Sunday, July 08, 2007

BoS Meeting 7/5/2007

The 7/5/07 Board of Supervisors 7:30 PM public meeting session was, at one hour, a relatively brief one. In fact, the (private) executive session was longer than the meeting itself. It ended at 11:30 PM. Of the agenda items discussed during the public session was the purchase of Wilson Borough sewage capacity. Please read JD Malone (Express Times) for more on that.

Supervisors Comments

Supervisor Nicholas asked, on behalf of the Forks Days Committee, to have the greyhounds again. She also asked to post signs during the two day event prohibiting skateboarding and bicycling in the Forks Days areas of the park. And, she said that the Historical Society would like a sign in front of the log cabin (several days before Forks Days) stating that the cabin will be open for Forks Days. Nicholas said that she was away on business and apologized for missing the last two meetings.

Supervisor Miller reported that mowing (in the park) has slowed down because of the heat and that the crews are continuing with tree mulching, beautification, and fighting Japanese beetles. Miller said that there was a good crowd for the baseball tournament (with teams "from as far away as Brooklyn") and that there were lots of positive comments about Forks' park.

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 5:0.

Nicholas asked that the $120 service call invoice from Industrial Communications be checked as it was for service a few days after they installed the radio. Finance Manager Farley said that he would look into it.

Standing Committee Reports

  • Public Safety - Supervisor Nicholas said that there had been a "couple of meetings since last time." The committee "went over" the Fire Ordinance and it will be given to Solicitor Kline for review. Nicholas said also that they received the monthly EMS report and that Mr. Keifer will be asked to attend the next Supervisors' meeting. Also, Nicholas said that they Police Department 5-Year Plan will be reviewed and that she will report on it to the Board. Supervisor Hoff added that the Fire Ordinance has a section on "reimbursable funds" and that the department has reached its limit ($800) for this year. The limit was established eleven years ago. Options will be discussed at another committee meeting.
  • Public Works - Supervisor Ackerman said that the next meeting has been scheduled for July 17 at 7:30 AM.
  • 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 next meeting will be on Wednesday at 9:30 AM. He said too that the there have been changes made to the Township website agendas and minutes pages. Prior year documents are now archived and the current year documents are more readily accessible.
  • Finance & Administration - Chairman Hoff noted that the next committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 3:00 PM. The discussion on the cell tower will continue at that time as will discussion of the fire department's reimbursable fund.

Township Manager's Report - Schnaedter reported that in addition to the written report in the Supervisors' packets, he was contacted by someone from Senator Wonderling's office who wanted a list of road projects (one in each of three categories - bridges/congestion/secondary roads) that were "near and dear to Forks' heart." Wonderling was meeting with the Secretary of Transportation. Schnaedter had only an hour or so to come up with the list. For a bridge, he gave Frost Hollow Road. For congestion, he gave all of Sullivan Trail. And, for a secondary road, he gave Kesslersville Road and its elevation/flooding problems.

Schnaedter also reminded the Board that Forks is hosting the Two Rivers Council of Governments July 18 meeting. On the agenda are mutual aid and planning regionalization.

Howell asked about an item in Schnaedter's written report, the noise complaint voiced by a resident at the last meeting. Schnaedter confirmed that he wrote that the afternoon graduation party would not have been a violation under the Bethlehem ordinance or the other two he reviewed. He further explained that time of day is a factor in the ordinances. Howell said that he doesn't want to drop this just because the situation didn't fit any of the ordinances looked at because "Forks is building out and neighbors are close together." He added that at a minimum, Forks should have a statute that is at least "an inconvenience" to homeowners who throw parties with live bands. The issue will go to the Administrative & Finance Committee (it has the zoning officer as a member.) Ackerman thought that anyone who wants to have a noisy event should notify their neighbors within a block to let them know. Nicholas saw nothing wrong with having a "one time" event like a graduation party. Hoff added that the easiest solution is to "invite all the neighbors."

Engineer's Report - Fred Hay - Agenda items only.

Solicitor's Report - Solicitor Karl Kline - agenda items only.

Comments from the floor

  • Jacob's Farm resident Murphy O'Lennix (sic) told the Board of the severe drainage problems at her home even after a normal rain. The water drains into her crawlspace and not away from it. She is concerned with mold. She had photographs for the Board as well. A "knowledgeable" friend of Murphy's said that there are severe downhill slopes and that a French drain is needed. She asked how this situation could have passed Township inspection? She said too, that the developer should not be allowed to continue with other work until the problem is fixed. Murphy said that she called Keystone Engineering and Fred Hay responded quickly with a visit. Hay said that he spoke with Matt Jenks who has promised to resolve the grading problem within a week.


REAL ESTATE TAX CERTIFICATION FEE/JUNE VAIL - Ms. Vail gave an overview of what tax certificates are and how important they are for municipalities since they result in tax, refuse, and sewer payments being up-to-date before a property transfer can take place. The requestors are attorneys, abstract companies, and mortgage companies. Vail said that all tax collectors perform this service for a fee and she "looks back" 3 years in her records. Other collectors do not go as far back. She produced copies of letters of thanks and told the Board that this year she mailed out 6500 school tax bills. Four years ago, she mailed approximately 4000. The Board sets the rate the collector charges. The charge goes to the collector. The revenues collected as a result of the look-back, go to the municipality. The vote to increase her fee from $10 to $15 per certificate passed 3:2. It is effective August 1.


JACK & JEAN REESE/MINOR SUBDIVISION - Hay began by explaining that this was a two lot subdivision - splitting one lot in half where one lot will have the existing house and the other will have a new house. He said that one of the conditions in his office's letter was that the Met-Ed easement crossing be verified. Zawarski will pay to hook up the existing house to sewer and water and the new house will have to pay for its hookups. What started as a simple approved 5:0 plan, changed when the landowner said that there are drainage issues and that he does not own the land that the Met-Ed easement crosses, that Zawarski owns the right-of-way. The approval was immediately rescinded and the landowner was advised to go back to the engineer who drew the plan (Zawarski's engineer, Don Frederickson) to have the plan corrected, showing the proper ownership of the right-of-way. It will have to come back before the Board when the plan revision is complete.

TWO RIVERS COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS/MUTUAL AID AGREEMENT - Kline said that he reviewed the agreement in circulation to the member municipalities and found a few areas that need to be "tightened up a little bit." Kline said that he could not recommend approval of the current document. Howell asked the Board to authorize Schnaedter to communicate the solicitor's concerns to the COG. Schnaedter will forward Kline's email to the President of the COG and the agenda item was tabled until there is more information.

ORDINANCE #303/AMENDMENT TO BUSINESS PRIVLEDGE TAX - Kline said that the advertisement was done and that the ordinance is ready for approval. Kline explained that businesses in the Township are subject to the annual Business Privilege Tax as well as to an annual Business Privilege License Fee. Until tonight that fee was $15/year. The current ordinance did not allow the Township to change the fee by a resolution. The new ordinance does. It, and the accompanying resolution to raise the fee to $30, were approved in 5:0 votes.

AWARD BID/(4) USED TOWNSHIP VEHICLES - Farley explained that there were four Township vehicles for sale, three from the Police Department and one from the code enforcement office. One of the two 2003 Crown Victoria's high bid was $1005.98, the other was $600.98. The 1994 Caprice went for $1200 and the 1995 GMC Jimmy was sold for $100. The lucky high bidders were not identified.

RESOLUTION #070705-1/PURCHASE OF ADDITIONAL SEWAGE CAPACITY - Hoff said that the resolution is for the purchase of 9250/gallons per day at $8/gallon - from Wilson Borough. Hay said that he did a total build-out calculation of the additional capacity needed to cover the industrial area and Route 611. That number is (an additional) 146,750 gallons per day. Nicholas remarked, "So, if we don't have this, then we can't build, right? - Sounds good to me." Howell asked Hay if the Township has enough capacity now to build-out the industrial park. Hay said, "No." He added that's it's difficult to estimate the industrial park's needs in advance of knowing which industries will be there. Hay said that residential needs can be more closely estimated. The purchase was approved 5:0. See JD Malone (Express Times) for more on this purchase.

ACCEPT RESIGNATIONS/COMMUNITY CENTER PERSONNEL - Miller announced the resignations of part-time employees Rick Hartranft and Stephanie Gray. Miller said that Hartranft wants to spend more time with his children and Gray has just graduated from high school and is going to college in the fall. The resignations were accepted 5:0.

EXECUTIVE SESSION - A lengthy session was held to discuss the police contract negotiations, litigation, and a personnel matter.

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