January 10, 2012
The Westfall Township Board of Supervisors held a Special Meeting on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at
7:12 p.m. The meeting was held at the Township Building on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, Westfall Township.
Those present were Chairman, Robert Ewbank; Vice-Chairman, Paul Fischer; Supervisors Raymond Banach, Larry Flansburg, and Robert Melvin; Solicitor Robert Bernathy; and Secretary, Lisa Green. Also present were Scott Myer, Michael Rendleman, Shawn Bolles, Bill Schneider, Luis Bocaletti, Chad Stewart, Eric Stewart, John & Elaine Shewchuk, Debra Banach, and Sharlene Flansburg.
Chairman Ewbank apologized for the meeting starting late and announced that the board was in executive session for personnel.
Agenda: Agenda was amended to add the sale of the Sewer Authority. Motion to approve the agenda was made on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg, seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer. Motion carries with all in favor.
Public Comment: None
Consideration of 2012 Budget Amendment: Solicitor Bernathy asked if there are any motions on the floor amend the budget. The board decided to move this item to the end of the agenda.
Zoning Hearing Board Appointment – John Shewchuk: Supervisor Flansburg moved to appoint John Shewchuk to the Zoning Hearing Board. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.
Marcellus Shale Task Force Planning and Government Committee Appointments: Supervisor Ewbank offered to fill in for the interim until someone else steps forward and asked if Supervisor Banach would be the alternate. Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to appoint Chairman Ewbank as member and Supervisor Banach as alternate. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
November Meeting Date: Chairman Ewbank said our November meeting date falls on Election Day, therefore the date needs to be changed. After some discussion it was decided to change the date to Thursday, November 8, 2012. Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to select that date. Supervisor Melvin seconds the motion. Motion carries with all in favor.
Re Signing of Monroe Optical Lot Improvement Maps: The board will sign them after the meeting.
Sale of Municipal Authority: Bill Schneider said Herbert, Rowland and Grubic would have to come up with a value and that there is always a problem because there is reserved gallonage for the Katz property. Plus we are using the grants to run the lines down Rose Lane. Supervisor Banach asked if the extra gallonage is gone forever or is it still marketable. Mr. Schneider said it is gone and there is a letter to that effect. Right now we have 374 gallons per day but the 820 per day is gone. Mr. Schneider said the 374 gpd is actually quite a bit. Supervisor Banach questioned if it is sold if a private person can go through the red tape to get it back. Mr. Schneider said it would be a big investment for a private individual. Supervisor Banach said he would like to get a value for it and see if we could sell it. Mr. Schneider said it is not a bad idea but they would like to wait until they are done in 2012 with the project. Lisa Mickles asked if the board is considering selling the sewer treatment plant. Supervisor Flansburg said yes that is the idea. Adding if we could do something to relieve the Katz tax or pay off some loans or something like that it would be the idea behind it. Supervisor Banach moved to have the Municipal Authority appraised. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to amend the agenda to add Township Engineers. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.
Township Engineers: Chairman Ewbank said we have seven proposals for township engineer and asked the board what their feelings were. Supervisor Banach would like to interview Kiley Associates. He has knowledge with them through the Conservation District. Chairman Ewbank would like to interview Al Handy stating he has worked for the township before with HRG. He knows the township and the Planning Commission has recommended him. Vice-Chairman Fischer asked to interview McGoey, Hauser and Edsall. Discussion was held regarding the date and time of the interviews and the way in which they will be conducted. Vice-Chairman Fischer moved set the time and date of the executive session for the purpose of the interviews for Tuesday, February, 7, 2012 beginning at 6:00, 6:15, and 6:30 pm. Marge Tonkin, Chairperson of the Planning Commission will be in attendance. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.
2012 Budget Amendment: Chairman Ewbank said we are back to item one, consideration of the 2012 budget amendment. Supervisor Banach asked if there was a way to move some stuff around to give more service and have a third person on the road department even if it is not full time; saying that our roads are falling apart and we are required by law to maintain them. Supervisor Banach feels we should move some stuff around and find some money. Chairman Ewbank asked if he wants to find money tonight. Supervisor Banach asked if the Police Department can do without that 15th guy. Chief Stewart said they will do whatever the board asks them to do but it will make the overnight shifts difficult to staff. Supervisor Flansburg asked about 10 full time officers. Supervisor Melvin said that is assuming the extra full timer is hired. Supervisor Flansburg said he heard at a meeting that a grant ran out and they are looking to cover the chief’s salary. Chief Stewart said that was not true that his salary is covered. Discussion followed. Supervisor Flansburg asked where it is going to stop and where are we now from the point when the regional department was first formed. Questioning at what point in time will the police department stop asking for money. Chief Stewart said this is the first year in five years that they have asked for more money. Supervisor Flansburg said there is a growing concern with the public who are not happy with the police department. Further discussion followed regarding the police department. Assistant Chief Stewart added that each municipality saved a great deal the first several years since they merged. This is the first year that they have come to the municipalities for additional money. Supervisor Melvin asked what the fines have been running at historically. Supervisor Ewbank questioned the status of the Bill in Harrisburg regarding the Police Tax. Stating that if that comes and we didn’t have a department we would be paying a whole lot more for State Police coverage. Chief Stewart asked for the unhappy people to come to the Police Commission meetings so that their concerns can be addressed. Vice-Chairman Fischer said that letters will be going out to other municipalities to offer them to join the department which will reduce all the municipalities’ budgets. Supervisor Melvin asked the board of Milford Landing and they favored the additional police officer in the budget 3-1 especially with all the new commercial activity. Supervisor Banach said the overall consensus of the board (not speaking for them) is that we need to be at 14 mills. We need to lessen the impact in the community. Everyone has to pitch in. Further discussion followed regarding the 24 hour police coverage. Assistant Chief Stewart said it is part of their mission statement to make sure they are doing the very best they can. Supervisor Flansburg asked that we keep the lines of communication open. Lisa Mickles asked the difference in the budget from last year to this year $41,368. It was stated that the Milford Borough budget needed to be increased for the Police Department. Chairman Ewbank said we haven’t raised taxes, we have kept the budget level for the past few years and have cut as much as we could stating there is only so much you can do. Discussion followed regarding the joining of other municipalities to the police department. Supervisor Banach said there are departments that we need to look at because we can not get bills for $100,000.00 for the roads. Bill Schneider said they need to take another road inspection. Supervisor Melvin said we can make it a commitment to try to get a third person in June or July or even next year. Further stating that although we are looking at the budget now, we need to manage our money accordingly. Supervisor Ewbank asked what they have to do to go back in and look at the Earned Income Tax again, stating it was booted out because everyone did not know what it was all about. Solicitor Bernathy said he would really like to present it again. He gave an opinion letter and that was put on the back burner. Supervisor Banach said the School District will then take a percentage. Discussion followed. Solicitor Bernathy will give the new Supervisors the estimated income which is approximately $180,000.00. Solicitor Bernathy said it is commonplace for the municipalities to implement it. We are in the minority for not having it. We can ultimately drop real estate taxes approximately 4 mills. Solicitor Bernathy further stated he would really like to with Mr. Myers assistance bring it to the Board’s attention again and show the board the money it generates and more importantly how it provides for a more evenly distributed tax among people who use the township. Stating that the tax burden is upon the property owners and there are so many other people using the townships roads. Supervisor Flansburg asked if the EIT would get rid of the Katz Tax. Solicitor Bernathy said probably not but it would reduce the property taxes. Chairman Ewbank said it may cut more than
4 mills. Further discussion followed. Supervisor Melvin questioned if we can determine how many of our own residents are working in Westfall Township. Supervisor Banach wants to look at each department and see if we can find a savings. Solicitor Bernathy said at this point there is no motion to amend the budget. The supervisors were in agreement to work through the budget and see if there are any savings in there. Chairman Ewbank said it should be clear to everyone that we have not actually gone for a tax increase. Mr. Myer will start researching the EIT again. Supervisor Flansburg questioned why we didn’t move forward with the tax. Solicitor Bernathy said the timing was not right. Supervisor Flansburg said it makes sense if all the other townships are doing it. Further stating it would really help the older and lower income earners if their taxes come down. Debra Banach questioned if there is any other municipality in Pike County that has Earned Income Tax. Solicitor Bernathy answered Lehman Township has an EIT.
Bill Schneider said that the Municipal Authority has the ability to obtain grants whereas private individuals would not have that ability. Also the municipal authority does not pay taxes and a private individual would need to.
Adjournment: Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to adjourn at 8:17 pm. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.
Lisa A. Green