Sunday, January 28, 2007

Kings Mill Zoning Hearing - Round 8 Reminder

Round 8 is coming this Monday for the Forks zoning challenge hearing by Kings Mill & partners!

When again? - Monday, January 29th at 7:30 PM

Where? - Forks Municipal Building

The Kings Mill partnership (Zawarski, Maloney, & Benner) alleges that the Farmland Protection District zoning is too restrictive. Their vision proposes 3,042 dwelling units -- apartments, townhomes, and a mobile home park. To us, that looks like:
  • 6,000 more cars on town roads everyday
  • 8,000 more students in the schools
  • 25% of open farm fields covered with roofs and asphalt

This can't be a good thing for Forks. We urge you to attend these zoning challenge hearings. The developers do! And, your presence makes a difference. It reminds them that Forks residents do indeed care about their quality of life and about what they (KMRD, LP) want to do to it! Bring family, bring friends, bring neighbors... let's not leave an empty seat in the room on Monday, January 29th!

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.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Elected Auditors Meeting - 1/3/2007

In brief:

On January 3rd the Elected Auditors met to set the salaries of Supervisors who work for the Township, specifically that of John Ackerman, Donald Miller, and the Secretary/Treasurer. The Board of Supervisors is prohibited from setting their own wages.
  • The Secretary/Treasurer's wage was raised to $2271 from $2100.
  • Ackerman is approved to plow snow and should he be needed this year, his new rate will be $18/hr (up from $16.22/hr).
  • Miller is employed full time to run the Community Center and his 2007 wage was raised to $43,000 from 2006's $27600.

One of the three elected auditors, Wayne Docker, resigned in December 2006 leaving only 2, Elizabeth Casapulla and James Craig, to perform the task of setting Township-employed Supervisors' wages. Casapulla was elected Chairman and Craig was elected Secretary. The votes were 2:0.

BoS 1/2/2007 - Interviews, Re-Org Meeting, & Regular Meeting

INTERVIEWS - Boards & Commissions - 5:30 PM

This evenings’ meeting schedule began at 5:30 PM with candidate interviews for the Recreation Board, the Planning Commission and the Zoning Hearing Board. A total of six candidates submitted letters of interest. Of them, 4 were reapplying for their expired terms.

Ray Guffy, ending his term on the Recreation Board, and David Billings, a newcomer to Forks involvement but not to Forks (and Easton area) sports, interviewed for the Recreation Board slot.

Dean Turner and Jim Wideman, whose terms on the Planning Commission ended 12/31/06, were interviewed as was newcomer to Forks, but not new to zoning, William Nicusanti. Mr. Nicusanti applied for consideration to both the Planning Commission and the Zoning Hearing Board. Also, interviewed for the Zoning Hearing Board was Peter Rossi, whose term expired at the end of December.

The Board left the room after the interviews and met in the Supervisors room to discuss the candidates. (This was not an announced Executive Session.)


This year, the Board avoided the impass of last year and tabled elections of Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary Treasurer until the January 18 meeting when the full Board will be present. 2006 Chairman, David Hoff was absent. Joe Nixon (the Morning Call), Courtney Lomax (Express Times) and Jan Schott (The Easton News) were there. The only article appearing in an online edition was Schott’s. Please read it. We will try to fill in any blanks.

All of the elections and appointments were unanimous except one, a Planning Commission appointment. The vote on that was 3:1 to table the appointment and to re-advertise the vacancy. Howell voted nay to table. Solicitor Kline cautioned the Board that they only have 30 days from the date of the vacancy to fill the position.

The 2007 appointments:
  • Chairman - NONE
  • Vice Chairman - NONE
  • Secretary/Treasurer - NONE

PNC Bank and PLGIT were voted in as depositories of Forks Township. Signatures of either 2 Supervisors or one Supervisor and the Township Manager are required for withdrawels.

  • Township Manager - Interviews are ongoing
  • Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer of the General Fund - NONE
  • Solicitor - Karl Kline ($130.00/hr)
  • Engineering Firm - Keystone Consulting Engineers (at fee schedule provided)
  • Township Engineer - Fred Hay (at fee schedule provided by KCE )
  • Auditor(s) - France, Anderson, Basile & Company, P.C.
  • Earned Income and E.M.S. Tax Collector - Mary Ann Kessler
  • Assistant Collector - Anne Bennett-Morse
  • Mercantile Tax Collector - Sandi Rossi

The 2007 meeting schedules for the Board and for the Planning Commission were set also. The BoS will meet on the 1st & 3rd Thursdays of the month at 7:30 PM with a possible 3rd meeting (if necessary) on the 4th Thursday. Thirty or 60 minute workshops may be scheduled before or immediately after the regular meetings.

The Planning Commission will meet on the 2nd Thursday at 7:30 PM and their workshop sessions, which will be treated in the same manner as regular meetings, are set for the 4th Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM. PEMA’s Emergency Operations Plan was adopted.

More Appointments:

  • Emergency Management Coordinator - Tim Weis
  • Assistant Emergency Management Coordinators - Greg Dorney & Richard Bassett (until a Township Manager is hired when this will be revisited)

The Board voted to approve payment of routine bills that may have penalties or interest if they are not paid before the next BoS meeting.

The Municipal Building's daily hours (open the public) were set at 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. Office employees’ hours range between 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Hours for the Director of Public Works can vary from the standard hours (due to inclement weather).

Yet More Appointments:

  • Vacancy Board - Henning Holmgaard (1 year term)
  • Planning Commission - Dean Turner
  • Planning Commission - Tabled - will be re-advertised (3:1 - Howell nay) - must be filled within 30 days
  • Zoning Hearing Board - Peter Rossi
  • Recreation Board - Ray Duffy
  • Fire Chief - Bryan Weis
  • Deputy Fire Chief - Charles Gallagher
  • Zoning Enforcement Officer, Building Inspector, & Code Officer - Tim Weis
  • Flood Plain Permit Officer - Chris Noll (and alternate Fred Hay) - Keystone Consulting Engineers
  • Assistant Zoning Officers - Loretta Fuehrer & Matt Miller
  • Sewage Enforcement Officer - Chris Noll, primary with Lisa Kern & Fred Hay as alternates, Keystone Consulting Engineers
  • Electrical Inspectors - David Shields, Keystone Electrical Inspectors

The Wages & Benefits Packages of the Collective Bargaining Unit for the police continues through 2007.

No agreement with the non-uniformed collective bargaining unit has been reached and wages will remain at 2006 levels until there is an agreement. The Re-Organization Meeting was adjourned.


Supervisors Comments - none

Standing Committee Reports:

  • Public Safety - Bonnie Nicholas reported that the next committee meeting is scheduled for February 6th at 5:30 PM. (2007 2nd Supervisor - David Hoff)
  • Public Works - John Ackerman had no report. (2007 2nd Supervisor - Don Miller)
  • Parks & Recreation - Don Miller had no committee report but did note that winter sports are going full blast. He took the opportunity to thank the DPW and Ed Kleppinger, Parks Crew Chief, for the good job they did on the Christmas lights. (2007 2nd Supervisor - David Howell)
  • Community Relations - David Howell asked that the Board vote on replacing Nunet, the current webhost for the Township’s website, with WSI. Howell said that WSI is offering up to 1 GB of storage for the same price as Nunet’s 100 MB and at approximately the same price, $365/yr. Nunet invoices annually and the bill is due now. WSI will invoice the Township monthly. Ackerman asked that a "case" be presented before the Board by both vendors. This was tabled in a 3:1 vote with Howell voting nay. (2007 2nd Supervisor - Bonnie Nicholas)
  • Finance & Administration - David Hoff was absent. (2007 2nd Supervisor - John Ackerman)


GENERAL CODE CORRESPONDENCE/REVISED PRICING ESTIMATE - Kline reported that the $10-$12K price includes the entire new zoning ordinance and it runs 300 pages. He was advised that the price may be reduced if the document is submitted electronically. URDC will be contacted as they have an electronic version of the ordinance. This was tabled in a 4:0 vote.

DVR/REQUEST FOR PURCHASE - Nicholas explained that this unit will replace the fuzzy one and that that one will be kept as a back-up. The new one will cost $7000-$8000. Purchase was approved in a 4:0 vote.


WEIS MARKET/FORKS, INC/TIME EXTENSION - Kline said that he had a letter from their attorney offering a time extension to January 31, 2007. The Public Conditional Use Hearing for this project is scheduled for 6:30 PM before the January 18 Board of Supervisors meeting. The time extension was approved in a 4:0 vote.

EXECUTIVE SESSION - The session was held to discuss various personnel matters. No action was taken during the executive session. After the session, the Board voted 4:0 to:

  • Raise (Zoning Hearing Board) attorney Michael Shay’s hourly rate to $100/hr
  • Re-assign DPW Director, Gary Sandt, to the road crew. The Public Works committee will be in charge of the crew chiefs (per Ackerman) and a meeting will be held with them on January 5th at 7:00 AM to review their responsibilities.

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.