February 7, 2012
The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Tuesday, February 7, 2012
at 7:00 pm. The meeting was held at theTownshipBuildingonDelaware DriveandLaBarr Lane,WestfallTownship.
Those present were Chairman,Robert Ewbank, Vice-Chairman,Paul Fischer; Supervisors, Raymond Banach,Larry Flansburg, andRobert Melvin; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy and Secretary,Lisa Green. Also present were Treasurer,Scott Myer; Building Inspector,Shawn Bolles; Zoning Officer, Mike Rendleman; Police Chief, Chad Stewart; Roadmaster, Bill Schneider; Luis Bocaletti, Jay Edwards, Joseph Banach, Ann Marie Catalano, Landa Copertino, Judee & Jeff Doughman, John Dalton, Lisa Mickles and approximately sixteen members of the general public.
AGENDA: The executive session for Department Personnel and Police Commission Personnel was moved
to the end of the meeting. Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the agenda. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
An executive session was held at 6:00 pm prior to the start of the meeting for the purpose of interviewing engineers. The session ended just prior to the start of the regular meeting.
Public Comment: John Dalton said he would like to admit that he would have like to come to the January 10, 2012 meeting however he missed the statement that we were having the meeting and opening up the budget which he thought was an excellent idea. He said he wishes he was there. Supervisor Flansburg said we wish he was there too. Mr. Dalton said he made an argument back in January of 2010 regarding the Earned Income Tax and he was glad that Chairman Ewbank brought it up during the budget meetings. Further stating it needs to be addressed. Mr. Dalton stated that all of the board needs to recognize and know that he has a hearing impairment and he is trying to do the best that he can to keep up with everything. Mr. Dalton said don’t you ever request a sign language interpreter which he is entitled to by Federal law. Supervisor Flansburg spoke to Mr. Dalton by saying “If we get ahead of you just raise your hand, and we’ll get back to where you can hear us again.” Also saying we were going to talk about the EIT tonight. There was no other public comment.
MINUTES: The Minutes of the January 3, 2012 regular meeting were approved on a motion by Vice-Chairman Fischer. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
The minutes of the January 3, 2012 public hearing were approved on a motion by Supervisor Melvin, seconded by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion carried with all in favor.
The minutes of the January 10, 2012 special meeting were approved on a motion by Vice-Chairman Fischer, seconded by Supervisor Melvin. Motion carried with all in favor.
Mr. Dalton questioned when the minutes will be posted. Mrs. Green stated tomorrow if Mr. Cena is available to put them on the website.
TREASURER’s REPORT:Scott Myer gave the treasurer’s report for January stating that it is a slow month. We had $20,000 in income and $86,000 in expense. Basically what we expect for this time of year. Supervisor Banach moved to approve the report. Supervisor Flansburg seconds the motion. Motion carried with
all in favor.
POLICE REPORT: Police Chief Stewart gave the report for January stating that there were 5,638 miles patrolled for the month and 162 calls for service. Chief Stewart went over several of the programs they do for the year. They received a total of $124,213 in grants and equipment. Some of the programs they have been involved with have been bicycle registration, community presentations, check points, senior citizens programs, aggressive driving, safety days at Wal*Mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and DV School District, Gift of Giving, Trick or Trunk at Matamoras Airport Park, Survival 101, and the Bag is Where it’s At. Their crime report is available on their website www.eprpd.org If you log into this site you can see where crimes are happening within a blocks radius. The Nixle system will send alerts to your cell phone, Facebook page or twitter account. Chief Stewart said they received an Aggressive Driving Award from the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration, Patriot Day Award from the American Red Cross, and a Certificate of Recognition by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Supervisor Banach moved to approve the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carried with all in favor.
FIRE DEPARTMENT: Luis Bocaletti gave the Westfall Township Fire Department Report for January reporting 1 structure fires, 6 commercial auto alarms, 1 residential alarm, 1 landing zone, 3 motor vehicle accidents, 1 public service , 1 EMS assist, and 1 standby, for a total of 15 calls for the month. There were 51 EMS calls for the month, 40 in Westfall, 12 covering squad 33, 2 covering squad 19, 1 coveringBlue Ridge
and 1 covering squad 26. Mr. Bocaletti said many residents are stopping by the firehouse asking if the new addition is being paid for by taxpayer money. He would like to assure the residents that as they prove to the supervisors each year at budget time as per Act 7 the department shows that their donation goes toward their phone bill, electric, gas, and insurance etc. The addition is being paid for solely by contributions and fundraisers. Vice-Chairman Fischer commented that the building was looking very nice.
Jay Edwards gave the Mill Rift Fire Department report stating they had one standby for Westfall and they have been working on the new truck. They had 107.5 man hours and 6 equipment hours for the month. Motion to approve the reports made by Vice-Chairman Fischer. Motion seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all favor.
HIGHWAY REPORT: Bill Schneider gave the report for January stating that he had a meeting with a FEMA representative in reference to storm damage from Irene and Lee on 1/10. On 1/11 they had a winter storm. On 1/12 he attended the Road Task Force Meeting. There were winter storms on 1/13 and 1/16 that required material to be put down. Regular shoulder work and repair of right of ways on Cummins Hill andReuben Bell Drive, Heaters Hill andRiver Road in Mill Rift were also preformed during the month. On 1/26 the department had a meeting with representatives from the DRBC, Army Corps of Engineers, a representative from Matamoras and Port Jervis to inspect the ice channel onMashipacongIsland which was found to be in good shape. Also on 1/26 there was a winter storm which required material down. We took delivery of 50 tons of salt and 100 tons of antiskid. The department has continued maintenance of equipment and the compost area. ThePond Drive stream project is completed and the department is now clearing stones, silt and debris. The stop sign replacement completed on Decker lane andPond Drive. New signs will be ordered for roads with missing and illegible street signs. On 2/6 there was a meeting with FEMA representatives onDecker Lane and Heaters Hill once again going over costs and reimbursement if qualified for manpower, equipment, overtime, for damage caused by Hurricanes Irene and Lee. Bids were submitted for repair to culvert pipes on Heaters Hill and we are waiting for easements to be signed. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if we are doing very well with material for the roads and if 50 tons were two months worth. Also questioning are we planning on buying more before the season’s out. Mr. Schneider said we are on a contract with our salt and we need to purchase 60% of the contract. Supervisor Flansburg asked if we leave it on the ground. Mr. Schneider said it is stockpiled indoors not on the ground. John Dalton said he wanted to express thanks to Bill Schneider, his crew and also the township supervisors for seeing that this problem was resolved for those onPond Drive andOld Pond Drive West. Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to approve report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carried with all in favor.
BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Mike Rendleman gave the report for January reporting eleven building permits and no zoning permits with fees of $3,715.00. Motion by Supervisor Banach to accept the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
POLICE COMMISSION REPORT: Supervisor Banach stated that he had asked for this item to be placed on the agenda. Further stating that being the township has two representatives on the commission and the other three supervisors can not always make the meetings it would be good to have a report of what goes on at the meetings so that the whole board is informed and able to answer to the public. Supervisor Banach gave the example of when the department was going to be given the canine and the Supervisors knew nothing about it except those commission members. Supervisor Fischer said it wasn’t the Police Department that wanted it. Supervisor Banach said it is just so that the Supervisors are not blindsided. Chairman Ewbank asked the secretary if we had the minutes of the Commission meetings. The secretary said we used to receive them but
do not any longer. She will contact Barbara Gillette to get copies of the minutes.
CORRESPONDENCE: On dais for review.
Act 47 Monthly Report: Solicitor Bernathy stated as is common knowledge the township is coming up on the two year anniversary of the Federal Bankruptcy Courts signing the order confirming the Townships Bankruptcy Plan as well as the Act 47 Recovery Plan which amounts to final disposition of the bankruptcy plan. The Township is operating within the confines of its budget and continues to meet its financial obligations. The Township continues to provide essential services. Supervisor Flansburg moved to accept the report. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Appointment of Engineer: Chairman Ewbank said earlier this evening the board interviewed three engineering firms and they decided to hire the firm of Kiley Associates, LLC as Township Engineer. They would like to retain Al Handy as Alternate Engineer. Supervisor Flansburg moved to appoint both engineers as stated. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.
Review List to Advertise for Services: Supervisor Melvin said his feeling was that one of the most important things on the list was the Alternate Attorney because of the misunderstanding with the fee. Supervisor Banach agreed and said it should be advertised at $100.00 per hour. Solicitor Bernathy stated this could be done as we are advertising for a professional service. Chairman Ewbank said the attorney we currently have will work the hearing we have pending at the rate of $100.00 per hour, but that will be the only time we will be able to use him. Supervisor Melvin moved to advertise for the Alternate Attorney. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor. Supervisor Banach said as far as the list goes he feels the supervisors should review the list and give the secretary their joint thoughts on it and if she needs to solicit bids she could go ahead and do it.
Letter to DA’s Office – Katz Matter: Supervisor Banach said back in February of last year there was a discussion after a citizen brought it up to see if the District Attorney could look into as far as the Katz Matter. Supervisor Banach recently spoke with the District Attorney and found that we never sent what was agreed upon on that meeting; which was the years of 2004 – 2005. Supervisor Banach feels we should send the DA a letter stating the time frame that we are requesting his office look into is 2004-2005. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if he wanted the Solicitor to send the letter. Supervisor Banach said that the secretary could send the letter.
Sale of Municipal Sewer System – Advertise / Appraisal: Chairman Ewbank said there is a retainer agreement from HRG, Inc. to give an estimated value of the Authority for a rate of $3,900.00. Chairman Ewbank asked what the real purpose of selling it is. Stating it doesn’t cost us anything and they have helped us out on numerous occasions. Supervisor Banach said if the value is in the millions of dollars it holds real value and someone in the private industry may wish to buy it and we could pay down the Katz debt or as Supervisor Flansburg added pay down loans. Supervisor Banach said someone even mentioned it may be used as a bargaining tool to see if Mr. Katz would want it in lieu of the six million ($6,000,000.00). Supervisor Melvin said this is not an authorization to sell this is just to find out if it is possible. Solicitor Bernathy said he has received an opinion letter from the Authority’s Attorney which he will share with the board in executive session. Supervisor Flansburg questioned Mr. Myer if the township has the money to pay the $3,900.00. Bill Schneider said the authority is paying for that. It is not an issue for the township. Ann Marie Catalano from Milford Landing asked that the board take into consideration the people who use the sewer system. Supervisor Banach said yes they will and they are controlled by the PUC as their water is. Mrs. Catalano said they are not controlled by the PUC. Solicitor Bernathy said let’s not lose sight of the fact that the authority is carrying three million dollars in debt. Supervisor Melvin said that we are just getting an assessment to find out what the value is and if there is anything we can do with this and for $3,900.00 we’ll have more information as a board to make more decisions in the future. Solicitor Bernathy said three factors you have are debt, low customer base, and low flows which does not make it marketable.
Deed of Dedication Agreement / Plans: Plans for this item were signed prior to the start of the meeting.
1 84 Tunnel: Supervisor Flansburg said we received a letter which stated that there was a recent drug arrest in the tunnel and that the people are doing graffiti and drugs and the flood comes through when the water gets high and why do we continue to paint it and change the lights every year if they are just going to be destroyed. Supervisor Flansburg said he doesn’t remember who wrote the letter. Supervisor Melvin said he does it was Judee Doughman who is present tonight. Supervisor Melvin said he has spoken to Mrs. Doughman and PennDOT and he has to speak to the secretary about who is paying for what and needs to find out what the legal ramifications are. He has spoken to the Police Chief and they are going to pay a closer attention to the tunnel. Mrs. Doughman said since there has been a large drug arrest in December there has not been a sole in the tunnel which reinforces her belief that it is the drug users that are using the tunnel. Chairman Ewbank said he spoke to Ken Thiele from PennDOT and he said that the tunnel was put in at the request ofWestfallTownship at the time I 84 was built. Mr. Thiele is trying to find out what the legal ramifications are as far as who it belongs to and if we can close it or not. Chairman Ewbank further stated that as the Emergency Management Coordinator he knows the Doughman’s flood however if they close the tunnel the people on the other side will get flooded worse than they do now. Supervisor Flansburg said he was in the Chief’s office and was very impressed with the camera system atMatamorasAirportPark and questioned if it would hurt to have a camera system in the tunnel. Landa Copertino said it wouldn’t last. Stating they walk through there all the time and there are broken bottles, they urinate in the tunnel. They use it to go to K Mart. She said it is disgusting what is done to it and Mrs. Doughman has all sorts of things in her yard from the kids. Supervisor Flansburg asked the Chief what is done to protect the cameras atAirportPark. Chief Stewart said they are on top of telephone poles so they are far enough up. Further stating that they are supposed to be vandal proof but nothing is really vandal proof.
Supervisor Banach suggested placing a camera on opposite sides of the tunnel with a zoom lens. Chief Stewart said you would not be able to see who is in the tunnel only who is going in and out. Supervisor Flansburg questioned who was watching the cameras. Discussion ensued about the cameras and the tunnel activity. Joseph Banach suggested putting bars in the tunnel so that the water could pass through however no one would be able to enter.Shawn Bollesstated he was under the impression that it was an escape for people to use during a flood suggesting we should gate it. Solicitor Bernathy stated that there is a contractual obligation for the municipality to maintain that tunnel.Lisa Greenstated that Greg Schochin of PennDOT called and stated that it was the municipality’s responsibility to maintain the tunnel and as long as one person is using that tunnel PennDOT will not allow us to close it. Mrs. Green said that Lisa Baker’s office called as well. Solicitor Bernathy stated we are contractually prohibited from closing it. Solicitor Bernathy said he would have to look at the agreement once again suggesting that we may be able to modify it. Supervisor Flansburg said we will look into it and he will not let it fall in the cracks. Bill Schneider said PennDOT came and fixed the flooding problem they were having at the tunnel and took down the trees. Supervisor Melvin said the right people seem to be motivated so we will meet with PennDOT and see what they are agreeable to and what they will pay for saying “we understand your concerns”.
4th Annual Armed Forces Day Parade – Saturday, May 19, 2012: Chairman Ewbank said read a letter stating that the 4th Annual Armed Forces Day Parade will be held Saturday, May 19, 2012 beginning at 1:00 pm at Borough Hall in Matamoras. In the case of inclement weather there will be a ceremony at the Matamoras Firehouse at 1:30 pm.
Military Care Package for PSATS Convention May 6th: Chairman Ewbank stated that when Supervisor Flansburg goes to the PSATS Convention in May he will take our donations with him to be shipped to our Hometown Heroes. Lisa Green stated we are collecting for our military care packages. Supervisor Flansburg asked if we can get this on our website. We will accept donations through May. Chairman Ewbank said we will blow up the flyer to post on the box what can be brought and what they do not want and read the list of items.
Letter of request to Lisa Baker and Michael Peifer to consider a County Sales Tax: Supervisor Banach said he can speak on this item, HB 1500 – Police Tax, and Earned Income Tax together. Further stating that since the board had the discussion of reopening the budget and they discussed reducing the amount of money that we’re taxing people we looked for all kinds of ideas and he went down and talked to Lisa Baker about aCountySales Tax. It would take Lisa Baker and Michael Peifer getting a letter from us to try and implement aCountySales Tax. Supervisor Banach said we are right by NY and NJ and we get all the stores and all the hits for it. He thinks we should send the letter and send a copy to the Commissioners and possibility the other municipalities. The income from the tax would be split between all municipalities in the County. Supervisor Banach went on to say he has yet to meet a happy person about the Earned Income Tax and even Lisa Baker did not like it. He feels if that is the route we are going to go we should have a couple of workshops on it and it should be put to a vote in November. Solicitor Bernathy said as far as EIT is concerned he had done a letter back in September of 2009 and the EIT is levied on wages, salaries, commissions, net profits, or other compensations of persons subject to the jurisdiction of the township. Exemptions are provided for income sources of less than $5,000 per year. Importantly this tax would not be levied upon social security, retirement accounts or other like non earned income. The tax rate is limited to 1% which is shared with the school district. There is a provision for this. We had asked Berkheimer Associates in 2009 for a figure on what this would generate and they gave us an amount of $230,000 additional dollars stating the subsequent years may generate as much as $375,000 to $400,000 for the township. They also indicated that 40% ofWestfallTownship residents are employed or approximately 972 out of 2,340. Solicitor Bernathy said we are talking about a considerable amount of money and perhaps reducing property taxes stating factually 94% of municipalities inPennsylvania impose an Earned Income Tax. There are pros and cons. Supervisor Flansburg said that the board is not trying to tax the residents anymore or add to their burden they are trying to figure out a way to eliminate some taxes.
HB 1500 – Police Tax: Mentioned above.
Cleanup Day: The date for cleanup was set for April 28, 2012. Charges will be $10 for a car, $20 for a car and $30 for a truck. Times will be 8:00 am -1:00 pm. It will be held behind the municipal building.
Mileage: Lisa Green stated the township is paying $.51 cents per mile and the IRS mileage rate is $.555 cents per mile. Supervisor Banach moved to approve the IRS rate of $.555. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
Amended Agreement J. Bernard Swartwood, III: Solicitor Bernathy stated he prepared four stormwater easement agreements that he provided to the individual property owners and Mr. Swartwood had Attorney McBride look into his. Mr. McBride prepared an additional agreement such as hold harmless agreement that Solicitor Bernathy recommended the supervisors execute after the meeting. Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve the changes made to the agreement. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.
Earned Income Tax: Discussed previously.
Update SALDO Traffic Lights – Maintenance Fees & Design: Supervisor Banach would like to set a workshop with our new engineer to go over the SALDO to get the sidewalk provisions put in so that the contractor is paying for them; and have the street lights so that the town employee doesn’t have to go and plug in a generator. Supervisor Banach would also like to go over our fee schedule for the maintenance of the traffic signal because he doesn’t feel we are charging enough for that. A workshop meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm.
Advertise for Rental of Downstairs of Township Building: Supervisor Banach said he felt we should re- advertise and see if we could get some rental income. Solicitor Bernathy questioned who would prepare the ad.Lisa Green stated they had ran an ad once before and spoken to Rachel Hendricks, however after speaking to Rachel, Jim Muir had said we could not rent it since the zoning change did not pass. Solicitor Bernathy said you could rent it but it would have to be low or no impact. Supervisor Flansburg questioned a dance studio. Solicitor Bernathy said that would be a higher impact and we would not be able to do that. We are tied to the zone that the municipal building is in.Lisa Green said that she will call Rachel tomorrow and prepare an ad for the rental of downstairs office space. The board suggested not putting a price in the ad. They would like to negotiate. Bill Schneider mentioned the conditional use he received for the nursery school. Solicitor Bernathy said that would not be necessary for the Township.
Yearly Employee Reviews: Supervisor Flansburg said that Solicitor Bernathy mentioned the employee reviews and he thought it was a great idea and he also felt that for the first year Supervisor Melvin and he himself would handle the interviews because they were the new kids on the block and people may feel more at ease, no insult intended. Solicitor Bernathy said just so the public is aware he found it to be prudent to have some contact on a yearly basis with employees to give them an opportunity to bring any complaints that they may have to your attention. There are all sorts of laws that we have to be compliant with regarding harassment, discrimination, etc. and if you have the interviews in place, not only are they performance interviews they protect the township and they keep the insurance down because if somebody does lodge a complaint we can pull our township records and see that they never brought those complaints to the townships attention. Supervisor Melvin said we would have to develop some type of questionnaire. Solicitor Bernathy said the employees should acknowledge receipt of the handbook. Supervisor Banach suggestedLisa Green contact PSATS and see if they have standardized forms. Solicitor Bernathy said this should be done once per year.
Part Time Snow Plow Drivers: Chairman Ewbank said we have a few applications for part time snow plow drivers. Bill Schneider said we have CDL and Non CDL drivers and discussed how they use the drivers. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if it ever turned into a problem for them. Mr. Schneider said it has in the past. You have to be careful with the CDL drivers only being allowed to drive for a certain amount of time. Solicitor Bernathy said we need an affidavit on a yearly basis that their license hasn’t been suspended or revoked. Supervisor Banach questioned if they need medical cards. Mr. Schneider said it is not required but the CDL drivers have them. Mr. Schneider said he has an application for Richard Mai and Leland Cokelette. Discussion followed. Supervisor Banach moved to hire those men mentioned and questioned the rate. The rate is $15.00 for CDL and $12.00 for Non CDL. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
Marcellus Shale Presentation – Tentative Date May 1 2012: A letter was received from Peter Wulfhorst requesting to hold a Marcellus Shale presentation on May 1, 2012. This will take approximately 30-45 minutes. Chairman Ewbank suggested starting the meeting at 6:30 pm for the presentation. The board thought that was a good idea. Supervisor Melvin said he read that the Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill today and he does not have all of the information at this time because he only read it briefly before coming in tonight, however he stated that there would be a tax per well and there was a compromise on the local municipalities control on zoning. He does not know what that compromise was. Chairman Ewbank said he was at a meeting with the Commissioners last week and there are two bills, Senate Bill 1100 and HB 1950 which deal with reimbursement for the wells; further stating there are very little if any Marcellus Shale in Pike County but there would be a lot of possible infrastructure like gas lines. The next Task Force meeting is not scheduled until July. Chairman Ewbank said we have a letter from Doug Hay sent to Senator Baker and Representative Peifer but we do not have a lot to worry about right now. However Chairman Ewbank said we do not know what is coming down the line. The presentation will be held at the May 1, 2012 meeting with the meeting beginning at 6:30 pm. Supervisor Banach suggested advertising the workshop meeting and the regular meeting together to save money.
Resolution 2012-1 / Pike County 2012 Hazard Mitigation Plan: Chairman Ewbank said we need to adopt the Resolution. Solicitor Bernathy said Chairman Ewbank should read a summary of the resolution which he did. Motion is made by Vice-Chairman Fischer to pass Resolution 2012-1. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor. This resolution will be attached and become part of the minutes.
SUBDIVISION REVIEW AND ACTION: None
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Called at 8:16 for Department Personnel and Police Commission Personnel.
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm on a motion by Supervisor Banach. Motion seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carried with all in favor.
Lisa A. Green