Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
February 11, 2014
The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Tuesday, February 11, 2014 which was rescheduled from Monday, February 3, 2014 due to winter weather. The meeting started at 7:02 pm. The meeting was held at the Township Building on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, Westfall Township.
Those present were Chairman, Larry Flansburg and Vice Chairman, Robert Melvin; Supervisors, Raymond Banach (attended meeting by speaker phone), Lester J. Buchanan and Jerry Dotey; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy, and Secretary, Jodi Hulse. Also present was Zoning Officer, Michael Rendleman; Bill Schneider, Chad Steward, Luis Bocaletti, Ed Isaacson, Lisa Mickles, John Dalton, Joe Demalderis, William Koferl and approximately three members of the general public.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA: Three items were added to new business on the agenda which were as follows: Scheduling Paddler’s Point Workshop Meeting, Authorization of time for Secretary to organize files in the office, and PPL Rate Hike Letter.
Agenda approved on a motion by Supervisor Buchanan. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
PUBLIC COMMENT: NONE
December 3, 2013-Public Hearing- Minutes- Approved on a motion made by Supervisor Banach and seconded by Vice Chairman Melvin and carried with two in favor and three abstentions. Chairman Flansburg, Supervisor Buchanan and Supervisor Dotey abstained.
December 3, 2013-Regular Meeting-Minutes- Approved on a motion made by Vice Chairman Melvin and seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried two in favor and three abstentions. Chairman Flansburg, Supervisor Buchanan and Supervisor Dotey abstained.
December 18, 2013- Tabled
December 27, 2013 – Special Meeting-Approved on a motion made by Vice Chairman Melvin and seconded by Supervisor Banach carried with three in favor and two abstentions. Supervisor Buchanan and Supervisor Dotey abstained.
January 6, 2014-Organization Meeting-Approved on a motion made by Supervisor Buchanan and seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
January 6, 2014-Regular Meeting-Approved on a motion made by Vice Chairman Melvin and seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
January 26, 2014-Special Meeting-Approved on a motion made by Supervisor Buchanan and seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Scott Myer was not present. Vice Chairman Melvin gave the report. He said we closed on the $100,000.00 Tax Anticipation Note in January. The quarterly payment to EPRPD was paid in January. The real estate taxes do not start coming in until March therefore balances are low. This is the reason we needed the Tax Anticipation Note. Everything else appears to be in line at this point in time.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to accept the Treasurer’s Report. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
POLICE REPORT: Chad Stewart gave the Police Report. The report was for the month of January. The monthly count of offenses known to police were 15 larceny theft, 1 motor vehicle theft, 1 fraud, 2 vandalism, 1 weapons offense, 4 drug abuse (3 possession and 1 sale), 1 DUI, 1 Drunkenness, 3 disorderly conduct and three all other offenses for a total of thirty two. The monthly count of persons charged for offenses are 16 larceny theft, 1 motor vehicle theft, 1 possession of stolen property, 2 drug abuse, 1 DUI and 2 all other offenses for a total of 23. The miles patrolled for the month were 5,697. Year to date miles patrolled were 5,697. Motor Vehicle Accidents for the month were 20 and year to date 20. Calls for service for the month were 173 and year to date were 173.
Supervisor Dotey moved to approve the Police Report. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carries with all in favor.
Chief Stewart brought up an issue at Belle Manor. He said there has been a couple of accidents and that the four way intersection does not have stop signs. He asked if the Township could look into this. There was additional discussion regarding resolving the issue. Supervisor Banach and Solicitor Bernathy agreed a traffic study would need to be done by an engineer. It would then need to advertise and make a township regulation. Bill Schneider said he thinks the problem is with the trees. There needs to be removal of trees and vegetation which are in the township right of way. Vice Chairman Melvin suggested once we get through the winter and the storms slow down that the highway department start the trimming and vegetation removal process. The Supervisors requested Chief Stewart provides a list of the intersections which need to be addressed. Solicitor Bernathy said it will be a lot less expensive than doing a traffic study with engineers involved.
Chief Stewart also brought up the issue of hydrants not being cleared of snow. He said he has seen many hydrants which are almost all covered in snow. Solicitor Bernathy said we need a list of property owners so that notice can be given to clear all hydrants. There was discussion regarding who is responsible for the snow removal. Mr. Koferl said it is the responsibility of the Matamoras Water Authority. Supervisor Buchanan said this was brought up years ago and they did nothing about it. Solicitor Bernathy said the Water Authority has not been responsive. Supervisor Banach said we are paying for these hydrants and we have been asked to be put on the board of the Matamoras Water Authority. He said we need to send a letter and they need to start shoveling the hydrants out as part of the responsibility of the maintenance of the hydrants. If they do not we need to start reducing the amount of money they are being paid.
Solicitor Bernathy asked if the Board would like him to send a notice. Vice Chairman Melvin said that is good but he is concerned about the immediate safety issue. Supervisor Banach said we should have the highway department shovel them out and add up the time and send the Matamoras Water Authority the bill. Solicitor Bernathy said that would be part of the notice. There was additional discussion. Mr. Koferl said there are approximately 37 hydrants in the township. He confirmed they are all buried. Mr. Isaacson said we should check the arrangement since in the borough it is the property owner’s responsibility. Solicitor Bernathy said this is not the borough code, it is the second class township code and there are maintenance agreements in place.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to authorize Solicitor Bernathy to send a notice to the Matamoras Water Authority. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Mr. Schneider said if the highway department will be shoveling out the hydrants there will be a liability issue in case they miss a hydrant and there is a fire. Solicitor Bernathy said that will be included in the notice. Our liability will be eliminated if we have to shovel out the hydrants. Supervisor Banach asked Solicitor Bernathy if he could draft the letter tomorrow and we can pick it up and have someone had deliver it to the Water Authority. Solicitor Bernathy said sure.
The Westfall Fire Department report was given by Luis Bocaletti. He stated there were 6 automatic fire alarms, 5 motor vehicle accidents, 1 stand-by transfer, 2 chimney fires, 1 tree wires down, 1 gas leak, 1 search/asst PD, and 3 structure fires. The total calls for January were 20 and total calls year to date are 20. Mr. Bocaletti said for EMS there were 42 calls for Westfall Township, 25 calls to cover Squad 33 and 5 calls to cover Squad 19. Total EMS calls for December were 72 and 72 calls year to date for EMS. He said one member completed 8 hours of ice rescue training. Four drills/in-house training sessions held for 122.5 hours.
Vice Chairman Melvin questioned if the fire alarms were false alarms. Mr. Bocaletti said they were. Vice Chairman Melvin showed concern regarding the equipment going out for no reason especially in the bad weather. There was discussion regarding the false alarms. Chairman Flansburg asked Mr. Bocaletti to write down where the false alarms are being called so that it could be monitored.
Chairman Flansburg brought up the letter which the Supervisors received from the Westfall Fire Department regarding the request for a meeting with the Supervisors. Mr. Bocaletti said they would like to meet to discuss the 84 project with PennDOT. He would like to have a meeting with the Supervisors, Matamoras, Police, Fire, Emergency Management and PennDOT regarding the impact of the project.
Supervisor Buchanan said the Route 6 and 209 project will be postponed as per the project manager. He said they do not have enough funds.
Chairman Flansburg said he would talk to PennDOT and schedule a meeting and make everyone aware of it.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to accept the Westfall Report. The motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Melvin and carried with all in favor.
The Mill Rift Fire Department report was given by Ed Isaacson. He said on January 2, 2014 they had a work night and ran all of their engines. On January 8, 2014 they had a work night and checked all pumps and started the generator. They held their monthly meeting on January 15, 2014. They had training on thermal camera on January 16, 2014. They received a donation of thermal cameras which will be in service by the end of the month. A Special Meeting was held on January 22, 2014. On January 25, 2014 they had training for Attics and Basements at the Pike County Training Center. They had another Special Meeting on By Laws on January 29, 2014 and on January 30, 2014 they had a work night and ran all engines. Total man hours were 182 and total equipment hours were 5. The total man hours for the year are 182.
A motion was made by Vice Chairman Melvin to accept the Mill Rift Fire Department Report. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT: Bill Schneider gave the report for January. Mr. Schneider said most of their work this month was snow storms. He said there were eighteen different storms. He said there was quite a bit of overtime due to the storms. There has been a shortage of salt but we have had deliveries and have been able to keep up with it. Mr. Schneider said the equipment is all holding up but these storms really take a toll on the equipment. He is concerned if one truck goes down that we will not have enough equipment to handle the storm. Supervisor Buchanan asked if we have a contract with any outside companies. Mr. Schneider said we do not.
Vice Chairman Melvin asked if we take care of any of the PennDOT roads. Mr. Schneider said we are contracted to do two miles of PennDOT road which is Avenue C out to the firehouse. He said we plow the hills around the mountain so we do not get our equipment stuck.
Mr. Schneider said he provided a list of poles to Aileen Sullivan for the poles which need to be removed from the Township Right of Way. Chairman Flansburg said he has been speaking with her regarding the street light account. Mr. Schneider said the two street lights on the tunnel are the responsibility of the township. One of the lights on the list is in Matamoras. He said he feels there is no need to keep the lights lit other than the ones in the tunnel.
Supervisor Banach asked Solicitor Bernathy if we are responsible for providing the lighting at the tunnel or is the state responsible. Solicitor Bernathy said he will look into that.
Supervisor Buchanan moved to approve the Highway Report. Motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Melvin and carried with all in favor.
BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Michael Rendleman reported that there were two building permits issued in January and one zoning permit. Total permit fees were $479.00 with $200.00 outstanding.
Supervisor Buchanan moved to approve the report. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Vice Chairman Melvin asked if there was any comment regarding the shelving at the “old Skate land”. Mr. Rendleman said he went and spoke with the tenants. They are putting in shelving for wholesale sales. He said he advised the tenants to coordinate a meeting with the building inspector to discuss any permits required. Mr. Rendleman also made the commercial inspector, Paul Bunnell aware of the situation. He acknowledged receiving his message. Mr. Rendleman said the skating rink as it exists, is not sprinkled. Vice Chairman Melvin asked if they started building anything yet. Mr. Rendleman said the shelving they have installed is temporary.
Mr. Koferl said if they obtain a permit for change of use they must then obtain a building permit to address the fire code issues. Mr. Rendleman said he advised the applicant to contact the building department to find out if there is a need for a building permit. Sometimes there is a need and sometimes there is not.
Mr. Koferl said he thinks the Zoning Department should make the Building Department aware of a change of use to make sure the proper building permits and fire codes are addressed. Mr. Rendleman said he did make the Building Department aware of this situation. He said he will check with them again to see if the tenants or owners have been in contact.
Mr. Koferl said he thinks the Building Department should enforce the fire code of the Township.
CORRESPONDENCE: On desk for review.
Township Newspaper Subscription: Vice Chairman Melvin said he received some complaints from some of his elderly neighbors in Milford Landing. They are not happy about the Township making the Pocono Record the official paper for the Township. He said he explained that one of the reasons was that we needed to advertise in a daily paper. Vice Chairman Melvin said he wanted to bring this up for discussion.
Chairman Flansburg said he received a few complaints also. Supervisor Banach asked if the complaints were that the people are looking for our legal posts or that they could not find the stories. He said he believes the stories will still be covered. Vice Chairman Melvin said they were concerned they would have to buy the paper every day to see if something was posted. They really do not want to buy a costly subscription to the daily paper. Supervisor Banach said another reason we chose the Pocono Record is that the whole paper is available on line. The Dispatch only provides certain sections on line. He said we also needed the daily paper in the case of the last Special Meeting we had. It allows the township to do business on a daily basis. Vice Chairman Melvin suggested we use both papers. Supervisor Banach said it is too confusing to have two newspapers since the people will not know which paper to look in.
Lisa Mickles said she attends many township meetings. She said Westfall Township only meets once per month and the township has the most business.
Supervisor Buchanan said he agrees with Supervisor Banach. Mr. Dotey said he thinks we should keep it the way it is and to keep the Pocono Record for the official Township newspaper. Chairman Flansburg said he agrees with Vice Chairman Melvin.
Miss Hulse said the subscription is between $200.00 and $250.00 per year. Solicitor Bernathy said we need to subscribe to the newspaper. Supervisor Banach said we receive the certified notice that the notice was placed so he feels we do not need to bear the extra expense of the subscription. Solicitor Bernathy said the township should have the subscription as a history of what is going on within the township. Supervisor Banach asked where all of the old Dispatch papers are filed in the office. Miss Hulse said the most current ones are on the shelf in the office but she has not seen any other than those. The Supervisors decided not to purchase the subscription to the Pocono Record.
Chairman Flansburg said he would like to introduce Mr. Joseph Demalderis who is our applicant for the Upper Delaware Council Vacancy. He said he would like to discuss this now so that Mr. Demalderis does not have to sit through the meeting.
A motion was made by Supervisor Banach to appoint Mr. Demalderis as Upper Delaware Council Representative. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Mr. Demalderis said the last meeting was mainly regarding an economic study that was done for the upper river. There was also some discussion on grant money to improve certain boat launches which were not located in Westfall Township. Supervisor Dotey asked who takes care of the boat launches here. Mr. Demalderis said the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. He said the Upper Delaware starts at the bridge two in Mill Rift.
Emergency Service Equipment Application-Verizon Wireless Cell Tower: Chairman Flansburg said he and Miss Hulse forwarded the information to Mr. Swartwood and we have not heard back from him as of yet.
Chairman Flansburg said we also received a call from a representative from Orange County Emergency Services asking about adding an antenna to the tower on Cummins Hill. Solicitor Bernathy said we need to make sure there is room first for the township’s needs. Mr. Isaacson said the Mill Rift Fire Department has applied for space on the proposed Verizon Tower in Mill Rift. He said he spoke with someone in Pittston regarding the application and they said they would let Mill Rift and Westfall have one common frequency. He said there would be two spaces, one for the Township and one for the County. Solicitor Bernathy asked if Mill Rift has filled out the application. Mr. Bocaletti said yes but they have not received a response as of yet. Solicitor Bernathy said they need to follow up with it. Supervisor Banach asked if we could reserve the space so they do not give it to someone else. Solicitor Bernathy said yes.
Mr. Koferl suggested the Township Highway Department apply for space on the tower. Chairman Flansburg said the funds for the equipment probably are not available. Mr. Koferl said they have the equipment in the truck and it would cost about $500.00 for the other equipment.
Solicitor Bernathy suggests we apply for space for the Highway Department.
MJS Engineering Bills: Solicitor Bernathy asked this matter be addressed in Executive Session.
Act 47-Resolution 2014-14: Solicitor Bernathy read the Resolution to remove the township from Act 47 Plan.
A motion was made to approve the Resolution by Supervisor Buchanan. The motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Melvin and carried with all in favor.
PennDOT Drainage and Sidewalk Agreements-Resolutions 2014-12 and 2014-13: Miss Hulse said that these agreements were already signed by the Supervisors but that PennDOT sent the wrong agreements the first time and these are the revised agreements.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to approve the Resolutions 2014-12 and 2014-13. The motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Melvin and carried with all in favor.
Thomas Smith Property-Enforcement Notice-Box Containers: Solicitor Bernathy said an enforcement notice has been forwarded to the owner regarding containers which were being used for a permitted activity. Mr. Rendleman said the containers have been there since June and there is not storage allowed overnight. The containers are not permitted. Solicitor Bernathy said the owners have not responded or complied as far as the enforcement notice is concerned.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to approve the institution of enforcement proceedings against Thomas Smith who failed to comply with the enforcement notice. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Letter from Westfall Emergency Management Agency-request for appointment of Robert Howard: A letter was received from Robert Ewbank to request the Supervisors to reconsider the appointment of Mr. Howard as Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator. Supervisor Banach questioned a conflict between Highway Department Employee and Emergency Management Assistant Coordinator. Ms. Hulse informed Supervisor Banach that PSATS had responded to her information request and that it is not a conflict. He said this may be a conflict with the Employee Manual. Mr. Schneider said his first priority will be the township. Chairman Flansburg said he thinks what Supervisor Banach is saying is that if we authorize him to leave work for a fire and pay him, do we authorize him to leave work for an emergency other than a fire and pay him. Supervisor Banach confirmed. He does not want for Mr. Howard to have to leave for an emergency and leave the Road Master hanging and the Road Master not having any recourse because it is in the Employee Manual.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to appoint Robert Howard as Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator conditional upon no conflict of terms in the Employee Manual and if Employee Manual is silent it will be revised that the Road Master has the authority to release the appointee and that the Township has priority over the Emergency Management position. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with all in favor.
PSATS Conference: Chairman Flansburg said he may be able to attend and if so Supervisor Dotey will also attend. Solicitor Bernathy said he may be interested in attending.
A motion was made by Supervisor Banach to approve Chairman Flansburg and Supervisor Dotey attending the PSATS Convention in Hershey, PA. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Letter of Interest from Joseph Demalderis-Upper Delaware Council Vacancy: This was discussed previously in the meeting.
Orange and Rockland Street Light Bill: This was discussed previously in the meeting.
Schedule Executive Session for Highway Department Application Review: An application was received from an applicant for part time Highway Department (on call) Employee. Mr. Schneider said we need one more person available for storm coverage/plowing. Solicitor Bernathy said we will need a driver’s license check and driving record check. Supervisor Banach suggested we start looking for people with a CDL License. Chairman Flansburg said the hiring of this employee will not cost the township any more since he will be replacing one of the drivers who needs to take a break from long hours of plowing and maintaining the roads during a storm. Mr. Schneider said we can only go out for so long during a twenty four hour period without needing relief.
A motion was made by Supervisor Banach to hire Glendon Miller as part time Highway employee subject to a valid driver’s license, history check and training. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Richard Conklin-Stop Work Order-Building Permit Fee returned for Insufficient Funds: Solicitor Bernathy said he needs authority to proceed with criminal complaint. He said there is a much better chance of restitution if we through the criminal proceedings that if we go through the civil proceeding.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to proceed with the criminal complaint against the contractor. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Email from ITS Engineer-regarding overhead street name signs on traffic signal supports:
A motion was made by Vice Chairman Melvin for Miss Hulse to send a letter to ITS Engineering to approve the signage on the traffic signal supports. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with all in favor.
Christian Fellowship-Request to install projector/black water issue:
A motion was made by Vice Chairman Melvin to have Miss Hulse send a letter to the Christian Fellowship to approve the installation of the projector hook and that we do not represent the water to be potable and it is in the process of being tested. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Fire Protection Contract: Solicitor Bernathy provided a draft of a Fire Protection Contract for the Supervisors to review and discuss at a Workshop meeting. He explained the Contract to the Supervisors and suggested to put it on the next Agenda.
Paddler’s Point: Solicitor Bernathy said that after speaking to the applicant’s attorney they have agreed to continue the court proceedings and not proceed with the appeal pending them coming back to the township and presenting a new plan on an informal basis. If there is an agreement made on their new plan and informal submission then they agree to withdraw the appeal that they filed against the township. Chairman Flansburg said he sat with Mr. Wertz on an informal basis and he suggested some changes they propose.
There was discussion regarding scheduling a workshop meeting. Solicitor Bernathy said to invite Mr. Wertz to the next regular meeting to present his informal proposal. The Supervisors agreed.
Authorization of Secretary to organize office: A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve Miss Hulse to work and be paid for twenty four hours over her normal business hours to organize the office. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with all in favor.
Letter to Public Utility Commission regarding rate hike: There was discussion regarding the rate hike and who would be the township representative if need be. Supervisor Banach agreed to attend any meetings necessary.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to send a letter to the Public Utility Commission regarding the Supervisor’s concern regarding the rate hike. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with four in favor and one abstention. Vice Chairman Melvin abstained.
SUBDIVISION REVIEW and ACTION: None
EXECUTIVE SESSION: An Executive Session for personnel and litigation was called at 8:49 pm and back in session at 9:07 pm.
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 9:08 p.m. on a motion by Supervisor Buchanan. Motion seconded by Vice Chairman Melvin and carried with all in favor.