Sunday, December 09, 2007

BoS Meeting 12/6/2007

Forks Township's Supervisors discussed a range of topics, not the least of which was the EMS request for the budgeted 2007 funds. Read JD Malone (Express Times) for more. For the rest of the meeting, read on. (Six items are to be added to the December 20th BoS meeting agenda. The date, December 20th, is in blue so that the items will be easier to follow.)


Supervisor Ackerman remarked that the new issue of the Forks Quarterly contains an error. He said he didn't know who wrote the piece that said that the 2007 Comprehensive Plan had been adopted but it has not been adopted. It is a work in progress.

Supervisor Nicholas requested that the entire text of the Zoning Hearing Board reports be included in the Supervisors' packets. Currently they get only the first page. Zoning Officer Weis will be asked to do that. Nicholas also requested that the Northampton County information included in the packet be posted (or linked) on the Township website. Township Manager Schnaedter will see that it happens.

Nicholas noted, too, that the Supervisors received a letter from Stockertown (to the Easton Area Joint Sewer Authority). Supervisor Hoff said that the Township requested the letter, at the advice of Forks' EAJSW representative, Henning Holmgaard, so that (engineer) Fred Hay could review it. Hay explained that he will develop parameters for the Board's consideration.

Nicholas asked, too, that Act 4 (Northampton County Farmland Preservation) be included on the December 20th meeting agenda and that, for informational purposes, ordinances and resolutions be posted on the Township website for 30 days.

Supervisor Miller reported that winter sports are in full swing. The first wrestling meet is this Sunday. There are 30 basketball teams and two or three more coaches are needed. He asked for volunteers.

TREASURER'S REPORT - Secretary/Treasurer Howell detailed the debits (cash paid out) since the last Supervisors meeting. The debits and transfers were approved with a 5:0 vote.

Standing Committee Reports (meetings are open to the public - see the Township calendar for dates and times)

  • Public Safety - Supervisor Nicholas - reported that the committee discussed the Fire Ordinance; it is an agenda item. The committee also discussed CPR training for staff. (Township Manager Schnaedter will look into the cost of CPR training and when it could be done.) Nicholas also said that Forks EMS financial reports were reviewed and that Forks EMS asked her to bring the subject of the EMS money in the 2007 Forks budget to the Board for discussion. Supervisor Hoff explained that $20,000 is in the 2007 budget and that this will be an agenda item at the December 20th meeting. Supervisor Howell asked if the request from Forks EMS was in writing and Nicholas said that it was not. Howell asked that it be in writing and that the letter discuss how the squad intends to disburse the money. Hoff instructed Schnaedter to write a letter to the squad requesting that the information be provided by the 17th - so that it can be included in the Supervisors' packets for the meeting on the 20th. Supervisor Ackerman said that he thought the Board of Supervisors should decide where it (the money) goes or should pay bills directly.
  • Public Works - Supervisor Ackerman - said that the committee held its last meeting of the year two weeks ago. He added that since the last meeting, the new salt bin was installed. Also, he said that there was a sewer main leak last weekend and that the "guys" did a good job taking care of it. DPW Director Roberts said that in addition to the sewer main break, the crew has been busy with leaf collection. The leaves are finally off the trees and the department has logged 565.5 hours on leaf pick-up - in November. Roberts also said that the DEP and EPA have approved demolition of the house on the corner of Newlins and Richmond. The asbestos (a small amount in the basement) will be removed on December 19th, the air quality tested, and then the house can come down on December 20th.
  • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Miller - no committee report - see Supervisor Comments above for the park sports/activities news.
  • Community Relations - Supervisor Howell - no report
  • Finance and Administration - Supervisor Hoff said that the committee met on November 28th and the items discussed - IT support, audio/visual systems, and the employee manual - are on the agenda.

TOWNSHIP MANAGER'S REPORT - Schnaedter - had nothing to add to his written report. Nicholas asked about the two job descriptions (in his report) and said that she was not aware that the Board had discussed them. Schnaedter said it is his understanding the job descriptions have been an ongoing topic for two years. To that Hoff stated that there was no change. Nicholas said that there is a realignment of duties and she would like it added to the December 20th agenda - for discussion. Again, Hoff said that there was no change and that currently the jobs are "taking place" as described. He said that when the Board voted to change Barb's position (to HR Manager) that "Debbie took over some of those responsibilities right then." Nicholas said, "Okay, if no one else cares, fine." Howell said that he does care and commented that the Board's meeting minutes will no longer being prepared in-house by staff, but by the same person who is contracted to do the Planning Commission minutes. Howell further noted that the PC minutes in the Board's current packet were from the November 8th PC meeting. He asked that the minutes be prepared by in-staff people so that the expense of using outside persons can be avoided. Howell also noted that he would like to have the minutes sooner so that items on the agenda that are referred from the PC are known to the Board before those items appear in front of them for discussion. He asked that the issue of minutes be discussed at the next meeting and that Schnaedter explore other alternatives to producing minutes - preferably in-house.

ENGINEER'S REPORT - Hay - agenda items only.

SOLICITOR'S REPORT - Kline - agenda items only.

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC (NOT AGENDA ITEMS) - Forks resident Sandy Hanks asked Police Chief Dorney if PA State law gives pedestrians the right of way where there is a hash-mark across the road? Dorney said that it is a newly passed law. Hanks said that she witnessed vehicles not stopping for a runner at the crossing on Zucksville Road (from the Community Center). Hanks said that the crossing needs signage. Howell offered that the Comprehensive Plan subcommittee report indicated that all the recreation path/trail crossings will be reviewed and signage will be recommended. Dorney said that he will look into the new law and that he thought that hash-marked crossings with yellow signs indicate that motorists must stop for people on the path. Dorney added that in the specific area that Hanks mentioned, signs are a good idea. Nicholas observed that there are four speed limits on Zucksville - from 45 to 35 to 25 to 35. Dorney noted that this is a question for PennDot.


Forks IT Support - Award Bid - Finance Manager Farley said that the Finance & Administration Committee reviewed the five bids and recommended EZ Micro Solutions for the next three year contract. This was approved with a 5:0 vote.

Audio-Visual Systems Proposal - Board Room / Award Bid - Farley reported that Vistacom was the only bidder ($12,363.30 to install the projector and hardware). Nicholas asked about the length of the project, the sizes of the screens, and the number of screens. She said that the proposal states that the owner is responsible for conduit, paths between the devices, and drilling holes in the dais. She noted, too, that "minimal feedback" is mentioned but the amount of "feedback" is unknown. Also, she asked about warrantees. Because of all the unknowns, it was decided in a 5:0 vote to table this item until the December 20th meeting when Zoning Officer, Tim Weis, will be in attendance. Also, a spokesperson from Vistacom will be invited to do a presentation.

Ordinance 306 - Local Services Tax / Adoption - Kline said that this was properly advertised and ready for adoption. Effectively it is a name change from the EMS Tax to the Local Services Tax. The amount remains the same at $52 per year for employees working in the Township. It was approved in a 5:0 vote and will be effective on January 1, 2008.


Resolution for (6) Street Lights / The Estates at Bushkill Creek - Hay reported that the lights have been inspected and everything is in order. He recommended Board approval. The Board agreed. The vote was 5:0.

Resolution for (15) Street Lights / College Park Development - Hay reported that the lights have been inspected and everything is in order. He recommended Board approval. Howell asked if the lights are all the same style as the rest of the Township lights and Hay said that they are. Hay added that Riverview is the exception (in fixture styles). The vote was 5:0 in favor of the resolution.

Employee Manual Discussion - Hoff asked the Board to review the changes (all are highlighted) in the manual and suggested that any questions be addressed to Schnaedter and Bartek (since they worked on it). Some of the changes are mandated by changes in State and Federal laws and others because of contract agreements. Discussion and action will be added to the December 20th meeting agenda. Howell asked how the manual will be disseminated and was told that it will be distributed to employees and that they will sign that they have received it.

Advertise Fire Department Ordinance - Nicholas reported that the Public Safety Committee has reviewed the ordinance and that it is in front of the Board for comment and reviewl. Nicholas noted that there is some confusion as to the setting of rates vs. the timing of the annual budget. Hoff explained that the IRS provides the reimbursable mileage figure (this year it is $.505/per mile) and that FEMA provides the maximum (reimbursable) idle time figure as a guideline - although the FEMA maximum does not have to be used - it can be less. Kline asked if the rates will always be available in January (before the re-organizational meeting) and Hoff said that the IRS rate will be. Hoff also said that this is the first time the ordinance has been updated in eleven years and that the Township has changed a lot in that time. Some of the changes include changing the line officer service requirement from three years to five years - but with prior experience, eligibility can be shortened to four years. Ackerman said that he wanted a copy of the old ordinance to compare with the new one. The Board voted 4:1 (Ackerman) to advertise the ordinance. It will be discussed and voted on at the December 20th meeting.

Executive Session - called by Supervisor Nicholas to discuss a personnel issue. No action was taken.

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