May 4, 2010
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The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Tuesday, May 4, 2010
at 7:00 pm. The meeting was held at the Township Building on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, Westfall Township.
Those present were Chairman, James Muir; Vice-Chairman, Lester Buchanan; Supervisors, Robert Ewbank,
and Paul Fischer; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy and Secretary, Lisa Green. Also present were Treasurer, Scott Myer; Zoning Officer, Michael Rendleman; Bill Schneider, Marilyn Rosenthal, Debra Banach, Marge Tonkin, Corinne Tonkin, Christina Robin, Michael Barth, Dan Kroger, Peter Kenny, Mr. & Mrs. Barnes and approximately 19 additional members of the general public. Supervisor, Raymond Banach was not present.
AGENDA: The agenda was approved on a motion by Vice-Chairman Buchanan and seconded by Supervisor Fischer. Motion carried with all in favor.
Michael Barth said that down between Blue Ridge Avenue and Avenue C there is a pond that is filled up to the top with water. The pond normally drains down but it is plugged up. Mr. Barth said if you look down towards the dead end there is barely a trickle of water. Mr. Barth asked whose responsibility it is to go down and see what the problem is. Solicitor Bernathy asked who the property owner was. Mr. Barth assumes it is Penn DOT. Solicitor Bernathy said the determination of ownership and rights of way needs to be made. Mr. Barth said as long as the pond is full he and his neighbors have to run their sump pumps. Solicitor Bernathy said he may or may not have a cause of action against the property owner. Mr. Barth asked who needs to determine ownership. And also questioned if the township would contact Penn DOT on he and his neighbors behalf. Solicitor Bernathy said there is not a township obligation at this time. Bill Schneider said this has been addressed to Penn DOT. Further stating that part of it is owned by Penn DOT and part of it runs down through the Katz property. It is also being addressed through the Act 167 plan.
MINUTES: The minutes of the April 6, 2010 meeting were reviewed and approved on a motion by Vice-Chairman Buchanan, seconded by Supervisor Fischer. Motion carried with all in favor.
TREASURER’s REPORT: Scott Myer gave the treasurer’s report for April stating that real estate tax money has come in with the discount period. We have received 56% of our budget which is in line with last year. Expenses are also in line with the budget. Motion to approve the treasurer’s report made by Vice-Chairman Buchanan. Motion seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.
POLICE REPORT: No report.
FIRE DEPARTMENT: Bill Schneider gave the Mill Rift Fire Department report for April reporting a monthly meeting on 4/13, mutual aid to Station 32 on 4/5 and 4/11, mutual aid to Sparrowbush on 4/12, training at Station 39 on 4/17 & 4/18, structure fire on 4/25 and work nights on 4/21 & 4/28. There were 180.5 total man hours for the month and 35 equipment hours. Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to approve the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor. Chairman Muir gave the Westfall Township Fire Department report for April reporting 1 auto alarm, 2 standbys, 8 mutual aid to the scene, 2 tree/wires down, 4 MV accidents, 1 investigation, 1 landing zone, 1 gas leak, 2 public service, 1 dwelling fire, 1 vehicle fire. Total calls for month are 24 and 33 ambulance calls. The department has also requested permission to attend the Warwick parade on June 19, 2010 with one engine and one ambulance. Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to approve the request and report. Motion seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.
HIGHWAY REPORT: Bill Schneider gave the report for April stating that the department has done regular trimming, mowing and maintenance around the township buildings as well as regular work on the mulching operation. On 4/12 he met with Jerry J. Humphrey and Will Brothers Engineering about the Columbia Gas pipeline crossing on Cummins Hill Road. On 4/15 he attended the Pike County Road Task Force meeting. The department has continued shouldering of roads, repaired pot holes, swept intersections throughout the township, and performed regular maintenance on township vehicles. On 4/22 Mr. Schneider met with Tim Ziegler, Field Operations Specialist for the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Study, and Shohola Township Roadmaster in Pond Eddy about problems with the road. Report and recommendations will follow. On 4/23 the department worked with Nelson Tree Service clearing right of ways of problem trees and on 4/30 they met with Peter Murphy and Shohola Township Roadmaster on guide rail installation in Pond Eddy. Supervisor Ewbank moved to accept the highway report. Motion seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.
BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Mike Rendleman gave the report for April stating that there were three building permits, one mechanical permit and two zoning permit issued. Fees were $1,012.00. Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to accept the Building / Zoning report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: There is no report as the meeting was canceled last month. The next meeting will be held Monday, May 17, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.
CORRESPONDENCE: On dais for review.
Act 47 Monthly Report: Solicitor Bernathy stated that as he has reported as of March 2, 2010 Judge Thomas from Federal Bankruptcy Court signed the order confirming the Township’s bankruptcy plan as well as the Act 47 Recovery Plan which amounts to final disposition of the bankruptcy plan. The township’s debt has been paid as of March 31st. Solicitor Bernathy continued by saying the Township is operating within the confines of its budget and continues to meet its financial obligations. Attached to this report is a profit and loss statement for March 2010. The Township continues to provide essential services and is otherwise compliant with the Recovery Plan which has been approved by the Bankruptcy Court on March 2, 2010. The Township is otherwise in compliance with the settlement agreement reached with Katz and now an order of the Court which was approved by the United States District Court. Supervisor Fischer moved to accept the Act 47 report. Motion seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.
Ordinance # 151: Supervisor Fischer moved to adopt Ordinance #151 of which a public hearing was held earlier in the evening. This Ordinance is for the unfunded debt loan in the amount of $125,000.00 to be borrowed from the Westfall Municipal Authority. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.
Rescind Original Ordinance # 151: Vice-Chairman Buchanan moves to rescind the original ordinance # 151 that was enacted on January 21, 2010. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Mashipacong Island: Vice-Chairman Buchanan stated that he placed this on the agenda to make it known to the public and the Supervisors of the commitment that the township has to maintain the ice diversion channel on Mashipacong Island. As Roadmasters retire and Supervisors change this commitment needs to be made known to others who take over. The commitment is between the Delaware River Basin Commission, the Army Corp of Engineers, and the three municipalities who are to maintain the channel; Port Jervis, Matamoras Borough and Westfall Township. At the present time repairs need to be made to the road which grants access the ice diversion channel. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said this is a forever thing. There is $93,000.00 in an escrow account to maintain the channel and if that falls below $75,000.00 we need to contribute to the account. We are in the process of finding out how to access the money. We are also supposed to appoint a person from the municipality to oversee the fund and submit bills. This would be done on an annual rotating basis. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said that last year they went down with the other two municipalities and spent three days clearing the channel. Vice-Chairman Buchanan went on to say that the Island is in New Jersey, however past supervisors committed the township to maintaining it.
Peter Kenny asked where the money is and if it is in writing. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said the DRBC has the money and we do get a letter in writing each year stating the balance.
Bill Schneider stated that after the last flood the Army Corp of Engineers did over $300,000 worth of work and did not make the municipalities pay for it. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said the Army Corp forgave the township so they didn’t have to pay for it.
Mr. Kenny asked where the island was. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said you go down the Jersey Road and over the Neversink Bridge and take your first right. It is about three miles down. Bill Schneider stated it is across from Cummins Hill Road.
Mr. Barth asked if it was open to the public. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said there are people who live on the island. Supervisor Ewbank said the road going in says private road. Discussion followed.
Interstate 84 Tunnel Maintenance: Vice-Chairman Buchanan said this is another thing that was signed by a previous board. This happened back in 1964 when I 84 went through and everyone needs to be aware of it because the township is responsible for the maintenance of the tunnel. The tunnel is down in Bell Manor and goes under I 84 and out to Shay’s landing. When it was agreed to back than the tunnel was brand new. It was painted last year and now looks like it has never been painted. Vice-Chairman Buchanan said that is a cosmetic thing and we can live with that. We can paint it again for a few hundred dollars; however there are other issues that are going to come up. The sidewalk inside has been there since 1967-1968 and eventually will need to be repaired. Right now it floods when it rains and it is a nasty place. However we are bound to maintain it and it is an expense. The sidewalk will need to be done in the next year or two.
Road Material Bids: The three following bids were received for 1,000 Tons of Penn DOT approved antiskid for incremental delivery.
G. F. Edwards: $15,800.00.
Eureka Stone Quarry: $14,500.00 with a minimum delivery of 23 tons.
E.R. Linde Construction Corp: $13,950.
Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to accept the bid from E.R. Linde. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Mr. Barth asked if the bids went up or down from the last meeting. Lisa Green stated that two stayed the same and E.R. Linde went down.
Set Date for Workshop Meeting: The board discussed setting the date for May 26, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Debra Banach questioned what the workshop was for. Solicitor Bernathy said the board will be discussing issues that were brought up at previous meetings which include but are not limited to discussion regarding the proposed comprehensive zone change, height restrictions, and cable franchise. Mrs. Banach asked what type of zone change from what to what and if the whole township is going to be rezoned. Chairman Muir said we are just going to review the township comprehensive plan recommendations. Solicitor Bernathy said there will be some discussion on what is proposed in the comprehensive plan. Mrs. Banach asked if she could get a copy of the chapter of comprehensive plan that discusses the zone change. Solicitor Bernathy said she could get a copy from Mrs. Tonkin and Mrs. Green said it is online at the Pike County website.
Christina Robin asked if there was a meeting taking place before the workshop. There is a meeting May 17, 2010. Mrs. Robin asked if the board will be discussing some kind of litigation that the board broke to discuss at the last meeting. Solicitor Bernathy said that issue is probably going to be resolved by what the Supervisors are going to consider. There is no pending litigation that he is aware of at this time. Solicitor Bernathy further stated that at the last meeting there were attorneys here to discuss potential litigation, but they withdrew their cause of action noting that the supervisors are going to consider changes based on the comprehensive plan. Mrs. Robin asked if that means the changes will be forced. Solicitor Bernathy said absolutely not.
Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to set the workshop meeting for May 26, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.
Drainage Water on Delaware Drive and Decker Lane: Vice-Chairman Buchanan said this issue has been addressed by the Roadmaster at Road Task Force meetings and a letter has been sent to Penn DOT. There is water draining from the rock wall on Delaware Drive near Decker Lane. Vice-Chairman Buchanan further stated that there is a Penn DOT website that you can register complaints at and they answer within 24 hours. Chairman Muir asked for a motion to have the secretary register a complaint through the site. A motion was made by Supervisor Fischer and seconded by Supervisor Ewbank. Motion carries with all in favor.
Fire Hydrants: Legal Opinion on Responsibility for Clearing of Snow: Solicitor Bernathy stated that every time there is an extension of the lines from the main system there is an agreement reached between the township and the Matamoras Municipal Authority where the Authority agrees to install, service and operate those extensions. It appears to Solicitor Bernathy that the Authority would be responsible for the maintenance of the hydrants. Solicitor Bernathy asked for authorization to reach out to the Authority. Motion is made by Vice-Chairman Buchanan to authorize Solicitor Bernathy to contact the Matamoras Municipal Authority and clear up the snow removal problem. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Vice-Chairman Buchanan said that Supervisor Banach sent a letter suggesting that the township enact an ordinance to impose bonds for the opening of a road. Vice-Chairman Buchanan further stated that there are several things coming up that will cause the roads to be opened. Chairman Muir suggested that this issue be discussed at the workshop. Vice-Chairman Buchanan agreed and said this should be acted on quickly.
SUBDIVISION REVIEW AND ACTION:
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m. on a motion by Supervisor Ewbank. Motion seconded by Vice-Chairman Buchanan and carried with all in favor.
Lisa A. Green