Monthly Archives: October 2011

2012 Budget Workshop

The Westfall Township Board of Supervisors convened their first 2012 budget workshop on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm. The meeting was held at the Westfall Township Municipal Building in the downstairs office.

 

Those present were Chairman, James Muir; Supervisors, Robert Ewbank, Paul Fischer, Raymond Banach; Treasurer, Scott Myer and Secretary, Lisa Green. Also present were Ken Zielazny, Bill Schneider, Luis Bocaletti, Chad Stewart, Shawn Bolles, and three members of the general public. Vice-Chairman, Lester Buchanan was not present.

 

Scott Myer distributed worksheets to the board, explaining that the first was a sheet showing approved budgets of the last three years. The next shows the Debt Service Budget for 2012. The board reviewed the worksheets.

 

Ken Zielazny presented the Mill Rift Fire Department budget. Supervisor Banach commented that they are pretty much under budget and questioned if they were still looking for the $10,000 LST contribution to which Scott Myer answered they have already received. Chairman Muir asked Mr. Zielazny where they are at with discussions about consolidating the two fire departments. Mr. Zielazny said they met with Rob Brady from the State Fire commission and they put together a research committee and they will be getting together with the Westfall committee. Supervisor Fischer asked if there was any kind of timeline. Luis Bocaletti said the average timeline is twelve months from start to finish. Chairman Muir said they have done a pretty good job on their budget. Mr. Zielazny said they do need a new truck but they will be looking at something in the 1990’s not something new. He said the budget of $36,000 presented is the minimum that they can deal with. They try to stay within anything the board can give them. Supervisor Banach questioned the $3,200 from RC Lain. Supervisor Ewbank commended Mr. Zielazny on the budget by saying the department could show the board how to do their budget.

 

Luis Bocaletti said he did a budget with the building and one without. The first page shows where all the township money has been spent. The next page showed calls with fire tax allocation and percentages between Westfall and Mill Rift. Supervisor Ewbank questioned why they compared Mill Rift to Westfall. Mr. Bocaletti said they do so every year to show what they have received. The additional sheets showed the proposed budget for 2012. Chairman Muir commented the new building cost of $507,000. Mr. Bocaletti agreed. Chairman Muir stated the actual cost for ALS service was $7,800 and the projected cost is $15,000. Mr. Bocaletti said the proposals from ALS are $100 per call. Supervisor Ewbank asked what the ALS does other than follow Westfall around. Mr. Bocaletti said its protocol depending on what the call comes in at. It’s mandated by the state. Discussion was held about truck maintenance. Mr. Bocaletti said the reason he separated out the building is because they have saved money for it and they are getting a 2% loan of $200,000. Supervisor Ewbank said it looks like they are going ahead with the building anyway because they have the material sitting on the ground. Mr. Bocaletti said since 2008 they have spent $120,000 on the building. Chairman Muir said he didn’t have any questions and asked the rest of the board if they had any questions. Mr. Bocaletti added that this year is the first year that they haven’t been able to manage expenses. They have been short this year. Usually they are able to make it through fundraising. Supervisor Banach questioned if there are funds available if state mandates the ALS. Mr. Bocaletti said there are matching programs that they have taken advantage of. For example if you buy ten pagers they will pay for half.

 

Chad Stewart presented the Eastern Pike Regional Police Department Budget for 2012, stating that they are looking at a $41, 358 increase over 2011. Chief Stewart said the township has saved $25,877 from their 2007 budget. Unfortunately everything has increased. There are salary increases and another full time officer added on, this due to the problem with a relief factor such as sick time or vacation time. The FCC has a requirement to be narrowband compliant. Discussion was held regarding the radios. This must be done by January 1, 2013. However comm. Center will not be changing over until June 1, 2013. Grants have been sparse this year. Supervisor Ewbank asked what the percentage split was between Matamoras and Westfall. Chief Stewart answered it is 53% Westfall / 47% Matamoras. Mr. Myer said part of the reason they are asking for more money is because they lost grants. Chief Stewart said yes that last year they lost the Police Chief grant of $30,000. Chief Stewart said the cost per person in Westfall Township to have police coverage is $0.40 cents

per day, or $148.21 per year. Cost per taxable lot is $249.67. Chief Stewart said the total increase they are asking for is $41,358. Unless another township comes in they are not eligible for another grant. Matamoras share is $35,185. Chairman Muir asked how much the 3% increase is costing the township. Patrolman is going from $38,192 to $39,334. Supervisor Banach questioned the Police officers who do not take insurance. Chief Stewart said those that do not take the insurance are offered a $2,000 buyout option which saves the department $8,000. Supervisor Fischer questioned how many guys were doing that now. Chief Stewart answered four.  Supervisor Banach asked if they can live without the new patrolman. Chief Stewart said if the new patrolman is in there for the relief factor and if they did not have him then they could not cover the shifts and they will have to go on call for midnights. Supervisor Fischer added that this will increase overtime. Supervisor Banach asked whether the Part timers just handled special events or do they run regular shifts. Discussion followed. Supervisor Banach questioned if it would be worth getting rid of the part timers and hiring the full timer. Further discussion was held. Supervisor Banach questioned how many guys they are running on a shift. Chief Stewart answered three. Supervisor Ewbank stated they may have a guy leaving. Chief Stewart said they may have two leaving but he hasn’t had the word yet.

 

Chairman Muir asked who was next. Lisa Green said they planned for Fire and Police so it was up to the board what they wanted to discuss next. Supervisor Banach asked Shawn Bolles if he had his budget. Mr. Bolles explained that he doesn’t do a budget, the building department is included in the administrative budget. Chairman Muir asked when the next budget meeting was. It is Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm.

 

Mr. Myer said he is looking for guidance from the board to prepare the budget. Supervisor Ewbank said before Mr. Myer begins that he will be needing a budget for the EMA, something that he hasn’t had. Mrs. Green said she had a call from Erwin Guberman of Cellular One who would like to compete for our Cell Service and he is going to include a quote for an air card for the computer for the emergency management agency.

 

Mr. Myer gave a general overview of the previous actual budgets for 2009, 2010, and 2011. Explaining that a mil is worth about $40,000. There has been no mil allocated to the Capital Road fund in two years. Special tax is debt service which Mr. Myer would like to go over next. Mr. Myer said that the proposed Debt Service Budget for 2012 shows three loans outstanding; the $2,000,000 loan, the cash flow loan and the truck loan. When doing the budget for 2011 we had certain mils in anticipation of having to do the pump station. We were not sure if we had to do the pump station so we started to prepare to pay for that and thankfully the Grant came through and paid that for us. In the meantime we had collected $106,000 on those mils. That money can be used on any special service tax. It can not be used in the general fund. There is also a cushion from the delinquent taxes. Mr. Myer suggests using this money to pay the Authority’s line of credit in the amount of $83,333 and the truck loan of $65,500. If that was done if would free up 4 mils.

 

Chairman Muir commented that the Highway Department will need additional funds in 2012 as there hasn’t been any additional money given to extra projects in years. Supervisor Ewbank asked if Mr. Myer is suggesting lowering the Special Tax Mils. Supervisor Ewbank commented that we could move the tax mils back to fire and road where they were before the supervisors made the cuts. Supervisor Banach suggested cutting the general fund millage so we didn’t have to go to court. Mr. Myer said that the general fund needs to stay where it is at unless other cuts are made. Special tax mils do not impact the general fund at all. Mr. Myer further stated we budgeted $75,000 for legal fees due to the Township Attorney and payments to Pepper Hamilton. Those payments are done now, so there is an extra $50,000 so the additional money for the Police Department is actually a wash. The board was in agreement with paying off the loans but could not make any decisions until having the rest of the budget in front of them. Bill Schneider stated that the highway budget will be increasing about $30,000. The cost of the new employee will be $10,000 alone, the radios will cost about $5,000, traffic signs and supplies will cost $6,000, plus additional costs. There is a problem with the two culverts on Heaters Hill from the heavy rains. Mr. Schneider said back in 2008 HRG recommended that the pipes be replaced within five years. The walls are starting to collapse now. Chairman Muir asked Mr. Schneider how much of a section of Pond Drive needed to be dredged out. Mr. Schneider said he is guessing between 600 and 1000 feet.

Chairman Muir and Supervisor Fischer asked if there is money available stating Susan Beecher said there was funding available for sand & gravel projects. Supervisor Ewbank also said there is going to be money available for Irene and Lee but no one knows when or how much yet. Mr. Schneider said most of that is going to be for communication. Chairman Muir asked realistically if they were to go into the brook and dredge it out how hard would it be to get a permit from DEP. Further discussion followed about the pond. Chairman Muir said he would give the highway department the equipment to use as long as they had the trucks to haul the material out with. Supervisor Banach said we may be able to get an emergency permit by having pictures of everyone’s yards flooded.

 

Mr. Myer said if you look at the public works department budget it was at $223,000 in 2009 and $186,000 in 2010 and 2011. You are down $40,000 in both years. Supervisor Ewbank asked how far behind are we on our ten year road plan. Mr. Schneider said we did Pond Drive this year and will do Glass House Hill next year and then it will be on schedule aside from the back section of Cummins Hill Road. Chairman Muir said the board looked forward to seeing Mr. Schneider’s budget. Mr. Myer asked what direction the board wanted him to go in for the next budget meeting. Supervisor Banach wants to cut the general budget. Chairman Muir would like to get back on track with the highway department and fire department and Supervisor Ewbank would like to consider the idea that Mr. Dalton mentioned about the Earned Income Tax. Mr. Myer said it can not be put in place for 2012. Further discussion followed. Chairman Muir asked Mr. Schneider to give the board the numbers on what needs to be addressed for the road department and the projects as far as an order of priority and cost. Mr. Schneider spoke about the wall that is coming down on Heaters Hill by the Tonkin property. Supervisor Banach asked if that is something that the department can handle or does it have to be bid out. Mr. Schneider said it comes to a point of it being done safely with only two men. Discussion followed. Mr. Schneider invited the board to take a ride around town with him to see the projects that need to be done.

 

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 8:07 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Lisa A. Green

Secretary

Regular Meeting-October 2011

The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 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; Supervisors, Robert Ewbank, Paul Fischer, Raymond Banach; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy and Secretary, Lisa Green. Also present were Scott Myer, Michael Rendleman, Shawn Bolles, Bill Schneider, Karen Colaiaco, Landa Copertino, John Dalton, Bill Gregory, Chief Stewart,

and approximately 14 members of the general public. Vice-Chairman, Lester Buchanan was not present.

 

AGENDA: Supervisor Banach asked to re-advertise for the highway employee. Chairman Muir said he thought they had a number of applicants. Supervisor Banach questioned how many they received. Supervisor Ewbank said they received twelve applications and have narrowed them down to three, which will be interviewed later this month. The agenda was amended to move items 1-4 under new business to budget meetings which will take place October 13th, 20th and 27th at 7:00 pm. Agenda approved on a motion by Supervisor Ewbank, seconded by Supervisor Fischer. Motion carries with all in favor.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT: John Dalton said he would like to express a thank you to Westfall Township on behalf of the Pond Drive resident owners for the new road surfacing and shoulder work. Those on West Pond Drive also received new surfacing and shoulder work. He also wanted to thank Mr. Muir for letting him dispose of home waste during the week of Hurricane Irene. Mr. Dalton stated “in January 2010 I made a presentation on the subject of Earned Income Tax and Mr. Muir said they would take a look at it. To this day, the only comment on Earned Income Tax was made last October 2010 was by a sitting Supervisor who express objection to any EIT. To this day, I have not attempted to seek any feedback nor was there any feedback from those present when my presentation was last made. At this time, my comment is to never close the door until you fully understand that efforts to design such a form is an ongoing process. Since that presentation, I had continued to make improvements but stopped for other personal reasons. I am reluctant to continue to pursue and make further improvements or analysis on how this would be of benefit to Westfall township coffers simply because of the lack of encouragement or feedback from you supervisors. Again, my suggestion is this: Never close the door to good suggestions. Last May prior to the primary, a Westfall Tax-Payer & Westfall home owner out of the blue as me: “What is LST?” I was pleased to receive this question since then I continued to be mum for quite some time after I learned what it represented. I had previously done some research and satisfied myself on its representation. As you prepare yourselves to being work on the Westfall Township budget for 2012 later this month, I expect to see “Local Services Tax” completely spelled out in Place of a simple copout “LST” The Pike County Dispatch in November 2009 & 2010 did not indicate what “LST” represented. From now onward you will spell it out for clarity purposes to help out Joe or Jane Smoe.

 

Mr. Dalton continued by saying I am aware of one Westfall resident who has been in contact with another individual who in turn was in contact with a D.E.P. Official. The residents of Pond Drive are concerned with the rainwater flooding pond drive at the Ponds. Not too long ago, and I was told it was around three years ago, that some work was done in the stream bed at the time by Matamoras since they had the permit to do so. [Chairman Muir asked if this is the pond problem while seeking clarification. I explained that we were dealing with the powerful outflow from the Heaters Hill stream which was impacting the outflow drainage problem from the pond nearest to the Heater Hill stream. I further explained that unless we address this, we could have more serious problems later.] There is a need to re-address this vexing problem again and recently the D.E.P. official even offered to be present and meet with a contact person from Westfall. I have been told that the stream bed is Westfall’s. I have also been told it is Matamoras’. Regardless whose stream it is, both Matamoras and Westfall need to address the problems associated with it before it becomes worse than it currently is. Hurricane/Tropical storm Irene on August 28th, the rains of June 22, 2011, and many other notable and lengthy rainfalls have created havoc on Pond Drive. If we choose to ignore the flooding problem for the short term, I will be the one to stand up here to say: “I told you so!” We need to address this jointly with Matamoras before the Matamoras’ earth berm gives away 9 and this could happen/I am not saying it will since I am not an (environmental) engineer.) And Pond Drive becomes too flooded for emergency vehicles to traverse safely. Homeowners on West Pond Drive will also be at the mercy of such unforeseen weather conditions of severe rainfalls. Please give consideration of my comments here. My remarks also should be taken to heart by prospective candidate supervisors and other Westfall Township home owners. Chairman Muir thanked Mr. Dalton for his comments.

 

Supervisor Ewbank asked Bill Schneider if he would like to address the stream issue. Mr. Schneider said three years ago Matamoras had a permit to do work on the Pond. Matamoras is trying to obtain another permit. Supervisor Ewbank questioned if there are other issues with sewer pipe. Mr. Schneider said it is gas & water lines. Chairman Muir asked if it is a health and safety issue why can’t we just go in and do the work. Mr. Schneider said we have to ask D.E.P. Chairman Muir asked if we can reach into the stream. Supervisor Ewbank stated the stream is in Matamoras not in Westfall.

 

Karen Colaiaco of Stark Drive is very strongly in favor of having a burning ban for the whole township. Two main reasons is the health issue which is very bad with the leaves and smoke and she is very tired of smelling the smoke. Mrs. Colaiaco stated she has lived here for 27 years and she can’t go out on her porch because of the smoke traveling. It even comes into the house. Chairman Muir asked what are the opinions of her neighbors. Mrs. Colaiaco said she believes they are against the burning and she could probably bring them with her.

Supervisor Ewbank said it is on the Planning Commission agenda Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm.

 

Landa Copertino a resident of 62 years said she stood in front of a local business for 3 hours and has a list of residents in favor of burning and a list of residents who want to ban it and no one signed it. Mrs. Copertino said perhaps they could impose a one or two day a week burning ban. Or possibly get together with Matamoras and have leaves picked up and brought to the compost facility. Mrs. Copertino said there are too many elderly people who can not bring leaves to our facility. Chairman Muir said it may be a good idea to approach Matamoras and suggest that we use their equipment since they use our facility.

 

Bill Gregory of Delaware Drive asked how to prevent people from burning toxic substances and how do you stop them from burning it. Solicitor Bernathy stated it is an ordinance enforcement issue. Chairman Muir said we would have to catch them doing it. Solicitor Bernathy said Mr. Gregory or others would have to assist the township when going to court to testify and that is sometimes a problem. Solicitor Bernathy asked the enforcement officers if we have anything on record for enforcement. Shawn Bolles stated previous zoning ordinances had tried to get people on smoke leaving the property with the Title 25 DEP Regulation. This is hard to prove. Solicitor Bernathy said there is a State law but there is not a Township law. Mr. Gregory asked what does he do when he sees his neighbor burning toxic substances what does he do. He was instructed to call DEP.

Mrs. Colaiaco stated a burning ban would eliminate that. Discussion followed regarding what would happen if the burning were to take place on the weekend. Solicitor Bernathy instructed Mr. Gregory to record everything that transpires.

 

MINUTES:  The minutes of August 2, 2011, Public Hearing & Regular Meeting were reviewed and approved on a motion by Supervisor Fischer. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.

 

The minutes of September 6, 2011 Public Hearings & Regular Meeting were reviewed and approved on a motion by Supervisor Ewbank. Motion seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.

 

TREASURER’s REPORT: Chairman Muir said we have the Treasurers Report in front of us and asked for a motion to approve the report. Supervisor Banach moved to accept the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.

 

POLICE REPORT: Police Chief Stewart gave the report for September reporting 200 calls for service, with 5,203 miles patrolled. Chief Stewart said they also have a new Facebook site for the residents and new Nixle Alerts for text message or e-mail or both for whether there is an event going on in the township or a pending storm or road is blocked or police activity. Chief highly recommends signing up for one or both of those sites. Motion to accept the police report made by Supervisor Banach and seconded by Supervisor Fischer. Motion carries with all in favor.

 

FIRE DEPARTMENTS: Luis Bocaletti gave the Westfall Township Fire Department Report for September reporting 1 mutual aid structure fires, 3 auto alarms, 3 MVAs, 2 river rescues, 4 wires down, 9 pump outs, 1 Evacuation, 2 Spill controls, 2 car fire, 2 structure fire, 2 landing zone, 1 mutual aid structure fire. Total calls for month 33. EMS total of 45 calls for month. Luis mentioned the new addition to the firehouse and stated the groundbreaking ceremony will be held in a few weeks and to squelch a few rumors that have been going on the building is not being paid for with taxpayer money it is being paid for by donations and a state loan. Ken Zielazny gave the Mill Rift Fire Department report for September reporting a Car Fire at Wal Mart on 9/7, Tanker Maintenance on 9/7, Truck Fire on 9/8, Monthly Meeting on 9/8, Basement Pump Out on 9/8 & 9/11, Tanker Training 9/14, River Rescue #2 bridge 9/16, Equipment maintenance Compressors 9/21. Total man hours 39 and total equipment hours 9.5 for the month. Supervisor Banach moved to approve reports. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.

 

HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT: Bill Schneider gave the Highway report for September reporting that they have had heavy rains from Hurricane Lee resulting in flooding and cleanup from the storm had to be performed. They have been performing regular maintenance on the township properties and vehicles. Mr. Schneider attended the Pike County Road Task Force Meeting, 9/19 assisted Nelson Tree Service with removing large dead tree on Heaters Hill, 9/20 Assisted Leeward with Blacktop on Pond Drive, 9/22 Cleared and trim right of way of down tree branches on Pond drive. Out checking ditches and drains for all heavy rains throughout the month. Regular maintenance and work on compost pile. 9/26 Remove large tree at the end of Phillips Lane, 9/27 shoulder work/tree down on Old Milford Road, 9/28 Trees, wires and pole down on Heaters Hill. Road closed for several hours for the cleanup with Orange and Rockland and Nelson Tree Service. Ordered 75 Tons of salt / 50 tons were delivered. We have some road-closed signs and an order will be put together for more. There is a lot of work to be done on the road shoulders before winter. Recent storms have slowed this down. Preparation for winter in continuing on roads, vehicles and sanders. Mr. Schneider said there are issues that have to be addressed that can not be put off. He has pictures to show the board. He has been working on the lighting on Reuben Bell Drive and the generator backup on Stella Street. They have replaced two culvert pipes on Glass House Hill. The pedestrian tunnel may be closed down by PennDOT. Mr. Schneider said when you speak about the burning ban the township really doesn’t have the manpower to go out twice a week to pick up leaves. They are not ready for winter yet. But will do what the Supervisors ask them do do.Chairman Muir asked how much money we are saving Matamoras by allowing them to use our compost facility. He feels it would be substantial. Supervisor Ewbank moved to approve the Highway report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor.

 

BUILDING /ZONING: Zoning Officer Mike Rendleman gave the September report stating that we issued eleven building permit, two sign permits and four zoning permit with total fees of $4,115. Solicitor Bernathy mentioned that he had been discussing what authority if any township agents such as zoning officers or building inspectors have to enter private property without the property owners consent. Solicitor Bernathy said he has spoken with the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors and had done research prior to doing that and he could not find any authority that gives our officers permission to enter private property with their permission. He has asked for written documentation of that for our records. Solicitor Bernathy said for this point forward he is advising the Supervisors and the employees while present that they should get that consent. Criminal trespass involves going on to someone’s property without getting a license or without privilege to be there. What some municipalities have done is to put language in the application of the permit indicating that if you’re going to apply to the township for a permit you are giving our employees permission to be on the property for purposes of inspection. That way Solicitor Bernathy can argue in court that we have a license to be on the property for purposes of inspection. Without that I’m advising the Supervisors and employees they do not have permission and they need to do so with court order. Chairman Muir asked what happens when Shawn gets a call for an inspection. Solicitor Bernathy said that is different, they are being invited. Mr. Bolles said they are able to walk up to the front door and knock on the door and get permission to go on the property. If they do not give permission we need to obtain a search warrant. Discussion followed regarding whether or not that would be possible. One resident asked what would happen if you had a written complaint. That would not make a difference. Solicitor Bernathy told everyone about the Castle Doctrine, Act 10 of 2011 which allows private property owners the ability to use deadly force if they are in fear. Supervisor Fischer asked if they needed to approve wording. Solicitor Bernathy said he asked Mike to come up with language for the Zoning Application. Supervisor Ewbank moved to approve the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Fischer and carries with all in favor. Supervisor Banach said if it is going to go that route there should be a hold harmless agreement, so that if the inspectors go on private property uninvited and they get hurt they can not sue the landowner. Supervisor Banach said he believes they should walk up to the front door and knock, a police officer can not walk on property. Solicitor Bernathy said that is what we are doing from this point forward.

 

CORRESPONDENCE: On dais for review.

 

OLD BUSINESS:

 

Act 47 Monthly Report: Solicitor Bernathy stated that as everyone knows as of March of last year the Federal Bankruptcy Court signed an order confirming the Townships bankruptcy plan as well as the Act 47 Recovery Plan which amounts to final disposition of the bankruptcy action. The township is operating in the confines of its budget and continues to meet its financial obligations. The township continues to provide essential services. There are some outstanding issues with the Federal Master however they are being addressed.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

 

Shohola / Westfall Building Appeals Board: Solicitor Bernathy stated Shohola is requesting we consider a joint resolution establishing an appeals board, which would save both municipalities money by using the same board. There is a resolution to review. Supervisor Ewbank asked if this would replace the Zoning Hearing Board. Solicitor Bernathy explained that the Building Appeals Board is a separate board. Solicitor Bernathy questioned how many members we had on our appeals board. We only have two members. We need five. Solicitor Bernathy will reach out to Shohola Township.

 

SUBDIVISION REVIEW and ACTION:

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION: Called for potential litigation Westfall Town Center / Westfall Township.

 

ADJOURNMENT: Vice-Chairman Buchanan moved to adjourn at 9:22. Motion seconded by Supervisor Ewbank and carries with all in favor.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Lisa A. Green, Secretary