Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA May 28, 2014
The Westfall Township Board of Supervisors held a workshop meeting on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm at the Township Building on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, Westfall Township.
Those present were Chairman, Larry Flansburg; Supervisors, Raymond Banach (by speaker phone), Lester Buchanan and Jerry Dotey; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy and Secretary, Jodi Hulse. Also present were Roadmaster, William Schneider; Constable, Michael Barth; Chief Rob Llewellyn; John Dalton, Chuck Pranski, John Hess, Tina Hess, Diane Heater, Robert Bostinto, Kevin Salvati, William Lamac and Dayne Losee. Approximately 17 members of the general public were in attendance. Vice Chairman Robert Melvin was not present.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE took place.
PUBLIC COMMENT: There was no public comment. Mr. Pranski asked if there will be public comment allowed if a question comes up during the meeting. Chairman Flansburg said yes.
Highway Department: Road Master, Bill Schneider addressed the Board. He presented a list of subjects and handouts he would be discussing. He explained the Tort Liability handout from the state. He read each item and confirmed the Road Department employees are in compliance and up to date with training requirements. Mr. Schneider then addressed the line painting and guiderail section. He said second class townships are not required to paint lines on the roads. LTAP came and did an assessment on the guiderails. They provided a report which states which guiderails are in compliance and which ones are not. They recommended that some of the guiderails were more of a liability to leave them so they have been removed. Supervisor Buchanan asked if there was anyplace the guiderails are required. Mr. Schneider said yes. He said all have been replaced on Heaters Hill except the very bottom. He said they are working there now and installing 110 gabion baskets to correct the stream and then the new guiderails will be installed. Supervisor Buchanan confirmed with Mr. Schneider that the state cannot dictate where we put the guiderails and that there are no spots the guiderails are mandatory.
Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Schneider if the township has done line painting in the past. He said they have if there were any complaints. Solicitor Bernathy suggested Secretary Hulse make our insurance carrier aware of this for liability purposes. He said especially for line painting and guide rails.
Next Mr. Schneider addressed a possible “maintenance ordinance” for private road owners. The ordinance would require the owners to provide and pay for maintenance of their driveways to prevent storm water runoff and storm water damage to the township roads. Mr. Schneider suggested the Supervisors pursue looking into this. Chairman Flansburg confirmed with Secretary Hulse this will put this on the agenda for the next meeting. Mr. Schneider also suggested a possible snow removal ordinance or maintenance agreement.
Mr. Schneider presented a list of areas of concern dating back to 2008 through present. He addressed each item on the list. He also presented an overview of the township roads and explained in detail different projects which have been done and need to be done. He presented pictures to the Board of the different areas on concern. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Schneider if there is any emergency which needs to be addressed which affects the health, safety or welfare of the residents of the township who are traveling the roads. Mr. Schneider said there are no emergencies at this time and if one arises it would be taken care of immediately.
Mr. Schneider said he is trying to provide as much information possible to the Supervisors regarding areas of concern after the three floods. These projects will need to be stretched out over several years due to financial reasons. Solicitor Bernathy asked if there are any priorities. Mr. Schneider said Heaters Hill and the bottom of Slatestone in Mill Rift. He said it is the sharp turn as you leave Mill Rift. He said the Pike County Conservation District made an assessment of all of the areas. There are permitting requirements. He said they suggested the banks be pulled back and large stones applied. He explained the project which was done in Pond Eddy. Mr. Schneider explained the issue on Heaters Hill in the Sign Ware Court area. He said he has obtained the proper permitting from the Conservation District and installed gabion baskets to stabilize some of the area. A large tree has been removed in that area also. Supervisor Dotey said the damage to the roads is serious. He then asked the other Supervisors if they assessed the damage. Chairman Flansburg said he has. Supervisor Buchanan said he has worked here for five years and he knows what needs to be done and what does not. Supervisor Dotey said it looks serious in some of the areas and it would not take much of a storm. Supervisor Buchanan said it has been there for years. Mr. Schneider said he is informing the Supervisors of the issues and it is up to them to make the decision.
The next item on the list is a Site Assessment from The Pike County Conservation District as per Mr. Schneider. He also provided a question and answers list regarding rights of way and a letter from Optimum Risk Service from their yearly inspection. Mr. Schneider said the insurance company likes to see that the employees are keeping up with required safety training. Solicitor Bernathy confirmed with Mr. Schneider that the Township is compliant. Mr. Schneider then provided pictures of future road projects. He explained the different areas and projects which need to be done.
Chuck Pranski asked Mr. Schneider if the pictures are the result of the damage of the three storms which he keeps referring. Mr. Schneider said some of it is from the storms. Mr. Pranski asked if there has been anymore erosion with the normal course of weather since the storms. He said there are two areas of concern. Mr. Pranski asked other than the two areas of concern if there are any issues unless there is another major storm. Mr. Schneider said if we do not get high water again we will be okay. Mr. Schneider said he is not an engineer. Mr. Pranski stated we have not seen any major issues in seven years things seem to be stabilized.
Mr. Schneider said Fire Tower Road was redone. They applied millings to 8/10 of a mile. He figured if each truck was worth about $300, which is roughly the cost when purchasing modified, we took about $25,000 to $30,000 worth of material. Supervisor Buchanan confirmed with Mr. Schneider that no one lives on Fire Tower Road. Mr. Pranski asked if we receive Liquid Fuels funds for Fire Tower Road. Mr. Schneider said yes and the amount is a little less than $10,000 per year. He said it will be increasing due to the Transportation Bill in Harrisburg. Supervisor Buchanan said he has a real problem with Fire Tower Road. He stated he does not care if we get $10,000 or not. We are still responsible for the road. He said we are always talking about liability and this road is used strictly during hunting season. The road is in the worst shape in spring and fall. No one lives on the road and no one in the Township uses the road. He added that most of the hunters are New York and New Jersey hunters. It is 2.7 miles. Mr. Pranski stated the Township is proposing to abandon Pond Drive. He asked if the Township could abandon Fire Tower Road. Mr. Schneider said we receive Liquid Fuels funds and we do not put much money into the road. It is not plowed in the winter since we do not maintain the road. He said it can be abandoned and it is up to the Supervisors. Mr. Pranski asked how much Liquid Fuels funds the Township receives for Pond Drive. Mr. Schneider said he would need to look into it. Supervisor Buchanan said it is only 1400 feet so it is not much money. Supervisor Buchanan confirmed with Mr. Schneider that Shohola owned part of Fire Tower Road and they gave it back to the State. Mr. Schneider said it is something for the Supervisors to think about. He said we received the materials from Leeward Construction and we paid $2,800.00 for the operation of the roller and dozer. We did not do the work ourselves due to scheduling issues.
Henchel Road was the next issue Mr. Schneider brought to the Supervisor’s attention. He presented photos of damage from water coming off of the Henchel Road onto the Township Road. Supervisor Buchanan asked if this is the same issue as the letter received from Christina Robin regarding an illegal driveway. Mr. Schneider said the illegal driveway is on Henchel Road and has nothing to do with the Township. Mr. Pranski asked if Henchel Road is a private road. Mr. Schneider said it is. He said last year he talked to Mr. Lamac who is the owner of the road. He spoke to him about obtaining permission to go on the road to make some corrections. Mr. Pranski asked if the problem is coming from a private road and making problems on a township road if the owner of the private road would be responsible for maintaining or correcting the problem on the Township Road. Solicitor Bernathy said it depends on the existing circumstances. It depends if it was runoff that was directed away from its natural course onto a Township Road or was it something that was pre-existing. He would need to know more facts. Chairman Flansburg said we cannot put an ordinance in affect now if the problem already exists. Mr. Schneider said it is not unusual for a Township to go onto a private road to make corrections if it will help correct the problem on the Township Road. Mr. Pranski said his concern is if we fix it once it will be expected to be fixed again and again by the Township. Mr. Schneider said the issue is the water coming down the road and pipes need to be installed. Solicitor Bernathy said that was the subject of a right of entry agreement. Mr. Schneider said we need to stop the water from coming down the road. That is the issue. Supervisor Dotey said it is not only the water but the gravel in the road making a problem. The Supervisors looked at the photos again. Supervisor Banach stated that every driveway in the County puts water onto the roads and the State does not fix culverts. He said that he does not think we should spend money on a private driveway but this would fix the problem that puts ice on the road that could cause more problems to our residents. He said maybe in the future when we pass the ordinance from that point forward we could go after the land owner to fix problems like this. He stated our goal is to get the problem fixed so that it makes it safer for everyone who travels that road.
Supervisor Buchanan asked the status of Machipacong Island. Mr. Schneider said on May 29, 2014 he has an appointment to meet with the DRBC on Machipacong Island. He confirmed we have not taken any money out of the account. He also confirmed with Mrs. Buchanan that Matamoras has not taken any funds out of the Machipacong Island account. Our responsibility is to maintain the road to get onto the island to clear the debris. Mr. Schneider said Machipacong Island runs from Lowe’s to Robert’s Lane. Matamoras, Westfall and Port Jervis maintain it. There cannot be any trees larger than four inches on the island. The towns are responsible for taking them down. He said the design is nice because it takes the debris and channels it to the island. This keeps the channel clear.
Supervisor Buchanan asked if the 84 Tunnel has been painted lately. Mr. Schneider said they have not painted it in a while. The bad language which is usually painted is under control. He said they shovel and maintain the tunnel. The pole was replaced which the electric needs to be removed and put on the new pole. Mr. Pranski asked if we could put a gate there. Chairman Flansburg said he checked into that and the State said it is required to be left open. Solicitor Bernathy said it is pursuant to an agreement. Mr. Pranski asked if there is anyone that can be contacted in Harrisburg since this is a problem area in our Township and there are drug deals going on in that location. Chairman Flansburg said he took it up a few levels and it is clear that we are not allowed to block it off in any way. Supervisor Buchanan said we do not own it. We just agreed to maintain it.
Franchise Tax: Solicitor Bernathy suggested some time ago since the Township did not have an agreement with the cable providers who use the Township Rights of Way to transmit their signals. He said there is law that provides for this and the obligation for the company to contract with the municipality up to certain percentages. He said he has negotiated these in other municipalities and he believes that Westfall is without one. It generates income that the Township is entitled. He suggested the Supervisors put this on the agenda for the next meeting. He added that the companies must negotiate or the Township has the right to interrupt their signal. Supervisor Buchanan said this was looked into extensively in the past and the Township was told by the company to sue the company. Solicitor Bernathy said his firm represents several municipalities and has successfully negotiated contracts and brought them to the table recently. He said it is up to 3% the Township could be collecting right now. Mr. Pranski suggested we obtain a local new channel. Solicitor Bernathy said that could be part of the contractual agreement. There was discussion regarding the cable provider for the township between Mr. Sain and Solicitor Bernathy. Supervisor Banach suggested that Secretary Hulse look back through the minutes when Matamoras cable made an agreement with the Supervisors a number of years ago. There was a lot of paperwork signed by the Township Supervisors at that time. He said he wants to make sure we can pursue this. Solicitor Bernathy said we will look into it. Secretary Hulse asked how many years ago that might have been. Supervisor Buchanan said probably more than ten years ago but might be fifteen to twenty years.
Discussion regarding Eastern Pike Regional Police Commission-Appointment of Committee members-Hamill letter dated May 12, 2014: Solicitor Bernathy suggested the Supervisors put this on the agenda for the next meeting. He said as per Mr. Hamill’s letter, Matamoras Council is seeking to form a committee which will be two members from Matamoras and two from Westfall. They are asking that the two members not be members of the Police Commission. Solicitor Bernathy asked this be placed on the agenda for informational purposes and that the discussion and decision be made at the next regular meeting. He said things are moving forward.
Complaint-Tina and John Hess-Possible curb in Township Right of Way-Smoker’s Choice (Choice Properties, LLC): Tina Hess addressed the Board. She said she submitted a complaint to the Township last week. She asked the Board if the rule changed in 2007 regarding putting something in the Township right of way. Solicitor Bernathy said he would have to look into that since that was before his time. Mrs. Hess said we should see if that is allowed. Solicitor Bernathy confirmed with Mrs. Hess that she is referring to curbing in the right of way at Smokers Choice specifically. Mrs. Hess referred to the curbing at Keystone Fireworks and she said it is pushed in further. Mr. Hess said it is not in the Township right of way at Keystone Fireworks. Mrs. Hess explained the time she had a water problem years ago when a line was dug up by the Township. She said she does not want water there again. She also said she worried about the plowing this winter. She questioned where the snow will be plowed. Mr. Hess also made the Supervisors aware of construction debris which is ending up on her property. She said yesterday they were paving and there was a mess on her property. She said she does not want the mess in her house. She understands they are paving but there was not as much mess on James Street as her side. Mrs. Hess said she wants to make sure her complaint is on record since she will not put up with the water problem. She said she knows this is going to happen. Solicitor Bernathy confirmed with Mrs. Hess that nothing has happened yet. Supervisor Buchanan asked Mrs. Hess a few questions referring to the plan. She explained where she thinks the water problem will happen. Supervisor Buchanan said he knows what she means. Bill Schneider said the curb is twenty feet into the Township right of way. He said the letter from Kiley Associates, Inc. explains that this is the standard and that the land development plan was approved accordingly. Solicitor Bernathy said when the construction is done there needs to be an as built plan and it must be in compliance with the approved land development plan. Mrs. Hess said she thinks the Township Engineer, Planning Board and Supervisors missed it. Solicitor Bernathy said he can assure Mrs. Hess that the Township was aware that the curb would be in the Township right of way since it was indicated clearly on the plan. He said it is somewhat customary.
Solicitor Bernathy said he wants to address each of Mrs. Hess’ concerns. The first concern is that Mrs. Hess is worried about the trespass of water onto her property. He said we have established that it has not happened as of yet. The property is still under construction and must be pursuant to the designs that were approved by the Township. They cannot discharge additional water off of their property onto your property. It is a violation of Township Regulations. Solicitor Bernathy said to Mrs. Hess that it gives her a cause of action of trespass of water privately against the owners. Mrs. Hess said if the Township had not allowed the owner to move the driveway to begin with she would not be sitting and complaining. Mr. Hess said the fireworks store has the curbing set back so when they plow the road the curbing will not be hit. Supervisor Buchanan asked Mr. Schneider if the curbing will be an issue. Mr. Schneider said he is sure they can work around it. He said if this was done through the town it would narrow the road ways.
Mrs. Hess said she knows this will be an issue. Solicitor Bernathy said he hopes it is not. Mr. Schneider said that the engineer said the curb could be moved back in the future if need be. Mrs. Hess hopes the owner polices the property regarding debris because she is tired of picking the debris from her yard. Mr. Hess said they could have cleaned up when they were finished black topping.
Solicitor Bernathy asked if there is anything else. Chairman Flansburg said we are moving toward adjournment but he noticed someone new in the audience and questioned if he came for public comment. He asked Mr. Lamac if he was present for public comment and if he saw the agenda previous to the meeting which public comment was at the end of the meeting on the agenda. Mr. Lamac said yes. Chairman Flansburg told Mr. Lamac the public comment was moved to the beginning of the meeting. He asked Solicitor Bernathy if public comment could be re-opened. Solicitor Bernathy said if the Supervisors want to entertain it, certainly. All of the Supervisors agreed to re-open the public comment.
Mr. Lamac said in light of the recent rumblings pertaining to the Eastern Pike Regional Department and Westfall Township he took it upon himself to file for some “Freedom of Information Act” requests of which he has seven years of the Township minutes. He said he also has a copy of the Regionalization Agreement between Westfall Township and Matamoras for the Police Department. Mr. Lamac said in reading the Regionalization Agreement and the seven years of minutes, there seems to be a problem. He presented a copy of the Agreement to Chairman Flansburg and pointed out page 8, Section C. He read the section regarding a written report filing from the Commission to the State and the municipality by February 15 of each year. He said the minutes do not reflect this has ever happened. Chairman Flansburg said he was on the Commission at that time and does not remember any reports being presented. He asked if anyone at the meeting remembered. He also asked Secretary Hulse if she remembers a report being submitted from the Police Commission. She said she did not see one this year. Chairman Flansburg asked Mr. Lamac if he is stating that the contract says the report is due and we never received it. Mr. Lamac said that is true for seven years. Mr. Lamac said to turn to page 15, item 12 of the Agreement. He read this section regarding deputization of Police Officers. He said if filed a “Request to Know” and received five certified certificates which were done at the signing of the agreement and there were none in the file. He stated since then not one individual was brought here. He read the names on the certificates. He said you have Police Officers who have never been deputized. Chairman Flansburg said let me grasp this for a second. He then read the section of the Agreement regarding the deputization. He confirmed with Mr. Lamac that he requested the certificates and there are none on record. Mr. Lamac said that seven years of Supervisor minutes have no mention of a Police Officer being deputized and not even in the Police Reports. He said the questions is how many traffic tickets were written for DWI, retail thefts, drug thefts, felonies, problems at the school by officers which were not deputized. Chairman Flansburg asked Supervisor Banach if he is getting all of this. Supervisor Banach said he is getting bits and pieces of it but it is hard to hear. Mr. Lamac asked how many individuals fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendment rights have been violated. He asked how many lawyers are going to start asking questions about what was going on. He said the Township is due an answer. Chairman Flansburg said he is hoping that Mr. Lamac is not guessing that he knows the answers. Mr. Lamac said to Chairman Flansburg that he knows he does not have the answers. He said the questions are how many fines are going to be returned, how many legal fees must be repaid, and how much litigation to undo this. Solicitor Bernathy asked if there is anything else. Mr. Lamac said he is not done. He asked how many former Police Commissioners are negligent of their duties by not enforcing the agreement or even reading the agreement. If one were to read the agreement they would understand the obligations. Those obligations were not met. He said someone was asleep at the wheel. He asked how much the Township is due to be paid back if we have Police Officers that were not deputized and could not arrest in the Township. Chairman Flansburg said he did not even have an answer for his first question.
Solicitor Bernathy said it sounds like to him that this really initially is not a Township issue. He said Mr. Lamac has complaints with someone who has not complied with an agreement and it is certainly not the Township who has not complied. Those are your allegations and he is not saying they complied or they did not comply but the operation of the Police Department is up to the Commission and he suggested Mr. Lamac bring the complaints to the Commission. Mr. Lamac said there is a Commissioner present. Solicitor Bernathy said to Mr. Lamac that he is aware this is a Township meeting and we are here to take comment but his initial reaction to this is that it is not a Township matter and this is something he needs to bring to the attention of the commission. He said he appreciates Mr. Lamac bringing this to our attention. He added this would be an issue regarding personnel or the dreaded litigation word. Solicitor Bernathy said pursuant to the agreement the day to day operation of the department is within the hands of its commission. Mr. Lamac asked what is going on and why and what are we paying for. Solicitor Bernathy stated this is a matter which Mr. Lamac needs to take to the next Commission meeting to see if they will provide their position on their compliance with the agreement. He said last year or the year before he wrote to Matamoras and indicated there may be some compliance issues with the agreement but certainly not along the lines of what Mr. Lamac is alleging. He said he cannot stress enough that these are only allegations and that Mr. Lamac needs to bring this to the Commission without delay. He stated again that this is not a Township matter and he advised the Supervisors not to comment at this time. Solicitor Bernathy said to Mr. Lamac that he wants to make sure he is not alleging that the Township is not in compliance. Mr. Lamac said no. He said if the department is not in compliance, there is trouble. Solicitor Bernathy said he hopes that is not the case.
Supervisor Banach asked Solicitor Bernathy if what Mr. Lamac is saying is the truth is there any way this could come back on the Township. He said the Township is paying for a service that is not a real service to us. Solicitor Bernathy said he would be engaging in wild speculation to give an opinion about that. He advised the Supervisors to refrain from commenting on this because it is not a Township issue and it would be the subject of an executive session. He again encouraged Mr. Lamac to bring this matter to the Commission’s attention.
Additional public comment was welcomed. Diane Heater said she owns a business and a home in the Township and she came to the workshop meeting to make a comment regarding what she has heard and read. She said she would like to express her public opinion and she does not want to lose the Police Department. She stated that the Supervisors were elected to represent the people who are the tax payers. She pays her taxes and she does not want to lose the Police Department. Mrs. Heater asked if she needs to initiate a petition so that the Supervisors can hear from the residents. Do the Supervisors need to obtain votes to influence their decision for what will be done? Chairman Flansburg said the motion which was made said clearly that we are not interested in dissolving the Police Department. He said we would however like to renegotiate the contract. He stated that Westfall is a business and it should be run like a business and we believe the contract is not in our best interest as a business. Chairman Flansburg said that all he can tell Mrs. Heater is that she should stress to both boards that we need to sit down and make a business agreement that we can live with. He said he has no interest in there not being a Police Department and he never said that. He refers to it as the “chicken little” syndrome and everyone is yelling that the sky is falling. He said he has no intention of the Police Department but as you can see someone is here right now telling us our Police are not deputized. Mrs. Heater said they are allegations. Mr. Pranski said they are allegations. Solicitor Bernathy said he does not think this is the appropriate forum to discuss that matter. Thankfully it is not a Township issue. Mr. Lamac needs to bring this to the Commission’s attention. Supervisor Banach said he agrees with Mrs. Heater. He said our previous Supervisors made bad decisions. We cannot figure out why they made these decisions. They got the Township into lawsuits which affect the way the Township is run now. We cannot effectively run the Township with the money which is being brought in right now. He said the Board is in a contract right now which does not benefit both parties. Supervisor Banach said no one has ever said we are getting rid of the Police Department. We have gone to Matamoras several times and asked to renegotiate and they have said no. He said we have made giant steps in the last few weeks. We are going to have a committee and we are going to talk. Supervisor Banach said we are trying to fix all of the sins of the past and still make it so that people can live in Westfall Township and still afford their taxes. We look for ways to collect money and every time we do we get thrown down by the County and by the liveries. He stated everyone wants to be in Westfall Township and use everything we have but they do not want to pay their fair share when they come through and do it. We asked for motel taxes. He said he travels all over the country and he pays $30 per night sometimes just for the fact that they may provide an ambulance to him. Every time we ask for something like this we get put down. Supervisor Banach said just like the Franchise Tax. We need to look to see if our founding fathers sold us out on that also. He said his intention has never been to get rid of the Police Department. It is to make it that it is affordable. He said this is a business and if you look at the finances and what we are paying and what we paid before, we need to correct some of the stuff. Mr. Dalton asked Chairman Flansburg what Supervisor Banach said. He said basically that we are a business and we need to be run like a business and that our founding fathers did not always make the best decisions and we are trying to do what is right to make the best decisions and that is why Mr. Banach would like to renegotiate the contract. Supervisor Buchanan said businesses are run to make a profit and we are not here to make a profit. Chairman Flansburg stated he never said to make money just that it needed to be run like business. Mr. Bostinto asked about the financials behind this that are leading up to the decision to renegotiate the contract. He asked where the money is being allocated. Chairman Flansburg said that we have been asking for the financials for quite some time. Mr. Bostinto said a contract cannot be renegotiated based on nothing. Solicitor Bernathy said he thinks this is an issue that Matamoras and Westfall have both acknowledged and will be the subject of hopefully a committee being formed that will happen this upcoming Monday.
Mr. Pranski asked where we stand on the transaction tax that has been talked about. Solicitor Bernathy said we have not taken any further action on that. We have reached out to Matamoras and they have made some good points. Mr. Pranski asked where Westfall Township stands regardless of what Matamoras wants to do. Chairman Flansburg said he does not believe we can enforce a transaction tax that Matamoras does not enforce. Mr. Pranski said a transaction tax cannot be put on one particular item. Solicitor Bernathy said we have talked about this before. He explained this can be done, for example, on fireworks. A tax would be charged on the sale of fireworks by anyone selling them in the Township. Mr. Pranski suggested a tax on any transaction regardless of the type of transaction. Solicitor Bernathy stated he does not think that is something that the Township needs to be legally challenged on at this time. We have already gone through challenges on the amusement tax. He said it has not been his recommendation by to the Township. They do not need to follow his recommendation but all consequences and challenges must be considered. Mr. Pranski said it would generate a lot of money in the Township. Solicitor Bernathy said the Supervisors have proposed ordinances and it is up to them to decide. Solicitor Bernathy said the tax needs to be specific to one item. We could not propose a sales tax. He said he is suggesting implementing a different type of tax which will not include litigation and may involve the decreasing of real estate taxes. Supervisor Buchanan said the Earned Income Tax will be on Monday night’s agenda for discussion.
Tina Hess asked how the committee for the Police Department will be chosen. Solicitor Bernathy told Mrs. Hess it will be two members from each Board. Supervisor Buchanan said it cannot be members of the Police Commission. Mrs. Heater asked if the public could choose the Supervisors. Solicitor Bernathy said the Supervisors will be making that decision. This will be done on Monday at the regular meeting where there will be discussion and voting. Mr. Pranski made a recommendation that Supervisor Buchanan be chosen to be one of the members on the committee.
Kevin Salvati said that every month the Police Commission provides a financial report to the Supervisors who represent the Township. The report is available to the public and accounts for all of the finances of where the money goes. Mr. Salvati asked if the agreement for the Police Department on the agenda for tonight’s meeting. Solicitor Bernathy said the only item on the agenda was that a letter was received from Matamoras and that action on the letter would be taken at a regularly scheduled advertised meeting. Mr. Salvati questioned the reason for the Supervisors having a copy of the agreement at a workshop meeting when it was not on the agenda. Chairman Flansburg said Mr. Lamac handed a copy to him.
Mr. Pranski said he has one more thing to add to this meeting which pertains to the Township Solicitor. He directed his statement to Solicitor Bernathy and stated there is not intent of offense. He said making a statement like that to the Supervisors is out of place and he needs to know that he is the town Solicitor and not a Supervisor. Solicitor Bernathy stated he does not know what Mr. Pranski is talking about. Mr. Pranski referred to a comment which was stated by Solicitor Bernathy, “this is what happens when you open the floor”…he said that was a ridiculous comment. Solicitor Bernathy said Mr. Pranski is entitled to his opinion. He said he feels he is due respect as he gives Mr. Pranski respect. Mr. Pranski said he is giving respect and asked if he could finish. Mr. Pranski said to Solicitor Bernathy that he is the town Solicitor and his job is to advise the Supervisors and not to run the meetings and not to be a Supervisor. Solicitor Bernathy said he is not doing either. Mr. Pranski said he sure acts like it which is his opinion. Chairman Flansburg said that is enough.
Mike Barth said it was said that we have no control as far as the Police Department. Solicitor Bernathy said we have no control as far as operation, management, hiring, and firing. Mr. Barth questioned that we pay for it and have a commission with Supervisors on it but have no liability. These are the terms of the agreement which is a very common agreement for any regional police department. He said he can offer assurance that before the agreement was drafted we received consulting services and we also drafted the agreement as a result of a compilation of a number of other regionalization agreements that were working at that time.
Dayne Losee said he has heard twice tonight from Mr. Flansburg and Mr. Banach that this is a business. He said Mrs. Heater’s Polar Bear is a business and the Township of Westfall is not a business. He suggested they would be better off getting that thought right out of their heads. Chairman Flansburg said what he meant to say is that it was not a personal thing and it is something that we run. He said if it is not being run correctly and if there is something that inhibits us from running it correctly we need to work on that. Mr. Losee said that government is not business. Chairman Flansburg said he stands corrected and it would not be the first time. Supervisor Dotey said to tell that to Washington. Bill Schneider said if the Township were run like a business it would be much better off. Chairman Flansburg said thank you.
Mr. Bostinto said that Supervisor Banach is looking for ways to raise money. He said the Township has tangible assets which can be sold that would help the Township yet nothing has been addressed on this. The Township has a sewage treatment plant which is worth a lot of money, probably two million plus. Supervisor Dotey said there is a lot more involved in that than meets the eye. He said he thought that was a good idea at one point in time and has looked into it himself. He said since then he has obtained more information and it could be a large liability for the Township since we never lose the liability. Mr. Bostinto said not if it is sold. Supervisor Dotey said even if it is sold we would still be liable. Mr. Bostinto said that Mr. Osterberg is waiting for a phone call and wants to talk about this and the Supervisors have failed to call him. Solicitor Bernathy stated that he does not know that is the case. He asked Mr. Bostinto to please not allege things up and become argumentative. We are here to listen to what has to be said but keep it civil. Solicitor Bernathy told Mr. Bostinto that he cannot speak for Mr. Osterberg and that he is sure he can speak for himself. Mr. Bostinto said the opportunity is there to at least explore it. Mr. Schneider said the Sewage Treatment Plant owes about five million so if it was sold for 2 million it would be a loss. Mr. Bostinto said that is understood but he is saying there is a tangible asset. He said instead of taxing everyone to look at the issue. Mr. Schneider said we met with Matt Osterberg and Mr. Bostinto at the Sewage Treatment Plant. He went over the grants received by the plant. The Sewer Department provides some service to the town. He added that the township will always be responsible for sewage in the Township. The Sewer Authority also paved Rose Drive. There is also a reserve of 68,000 gallons for Katz.
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting adjourned at 7:27 pm on a motion by Supervisor Buchanan, seconded by Supervisor Dotey. Motion carried with all in favor.