Sunday, January 18, 2009

BoS Meeting Notes - 1/15/09

Regular Meeting (agenda)

Forks Supervisors held one of their shorter meetings - 20 minutes for the main meeting, one hour for the Executive Session, and two minutes to vote on the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) solicitor's 2009 rate of pay. 

Public Comments (non-agenda) - none

Supervisor Remarks:

  • Supervisor Nicholas welcomed Troop 29.  She said that they were there to work on a "citizenship in the community" badge.

Treasurer's Report - Egolf detailed the debits (cash paid out) since the last Supervisors' meeting.  The debits and transfers were approved with a 5:0 vote.  The Township's current outstanding debt is $8,402,099.  (Note:  We inquired of Supervisor Howell the day after the meeting about the $1,020,000 debt increase from the previously reported $7,382,099.  He explained that the loan for the new public works equipment was booked at year end.)

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

  • Public Safety - Supervisor Howell - said that the committee held its unofficial first meeting last week.  Basically it was a get together to say "hello" and to comment on the roles each will have going forward.  The committee's 2009 theme is to determine what is and is not working.  The next meeting will be on the third Tuesday, January 20th, at 8 AM.
  • Public Works - Supervisor Chuss - reported that although he was unable to attend, a meeting was held on Tuesday, January 13th.  Chuss said that he discussed what to cover with Township Manager Schnaedter.  There is a need for storage of the new roadside mover and new leaf vacuum.  The committee is exploring two possible locations.  Also, an insurance investigator performed an inspection of the public works site and deemed that the mechanic's pit is hazardous.  Purchase of a hydraulic lift will be explored with the thought of locating it in the mechanic's work area in the sewer department building.  At the next meeting, the committee will tour the public works facilities in order to update the status of buildings and equipment.
  • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Egolf - reported that the committee met on January 12th at 6:00 PM in the Municipal Building.  Supervisor Nicholas is also on the committee.  Representatives of both the Athletic Association and the Recreation Board attended.  In addition to reviewing the past year with Miller, the committee reviewed current projects, and talked about future meetings, the next of which will be on February 9th.  Egolf said that the time change for the meeting accounted for the good turnout.
  • Community Relations - Supervisor Miller - said that the committee met this week.  They discussed ideas for articles for the Forks Quarterly, such as the fire tower, the fire department open house, the Comp Plan, and the budget.  The committee plans a review of the Township website.   Schnaedter added that because of the budget cuts, the committee is considering reducing the Quarterly to two issues per year.  The move would save approximately $4,500 - $5,000.
  • Finance and Administration - Supervisor Nicholas - said that the committee met on Wednesday and agreed that the first topic of every meeting will be a review of the monthly financial reports (that the Supervisors receive in their packets).  Other areas to be covered include the creation of a three or five year plan for the finance department, a review of the trash contract, an update of the Community Center swipe cards, document archives (currently underway), and staff reviews.  The main EIT (earned income tax) form will soon be online for download.  A safety training program for employees is being explored.  The handrail for the Municipal Building walkway is on order.   Another goal is to try to "go paperless" with the Supervisors packets.  Nicholas said that Miller reported that the tennis and basketball courts are out for bids and prices are being checked for the bathroom for Braden Park.

Howell, in reference to the tennis and basketball courts, said that Linda Hill (she spearheaded the successful PTA effort to get new playground equipment for the Forks Elementary School) called him with questions about the Community Park.  She told him that the elementary school is planning to repair some play surfaces and that there is a contractor in Forks who does resurfacing.  He represents Nova Sports USA out of MA.  Ms. Hill is looking into a discounted installation at the school and will share the cost information she gets with the Township.  Howell said that he asked her to send an email to Egolf, Miller, and Nicholas. 

Township Manager's Report - Schnaedter said that the strategic goal setting session for the BoS and staff is set for Saturday, January 24th.  It will last almost a full day.  He also reported that there is a meeting tomorrow morning at PennDOT with "all the principal parties" and that PennDOT hopes to resolve the Meco/Sullivan traffic light issue.  As to grants, Forks is still in the running according to a phone call Schnaedter received from Congressman Dent's office.  They will keep him apprised of the progress.

Engineer's Report - Hay - excused absence.

Solicitor's Report - Kline - agenda items only.


Public Safety Committee - meeting day change (David Howell, Chairman) - a motion was made to set the meetings for the third Tuesday of the month at 8:00 AM in the Municipal Building.  It passed 5:0.

The Center for Animal Health & Welfare – Animal Services Agreement (Rick Schnaedter, Township Manager) - Schnaedter said that he received the 2009 proposed contract and that it has the same language as last year's including that private citizens (who don't even have to be Forks residents) can bring in animals.  The cost is the same per animal as last year - $50 each.  He requested approval of the contract with the elimination of the "private citizen" clause - as was done last year by strike-out.  Egolf made the motion, Miller seconded, and it was approved with a 5:0 vote.


Establish compensation for Zoning Solicitor - Discussion took place in executive session because compensation was involved.  A vote was taken after the session - see below.

Executive Session - The session was held to discuss a real estate matter, a personnel matter, and litigation.  The discussion of the 2009 compensation rate for ZHB solicitor Michael Shay was considered a personnel matter.  According to Kline, no action was taken during the session.  After it, however, Egolf made a motion, seconded by Nicholas, to set the rate of pay for attorney Michael Shay at $120/hour.  It was approved unanimously and the meeting was adjourned.

Please read Tony Nauroth (Express Times) for more on the ZHB solicitor's increase. 

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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