Monthly Archives: November 2012

October 17, 2012 Special Meeting

Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA

October 17, 2012

TheWestfall Township Board of Supervisors held a Special meeting on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 7:05 PM. The meeting was held at the TownshipBuilding on Delaware Drive and La Barr Lane, WestfallTownship.

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 Bill Schneider, Scott Myer, Carl LaStella, Jan Lokuta, Tom York, Bill Koferl, Dave Clark, Pete Sigreto, and Dayne Losee.

AGENDA:  Motion to approve the agenda was made by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Carl LaStella thanked the board for allowing him to open his business.


Ordinance # 157: Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve Ordinance # 157, of which there was a public hearing held prior to the start of this meeting. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.


Meet with Business owners re – Amusement Tax: Supervisor Flansburg said he believed this should be tabled because the business owners sent a letter stating they were not going to be here. Mrs. Green pointed out that Tom York of Malibu Dude Ranch was present. Supervisor Banach asked if Mr. York had any comments. Mr. York said he came to see what was going on. Solicitor Bernathy said he appreciated that Mr. York was here because the supervisors set this as a time specifically for the business owners to come forward, and said since Mr. York has taken the time to come here the board would appreciate any comments that he has. Mr. York said as far as he and Doc are concerned they are in agreement with the amusement tax and will do anything they can do to help the Township. Solicitor Bernathy questioned if on behalf of Malibu Dude Ranch they are in support of this. Mr. York said yes. The board thanked Mr. York. Supervisor Banach questioned if we received a letter from the canoe liveries stating they would not be here. Mrs. Green answered that Attorney Schneider sent a letter on behalf of four livery owners. They were Dave Jones, Tony Brunovsky, Rick Lander, and Pete Lovelace. Supervisor Flansburg said their position is that they are waiting for the new ordinance before they comment. Solicitor Bernathy said it is not going to be any different from what was specifically explained to them at the last meeting. Mrs. Green said she sent the ordinance to Attorney Schneider. Mrs. Banach said it was in the paper today. Solicitor Bernathy said it will be advertised on multiple occasions because this is a tax. Supervisor Flansburg said we received information from the National Park Service which showed Indianhead Canoes put no rafts or canoes in the river in 2011, Silver Canoe put no canoes on the river, ThreeRiver canoes none 2011 and Kittatinny reported 2,155. With a total of 7,504 people using their services. Supervisor Banach said if Solicitor Bernathy remembers the canoe liveries said to contact the National Park Service to get the figures and that would give us some idea of what is going on. We now have reports from the National Park Service on what was self-reported which is voluntary. Supervisor Banach said that all liveries pay $200 for Commercial Use Authorization to the National Park Service and there is additional three-tier monitoring for cleanup of campsites. Small Mom & Pop businesses pay $500, medium-size businesses pay $2500, and large businesses such as Kittatinny and Adventure Sports paid $3500. Further stating they pay $3700 to use the river. Bill Koferl questioned if that was just upper Delaware or lower also. Supervisor Melvin said that equates to $90 per day. Supervisor Flansburg said is it’s his position that their figures are grossly underreported. Discussion followed. Supervisor Melvin stated it is disheartening that we have reached out to them and told them that we would work with them and they are not here. Solicitor Bernathy questioned if the business owners have asked to reschedule. Mrs. Green answered no.

Monroe LBL LLC – 3rd Revision: Mrs. Green said we have plans on the third revision for the fire hydrant stating that Pennsylvania American Water would not go along with the last revised plan because the fire hydrant was going on private property. Chief Koferl said he received a letter on the flow test which was acceptable to him. Solicitor Bernathy questioned if this plan has been reviewed by the Westfall Township Planning Commission. It has not. Discussion followed. Solicitor Bernathy stated this is due to the second story that was constructed on the building, which was not included in the original plan. This second story will be nonoccupiable space. Chairman Ewbank questioned if Chief Koferl was happy with the plan. He is. Originally the Planning Commission approved the second revision conditioned upon satisfying the Fire Chief. Supervisor Banach questioned as built plans. Further discussion followed. Solicitor Bernathy questioned the 90 day rule for deemed approval, questioning when the plans were received. The original revised plan was received on September 11, 2012. The next planning commission meeting is October 23, 2012. Supervisor Banach moved to forward this plan to the planning commission. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.

Tax Collector Salary: Solicitor Bernathy said he will have this ordinance prepared for the next meeting. Supervisor Banach said to make sure the tax collector would receive what they were receiving prior to the addition of the increased taxes. Discussion followed. Mrs. Green said the tax collector received 5% of total taxes collected. This would not include the amusement tax or an earned income tax. Mr. Myer questioned if a cap could be set. Solicitor Bernathy said he would have to check. Mr. Myer and Solicitor Bernathy will work on this together.

Letter to Commissioners regarding Tourism Bureau: Supervisor Banach said it is up to everyone on the board if they wish to send a letter, however they had a representative here from the Tourism Bureau screaming poverty and they had their most successful year ever receiving $4,528,905. Supervisor Banach said when he spoke to Lisa Baker and Rich Caridi regarding the sales tax which he said would help pretty much everyone in the County and he asked for a portion of the hotel tax he was told no that there is already a 3% tax that is imposed that goes to the Tourism Bureau for advertisement etc. Supervisor Banach said he would like an accounting of where the money from WestfallTownship’s hotels and motels are going to. Questioning why we can’t have a certain amount go to the Fire Department and the Township. Supervisor Banach questioned how much advertising is going out for $4.5 million dollars. Discussion followed. Supervisor Banach questions if they can add a quarter percent to go to WestfallTownship. Supervisor Flansburg moved to send the letter to the Commissioners and have Supervisor Banach work on that letter with Lisa Green. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor. Debbie Banach questioned if the traffic signals that were installed by the WelcomeCenter were paid in part by the Tourism Bureau. Mrs. Green said that was the Pocono Mountain Vacation Bureau and the CountyCommissioners.

Letter to Conrail regarding Access Keys: Supervisor Flansburg said at the meeting with the Westfall and Mill Rift Fire Departments the issue came up that there is no access to the track going North except for the Police Department who has a Key. And if there was a fire and emergency response was needed, the police would have to go to the Police Department and get a key to unlock the gate. This could present problems. Supervisor Flansburg said he was told if he spoke to Bernie Swartwood he could get the name of the person to send the letter to. Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to authorize Supervisor Flansburg and Lisa Green to draft the letter to Conrail. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.

Nelson Tree Service: Supervisor Flansburg said he understands that Nelson Tree Service was banned from the compost area. He was told that they volunteer their services to cut for communities. Supervisor Flansburg asked if they are cutting utility trees or community trees. Mr. Losee said all and both. Bill Schneider said they are doing both for Orange and Rockland and for the community, stating that they just did work for us in Pond Eddy. Chairman Ewbank said they chip everything before they dump it. Supervisor Melvin questioned if the Pond Eddy service was at Mr. Schneider’s request. Mr. Schneider said they were up there for another reason and they cut the Township trees as well. Chairman Ewbank said the problem is that we said no commercial dumping however they cut the trees for free it is not really commercial dumping. Supervisor Melvin said if we wait for the trees to fall down everyone loses their power for eight hours before it’s taken care of. Mr. Losee said right now the Matamoras Borough truck follows Nelson tree service into the dump so it looks like Matamoras is dumping which is a waste of time and money. Supervisor Flansburg moved to allow any tree service working for Matamoras Borough or WestfallTownship to dump their chips in the compost area. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.

Supervisor Banach said Supervisor Flansburg and he had met with the fire departments the other night and the mule came up which was signed over to the fire departments but it has never been transferred or registered. Discussion followed as to how best to give the title to the fire departments. Chief Koferl suggested having it available at the next meeting and allowing the presidents to pick it up.

Dave Clark asked if we were going to speak about the leaf pickup or the burning ban.  Mr. Clark said that Chairman Ewbank came and asked him about borrowing the leaf machine and they do not wish to loan the machine out because it is an older machine, and it does have issues. What they would rather do is provide the service and pick up the leaves for the Westfall residents. Mr. Clark has a proposal that he will go over and he stated to his understanding the area for pickup is the entire area by bounded by Tenth   St., Interstate 84, and the Mountain Avenue extension to Avenue C. Which would be from Mazuraks to Matamoras. Chairman Ewbank commented that it is the area engulfed in smog right now. The proposal would be for Matamoras to use their truck, their time, and their leaf vacuum machine. 50% of the time they would use two men and the other 50% of the time they would use three. Mr. Clark said whatever it costs Matamoras they would pass that cost on to Westfall. The labor cost is $35.68 per hour, $25 for the truck and trailer combined, and $30 per hour for the vacuum machine. This comes out to a total of $90.68 per hour, which would average approximately 12 hours per week. Supervisor Banach asked if there are guidelines set up for the joint compost facility. Mr. Clark said he did not know. Discussion followed. Mr. Clark said it would probably be three days that they would be in Westfall. Chairman Ewbank commented that the joint meeting has been scheduled between Matamoras Borough and Westfall Township for November 13, 2012 at 7 PM. Supervisor Flansburg said the meeting is not just about the leaf pickup, it is to go over joint services and get to know each other. Mr. Losee asked if this is temporary until Westfall Township figures out what to do with their own leaves or would this be a permanent situation. Supervisor Flansburg suggested discussing that at the joint meeting. Supervisor Banach explained they want to have the joint meeting because there are new Supervisors and new Council members and if we can share services,  save money and apply for grants that would be good. The board is looking to save money for both municipalities. Mr. Clark said his concern was we were going to need leaf pickup next week. Supervisor Melvin said their proposal has to go into the equation because they have to see if the ordinance is even viable.

Supervisor Banach moved to temporarily adjourn the meeting at 7:50 PM for a news interview. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.

Back in session at 8:01 PM.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: Called regarding the Dombrosky litigation at 8:01 pm.

Back in session at 8:16 PM.

BUDGET MEETING: Scott Myer told the board that he made the changes discussed at the last budget meeting on October 9th. The police budget is down to $375,000 and the total budget was reduced by $22,000. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if the salary for the part-time secretary was eliminated. It was. Chairman Ewbank explained that he and Lisa spoke about that and she would like to speak to Terry to inform her of the decision before she finds out another way. Supervisor Banach said that a thank you letter should be written. Supervisor Flansburg questioned if Lisa felt that was her job to inform Terry, or if the supervisors should do it. Mrs. Green said after working together for the last several years they’ve become friendly and she would not feel right not telling her. Discussion followed. Lisa will speak to Terry tomorrow and Supervisor Melvin will come in on Friday to speak to her as well. Terry will still be employed through December 31, 2012.

Chairman Ewbank said he and Mrs. Green have talked about the need to update her computer because she receives files from various people that she cannot open and she is still using Microsoft Office 2003. Discussion followed regarding updating the software and the computer. Bill Koferl said there is a company that they use called CDW where you can get good discounts for municipalities. Supervisor Flansburg asked if Mrs. Green had a price in mind for this upgrade and suggested that she get a handle on what this will cost them bring that to the supervisors. Mrs. Green said she needs to run this by Barry Bernathy our technician to see what our needs are and what will work for the office.

Supervisor Banach questioned if we let Solicitor Bernathy know that we had to go to court for the millage increase. He was not told yet however he is aware of it. Mr. Myer said we should also have that tax anticipation note in place. Mrs. Green will call Solicitor Bernathy tomorrow.

The supervisors directed Mrs. Green to send an e-mail to Solicitor Bernathy regarding an executive session with Attorney Kannebacker preferably for some time next week.

ADJOURNMENT: The special meeting adjourned at 8:32 pm on a motion by Supervisor Melvin.  Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa A. Green, Secretary

October 17, 2012 Public Hearing

Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA

October 17, 2012

A public hearing was held on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 for the purpose of taking public comment on the proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment for Tattoo & Body Piercing Establishments. The meeting was held at the WestfallTownshipBuilding on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, Matamoras, PA18336 at 7:00 pm.

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 Treasurer, Scott Myer; Bill Schneider, Tom York, Dave Clark, Pete Sigreto, Dayne Losee, Bill Koferl, Carl LeStella, and Jan Lokuta.

Solicitor Bernathy stated this is the date, time and place for the supervisors to take comment on the proposed ordinance of WestfallTownship amending section 306.b.1 which is allowed uses in each zoning district of the WestfallTownship zoning ordinance; specifically Ordinance number 124, which was enacted on September 6 of 2005. This is under and pursuant to the authority granted to the supervisors set forth under the Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania. Solicitor Bernathy stated that the record should reflect that the proposed ordinance was advertised in a newspaper of general circulation and that proof of publication will be made part of the record. Copies of the proposed ordinance are up here. To make things as simple as possible by focusing the public’s attention on the portion of the zoning ordinance under commercial uses which refers specifically to tattoo or body piercing establishments. Those are establishments other than temporary tattoos or ear piercing which are personal service uses. Being more specific directing the public’s attention to the C-1, C-2, and C-3 zones where now the proposal will be that those establishments will be conditional uses in the C-1 zone and permitted uses by right, by decision of the zoning officer, in the C-2 and C-3 zones. The supervisors find that this is obviously a commercial use in a commercial zone. Solicitor Bernathy said now is the time for anyone to comment on the proposed amendment. This amendment has been discussed the previous board meetings and public comment has been taken, but now is the time either in opposition or support of the amendment.

Solicitor Bernathy asked that the record reflect that although there are a number of people here there was no public comment or objection to the proposed zoning amendment.

Chairman Ewbank asked to close the public hearing because there have been no comments taken. Public hearing closed at 7:05 pm on a motion by Supervisor Melvin. Motion is seconded by supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa A. Green, Secretary

October 9, 2012 Budget Meeting Minutes

Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA

October 9, 2012 

The Westfall Township Board of Supervisors convened their second 2013 budget workshop on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm. The meeting was held at the WestfallTownshipMunicipalBuilding on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane.

Those present were Chairman, Robert Ewbank; Vice-Chairman, Paul Fischer; Supervisors, Raymond Banach, Larry Flansburg, and Robert Melvin; Treasurer, Scott Myer and Secretary, Lisa Green. Also present were Tom Lamb, Robert Mills, Bill Schneider, Luis Bocaletti, Bill Koferl, Chad Stewart, and John Dalton.

Scott Myer distributed the second draft of the budget to the board giving three options to work from.

Tom Lamb presented the Mill Rift Fire Department budget. Supervisor Melvin said the budget is up $1250 from last year. Robert Mills explain that is due to the cost of heating oil. The board reviewed the proposed budget. Supervisor Banach asked if donations were projected. Mr. Lamb said it’s been give and take, adding that the department is updating equipment. Supervisor Banach also commented that the budget was up $1250 from last year and asked if they could live within that budget. Mr. Lamb said yes. Scott Myer said these figures include the $10,000 local service tax contribution for each department, of which he just cut the check today and will distribute.

Luis Bocaletti presented the Westfall Fire Department budget. Supervisor Melvin asked if they just started their fiscal year. Mr. Bocaletti said yes it runs from October to September. Building payments were discussed. Mr. Bocaletti said that most of their expenses have been very consistent over the last three years so they have a very good idea of what their expenses are going to be. Some of the reasons expenses have gone up is because equipment costs have gone up and ALS service is going up due to switching services. The contract is still in negotiation and when that is finalized the department will be billed for the whole year. Supervisor Melvin questioned if the patient is billed. Discussion followed. Supervisor Melvin questioned if they soft bill are hard bill. Mr. Bocaletti answered that they soft bill. ALS subscription was discussed also. Supervisor Banach questioned if they were looking to stay the same this year. Mr. Bocaletti said his budget is $171,000 this year. Scott Myer asked if they were officially asking for something. Mr. Bocaletti said three years ago they were up to three mills in 2009 and since then dropped down to one mill and then two mills. He would like to see the millage back up to three. Supervisor Banach said they are not going to see three mills this year. The department received 49,000 last year not including the local service tax. Leaving them to raise over $120,000. Supervisor Banach said they will do the best they can. Chairman Ewbank said they have consistently brought the budget down. Mr. Bocaletti said yes they have and they don’t know where else they can possibly cut. The amount of money the Township gives barely covers fuel.

Supervisor Banach said a few of the supervisors don’t take their salary now and if they all gave up their salaries that would be $9300. Eliminating the second secretary would be an additional $6000. The highway budget was discussed. That budget is at $273,000 and remains whole.

Supervisor Banach asked Chief Stewart if he could live without a man. That will give us $20,000 more. Chief Stewart said he could live without a man but they would have to make adjustments to the schedule. Supervisor Melvin said this is not something they want to do. Chief Stewart said he presented the board with the real budget. There is no fat in there. Increases were for contractual obligations and insurance costs. He understands that the board is trying and that they can’t get blood from a stone. The police commission and department realize that there is a hardship on the Township. Further discussion followed about scheduling and calls to the police department.

Mr. Meyer explained that there were three options of the budget to review and consider. There was a lot of discussion regarding a $20,000 cut to the police department and shuffling millage to get the fire department back up to two mills from 1 ½. Supervisor Melvin was considering taking some money out of the capital road improvement funds. Supervisor Banach felt we should leave the road fund alone saying the roads were going to deteriorate even further if we cut back. Discussion followed regarding the planning board secretary position. Chairman Ewbank said if Lisa Green was going to cover that she would need to be compensated. The board said that was discussed at a meeting. Supervisor Melvin suggested closing the office early on Fridays to compensate Mrs. Green for the additional duties and make that regular hours so the community will know the regular office hours. Solicitor Bernathy had volunteered at that meeting to do the minutes of the planning commission meetings. Mrs. Green said she doesn’t want to see the township charged for that. The Supervisors will speak to Solicitor Bernathy about that.

Discussion was held regarding the different options and the figure that the police department budget would cut. Supervisor Banach questioned if the police department has budget vs. actual figures to supply to the board. Chief Stewart said that is provided monthly to the Police Commission. Supervisor Banach commented that the board does not want to run the Police Department’s business, however we are asking the residents to make cuts in their personal life to pay our taxes and pay for the sins of past supervisors and he feels there should be no fluff in anyone’s budgets, further saying they are not picking on the Police Department. Fines were discussed. Supervisor Banach questioned what would happen if they stopped going to Walmart. Saying if it’s not making us money than it’s costing us money and we shouldn’t do it. Further stating if we are performing private security for the big box stores we shouldn’t do it. Chief Stewart said that District Attorney feels that they are a Police Department and they can’t pick and choose what calls they’re going to go on. Discussion followed. Supervisor Melvin suggested reaching out to the District Attorney and get a feel for what he is thinking regarding the big box stores. Chairman Ewbank questioned how much time they’re spending at school. Chief Stewart said the school handles summary offenses, the misdemeanor felonies the Police Department has to do. That is because the Judge gave them summary powers. Supervisor Melvin suggested drafting a letter to the Judge to ask him to grant the school police the authority to do misdemeanor felonies. However any activities that they request officers for the department is reimbursed $58.80. Supervisor Melvin will call Mr. Bell the new School Superintendent to get his feeling on this. Chief Stewart said another idea is to place a police officer in the school. Supervisor Melvin said Police Commission needs send a letter, the Township would send a letter, and the Borough of Matamoras needs to send a letter as well as the school.

Further discussion was held regarding cutbacks. Supervisor Melvin said his personal belief on the supervisor salary is that it is very normal for supervisors to take salaries but his feeling is that if he is asking the fire Department to fund raise $120,000 and the Police Department is taking the $20,000 cut then his salary can be cut as well. Vice-Chairman Fischer asked about the full timer for the Highway Department, suggesting there may be a savings if the third man is kept at 32 hours per week. Supervisor Melvin said the full time salary for the third man is in the budget. Discussion followed. The highway budget does not include money for guide rail, broom rental, or a backup generator, however there will be no further cuts to the highway department. Supervisor Banach questioned if we can come up with an extra $4000 for the fire departments. Luis Bocaletti said nothing against Mill Rift however he questions the split to the fire departments because Westfall Township Fire Department has to raise 75% of their budget by fundraisers as opposed to 25% of the Mill Rift Fire Department budget. Scott Myer discussed the local service tax money of $10,000 each that is given to the fire departments saying that would mean you would need to give Mill Rift $27,000 to make their budget whole.

Vice-Chairman Fischer said last year he was campaigning to get that split changed and it didn’t go through.

Further discussion was held regarding the amount of money given to each fire department. Money will be shifted from the fire departments. Supervisor Flansburg said we could also use everybody support on this amusement tax that we are trying to pass because we are meeting with a lot of resistance. Bill Koferl stated he didn’t understand their resistance because it is an end tax that the users pay.

Supervisor Banach asked Mr. Myer where we are at. Mr. Myer questioned the supervisors on their salaries. Supervisors Banach, Flansburg and Melvin all donated their salaries. The part-time secretary position will be cut. Mrs. Green will not accept pay for the planning commission meetings and transcription and will take comp time instead. The fire tax will remain at two mills. The capital road fund will remain at 2 1/4 Mills, the general funds will go up to 16.7 Mills.

Chairman Ewbank said there is a problem with the emergency management office, saying that we were paying $153 a quarter and they bumped it up to $1037 per quarter. Chairman Ewbank said Matamoras wants $3900 per year for Westfall share the office. Discussion followed regarding the emergency management office. Chairman Ewbank said by law you have to have an emergency management office. Supervisor Melvin suggested having the office and the municipal building with an emergency office at the Orange & Rockland facility. Further discussion followed. The line item for emergency management will be raised from $3000-$4000.

Mr. Myer said he will change the figures for the next budget meeting. This split for the fire department will be 69% to Westfall Township Fire Department and 31% to Mill Rift. That will work out to $68,000 to WestfallTownship and $37,000 to Mill Rift.

Mrs. Green said the budget won’t be approved next week. The proposed budget will be approved in November on Monday, November 19, 2012. We need to let Solicitor Bernathy know to prepare for court.

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 8:44 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa A. Green, Secretary

October 2, 2012 Regular Meeting

WestfallTownship, Matamoras, PA

October 2, 2012

The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm following a public hearing on the Amusement / Transaction Tax. The meeting was held at the TownshipBuilding on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, WestfallTownship.

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 Treasurer, Scott Myer; Zoning Officer, Michael Rendleman; Bill Schneider, Chad Stewart, Luis Bocaletti, Ken Zielazny, Michael Barth, Lisa Mickles and approximately 17 members of the general public.

AGENDA: Chairman Ewbank asked to add the Pike County Drop off Recycling under new business.  The amended agenda was approved on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.


MINUTES: Minutes of the September 4, 2012 regular meeting were approved on a motion by Supervisor Flansburg. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.

Minutes of the September 26, 2012 special meeting were approved on a motion by Supervisor Melvin. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.

TREASURER’s REPORT: Scott Myer gave the treasurer’s report for January – September stating that we are three quarters of the way through the year or 75%. Income is in line with where we expect to be, and expenses are below budget. The third quarter Katz payment was paid. Supervisor Melvin said he and Supervisor Flansburg will reach out to Mr. Myer. Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to approve report. Motion seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.

POLICE REPORT: Police Chief, Chad Stewart stated there were 5,206 miles patrolled and 227 calls for service. Chief Stewart reminded everyone that there are still break-ins going on. This includes houses and cars many of which are unlocked. Supervisor Melvin questioned if there was a predominant area for that or if it was all over the Township. Chief Stewart said he did not want to answer that. Supervisor Banach asked if patrols have been increased. Chief Stewart answered they have the same amount of patrols but that they have been in the area on a more frequent basis, stating they are limited to what they have in the budget. However, there will be imminent arrests on a few of them. Chief Stewart mentioned the NIXEL alerts along with their website, encouraging people to call the police if they notice anything out of the ordinary. Supervisor Melvin questioned the 15 disorderly conduct asking if it were one specific event or separate offenses. Chief Stewart said he does not recall it being one event. Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to approve the police report. Motion seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.

FIRE DEPARTMENT: Ken Zielazny gave the Mill Rift Fire Department report for September stating they pumped the new engine that they are buying from the Huguenot Fire Department, they received a new brush truck from the Forest Service for free, they had monthly meeting, had a mutual aid structure fire to Department 39, had a dive call at Airport Park, painted the new brush truck, and had pump training with the Huguenot Fire Department. Total man-hours for the month are 77 total equipment hours for the year or 110.

Luis Bocaletti gave the Westfall Township Fire Department Report for September reporting 1 commercial structure fire, 1 Landing zone, 7 Motor Vehicle Accidents, 1 Auto Alarm – Commercial false, 2 Water rescues, 2 Tree/wires, 1 Standby, 1 public service call, 1 smoke investigation. Total calls for September are 17, year to date 163. Squad calls for the month are 37 calls in WestfallTownship, 14 calls covering squad 33, and 1 call covering squad 19. Members also attended various training courses, and the department will be hosting an open house on October 21 at 1:30 pm. Invitations will be going out shortly. Supervisor Melvin asked if there are any fundraising events taking place this month. There are not. Motion to accept both reports made by Vice-Chairman Fischer. Motion seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.

HIGHWAY REPORT: Bill Schneider gave the report for September stating that they worked on equipment maintenance and the compost area. Mr. Schneider attended the road task force meeting. Worked on the drainage problem on Pond Drive, and trimmed trees on Heaters Hill. Paving project will take place shortly. Received 160 ton of antiskid. Worked on the salt shed grant. Rose   Lane paving has been done. Mr. Schneider explained there may be a change order on the Heaters Hill project which should be starting next week, due to rock ledge that may be underneath the area. Supervisor Banach asked up the jackhammer will be used. Mr. Schneider said possibly it may be above and beyond that. Supervisor Banach moved to authorize Chairman Ewbank or Supervisor Flansburg to approve additional expenses for that project if necessary. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor. Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to approve the report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carried with all in favor.

BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Michael Rendleman gave the report stating there were four building permits, two electrical permits and two mechanical permits issued. On the zoning side there were two sign permits and two zoning permits. In addition to that there were two planning submissions turned in. Total fees of $9,428 with $700 outstanding. Supervisor Banach moved to accept the report. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor.

CORRESPONDENCE: On dais for review.


Act 47 Monthly Report: Solicitor Bernathy stated the Township anticipates being removed from the plan by January of 2013. The Township continues to operate within the confines of its budget and continues to meet its financial obligations. The Township continues to provide essential services.  Supervisor Flansburg moved to approve report. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.

Burning Ban: Chairman Ewbank asked for a motion to place the burning ban on the November 8, 2012 meeting for public hearing. Supervisor Banach questioned if we had all the details worked out as to what zones we were including. Chairman Ewbank said it’s the same zone as we had before. Solicitor Bernathy said there needs to be discussion on what needs to go into the ordinance. Chairman Ewbank said the last time we had a public hearing the issues were the leaf collection and working together with Matamoras and those issues have been resolved. Supervisor Banach asked him what areas are we picking that can and can’t burn because there are people on 10th   St. that have three-acre lots. Chairman Ewbank said we’re going from Tenth Street and Mountain Avenue down as far as it goes and follow along to the perimeter of 84 down to the Westfall fire house, on to Mountain Avenue extension and then Mountain Avenue to Tenth Street. Chairman Ewbank said it is a triangle. Supervisor Banach asked about the area back by Home Depot, etc. The ban will not include that area. Chairman Ewbank said this is the congested area. Michael Barth questioned if that restricts just leaves because he has a fireplace out in the backyard. Chairman Ewbank said you can have recreational burning; however there is no burning of yard waste or debris, etc. Mr. Barth asked if the Township was going to dispose of his leaves. Chairman Ewbank answered yes that we will use the Matamoras leaf machine and designate a date and time weather permitting to pick up leaves. Mr. Barth stated that he is not available on Tuesday nights and keeps changing his schedule to come to the Township meetings to discuss this and we keep putting it off. Further questioning if the ordinance will be available prior to the public hearing. Solicitor Bernathy said yes it will be, however it is not in its final form at this time. Chairman Ewbank said the night of the public hearing is a Thursday evening. Supervisor Banach suggested looking at this at a workshop, have a map drawn, and all the pros and cons written down. Stating the leaf pickup we need to talk about. Supervisor Melvin questioned the enforcement. Discussion followed. Mr. Barth said he doesn’t understand why we have to have it. Chairman Ewbank said because the people of Matamoras don’t burn and people in Westfall do, and the smoke goes over to Matamoras. Further stating it is a health issue. Further discussion followed. This will be discussed at the workshop on October 17, 2012. Super Melvin said we will iron out all the details before we move forward. Vice-Chairman Fischer moved to advertise the October 17th meeting as a special meeting. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Banach and carries with all in favor.


Ordinance # 157 – Transaction / Amusement Tax: Tabled.

Hiring of Part   Time Highway Drivers – John Revak, Jose Torres: Chairman Ewbank said we have two applications for part-time drivers for the Highway Department for winter in case they are needed. They are John Revak and José Torres, who are both residents of WestfallTownship. Solicitor Bernathy said this needs to be conditional upon driver history checks. Supervisor Banach questioned Mr. Schneider as to whether or not they have driving experience. Mr. Schneider said that John Revak used to work for the Township and that all drivers are taken out and shown how to operate the plows and use the equipment. Chairman Ewbank pointed out that they are non-CDL drivers. They will not be driving the large truck but only the small pickup trucks. Supervisor Melvin questioned if we did criminal records checks and drug test. Stating he is concerned about them driving around in the snow and ice. Solicitor Bernathy said we will do history checks and an affidavit will need to be signed, stating there had been no violations. Vice-Chairman Fischer commented that if they were found to be inept they would not be called back in. Further discussion followed. The rate of pay is $12 per hour for non-CDL driver. Solicitor Bernathy said to make sure they received a copy of the employee policy manual and sign for it. Motion is made by Vice-Chairman Fischer and seconded by supervisor Banach to higher the two drivers. Motion carried with all in favor.

Hiring of Zoning Officer: Chairman Ewbank said he received a phone call from Carl Fregoni of Building Inspection Underwriters expressing their desire to work as zoning officer for the Township. Mr. Rendleman will continue as our zoning officer only he will be working for BIU. Mr. Rendleman has agreed to this arrangement. Supervisor Banach moved to hire BIU as zoning officer for the Township. Motion is seconded by Vice-Chairman Fischer and carries with all in favor. Supervisor Banach said Mr. Rendleman has done a great job for us and has put up with a lot of aggravation. Supervisor Melvin thanked Mr. Rendleman. Chairman Ewbank said Mr. Rendleman will also be available for our monthly meetings. Discussion followed.

Letter regarding Pike County Recycling: Chairman Ewbank said we received a letter from Louis Troiano a WestfallTownship resident who has informed us that the Pike County Commissioners are in violation of several DEP guidelines for the recycling program, ending the program without another one in place. Chairman Ewbank would like to send a letter to the Pike County Commissioners from the board in support of Mr. Troiano’s position. Supervisor Banach said we have to make sure that everything on that letter is correct. Chairman Ewbank said he spoke about it with Chris Wood earlier in the day. Lisa Mickles questioned if he’s speaking about DEP, stating she wrote about this already and the Commissioners did have an approved plan in place, having the independent haulers haul the recyclables. Supervisor Banach suggests forwarding the letter to the Commissioners.

Beth Brelje questioned the Supervisors thoughts on the recycling program. Chairman Ewbank said that WestfallTownship does not have recycling or garbage program, and he understands that the independent haulers are picking up the recyclables. Supervisor Melvin said he lives than a private community where they use the dumpster for their garbage. Discussion followed.


Delaware Valley School   District Gym Addition: Tabled awaiting NPDES approval.

Mr. Rendleman questioned if the board wanted to set a start date for his new hours. The board said whenever Mr. Rendleman is available.

ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 10:12 pm on a motion by Vice-Chairman Fischer. Motion seconded by Supervisor Flansburg and carried with all in favor.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lisa A. Green, Secretary


October 2, 2012 Public Hearing

Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA

October 2, 2012

A public hearing was held on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 for the purpose of taking public comment on the proposed Amusement and Transaction Tax for WestfallTownship. The meeting was held at the WestfallTownshipBuilding on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, Matamoras, PA18336 at 7:05 p.m.

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 Treasurer, Scott Myer, Ann Marie Catalano, Bob Bostinto, Michael Sullivan, John Schneider, Allen Johns, Bob Stewart, Tony Brunovsky, Bill Behrens, Brian Shaub, Beth Brelje, Kurt Staiger, Linda Deboer, Doug Hay, Rick Lander, Dave Jones, Michael Barth, John Dalton, Lisa Mickles, Ann Pilcher, and approximately 37 members of the general public.

Chairman Ewbank welcomed everyone to the meeting stating we would be having a public hearing on the Transaction and Amusement tax and turned the meeting over to Solicitor Bernathy.

Solicitor Bernathy said he had information to share with everyone as we are here regarding a hearing for purposes of considering the enactment of a tax. Stating it is sometimes not necessarily well received. The supervisors do not intend to the address that portion of the ordinance that deals with the transaction tax on the sale of fireworks. The supervisors may in the future consider a transaction tax on the sale of fireworks in addition to possibly a tax on the sale of cigarettes but that is not going to be considered this evening. The supervisors will provide an opportunity for those entities who sells fireworks additional time to meet with and address concerns. We received correspondence from at least two entities within the Township who sell fireworks who asked that the matter be delayed so that they may be present; including but not limited to BJ Alan Incorporated. Keystone Fireworks is represented. With that said the purpose this evening is for the enactment of an amusement tax. To be clear this will be a tax on the entire amusement industry which includes all manner and forms of entertainment with specific regard to sports, recreation and pastimes which admission charges are obtained from the public directly or indirectly. Notice of the hearing was provided pursuant to the 2nd Class Township Code section 1601. The supervisors are required before they adopt an ordinance to provide notice of hearing by publication not more than 60 days nor less than seven days at least once in one paper circulating generally in the Township. Proof of publication will be entered into the record of these proceedings. This notice was placed in the Pike County Dispatch with the entire text of the ordinance which was run on September 20,2012. Notice of the hearing was additionally provided at Supervisors previously scheduled regular meetings which were advertised in the beginning of the year. At those meetings discussion transpired, questions were asked and answered deliberation occurred. At this time Solicitor Bernathy asked to bring everyone’s attention to the local tax enabling act that provides that a Township may in its discretion by ordinance for general revenue purposes levy, assess and collect as it shall determine on a person, transaction, occupation, privilege, subject and personal property within its limits. So the law is very clear regarding what the supervisors can do. The supervisors find that a more uniform tax application is called for to specifically relieve the burden which they find is unfairly placed upon the shoulders of property owners within WestfallTownship. It is necessary as well in light of the impact on the Township which resulted from certain litigation, also which required the Township as everyone knows to file for bankruptcy protection which resulted in the Township being declared as we speak a distressed municipality currently participating in the Act 47 plan. It is the supervisors stated intention to once the tax is enacted and collected in conjunction with additional future tax purposes which may include transfer or earned income tax, to reduce property taxes on the property owners of the Township; to place a partial burden on those who use the Township services and resources without having to pay for the services which includes streets and roads, emergency services, fire and rescue, Eastern Pike Regional Police Department. All of these services which are provided by the Township and paid for by the property owners within WestfallTownship. Hopefully there’s going to be a more uniform application of the tax to reduce the property taxes upon the property owners and the Township. Reference is specifically made to among other cases the case of Whitewater Challenges vs. WeatherlySchool District. That is a case that was reviewed by the Commonwealth Court in Pennsylvania back in 1989.  Specifically that was a case that had to do with specific regard to the administration of an amusement tax and how that local court upheld the administration of that tax upon the canoe liveries service. Solicitor Bernathy said we are not singling out the canoe liveries, however in this case that has been upheld by the court identified as an amusement tax and agreed with the lower court regarding the administration of that particular tax. The supervisors want to recognize that various other municipalities have enacted similar amusement taxes including the city of Pittsburgh, Johnstown, PennTownship, various other municipalities have enacted these amusement taxes and they have been upheld by the court to be a valid exercise of the Township Supervisors authority. Going back to the issues that may be raised regarding preemption, that case that Solicitor Bernathy referred to indicated and ruled specifically that that kind of amusement tax was not a preemption of a field nor express statutory prohibition of a local taxing authority when assessing an amusement tax on a White Water livery and that was requested on those grounds. With that said and understanding that these types of amusement taxes have been enacted in various places in the Commonwealth we would proceed by saying research has been done on this and Solicitor Bernathy has contacted the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, out of Harrisburg. We pay a fee and they help us to provide services to all of the townships in the Commonwealth. They have reviewed the ordinance as it has been prepared and stated through their counsel Scott Coburn that this is admissible and constitutional and they have made it a legislative priority to maintain amusement taxes across the state. With that said we are only proceeding on those limited circumstances. There’s going to be additional language addressed here and we intend to take additional time after this as required by law to re-advertise and to do so within 10 days. Whatever additions are made will be advertised as well. Solicitor Bernathy asked that those present who would like to make a statement raise your hand, state their names and be recognized to be a part of the proceedings. Michael Sullivan with the Pike County Chamber of Commerce; John Schneider representing the canoe livery owners, Rick Landers, Dave Jones and Tony Brunovsky and also others that are not here tonight; Ann Pilcher with the Pocono Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau; Allen Johns, Bob Stewart Pennsylvania Pyrotechnics Association and Tony Brunovsky owner of Indianhead canoes. Solicitor Bernathy said as this progresses if somebody else wants to make a statement that is fine, it is not our intention to not hear what anyone is saying and we certainly appreciate everyone coming out. With that said copies of the ordinance are provided here and have been advertised. Regarding moving forward with the adoption of the specific type of tax we’re going to add registration requirements ordering that every producer who at the time is conducting and every producer who thereafter begins to conduct any amusement within the Township shall register with Township Secretary on forms provided by the Township, the Township will issue an annual or temporary registration certificate. There are also reporting requirements of the producer for purposes of ascertaining the amount of taxes collected and payable by the producer to the Township in the form of a report of the amount of the tax collected by the producer during the preceding month showing all of the information which is required by the Township. In addition we would also like the record to reflect that we have a collection agency in mind, the supervisors have designated Berkheimer Associates. There is a proposal that has been received from Berkheimer Associates as far as who is going to be actually collecting. Solicitor Bernathy asked if the supervisors would like to make a statement before we progress.

Chairman Ewbank said just to reiterate what was said we are not singling out any one entity. We are just trying to reduce the tax for property owners in WestfallTownship. We are not trying to penalize anyone,  this is going to help everyone if this tax is  enacted it is going to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Supervisor Banach said it has been a long time and that we have thought very hard about this. In fact people have asked from the audience since 2006 and 2007 on how to
come up with ways to provide revenue to lower the taxes in the Township. Further stating that if any people travel you pay a few cents extra for things, if you hunt out West and buy a deer license you pay $.50 to be rescued. It’s one of the things that we are looking for people who use our facilities to chip in a little bit and reduce the taxes for the residents. That is our hope and goal in this. It is not to penalize anyone it is to have the people who are using our resources in the Township to contribute a little bit. If you travel and you look at your bill at the hotel you pay a percentage and that goes to the municipalities.

Supervisor Flansburg added that to be clear the taxes that we collect will also lower the taxes for the people that are being taxed. Someone asked if that will be in writing. Supervisor Flansburg answered sure. Solicitor Bernathy said that will be made part of the minutes and he wants everyone to understand that that is the overall intent and this is the first step in making a uniform application of the tax to spread out the burden and make a more uniform and fair way for the property owners which includes ironically the liveries which may own property in the Township and eventually get their property taxes reduced.

Bill Behrens asked if eating would be considered an amusement. Solicitor Bernathy said no that would not. If you pay you for something such as an admission fee for recreation, sporting events and concerts, live forms of entertainment and certainly if you’re serving dinner or having a function and you are not providing entertainment or amusement it would not apply. If you charge an admission you will be charged. For example if you go to a bar and there’s a guitar player and you are not paying for admission you will not be charged. The focus is on the entertainment and amusement industry. To make it fair you have to be paying for something within the limits of the Township. Solicitor Bernathy said just so everyone understands it amounts to one penny on the dollar. For instance if you are charged five dollars it amounts to five cents.

Brian Shaub of Keystone fireworks questioned if 1% is as high as it can go, or if it can increase in the future. Solicitor Bernathy said his research reveals that it can go as high as 2% and the supervisors are considering something much less than that. Further stating there is a question regarding how much revenue this is going to generate, unlike the Earned Income Tax we had Berkheimer tell us how much that would generate. Stating that 90% of Pennsylvania has an Earned Income Tax, we are one of the few that do not have it, however that is not on the table tonight. Brian Shaub asked if it is capped at 2%. Solicitor Bernathy said yes he believes so and that there is case law prohibiting us from doing anything on the movie industry. That is exempted. There are certain cases which exempts certain things, however there are also cases which have been ruled by the court such as canoe liveries have already been held to be amusement can be taxable under the local tax.

Attorney John Schneider asked Solicitor Bernathy to confirm they were not going to act on anything tonight that the board was going to re-advertise. Solicitor Bernathy said that is correct they’re going to re-advertise within 10 days before they make a decision which has to do with any additions to the ordinance. Mr. Schneider asked if there was going to be another public hearing. Solicitor Bernathy said that is up to the supervisors. They have to at least wait 10 days before they can make a decision because they’re adding certain provisions this evening which have to do with collecting the recording requirements in that the businesses are going to have to get a certificate from the Township Secretary. That puts the recording requirements on the producer to go right to Berkheimer. Mr. Schneider asked if he had copies of the latest draft. Solicitor Bernathy said that has not changed they’re just deleting provisions from the draft involved in the transaction tax as it applies to the sale of fireworks. They are only deleting provisions as far as the advertisement is concerned. He has already gone over the additions that have been made. Mr. Schneider questioned if section 5.b that involves 1% on the canoe liveries will be about amusements in general. Solicitor Bernathy said yes.

Rick Lander asked if there was an exemption for navigable rivers. Solicitor Bernathy said that is not something that he could find in the case law. Mr. Lander asked if they’re charging an amusement tax on the Lehigh. Solicitor Bernathy said he could not answer that question. However in the city of Pittsburgh they are charging a 5% amusement tax and he found some cities charging as much as 10%. Yet solicitor Bernathy thinks the ceiling is 2%.

Allen Johns asked if it was one percent on their gross income. Solicitor Bernathy said whatever you are charging for admission for purposes of entertainment, recreation, or sport it would be 1%. So if it’s seven dollars to get in you’re talking about seven cents. It is only for their admission cost it does not include food or drink. This is a general application to the amusement industry not only on canoe liveries.

Ann Pilcher asked if safety equipment would also apply to the tax. For example the safety equipment involved with renting a kayak or canoe. Further questioning if you would deduct the cost of the equipment. Solicitor Bernathy said it would be the actual charge.

Beth Brelje asked if we could the list all the entities that will be taxed. Solicitor Bernathy said specifically it is the intention to address the entire amusement industry that includes all manner and forms of entertainment including but not limited to concerts, circuses, carnivals, all forms of entertainment and parks, floor shows in addition to canoe liveries. It would be applicable to a golf course.

Robert Bostinto asked if local schools are exempted from this tax. Solicitor Bernathy said he found examples where the school district passed this type of tax.

Solicitor Bernathy said this is not the sales tax, and we are engaged in some type of speculation as to how much revenue this will generate.

Kirk Staiger asked if we had projected revenue and whether or not the 1% would justify the record keeping and collection effort and entanglements that this would entail.

Supervisor Banach commented that we are at 31.2 Mills and our general government has been above 14 Mills for the last several years. If we can get it below 14 Mills which is a state mandated and take 4 or 5 Mills off our taxes that will be the greatest thing. Stating if we have a windfall at 1% we will reduce taxes or lower the amusement tax. Chairman Ewbank stated the boards thought is that at one percent if you were paying $100 for something would you balk at paying an additional one dollar. Mr. Staiger said he wouldn’t but he knows many people that would. Supervisor Flansburg said he wanted to be clear on something in that the state of Pennsylvania taxes everything there is to tax and there is the little tiny window of things that we can do and this is one of the things that we can do. Supervisor Banach said we didn’t dream this up overnight we have written to Sen. Baker trying to impose a county sales tax. Stating basically WestfallTownship is the Mecca for all the businesses here in the County and we get all transients and nonresidents coming in to our community and using our facilities and we do not get anything back. Further stating our taxpayers hold the burden of that. If we received a county sales tax and that was spread amongst the County we could lower people’s property taxes. The County and Lisa Baker are working on that but it could be 20 years off. This is one way of trying to make it fair for the residents of our town. Solicitor Bernathy said we are trying to make it fair for the emergency services as well because they will benefit from this tax. River rescues were discussed. Chairman Ewbank stated the cost to the fire department over the last few years is at $50,000.

Bill Behrens questioned the buses coming into the Hotels for entertainment and a meal, would we be able to get that revenue. Solicitor Bernathy said if they charge admission yes. The room no.

Dave Jones the Kittatinny Canoes questioned how you were going to collect fees from the other users besides the liveries. Solicitor Bernathy said we’re going to place a reporting requirement, we’re going to put the burden on anyone recognized being in the industry. Mr. Jones said he is talking about people that fall off the cliffs, and people that swim and drown. Solicitor Bernathy said he understands what Mr. Jones is trying to say that those River rescues are not all from people who rent canoes.

Bob Stewart from Pennsylvania pyrotechnics said for those interested in the amusement tax just Google PSATs and Google Pennsylvania amusement tax. Also stating he’s seen amusement taxes going up to five and 10% stating it is maxed out at 10%. Mr. Stewart asked if the township is placing an amusement tax on Phantom Fireworks and Keystone Fireworks. Solicitor Bernathy said that would be a transaction tax and that is not on the table this evening. Mr. Stewart said because they pay substantial property taxes and this would be an additional tax as well. Supervisor Flansburg said they are not paying anymore property taxes then our residents pay. Chairman Ewbank said this is a tax that they can add onto their admission in the goal in the end would be to reduce property taxes. Mr. Stewart said they have allocated funds for litigation. Solicitor Bernathy said he is sure they have and he understands that all eyes are probably on the Township from up and down the borders.

Beth Brelje asked if the supervisors could help her with the math because they indicated that it was difficult to keep the budget in check and yet stated that they were going to give money to emergency services and lower property taxes. Stating that seems like an awful lot to do with maybe not a huge sum of money. Chairman Ewbank said we do not know what were going to generate. However, if Mr. Jones told us how many canoes they rented that would help. Solicitor Bernathy said that however they do not have to give us the information.

Mr. Bostinto said at $1 million it is only $10,000 worth of revenue. Stating it is not a lot of money. Discussion followed.

Rick Lander questioned if this is a tax does that mean that tax-exempt organizations are exempt. Also stating that he has a landing in WestfallTownship that is just a landing spot and most of his transactions are all up north in New YorkState. Solicitor Bernathy said he would argue that contact is made within the jurisdictional limits and if they are getting off the river here in WestfallTownship they would be taxed. Supervisor Banach said property taxes that the Township receives from Mr. Lander is $395.93. Mr. Lander said it is more than that. Supervisor Banach said that is the money that the Township receives it does not include County or School tax.

Mr. Johns asked what happens if your company was running in the red and that if their gross revenue is $1,000,000 and they are $150,000 in the hole. Solicitor Bernathy stated there is no hardship exemption. Mr. Johns then questioned if he is paying $20,000 in real estate taxes is that not going to be taken off the top of his gross revenue. Supervisor Ewbank said it is the one percent charge on admission to each facility. Discussion followed. Mr. Bostinto stated this is the pass-through charge and said that people should put into context and look at their cell phone bills because one third of the bill is taxes and surcharges. Further stating the fee is just one penny on the dollar. Discussion followed.

Michael Sullivan said when the federal income tax started in 1913 it is important to realize that it was one percent and now we are paying over 40%. Mr. Sullivan said he understands the boards circumstances however one of the things of the Chamber is upset about is that there was no contact between the board and the people who were going to be impacted. Mr. Sullivan said he realizes it’s a $.44 tax on the canoe that’s going to rent for $44 however the business owners are concerned because they are already being taxed heavily and they feel there is a limit on what people will pay. Mr. Sullivan said in 2007 we had 977 businesses in PikeCounty employing over 8000 people, the next year there were 949 and the year after that there were 917, in 2010 they were down to 887 stating they have lost over 10% of the business community and approximately 600 jobs. Further stating there are livery people here who didn’t make any money last year. Mr. Sullivan says if you divide the cost of the canoe by .29 that will tell you how much it costs for the people to make the trip to come up. Mr. Sullivan said you don’t want to go against tourism, also commenting on the enforcement provisions of the ordinance saying he feels it sounds pretty tough. Solicitor Bernathy said that is only if they don’t comply with the recording provisions and that the Township is going to try to make that as user-friendly as possible. Solicitor Bernathy said he is a small business owner and the business owners are welcome to speak as well. Further stating the Supervisors have 90 days to enact the ordinance and that this is the purpose of the public hearing to take public comment. Supervisor Melvin said as a board they have to do things according to legal requirements they can’t go out and talk to businesses separately because it would be a violation of the sunshine law. This is why the ordinance came out and they had a public hearing.

Linda Deboer stated that a few years ago when the local service tax was passed she had to pay $52 per year to work in WestfallTownship and no one contacted her and asked her feelings on the subject. Questioning why should it be any different now. Mrs. Deboer said people do not call you to say what is being proposed.

Vice-Chairman Fischer said they been talking about an earned income tax for the last several years and we are trying to get around that. Some of the supervisors do not want to impose that tax so they are trying to get around that any way they can.

AnnMarie Catalano of Milford Landing said she lives in a private community and they are self-supporting. She thanks the Police Department and fire department for coming in and helping them and further thanked the Supervisors for imposing this tax stating her husband is 87 years old and hasn’t had a raise in his pension since the 80’s and they would love to go down the river but they can’t afford it.

Mr. Johns said he knows just about all of the supervisors personally, stating the supervisors could find out how much revenue this tax would generate. They could’ve asked and used his business as a model. Supervisor Flansburg said quite frankly Mr. Johns just came in to the mix tonight when they decided to uniformly apply the tax. Mr. Johns said a few years ago he helped out with snowplowing and that may be he and the other businesses could get together and hold a fund raiser. Discussion followed.

Attorney Schneider said as the Westfall resident he applauds the supervisors for trying to reduce the taxes in general, however something that concerns him is the penalties and he sees a logistical nightmare commenting that the business owners are going to probably try to find a rope way not to meet the provisions. Mr. Schneider said he did want to speak regarding the enabling legislation as he stated in his memo to Solicitor Bernathy whereby Solicitor Bernathy mentioned the case of Whitewater. Mr. Schneider stated that tax is before the Maritime Act that was passed in 2002; which basically provides that you cannot tax anything that goes on to a navigable stream. Stating there is a case in Pennsylvania where the court ruled that the Township did not have the right to impose any fee on the rental of canoes going into their rivers because it was a navigable river. He also has a Tennessee case from the Supreme Court, where they upheld the 2002 Act. Stating it is interesting the way that 2002 passed because they are not collecting the tax any longer. Mr. Schneider feels the canoe liveries are exempt. Solicitor Bernathy said he respectfully completely disagrees with. Mr. Schneider. Stating he has cases where various other municipalities that impose the amusement tax. Mr. Schneider said he also found an exemption regarding exercise and weight management, questioning if this would apply. Solicitor Bernathy said if he wanted to try to prove that exemption he was welcome to try.

Luis Bocaletti, president of the Westfall fire Department wanted to make sure the public realizes this is not an emergency services tax.

Beth Brelje questioned if the board just decided tonight to uniformly apply the tax. Solicitor Bernathy said went on through the day. Ms. Brelje questioned if this was at a formal meeting. Further questioning the high school football games suggesting the high school sporting events is a super low ball kind of the tax. Solicitor Bernathy said we have to make sure that this uniformly applies to all forms of entertainment and that includes sports. A resident questioned if the School District was tax exempt. Solicitor Bernathy said he didn’t believe so. Discussion followed. Mr. Bostinto questioned to be clear the amusement tax has been imposed by other municipalities throughout the state and has been successfully defended against litigation. So if someone wants to bring suit they probably will not be successful. Solicitor Bernathy said he is not saying that with all due respect to the attorneys and business owners present.

Mr. Jones says as a tax payer of WestfallTownship he would love to see the taxes reduced and he would like to see revenues increased, but he questions if revenues will be decreased because businesses won’t be likely to come to WestfallTownship. Also, questioning why should he stay in WestfallTownship when he has land across the river, because if this tax is imposed that’s where he’s going to go. Commenting if you want to make more money you should not kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Mrs. Deboer said she doesn’t know what golden egg he is laying. Supervisor Banach questioned the amount of sales tax he is paying in Pennsylvania which is 6%, New York is 8.25%. So if he moves across the river he will still be paying 1 1/4% more. Mr. Jones said that’s not entirely true. It costs more money to travel throughout WestfallTownship adding an additional 6 miles to their trip which cost time and money. Further stating that last year he made hardly any money and this year even though the weather is nicer their numbers are down because people can’t afford to come. Mr. Jones said people want to go to a water park or go to the shore or a concert, stating that they are seeing a decline in this business. Supervisor Banach questioned if he remembers when the fire departments asked five cents per canoe and Mr. Jones refused. Mr. Jones claimed if they get rid of the tax they will give the fire departments more money than the tax will generate. Solicitor Bernathy asked what Mr. Jones is proposing. Mr. Jones said we should step back and take a good look at this tax and talk to the businesses. Further discussion followed regarding being business friendly and holding fundraisers. Mr. Jones said there is a lot of ways to generate revenues. Mr. Jones said they’re forcing business out of Westfall and in the end they’re going to get less.

Supervisor Melvin said they’ve done different things such as eliminating the building inspector and going third-party, so that we do not have to pay an inspector unless a permit is issued. We’re trying to do things to lessen the burden on the cost side and cutting other costs and trying to manage that for the 2000 residents that are here. Supervisor Flansburg said for anyone that thinks we are not business friendly they were not at the last meeting where we made amendments to the zoning laws to allow businesses to operate. Mr. Bostinto said two years ago people were up in arms over the Katz tax and he applauds the supervisors for thinking outside the box, stating that if you’re not part of the solution then your part of the problem. Vice-Chairman Fischer said we’re still entertaining the earned income tax and he personally does not want to go that route. But if we don’t find another way that may be the route were going to go.

Mr. Sullivan questioned how much undeveloped property we have in Westfall suggesting that we could get more revenue from developing the property than we can through this tax. Chairman Ewbank said unfortunately the Route 209 corridor is pretty much built up.

Ann Pilcher, Director of Community Relations with the Pocono Mountains Convention and Visitor Bureau said she originally came to speak on behalf of the canoe liveries and after hearing how the tax is going she is now here to represent yoga instructors, workshops, recreational providers, and wellness providers throughout the whole region. Stating this is an economic issue. The board is looking for a solution and the Pocono Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking for solution. Ms. Pilcher said this will impact all of those businesses that are coming in and they are big supporters of Whitewater challengers. Further stating this four county region that she’s speaking of is generating $1 billion in the area. Ms. Pilcher said they have a lot of CDD friends that have dealt with this issue and have tried to find solution for emergency services specifically. Ms. Pilcher suggests the businesses getting together and making a donation to the emergency services, saying she just wanted to voice her support for these businesses. Supervisor Melvin questioned if they had a figure on what the hotels in our area are paying in the hotel tax for the tourism board. Because everyone else can come into our town and we don’t have access to the money, but the tourism board does. Ms. Pilcher said part of the money from that hotel tax goes to support the businesses in WestfallTownship, in marketing programs. Supervisor Banach said not to be argumentative, however, a specific canoe livery spends less than $400 in land taxes to WestfallTownship and to compare that to the impact they have on the Township doesn’t compare. Mr. Jones asked Supervisor Banach to tell how much he’s paying in taxes. Mr. Jones pays approximately $7000 to WestfallTownship. Mr. Sullivan said in the end you are adding to their cumulative effect. Further discussion followed.

Tony Brunovsky of Indianhead Canoes said he came to the County 37 years ago , putting his financial welfare on the line and growing his business. Stating part of the reason Best Western is doing well is from the influx of visitors in the summertime. Mr. Brunovsky feels that the private camps and private people that use the boat landing do not pay anything to the Township and yet the supervisors want to tax the businesses. He feels that everyone should sit down together and see what they could come up with. Commenting that the enforcement provisions of the ordinance scare him. Mr. Brunovsky said he would bet that local businesses rely on the summer influx of visitors. Mr. Bostinto questioned how much property tax would be reduced with the imposition of this tax. Solicitor Bernathy questioned the $44 canoe rental charge. Asking if that is the average price. And asked how many individual can hours the average per year and how much do they pay. Mr. Brunovsky said the National Park Service has those figures. Further discussion followed regarding getting together and the tax on the school districts which Mr. Brunovsky finds offensive. Supervisor Flansburg said he for one is in favor of a discussion behind closed doors with the business owners. Mr. Schneider said the canoe liveries also pay permit fees to the National Park Service and there is administrative red tape that they go through to run their businesses. Supervisor Banach questioned if these liveries pay the Park Service for the use of the river. They do. Mr. Jones said we should be getting part of that money back in grant money. The Township doesn’t receive any money in grants they were cut two years ago.

Mr. Barth questioned the tax on the sporting events. Solicitor Bernathy said it is the 1% tax on the admission to sporting event. Saying it would be one penny on the dollar for the Township and thousands of dollars for the school district to figure out the record-keeping. Stating the school taxes are going to go up.

Ms. Pilcher asked if Berkheimer Associates has a cost proposal on what they will charge to collect the tax. Solicitor Bernathy answered 3%.

Mr. Jones said he didn’t want to question what Mr. Bernathy received per hour but Supervisor Banach said Solicitor Bernathy receives $100 per hour and his firm normally receives hundred $150 per hour to $200 per hour, and we will not let him go above that. Mr. Jones asked if they figured litigation into the costs of this tax. Solicitor Bernathy said he does not feel this tax will cost a lot in litigation, because he has case law where the amusement tax has passed. Mr. Jones said they cannot pass this cost on to their customers, further stating there will be mistakes made and possibly the supervisors are looking to gain money through violations. Solicitor Bernathy said that is a maximum penalty per day for willful violations. Mr. Jones spoke more about his opposition to the tax. Supervisor Flansburg said once again he is open to discussions with the businesses.

Mrs. DeBoer said she didn’t know that you could negotiate a tax. Ms. Brelje questioned if they had ten days to readvertise. Solicitor Bernathy said yes they have 10 days to readvertise and 90 days to take action. It is up to the board to make a decision on what they want to do.

Mr. Brunovsky said since they have taken the fireworks transaction tax off the table. Why do they not table the amusement tax. Saying they are going into their off-season and there will be no revenue now. Supervisor Melvin said that’s why they’re discussing it now during the off-season.

Doug hay said the board should be commended for trying to reduce property taxes. In the long run he believes it’s worth having a dialogue and he believes the board is on the right path. Mr. Jones continued with his feelings on the opposition of the tax. Citing advertisement costs, and his feeling that the board is driving him out. Supervisor Banach said the only other way we can raise revenue is to raise Mills and increase taxes and we are trying to find ways to control our Millage. Further discussion followed. Mr. Barth commented that both sides cannot agree so why not agree to get together. John Dalton said the supervisors are willing to work with the businesses and make a decision, stating the Township needs the businesses and we need to come up with numbers and projections. Inviting the businesses to meet with the Supervisors.

Supervisor Flansburg questioned if they advertise they have 90 days to take action. Solicitor Bernathy said if you want to readvertise it would be to refine the ordinance and focus on the amusement end of things and then have an additional public hearing to make it clean. Supervisor Banach questioned if the businesses want to come to one of the meetings that we have scheduled for the budget to sit down on the 9th or 17th of October. Solicitor Bernathy asked if the business owners would provide numbers to the Township in confidence knowing that the Township will keep it in strict confidence and not disclose those numbers. Mr. Brunovsky said you can obtain those numbers from the National Park Service. Supervisor Banach said during the previous two boards people from the public have said we need to find more ways to reduce property taxes. Supervisor Flansburg said the business owners have suggested a solution can be brought up here, so we’re inviting you to meet with us. Mr. Brunovsky asked if we have our figures together on what the school district is generating. Further discussion followed.

Supervisor Melvin said we have always talked about an amusement tax. But when you think about our Township the focus automatically goes to the canoe liveries. Mr. Schneider said the ordinance as proposed specifically mentioned canoe liveries, and his clients are not willing to put anything on the table other than make contributions to emergency services. Further stating if we don’t have numbers they are not going to give us numbers. Questioning if we know what the amusement tax effect will be on other businesses in WestfallTownship. Mr. Schneider said he provided case law to Solicitor Bernathy which he respectfully asks that it be reviewed. Suggesting that there be a subcommittee to meet with the businesses. Supervisor Banach said we have meetings on October 9 and 17th and that is when the board will be together.

Kurt Staiger stated the Township is in distress due to legal issues and has concerns that litigation on this tax could run into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, also suggesting that the supervisors meet with the business owners. Supervisor Flansburg asked if Mr. Staiger is aware that they cannot meet outside of an advertised meeting. Mr. Staiger said he will encourage the businesses to meet with the board.

Ms. Pilcher questions if we have a list of businesses that this will affect. Solicitor Bernathy says they have some sense of who that will affect. Solicitor Bernathy commented that the Bureau and Chamber could probably obtain that information and provide it the Township and we would certainly welcome that.

Supervisor Banach moved to re-advertise the ordinance for November 8, 2012 at 7 PM. Motion is seconded by supervisor Flansburg and carries with all in favor.

Mr. Bostinto said in order to make up $82,000 which is two mills. You would need $8.2 million in gross receipts questioning if WestfallTownship as a whole would generate that sort of business. The board said there are other things such as the transaction tax that was taken off the table tonight. That may help to reduce the millage. Discussion followed. Mr. Jones said we would not even generate ½ mill , questioning if it will be worth it.

Public hearing closed at 9:21 pm on a motion by Vice-Chairman Fischer. Motion is seconded by Supervisor Melvin and carries with all in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa A. Green, Secretary

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