update at its June 26th workshop. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM. He asked that everyone in the audience tell five friends that volunteers are wanted/needed and to attend the workshop. (See Madeleine Mathias' June 7 Morning Call article for more workshop details.)

Comments from the floor

  1. Resident Ken Nagy - asked the Board if they had taken any action to bow out of the Northampton County open space program. They have not. He reminded them that the Township paid $300,000 to the County and got nothing back (from the recreation portion.) He said that the Township continues to pay and is eligible for nothing. Regarding farmland preservation, Nagy said that two Forks farms have been on the list for six years with no action and that others have been granted preservation rights right away. He said that the County considers Forks a "cash cow." He also warned against the County's regionalization efforts with new authorities and advisory boards - that will take away a lot of the Boards duties. He gave the Board of Health discussions behind closed doors as an example. Nagy further said that so far Forks has received only $200,000 from the County under the $100 million bond and that Bethlehem got $17 million and will get and additional $1 million for its pedestrian walkway. The City of Easton will get $600,000. Kline said that because Forks meetings are on the same night as the County meetings, the Township doesn't know enough of what is going on. He suggested that one or several persons talk with the County to gather more information about how much money is collected and how much Forks pays in and how much it gets back.
  2. Dale Reinert (Dale Reinert Custom Homes) - described problems he is having with the (loose) stone barrier across Old Mill Road. He said that vehicles are hitting it and that some kids are using it as a bike ramp. The result is that the stones are all over the place in front of his model home. He owns four lots in the Darwin Smith subdivision and that part of Old Mill is supposed to be open only for construction access to his lots. Kline said that the developer(s) of Shawnee II (the developer responsible by agreement for finishing the road and insuring no public access to Old Mill while the Reinert lots are under construction) was unhappy that Smith had given land to Shawnee II for infrastructure work and then did not sell the lots to him. Hay will talk to the developer (of Shawnee II) and try to get concrete pipes across the road as a barricade.


PURCHASING POLICY & BIDDING PROCESS - Finance Manager Jim Farley reported that the Board's suggestions were incorporated into the new documents and that they were reviewed by the Finance Committee. He said that the only sheets missing were the instruction pages which are being prepared and will be added. The Board voted 3:0 to accept the revised policies/processes for purchasing and for bidding.


AWARD BID FOR ARNDT ROAD/BUSHKILL DRIVE TRAFFIC SIGNAL INSTALLATION - Hay reported that Miller Brothers of Norristown, PA submitted the low bid for traffic signal installation at Arndt & Bushkill. Their winning bid was $45,782. The only other bidder, Telco, Inc's bid was around $65,000. (Telco did the signals at Zucksville and Sullivan Trail.) The low bid was accepted in a 3:0 vote.

KAREN PRESBY SUBDIVISION/DEVELOPER'S AGREEMENTS - Kline said that everything was in order and signed by the owner for this two lot subdivision. The vote to approve was 3:0.

VILLAGE AT FOX CROSSING, FORMERLY JACOB'S FARM 2/DEVELOPER'S AGREEMENTS - Kline stated that the indemnification agreement, sewer agreement, certificate of insurance, and escrow funds are all in order. The Board approved the agreements in a 3:0 vote.

AUTHORIZE ADVERTISEMENT/ORDINANCE NO. 303 - The Board voted 3:0 to authorize this ordinance to amend the Business Privilege Tax and to raise the license fee from $15 per year to $30. Currently the fees can only be changed by Ordinance. Ordinance 303 will allow them to be changed in the future by Resolution.


EXECUTIVE SESSION - Acting Chairman Miller said that the session was to discuss the applicants for the Planning Commission opening. Kline said that the purpose was to discuss a personnel matter and the collective bargaining progress. Both Kline and Hay added that there is potential litigation to be discussed. There was no Board action taken during or after the session and the meeting was adjourned. No PC appointment was made.

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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