The Westfall Township Planning Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 27, 2014, has been cancelled due to lack of an agenda.
Jodi Hulse, Secretary
The Westfall Township Planning Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 27, 2014, has been cancelled due to lack of an agenda.
Jodi Hulse, Secretary
The Westfall Township Planning Workshop scheduled for Thursday, May 8, 2014 has been cancelled due to lack of agenda.
Jodi Hulse, Secretary
Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
April 23, 2014
Joint Meeting-Westfall Township and Matamoras Borough
The Joint Meeting between the Westfall Township Board of Supervisor and the Matamoras Borough Council was held Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 7:00 pm. The meeting was held at the Matamoras Borough Building located at 10 Avenue I, Matamoras, PA.
Those present were Chairman, Larry Flansburg; Vice Chairman, Robert Melvin; Supervisor, Lester Buchanan; Supervisor, Jerry Dotey; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy; and Secretary, Jodi Hulse. Supervisor, Raymond Banach was not present. Also present were Mayor, Janet Clark; President, Joe Sain; Councilwoman, JoAnn Featherman; Councilman, Pete Sigreto; Councilman, Kevin Rose; Councilman, Dayne Losee; Junior Councilmember, Marielle Cavallaro; Solicitor, Eric Hamill; and Secretary, Nancy Buchanan. Councilman, Dave Clark and Councilwoman, Kelli Walsh were not present.
Also present were Beth Brelje, Chuck Pranski, Christina Robins, Kelly Dolge, Loretta Buchanan, Donald Smith, Bobbi Height, Lynn Moore and approximately 45 members of the general public.
Both the board and the council introduced themselves.
President Sain welcomed all and stated public comment will be held the end of the discussion of the three agenda topics.
AGENDA: Chairman Flansburg requested to add the “Burning Ban/Ordinance” to the agenda. Councilman Sigreto requested to add “Westfall representation on the Matamoras Water Authority Board”.
OLD BUSINESS: None
1. Compost Area: Chairman Flansburg addressed the council and asked the reason Matamoras residents no longer take their leaves to Matamoras. Supervisor Buchanan said we have a grant to run the compost area. He said he assumed Supervisor Flansburg has read the grant. Supervisor Buchanan said we have a composting grant which was from the DEP and that is how the chipper was purchased which is owned jointly by Matamoras and Westfall. He said at the time this was brought up to Mr. Schneider he told Board that we cannot just do away with the area since there was a grant. Chairman Flansburg did not say he necessarily wants to do away with the compost area. He once had a conversation with Dave Clark. The stream runs very close to our compost area and he is concerned that there could be an environmental issue if something hazardous is dumped. Chairman Flansburg asked Mr. Clark (in the previous conversation) if something were to happen and a find was assessed to the Township, if Matamoras would pay for half. Chairman Flansburg said Mr. Clark said no. He said if that was the case then we would probably need to close the dump. Supervisor Flansburg said that Mr. Clark then threatened that Matamoras would to sue the Township. Chairman Flansburg said he would like to get to the bottom of this and to confirm that Matamoras is a partner in the compost area. He asked the council if there were ever a fine assessed if they would be responsible for half of the payment. President Sain said the DEP would shut it down and then assess a fine. Councilman Sigreto said he does not know how leaves could make a problem unless oil was mixed in. Chairman Flansburg said he is concerned about the key being available after hours at the Matamoras Borough Building. Councilman Sigreto said it is the same at Westfall. Chairman Flansburg said we do not have a key left out after hours. Secretary Buchanan said the key has not been left out in over a year now since someone complained. Chairman Flansburg expressed his concerns about illegal dumping after hours or even during business hours. If someone hides something under the leaves it could be a problem. There was additional conversation regarding the compost area. Supervisor Buchanan said the leaves being dumped up there is the least thing to worry about. Chairman Flansburg said he is concerned about what is under that leaf pile and he does not know what is there. Supervisor Melvin said we do need to be careful since illegal dumping could cause a liability. He said we need to make as many safeguards as possible. He said if one or two people go in there and do the wrong thing, where does the liability fall if that happens. Chairman Flansburg said he just wants to be sure the township has a partner in this and that they are half responsible for everything. Councilman Rose said there is a signed contract which confirms this. He said if Chairman Flansburg would have read the document he would have known it. Chairman Flansburg said he cannot possibly read every document that the township had before he arrived and that is the reason he is asking the questions. Supervisor Buchanan said to Chairman Flansburg, now you have the answer. Mr. Sigreto said this was discussed at the last Westfall Supervisor Meeting and a letter was to be sent. Secretary Hulse said she was waiting until tonight’s discussion. Solicitor Bernathy said there has been discussion at the meetings regarding the monitoring of dumping. Gary Babb said he monitors the dump site on Saturdays. Mr. Sigreto said that is good for the weekends but what about during the week is a concern. Mr. Babb said if there was monitoring during the week the materials could be separated so if someone needed wood there would be a separate pile. Councilman Rose said one would wonder if anyone has ever found anything on the site other than brush or leaves that would prompt this discussion. Supervisor Buchanan said when he worked on the road department they would check it every morning and they would remove anything that was dumped illegally.
2. Transaction Tax: Solicitor Bernathy said he has done some preliminary research on trying to generate some revenue for Westfall Township and one of the areas that we focused on was taxing. He said he feels there is an opportunity out there and we have kind of reached out informally and kind of tested the water with some of the businesses in Westfall Township to see what their position would be if we imposed a transaction tax. The business owners were open to negotiate and cooperate and not oppose the imposition of such a transaction tax. He said this has to do with cigarettes and fireworks in both municipalities. We are trying to figure out a way with the impact it has on infrastructure in Matamoras and Westfall with people coming from New York and New Jersey to purchase the cigarettes and fireworks. We are just throwing around some ideas regarding the imposition of the tax. One of our business owners responded by asking if Westfall imposes the tax and Matamoras does not. He said obviously if people know there is an additional tax in Westfall it would burden their business. People would purchase the cigarettes and fireworks in a place where they are less expensive. Solicitor Bernathy said that is an overview of where our thoughts were. Westfall can certainly use the money but he is unaware of Matamoras’ budget. He said we have put some feelers out with the local merchants. We are always concerned about it being challenged and end up in court. He said he has not done as much research on the cigarettes as he has on the fireworks. He added the law does provide for the ability for us to impose this transaction tax. We wanted to know the thoughts of Matamoras if we were to move forward with imposing the tax he feels it is important to protect the business owners in Westfall. They are concerned about the amount of the tax but more concerned about customers going to Matamoras if the prices were less expensive. Supervisor Banach asked if the School would get a percentage of the tax. Solicitor Bernathy said it is up to the School District. He said he does not know if it is a good idea to move forward unless we know there is some potential cooperation.
President Sain questioned the label of “transaction tax”. Solicitor Bernathy said that is what is provided for in the law. President Sain asked if it were taxing cigarettes. He said the taxing of cigarettes is controlled by the State. Solicitor Bernathy said it is for the transaction itself. He said he would need to do more research on the cigarettes since he did most of his research on fireworks. Supervisor Buchanan asked if it could be imposed specifically to one item like cigarettes or fireworks. Councilman Sigreto said he would like to speak now. He said he did some research and he called Harrisburg. He said one type of business cannot be singled out and it would be across the board on every business in Matamoras and every business in Westfall. He said Lowes, Home Depot, and Dave Clarks would be taxed. Solicitor Bernathy said we agree with that for whoever sells fireworks. Councilman said disagreed and said a certain item cannot be singled out. Solicitor Bernathy said he has contacted the Association of Township Supervisors. Councilman said he has contacted to Association of Boroughs and there must be different laws in the state. Solicitor Bernathy said he does not think there is. There is some nuance as far as the application of the law is concerned. He said this is preliminary and we are trying to generate revenue. Councilman Sigreto asked about a Berkheimer Tax. Solicitor Bernathy said he has been asking the Supervisors in Westfall Township for years to consider that. He said ninety percent of the municipalities in Pennsylvania have an earned income tax. Wayne County and Pike County, to the best of his knowledge, are the only areas in Pennsylvania who do not have an earned income tax. He said it is hard for Berkheimer to “put their finger on” a figure of how much can be generated. There are pros and cons as far as its application, who it affects and who it does not affect. He said it is something that has been implemented across the state and has not been challenged in court. There are not legal issues with regard to it. Solicitor Bernathy said the last time we did some figuring in Westfall Township, if we imposed the tax it would generate in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Mrs. Buchanan asked the purpose of the tax. Chairman Flansburg said it is actually an earned income tax paid by people who earn money in the township. He said he pays an EIT Tax to Stroudsburg since he is employed there. There is a group of people it excludes which includes Veterans and Senior Citizens. Chairman Flansburg said that his personal opinion is that we have to somehow offset real estate taxes to impose this tax otherwise our residents will be double taxed. President Sain questioned if Westfall already has an earned income tax. Solicitor Bernathy said we do not have the tax. We have a fire tax. Mr. Pranski questioned who the company is that keeps sending him letters regarding a tax he owes. President Sain said to please reserve comments until the end.
Supervisor Melvin said we are not looking for an answer today but to do some more research to see if it makes sense for the Borough and the Township. He feels we should do this jointly to protect the businesses in both areas. He said we are running out of millage. He said he supports the EIT but without the transaction tax he does not know where we go in the future. Councilman Rose said we will do what we can to cooperate and we do not want to shut you down. He said we do not want to stonewall you or shut you down at every turn. He added as a Matamoras resident and Councilman, we are not above cooperating with Westfall. Chairman Flansburg said if we do not ask questions we will not ever get the answers. Chairman Flansburg said the single thing that stood out to him is that the owner of the cigarette store said he has no problem paying the tax but if his cigarettes are more expensive than he would lose business. Solicitor Bernathy said to Chairman Flansburg that was fireworks. President Sain said that fireworks cannot be sold in Matamoras. Councilman Rose said we do not have fireworks stores in Matamoras, only cigarette stores. Solicitor Bernathy said there are plenty of them. Councilman Rose said the same as Westfall.
3. Regionalization Agreement-Eastern Pike Regional Police Department: Councilman Rose suggested this not be discussed. He said that when we put it out there to have a joint meeting that we agreed we would not be discussing this. Councilwoman Featherman said she agrees with Councilman Rose on this. She said we normally discuss this at our August meeting. She also stated, to her knowledge, the Police Commission has not been informed of this meeting. Solicitor Bernathy asked if all members were present. He said we have four of the five and the Commission Solicitor, Mr. Mincer. Councilman Rose said this is something that will be discussed at the Police Commission meeting and not at a general public meeting. He said this is why we have the commissioners, two on each side. Once the Commission meeting is over the Commissioners will report to their appropriate boards.
4. Burning Ordinance: Vice Chairman Melvin suggested we change to name from Burning Ban to Burning Ordinance since “ban” has a different connotation to it. Chairman Flansburg said that he thinks everyone in the room has at some point in time come into Matamoras before their ordinance was in effect and the whole valley filled with smoke which is pretty undesirable. He feels as being a good neighbor that if Westfall burns and the whole town fills up with smoke that is on us. He said as “good neighbors” we have tried to do something about this. He added there was an issue with leaf pick up. Matamoras said it would be $125.00 per hour for them to pick up Westfall’s leaves. He feels the dump has mostly Matamoras leaves since they are collected and dumped there. Supervisor Buchanan asked if there has ever been a complaint in Matamoras regarding Westfall’s burning. Secretary Buchanan said never. Supervisor Buchanan said this is something Mr. Flansburg wants and it has nothing to do with Matamoras. President Sain said our street representative is not present but the figure was established by the use of the machine and one of our personnel. He was not sure of the exact breakdown. Chairman Flansburg said he does not want Matamoras to think we are not concerned about smoke coming into the Matamoras area. He said we would try to do something about it if it was important to Matamoras but obviously it is not that important. Vice Chairman Melvin said we have gotten a lot of complaints from our Westfall residents who live in that area. That is what started this. He said of course there are people against it as well. There was discussion regarding the area of the triangle in Westfall Township which the proposed ordinance would affect. Supervisor Buchanan questioned if it would be considered spot zoning. Solicitor Bernathy said it is not really a zone. He has tried to come up with language that anywhere there is an impact on an adjacent municipality where there is a densely populated area. Councilman Sigreto said would it not be easier to just have it or not have it. Chairman Flansburg said we are being asked if we are going to pursue it and why would we pursue it if it does not matter to Matamoras. Councilman Rose said that everything matters to us. Councilman Sigreto said there may be another reason you want a burning ban. He said because your ex-president did not like the smell of smoke. Chairman Flansburg said that could be it but his agenda is not mine. Councilman Rose said our Secretary has not ever received a phone call. He said he wants Westfall to know that Matamoras cares about their residents and that is why they do not allow burning. Councilman Losee said Westfall can stop burning without Matamoras.
President Sain asked if there were any other comments. Supervisor Dotey said he is new at all of this but he expected that when he came to the meeting there was not going to be much cooperation. This is what he heard. He said he knows Councilwoman Featherman and he and she are great pals. He said he would like to see more cooperation between Matamoras and Westfall. We are neighbors and we are not in New York City. We are in this little town. Supervisor Dotey said he thought there was still a little bit of Americanism left in small town America. He said he would like to see that happen here instead of being at each and other’s throats. He is not sure that is always the case but that is what he has heard. Why are we not communicating, working together and trying to solve problems. He added that Westfall has other problems and Matamoras knows this. We have lawsuits and we pay more out in those payments than we have money for fixing our roads and everything else. It eats up our entire budget. We need help and asking Matamoras to step up to this is not the wrong thing to do. Supervisor Dotey said he knows for himself that if Matamoras asked for help he would be the first one to step up and help out. He said Matamoras is not his enemy they are his friend. There should not be this kind of animosity.
There were no additional comments.
5. Request for Westfall Representative on Matamoras Municipal Authority Board: President Sain read a letter from the Westfall Board of Supervisors to the Municipal Authority/Matamoras Borough Council. President Sain said this is the first I have seen this letter. Chairman Flansburg said it is a copy of a letter we have sent you already and he confirmed with Secretary Hulse. She said it was in August. President Sain asked if there was a request sent to the Water Authority. Secretary Hulse said she sent the letter to both places. Councilwoman Featherman said we appoint but right now we do not have a vacancy. Councilman Sigreto said the Authority makes a recommendation and they bring it back to the Council. Supervisor Buchanan said this does not only go back to August it goes back four or five years. There have been numerous letters of request sent in the past to request a representative from Westfall since they run lines into Westfall. Milford Water Authority is running lines into Westfall now and they already agreed to put someone from Westfall on their Board. Councilman Losee asked if there was a member of Matamoras on the Westfall Municipal Authority Board. Mr. Schneider said there are no lines in Matamoras. Councilman Losee said it does not matter. Mr. Schneider said why would there be representation if there were no lines in the area. Supervisor Buchanan said there are no lines so what would they be representing. Councilman Losee said there is a waterline and questioned what would be represented. Supervisor Buchanan said the water lines run into Westfall. The sewer lines to not run into Matamoras. Councilman Losee questioned Westfall wanting sewer lines in Matamoras. Supervisor Buchanan said he wants them running all through Matamoras. He said we will not get them as long as you are alive. Councilman Sigreto asked if anyone knew how many homes are supplied by Matamoras Municipal Authority in Westfall Township. There was additional discussion regarding the amount. Councilman Sigreto said if there are a couple hundred homes there should be someone to represent Westfall on the Board. Councilwoman Featherman confirmed with Secretary Buchanan the amount of representatives on the Water Authority Board which is five members. She said we could request to add a sixth member. Supervisor Buchanan said Milford has someone retiring and they will fill the vacancy with someone from Westfall. Councilwoman Featherman said she would look into this further. The Council agreed. Councilman Rose said he agrees and he does not want to shut Westfall down at any time.
Supervisor Buchanan said going back to what Supervisor Dotey said, this apparently transpired since he left because when he was on the Road Department and Board of Supervisor previously we worked with Matamoras all of the time. We received a lot of criticism from certain Supervisor but we went ahead and did it anyway. He said sometimes people would see us in Matamoras and they would not see Matamoras come into Westfall which they did often. Supervisor Dotey said he has not seen this since he has been on the Board and he this is what he would like to see. Supervisor Buchanan said two years ago it was working fine and he questioned the problem. Councilman Sigreto asked Mr. Schneider if Matamoras sends a flagman up to help once in a while. Mr. Schneider said we still help each other. It has been going on for years and it still does if we need each other. Supervisor Dotey said to Supervisor Buchanan he does not think he understands what he is talking about. Supervisor Buchanan said he does not understand at all. Supervisor Dotey said he is talking about physical cooperation through everything. He said when we sit here and we talk about adding a tax, let’s think up a way to do it. He is specifically concerned about not having any funds to be able to run our Township. Supervisor Buchanan said Supervisor Dotey is talking about the political end of things. Supervisor Dotey said he does not consider it political. He said he does not even know what political is. It is two groups of people getting together and resolving problems for each other. Councilman Rose said if we all agree to a tax you are happy and if we do not agree then you are not happy. Supervisor Dotey said that is not it at all and he said Councilman Rose is hearing only what he wants to hear. He said it is about opening up the communication to see what we can do and not just saying no from the start. Councilman Losee asked when Westfall would like us to say no, never. Supervisor Dotey said it would be great if all of our decisions could be equal. Councilman Sigreto asked Councilman Rose to read the highlighted comments he has written. Councilman Rose said he has been. Supervisor Dotey said he has and it is encouraging in that maybe there is hope. Councilman Rose said on his end there is hope. He said when he is reading minutes from Westfall’s March meeting, and it clearly states that one of your Supervisors said Matamoras told us they are not interested in anything that is going and that Matamoras is not willing to cooperate. It said that the Westfall Board is sharp and that anytime the Supervisors bring something to Matamoras it is shut down. Supervisor Dotey said that is what he heard also. Councilman Rose said that since he has been a Matamoras resident and a Borough Councilman, he has not seen a Supervisor come to a Matamoras Borough meeting. He said he has been to several Westfall meetings. We are here to work with Westfall and we are here to help. He added that there is an outlying problem. When the Supervisors of Westfall get together and they solve the outlying problem there will always be that problem. Councilman Rose said that we have had letters sent. He gave an example of that night’s meeting. He said this was supposed to be a joint meeting as a meet and greet and it turned into something totally different. The agenda was not set by both parties. The agenda was set by the Westfall Supervisors. Secretary Hulse said the agenda was sent to Secretary Buchanan prior to the meeting for review. Councilman Rose said that prior to the meeting no Supervisor came to a Councilman and asked about the agenda. He said he was never approached on it. Chairman Flansburg said that it was his understanding it was a meet and greet and that Secretary Buchanan called Secretary Hulse and asked for an agenda. Supervisor Buchanan said that I requested the agenda. He said we called the meeting so we make the agenda. Chairman Flansburg said he thought the meeting was going to be a general talk between the two. Councilman Rose said that if it was going to be a general meeting between the both of us, you have my number and you have my email, and nothing was ever shot out to me. Supervisor Buchanan asked Secretary Hulse who made up the items for the agenda. She responded she spoke to Chairman Flansburg. She said she told Chairman Flansburg that Supervisor Buchanan requested an agenda so she then spoke to Chairman Flansburg and he told her what items to put on the agenda. She said she then sent the agenda to Secretary Buchanan and the Supervisors. She said she does not send the agenda to the Council, she sends it to Secretary Buchanan. Solicitor Bernathy asked if we gave the Council a change for any input. Secretary Hulse said she sent the agenda to Secretary Buchanan for review. Councilman Rose said that when Westfall originally requested this meet and greet, one of the parameters was there was to be no discussion regarding the Regionalization Agreement. He questioned why that is on the agenda. Solicitor Bernathy said it was asked to be placed on the agenda. He said Supervisor Buchanan asked and he said it is prudent to have some form of an agenda so that everyone that is attending the meeting….he was interrupted by Supervisor Buchanan. Supervisor Buchanan said he did not say anything about the Regionalization Agreement and he did not even want to have this meeting. Solicitor Bernathy said he is talking about having an agenda in general. Solicitor Bernathy tried to finish the question but Councilman Rose interrupted and said we sent a letter back to Westfall stating that one of the things we did not want to talk about at this meeting was the Regionalization of the Police Department. Councilman Sigreto said that is why we have a Commission. Councilman Rose said we have a letter from Chairman Flansburg that they are happy to do it with the restrictions. Solicitor Bernathy said he does not believe there were restrictions and that we wanted to place Matamoras on notice for what we wanted to discuss so that the Council could be better prepared to discuss it. He said that was something that was coordinated by the Secretaries and he is not sure why we are spending so much time on it if we are not discussing it. Councilman Rose read the letter from Chairman Flansburg confirming the meeting date. Solicitor Bernathy questioned the purpose being served other than to inflame the meeting. Councilman Rose said one is saying one thing that the other is not and it is being brought back around. He read a part of the letter that said Westfall respectfully disagrees with the content of the meeting. He said that Solicitor Bernathy just said that was done by the Secretaries but this letter is signed by Chairman Flansburg. Solicitor Bernathy said the Secretaries were trying to coordinate with one another to set an agenda and we offered for the Council to place whatever they wanted on the agenda. Councilman Rose said that your Secretary said she obtained the agenda information from the Chairman. He said if your Chairman sent out the letter then he should have known that the Regionalization Agreement should not have been put on the agenda. Solicitor Bernathy said he does not know that but we have already decided we are not discussing this tonight. We are trying to stay positive and cooperative. Councilman Rose suggested we move on.
Christina Robin asked if it is safe to assume that the burning ban is over. Chairman Flansburg said he would think so. Ms. Robin asked if it is over, yes or no. Chairman Flansburg said he cannot speak for all of the Supervisors and there will be a vote on the matter. Solicitor Bernathy said the Ordinance is in draft form only. She added that she thinks the meeting was a nice exchange for a long time and everyone was cooperating. She said then Supervisor Dotey got negative about it. She said he commented that there was not cooperation. Supervisor Dotey said that is not what he said. Ms. Robin said she feels it is important that we all stick together. Supervisor Dotey said that he heard there was no cooperation. Ms. Robin said stop with the “I heard”. Supervisor Dotey said of course we hear things. Things do not come out of thin air. Ms. Robin said she feels he should be commended since it was very nice and the cooperation is important. Supervisor Dotey suggested Ms. Robin stop picking on him. Ms. Robin said she would like to go one step further and say that it really hurts her when Westfall wants to break apart our Police Department. Councilman Rose said we are not discussing this and it will be done at a Commission meeting. Ms. Robin said that is where the cooperation breaks down and she is afraid it will be undermined. She said that is her statement as a resident of Westfall. Supervisor Dotey said that is the reason we are here trying to figure out ways to enhance the finances for Westfall Township. Ms. Robin said in the “back room” you are discussing tearing us apart. It is a repeating undercurrent about the Police Department. Supervisor Dotey asked if this was something Ms. Robins heard. She responded she read it in the meeting minutes. Mr. Pranski said it was brought up at the last meeting regarding sending a letter. Solicitor Bernathy said he thought we are not talking about this. He said we are going to talk about this or we are not going to talk about this. There was comment by the public that it is public comment. Solicitor Bernathy said he understands that but it will bring Council Members and the Supervisors into the conversation. Beth Brelje said to Solicitor Bernathy he cannot stop the public from saying what they wish. Solicitor Bernathy said he is not stopping anything but he is saying that he thought we all agreed civilly not to discuss that it will be a topic at the Commission. Mr. Pranski said we the public want to discuss it. Solicitor Bernathy said then it is going to be discussed. Ms. Robin said we cannot ask for teamed forces, cooperation, stick together and thrive and then in another meeting secretly say we are going to break apart and if they do not cooperate we will pull out of the Police Department. She said that is not fair and that is a direct quote from the Westfall Meetings.
President Sain asked if there is any other comment. Ms. Brelje addressed Supervisor Dotey by stating he indicated earlier that Westfall Township has much debt because of the lawsuits in the past and she wanted to clarify that he suggested Matamoras help pay for those lawsuits by working together with Westfall. Supervisor Dotey disagreed and said that is not was he was suggesting. He said he was suggesting that Matamoras could work together with Westfall to generate funds for both Matamoras and Westfall. He said he thinks Matamoras has a lot of the same budget problems as Westfall in a lot of respects. Ms. Brelje said she is less familiar with Matamoras and she asked the Council if they have legal bills from many lawsuits. Supervisor Dotey said he was not talking about lawsuits he was just generally speaking. Ms. Brelje said he did mention those as the reason Westfall has all this debt. Supervisor Dotey said that is Westfall Township and everyone is well aware of it. It is public knowledge.
Kelly Doldge spoke next. She said she did not know what to expect tonight. She stated that this did not go well and she was floored at the discourse and she is not used to seeing everyone really angry. We are connected and we really should be “playing nice in the sandbox”. She said this is not okay for her due to the fact that she elected the Board. She addressed the public and stated the Council was elected by them. She said this is not okay and this is America and we are supposed to be helping each other. Westfall has lawsuit issues to deal with and if we can help we should. She said we should help in any way possible. Loretta Buchanan asked Ms. Doldge if she wants her taxes raised to help someone else. Mrs. Buchanan said she does not. Ms. Doldge said she is a single mother. Mrs. Buchanan said she is a widow. She said if the taxes go up $50.00 it is okay. We have a new school going in. Mrs. Buchanan said we do not need that either. Ms. Doldge said that is a whole different ball game. She said they are taking about taxing businesses. Mrs. Buchanan said they are already with the Amusement Tax. She said we do not get anything out of that and not that she wants anything. She feels it is wrong. President Sain requested public comment be limited to one person at a time. Ms. Doldge said she feels that there should be more cooperation. She said are we really that angry at each other or are there personal issues involved. She stated that is the way it is sounding. This is not sounding like a professional issue.
Chuck Pranski commented. He suggested both the Council and Board of Supervisors get together once every three months for discussion. His other suggestion was that one or two Supervisors attend the Borough Council meetings and one or two Councilman attends the Supervisor meetings. This way everyone can see what is going on at each meeting.
Mayor Clark stated she feels that is a very fine idea. She said whether thought this way or not, take a look at our boundaries. We are them and they are us. She stated she has family that lives in Westfall and she lives in Matamoras. Mayor Clark said she feels we should be able to work together on burning bans, the Police Department, and the Road Departments. She said her son has the perfect saying which is “we are them and they are us”. She feels this is the truth. It is time to work together to get things done. She said lets show congress how it is done.
Supervisor Buchanan said the underlying problem is the Police Department. We are not going to discuss it but I am going to tell you the underlying problem. There are certain fractions of Westfall that want to do away with the Police Department. He said Matamoras does not have a Police Department and that is what is being seen right here and right now. It has nothing to do with the Road Department working together and it has nothing to do with us working together. Supervisor Buchanan said some of the Supervisors of Westfall Township have a problem with the Police Department.
Donald Smith commented. He said he is a Matamoras resident who owns the Tri-State Computer Store in town. He said as far as the Matamoras Police Department, why is discussion done behind closed doors and not at a public meeting. President Sain said there is a Police Commission meeting which is held as a public meeting which is the second Monday of every month. Councilman Rose said we look for the public to attend the meetings.
Christina Robin asked if anything can be done to mend the tear with the Police issue. Councilman Rose said absolutely in his opinion. Supervisor Buchanan said all that we need to do is go back and look at the contract and follow it. We need to not have certain people try to change what is in the contract.
Kelly Doldge said she supervises young children with very hostile adults for the courts. She said she is in the Kmart Plaza and if she does not have the Police Department to call then who will she call. She said she loves the State Police as well but if she is calling them from Bushkill it is a problem. She said she has a license to carry but she does not want to be using it. Supervisor Buchanan said this is not the time in the history of the United States to be even talking about doing away with the Police Department. He said we must have a Police Department and that is all there is to it. We cannot go backwards. Councilman Sigreto said he would like to have a Police Department and he does not care about a pothole in the road.
Mr. Pranski addressed the press and said to put the meeting schedules in the paper. He said he tries to make it to every meeting in Westfall and every Police Commission meeting. He said he sees two or three of the same faces there every month. He added when something like this happens people come out of the woodwork to voice their opinion but no one comes out to the regular meetings to speak their mind and to hear what is going on in the Township. At the time something happens then they stand back and question how it happened.
Chairman Flansburg asked where the notion came from that there would be no Police Department. He said he never thought there should be no Police Department and even if there were dissolution of the contract, there will always be a Police Department. There was miscellaneous discussion and comments from the public. Kevin Salvati said Chairman Flansburg said at a meeting to do away with the Police Department. Chairman Flansburg said he read that wrong. He said that Supervisor Buchanan said to him quote “What would you do if Matamoras does not want to cooperate, would you withdraw” and he said if Matamoras did not want to cooperate, he would. Mr. Salvati said Chairman Flansburg said to send the letter. Mr. Pranski questioned Chairman Flansburg by asking if he voted to send the letter the last time it was sent. Councilman Sigreto said we have been threatened for the last two and a half years since he has been on the Council. Mr. Pranski asked Chairman Flansburg if he was ready to send the letter at the last meeting. Chairman Flansburg said yes because of what happened at that meeting. Chairman Flansburg said that Mr. Pranski is saying that at the last meeting he said he would withdraw. He said the question asked to him at that meeting was if Matamoras did not want to talk about this would he consider withdrawing and he said his answer was yes. He said if they don’t want to talk about it and we cannot get to the source of the problem then why wouldn’t he withdraw. Mr. Pranski said there is a form to talk about it in and that is at Police Commission meeting. He said Chairman Flansburg is sitting up there saying he did not say he did not want a Police Department and he voted once to send a letter and threatened with another letter at the meeting that just happened. Chairman Flansburg said that Mr. Pranski does not know the facts behind the first letter. He said there was a clear reason why I voted last time and that is what I do, I vote. President Sain suggested we move on.
Mrs. Buchanan said she lives in Matamoras and she said the worst thing they ever did was merge the two Police Departments. She we did fine with the one mile area and Westfall has a larger area which extends to Pond Eddy and across the bridge and to Mill Rift. It is costing the tax payers a lot more money. She said when the grant money is gone the tax payers pay for it. Mr. Pranski said money is being saved just by the pension alone for the two departments being merged. Mrs. Buchanan said the pensions are going up every year and it is still costing more money. Mr. Pranski said the pensions need to be paid either way. Mrs. Buchanan said we do not need all of the policemen that we have now. President Sain requested no more comments between audience members. Councilman Sigreto said we were being good neighbors when we had the floods a few years ago. Westfall Township’s Police Department got flooded out and we graciously took them in to our headquarters and that is how they merged. He said there is cooperation that no one sees. Mrs. Buchanan agreed. Councilman Sigreto said in the long run it is saving both towns money. He said if Westfall gets out and we both have to fund our own departments it will cost more money. He suggested checking the budget in Milford. They pay more than Westfall’s share right now. Mrs. Buchanan said that everyone is paying for the lawsuits in Westfall Township. Councilman Sigreto said that is their problem.
Bobbi Height addressed the Council and Board. She said she has a house in Westfall and Matamoras. She proceeded to ask Chairman Flansburg the source of the problem. He clarified her question. He explained the reason they wanted to pull out the first time. He said we asked to have a meet and greet with Matamoras and it turned into a meeting and four or five times before that meeting Councilman Losee called him since there was a budget issue. He said we were saying we were going to cut the budget and Councilman Losee asked him to hold that number. He said Councilman Losee talked to Vice Chairman Melvin on his phone and asked if we would hold the number. We then walked into the meeting and the press was present and the first thing Matamoras said was that if we did not give them the money that the contract reflects they would sue us. Chairman Flansburg said he did not see that as being very friendly and I knew we needed to show them that we are serious about this. Mrs. Height asked Chairman Flansburg if he is taking this upon himself to make these decisions. Chairman Flansburg said no, there were Supervisors in a quorum. Mrs. Height said she highly doubts that. Chairman Flansburg said that was the same meeting that Councilman Sigreto said how poor Bob Ewbank was as an EMA. He said that was the first time he ever bought donuts to be humiliated in public. Mr. Pranski said Mr. Ewbank did not have the credentials. Councilman Sigreto said Mr. Ewbank was giving him a hard time. Chairman Flansburg said that should have taken place behind closed doors and should not have taken place on the public floor. He said that whole meeting was a huge disappointment for us. Councilman Sigreto said if he gets backstabbed he comes right to your face. That is the way he was brought up and he does not do underhanded backdoor politics. Councilman Sigreto suggested to Chairman Flansburg we bring this out. He said you have a problem with the Police Chief and the Assistant Police Chief. Chairman Flansburg said he thinks Councilman Sigreto should know the facts.
Solicitor Bernathy told President Sain to wrap it up. President Sain thanked all for attending.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 8:10 pm on a motion by Supervisor Buchanan. The motion was seconded by Councilman Rose and carried with all in favor.
Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
April 7, 2014
The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Monday, April 7, 2014. The meeting started at 7:00 pm and was held at the Township Building on Delaware Drive and LaBarr Lane, Westfall Township.
Those present were Chairman, Larry Flansburg; Supervisor Jerry Dotey and Supervisor Raymond Banach (by phone); Solicitor, Robert Bernathy, and Secretary, Jodi Hulse. Also present were Zoning Officer, Doug Olmstead; Scott Myer, Bill Schneider, Rob Llewellyn, Ed Isaacson, Michael Gable, Chuck Pranski, Lisa Mickles, John Dalton, John Hess, Jason Ohliger, Jack Wurtz, Peter Sigretto and approximately thirteen members of the general public. Vice Chairman Robert Melvin and Supervisor Lester Buchanan were not present.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA: A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve the agenda. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
PUBLIC COMMENT: Pete Sigretto asked the Board the status of the approval of the CNG Gas Station. Jodi Hulse said the GO24 Store CNG application has been approved by the Supervisors and the applicant recently received the zoning approval for variance and special exception. Mr. Sigretto said Matamoras will be applying for a grant for a CNG garbage truck purchase. He said he will be able to proceed with the purchase and that the nearest pumping station is in Scranton or Poughkeepsie.
John Hess asked if the burning ban was still on. Chairman Flansburg said it has not come before the board again as of yet. He said he had some discussion regarding it this week and it does not look like it will pass. He will still have all of the Supervisors sit down and talk about it.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve the March 5, 2014 Special Meeting Minutes. The motion was seconded by Chairman Flansburg. Supervisor Banach abstained. The motion carried with two in favor and one abstention.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve the March 17, 2014 Regular Meeting Minutes. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Scott Myer gave the report. He said in March the Liquid Fuels funds came in the amount of $82,142. Real estate tax money started coming in. $171,000 has been collected through the end of March. He said, most importantly, we made it through the low income part of the year and we should be in good shape moving forward. Chairman Flansburg asked when the Tax Anticipation Note will be paid in full. Mr. Myer said it most likely be in May when we have received the majority of the real estate taxes. He stated we have made our first quarter Katz payment.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve the Treasurer’s Report. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
POLICE REPORT: Chad Stewart was not present so Doug Olmstead read the report. The report was for the month of March, 2014. The monthly count of offenses known to police were 1 Robbery, 3 Burglary, 18 larceny theft, 4 fraud, 3 disorderly conduct, 1 recovery of stolen property, 2 vandalism, 1 sex offense, 7 drug abuse, 6 disorderly conduct and 2 all other offenses for a total of 44. The monthly count of persons charged for offenses are 4 Rape, 4 Burglary, 12 Larceny Theft, 1 Fraud, 1 recovery of stolen property, 1 vandalism, 4 drug abuse, 2 DUI and 6 all other offenses for a total of 35. The miles patrolled for the month were 6,546. Year to date miles patrolled were 17,650. Motor Vehicle Accidents for the month were 14 and year to date 47. Calls for service for the month were 171 and year to date were 496.
Supervisor Dotey moved to approve the Police Report. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
The Mill Rift Fire Department report for March was given by Edward Isaacson. He stated on 3/5/14 they held a work night and cleaned, 3/7/14 the held their monthly meeting, 3/9/14 there was mutual aid at Home Depot, 3/12/14 they held a work night for hovercraft, 3/19/14 they held an additional work night and cleaned the sub- station, 3/26/14 they had boat training which Westfall also attended, and 3/29/14 there was a brush fire in Mill Rift.
The total man hours for the month were 93 and Total Equipment hours were 21.75. The total man hours for the year are 443.
The Westfall Fire Department report for the month of March was given by Rob Llewellyn. He stated there were 12 automatic fire alarms, 2 motor vehicle accidents, 2 brush fires, 5 chief investigations, 1 gas leak, 1 assist ems, 1 vehicle fire, and 1 structure fire. The total calls for March were 25 and 66 calls year to date. Mr. Llewellyn said the total man hours for the month were 127.8. The total man hours year to date are 455.08.
There were 32 EMS calls for Westfall Township, 26 calls to cover Squad 33, 3 calls to cover Sussex County, and 4 calls to cover Squad 19 with a total of 65 EMS calls. There were four drills/in house training sessions held for 108 hours.
The overall calls year to date are 270 and overall man hours year to date are 1,368.85.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to accept the Fire Department Reports. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT: Bill Schneider gave the report for March. He stated they have been doing pot hole filling, winter storm on 3/12/14, power outage on 3/22/14, assessment of road damage from the winter, cleaned culvert pipes, removed spreaders and work on maintenance yard. He met with Penn Dot regarding relocation of sewer lines on Route 6 and 209 which will cost $100,000 but will be reimbursed since it is a federal road. He told the Supervisors there is a packet in their folders regarding different projects which need to be done. He said he is hoping the Supervisors have a workshop meeting sometime soon to go over some of the items.
Supervisor Dotey moved to approve the Highway Report. Motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Douglas Olmstead gave the report for March. He stated there were two building permit and review fees for the month which totaled $2,138.00. There were five zoning permits for the month which totaled $525.00 with $150.00 outstanding. He said the total fees for the month were $2,663 with $150 still outstanding.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve the building/zoning report. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
CORRESPONDENCE: On desk for review.
Paddlers Point-Informal Presentation-Garden Apts-revised plan: Paddlers Point representatives present were Jack Wurtz, Attorney Jason Ohliger, and Michael Gable from Boucher and James.
Mr. Wurtz addressed the board and stated he would like to change what is currently approved into rental units. He said he has been in front of the board before and he has addressed some of the concerns. He presented a new plan and handed out to the Supervisors a list of concerns he has addressed which include open space, number of units, tenants and amount of money for open space. He said they have eliminated three buildings and explained the revised plan. Mr. Wurtz said they have an income and credit rating approval system for the tenant applications. He explained the system to the Supervisors. He said regarding the money for open space he will leave that to the Board to decide what the number should be. The original amount of units was 135 which is the number which will work for financing approval. He said at 120 units he believes he can make it work but anything less than that the numbers just do not work.
Mr. Wurtz said he believes if he can develop the property it will be a win for him and a win for the township as well. Chairman Flansburg said his opinion is that the money in lieu of open space is going to be a problem since there is nothing we can do with the money. Solicitor Bernathy stated that the applicant’s attorney may be able to come up with some creative ideas for uses for the funds. Chairman Flansburg explained to the public the “money in lieu of open space” procedure. Mr. Gable said he did some research since the last time he was here. He said the money can be deposited in an account for purchasing development rights from another parcel in the township. He said the money can also be used as “seed” money to obtain a grant to purchase other property to preserve. The open space fee is meant to preserve land and not so much for making parks and recreation facilities. Mr. Ohliger said one of the concerns originally was what would the residents of the apartment complex do for recreation. The concern was that they may end up recreating in the Kmart parking lot. He said we do not want to do a playground since we do not want to attract families with young children. There is an area on the plan for making a garden area. He said the open space fee according to the ordinance is a considerable amount of money. We are looking to work with the township on this but our options are somewhat limited.
Solicitor Bernathy said he is trying to think of any sites in the Township which we would be interested in acquiring. Chairman Flansburg said the Supervisors need some time to see what our options are since he does not think there are too many options available. Mr. Ohliger said we wanted to come before the Board tonight to see if affirmative progress could be made. Mr. Gable said he feels using the funds for seed money for a grant is the most efficient use of the money.
Chuck Pranski suggested finding out if there is a statute of limitation regarding the time frame for using the funds. Mr. Pranski stated that Paddlers Point was originally approved as senior housing for sale and not for rent. Mr. Ohliger stated that is the adjacent property which is a different property. Mr. Pranski said his main concern is that this will turn into low income housing. Mr. Isaacson said they can say now they have rental requirements but what if the apartments are not filling up. He is concerned about the possibility of other large parcels in the township being developed if this is approved.
Chairman Flansburg said we are not making any decisions tonight and we need to talk as a Board again. Public comment is certainly welcome. Mr. Isaacson said for your information there are 80 apartments for rent between the bridge and Milford. He said there is no need for all of these units. Chairman Flansburg said the applicant has heard these concerns before and are trying to address them.
Mr. Ohliger said when they came before the Board the first time they had a position which was the open space fee in lieu was offset by the amount of open space provided. We are providing more open space than the original plan and are agreeable to the $600 amount for fee in lieu.
Solicitor Bernathy suggested Mr. Ohliger forward anything pertaining to uses of the lieu of open space fees to his office. It would be greatly appreciated. Mr. Ohliger asked if there is anything the Board would be more or less inclined to do with the use of the money. Solicitor Bernathy said grant applications. He said there are not many properties in Westfall Township for development rights to be purchased. Mr. Gable said there may be some areas down in the flood plain.
Jolie DeFeis addressed the Board with a question regarding the original plan of 44 town homes. She asked if the townhouses were for sale or for rent. Mr. Ohliger said they were for sale. Chairman Flansburg said there is not much of a sales market at this time. Mr. Ohliger confirmed. Mr. Isaacson questioned the units which are already built on the property. Mr. Wurtz said there are currently rented.
Supervisor Banach asked Chairman Flansburg how many units the applicant is over compared to what the ordinance allows. Mr. Gable said we are asking for 60 additional units. He said we have enough open space for 60 units and we are asking to pay for 60 units in lieu of open space. Supervisor Banach said his vote is “no” until they get the amount down for compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Ohliger said the Board knows our position on this and it is not feasible in this space and it is not consistent with the surrounding uses. He said to put a cap on the amount of residential units but commercially a box store can be built does not make any sense.
Chairman Flansburg said there will not be any decisions made this evening and he will talk to the other Supervisors. He thanked the applicants for coming.
Maintenance Agreement-Matamoras Municipal Authority: This was tabled as per Solicitor Bernathy.
Appointment of Alternate Zoning Officer-Michael Rendleman: A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to appoint Michael Rendleman as Alternate Zoning Officer. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
Zoning Officer Hours-Douglas Olmstead: A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve the Zoning Officer Hours of Tuesdays from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm each week. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
Employee Vision Plan: Chairman Flansburg said for the amount of $4.00 and change per month per employee we can provide a better vision plan for the employees. A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey for the approval of adding the Township employees to the vision plan. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
Medicare Advantage Plan-Bill Schneider: A motion was by Supervisor Dotey for the approval of payment of the RX 1338 Medicare Plan for Mr. Schneider. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
Permit Manager Upgrade: The Supervisors decided not to upgrade Permit Manager at this time.
Township Office Computer Upgrade: Chairman Flansburg said the Window XP will be expiring soon. Jodi Hulse explained the current computer system in the office and that we would keep one computer and purchase two new computers along with Microsoft and firewall protection. Chairman Flansburg said the cost will be roughly $3,500. A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve the purchase. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
Battery Back Up-Red Lights-Stella St. and Reuben Bell Dr.: A motion was made by Chairman Flansburg to move forward with the purchase of the battery backup systems. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Street Broom and Excavator Quotes: Chairman Flansburg said the quote for the excavator for the compost area for a forty hour work week is $2,700.00. Mr. Schneider confirmed the highway department would be operating the equipment, Bob Howard specifically. Solicitor Bernathy suggested calling our insurance carrier to make sure we are covered. Supervisor Banach asked if Matamoras would pay half of the rental fee. Pete Sigretto said it will be brought up at the next Matamoras Borough meeting. He suggested a letter be sent so they can discuss it at that meeting.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve the excavator rental in the amount of $2,700.00. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
Chairman Flansburg said the weekly rental for the street broom is $2,200.00. A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve the street broom rental. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Banach and carried with all in favor.
Letters to Milford and Matamoras Water Authorities to request appointment Westfall Representative on Boards: Supervisor Banach said we have requested this before.
A motion was made by Chairman Flansburg to send a letter to each authority. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Ordinance regarding utilities being placed within the township: Discussion was held between Supervisor Banach and Solicitor Bernathy regarding a possible ordinance regarding the regulation of outside utility companies coming into the township. Solicitor Bernathy said he will look into the matter.
Chairman Flansburg said there no Subdivision review or action and no executive session.
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 7:38 p.m. on a motion by Supervisor Dotey. Motion seconded by Chairman Flansburg and carried with all in favor.