Westfall Township, Matamoras, PA
August 4, 2014
The regular meeting of the Westfall Township Board of Supervisors was held Monday, August 4, 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 Vice Chairman, Robert Melvin; Supervisors; Raymond Banach (by speaker phone), Lester Buchanan, Jerry Dotey; Solicitor, Robert Bernathy, and Secretary, Jodi Hulse. Also present were Zoning Officer, Doug Olmstead; Treasurer, Scott Myer; Road Master, Bill Schneider; Chief, Rob Llewellyn; Chief Chad Stewart; Beth Brelje, Chuck Pranski, Tom Lamb, Jim Trotta, Carla Brown, Jim Schneider, John Dalton, Kevin Rose, Mike Barth, and approximately 45 members of the general public.
Vice Chairman Melvin stated an Executive Session was held on Monday, June 16, 2014 and Monday, June 23, 2014 for the purposes of personnel and litigation.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA: A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to approve the Agenda. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carries with all in favor.
PUBLIC COMMENT: Jim Schneider, former Chairman of Milford Township for seventeen years, addressed the Board. He stated he knows how politics work. Mr. Schneider asked the Chairman after the last meeting, off of the record, if something could be done to post a 25mph speed limit on Doug Miller Road. He said the Chairman said an engineering study needs to be done and that the signs are expensive. This bothered Mr. Miller since elected officials take an oath for the health, safety and welfare of the residents. He said this is not being done on Doug Miller Road. He asked the Supervisors when they will have any answer for the situation of excessive speeding on the road. Solicitor Bernathy asked Chief Stewart if there have been speeding complaints on Doug Miller Road. Chief Stewart said there have been some complaints and a radar recorder was placed last year and this year. Last year’s revealed some speeding but not a large percentage and this year’s revealed some speeding also. He said unfortunately they cannot enforce the speed limit without the signs. Solicitor Bernathy asked if there was an average speed detected. Chief Stewart did not recall. He said it becomes an issue if only one speeder is taking place. There are a lot of walkers and bikers on the road. Chief Stewart said he intends to put the radar detector back up in a week or so. Solicitor Bernathy confirmed with Chief Stewart he would share the data when he receives it. Solicitor Bernathy said this must be based on information which we receive. He said he attends court quite often and if it is not backed up with studies it could be objected to in court. If the signs are installed we want to make sure it is pursuant to the opinions of the engineer and the Police Department. Solicitor Bernathy said Mr. Schneider’s concerns are noted accordingly. Mr. Schneider stated again his concerns regarding someone getting hurt on the road. Supervisor Buchanan asked Chief Stewart what the speed limit is currently. Chief Stewart said in a rural area it is 55 mph.
Chuck Pranksi, Westfall Township resident, addressed the Board. He said he has a couple of issues, one being a rumor that Supervisor Dotey no longer lives in the Township. Mr. Pranski asked Supervisor Dotey if he lives in the Township and if so, where. Supervisor Dotey said he does live in the Township and directed the question to Solicitor Bernathy. Solicitor Bernathy said he is aware of the situation and factually in his opinion there is no support that Supervisor Dotey is not a resident of Westfall Township. People can temporarily reside for short periods of time outside of the jurisdictional limits and that he can assure that there has not been anywhere approaching a period of time close enough to justify the questioning of someone’s residency especially given their intentions. Mr. Pranski said he contacted the state today and was told once someone’s residency leaves the township they could no longer hold the position. Solicitor Bernathy disagreed but agreed to discuss it further. Mr. Pranski said he would obtain a letter from the State. Vice Chairman Melvin said we looked into this with The Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors. Solicitor Bernathy said not only do the Supervisors obtain legal opinion from him they also obtain information from PSATS to make sure the legal opinions are correct and that the State is supportive of the opinions. Solicitor Bernathy said he would like to speak with the person who Mr. Pranski obtained his information. Mr. Pranski said it was Mr. Sanderson and that he would provide the contact number to Solicitor Bernathy. Vice Chairman Melvin said he asked Secretary Jodi Hulse to look into this issue. He said it is nothing against Mr. Dotey but his concern is any votes or signatures which may take place and any future legal issues. He confirmed this was acceptable for the short term. Solicitor Bernathy said if circumstances change factually his opinion may change.
Mr. Pranski asked Solicitor Bernathy how the letter he sent to Attorney Mincer got out to the public. He confirmed the letter was the one which was published in the Pike County Dispatch regarding the possibility of the Officers of the EPRPD not being sworn in. Solicitor Bernathy confirmed with Secretary Hulse that there was a Right to Know request made under the Right to Know Act. Mr. Pranski asked who made the request and on what date it was made. Solicitor Bernathy said that is a matter of public information and we will look it up and provide the information. Mr. Pranski asked Solicitor Bernathy if he was asked by the Supervisors to investigate the matter. He said he does not remember it being brought up in a public meeting. Solicitor Bernathy said Right to Know requests are handled by our Open Records Officer and processed according to state law. The requests are not reviewed routinely. Mr. Pranksi said that is not what he is questioning. He said he is talking about Solicitor Bernathy investigating the matter of the officers being sworn in and Solicitor Bernathy and sending a letter on behalf of the township. Solicitor Bernathy said it was probably the subject of an executive session. Mr. Pranski said that does not involve personnel matters. Solicitor Bernathy said it was involving the Eastern Pike Regional Police Department. Mr. Pranski said it is not involving specific personnel. Solicitor Bernathy said in his opinion it is a matter involving a legal issue and personnel.
Mr. Pranski asked Solicitor Bernathy if he appeared at the Police Barracks when Supervisor Flansburg was arrested. Solicitor Bernathy said he thinks that is a matter which is not relevant and involves a personal matter with a Township Supervisor who is not present. Mr. Pranski wanted to know if the Township paid for it. Solicitor Bernathy said his billings are a matter of public record.
Mr. Pranski confirmed with Solicitor Bernathy that his firm wrote the contract for the Eastern Pike Regional Police Department about seven years ago. He asked the reason the contract has become a contention since a few of the Supervisors want to do away with the police department. Solicitor Bernathy said there is a provision in the contract which provides for it not that it was ever the intention of any of the Supervisors to do that. The information was incorrectly disseminated into the public that the Supervisors wanted to get involved in the dissolution of the police department. He said they are talking about changing conditions which is usually routine in contractual situations. Mr. Pranski said that his concern is that it took seven years to come to light. Now it is out in the public that the police officers may have no authority. Solicitor Bernathy said he is not here to give legal opinions regarding the authority or the questioning of our police officers. Mr. Pranski said he is asking Solicitor Bernathy who has been representing the Township for the past seven years and who wrote the contract why it is now just suddenly an issue. Solicitor Bernathy said that is something that needs to be asked to the supervisors who are raising the issues. Mr. Pranski asked the board. Supervisor Buchanan said it is not an issue with him. Mr. Pranski said that his understanding was that the Borough of Matamoras and the Township of Westfall went into this with the idea of distancing themselves from the police department in case of an action of an officer. This is why we have the police commission. Solicitor Bernathy confirmed the August 18, 2014 meeting with Matamoras, Westfall, and the police commission. Mr. Pranski again questions why we want to have our “hand in the cookie jar” so to speak. Solicitor Bernathy said this is something that will hopefully be discussed at the meeting and that we have tried to discuss with Matamoras previously. We are hoping that it will be positive, civil and productive.
Mr. Pranski said the last matter he has is regarding the Dombroski settlement which is no longer confidential information since the appeal process time limit is up regarding it. Mr. Pranski asked the reason that the Township insurance did not cover the claim. Solicitor Bernathy said this is a matter which is on the agenda under executive session. He said we have taken the position that there was some bad faith on the part of the insurance carrier. The carrier abandoned the township not even one month before the trial was scheduled. Solicitor Bernathy said he has recommended the Supervisors involve council who specializes in bad faith insurance litigation against insurance companies. This has been accomplished and is on the agenda for later this evening to authorize the institution of legal proceedings on behalf of Westfall Township against the insurance carrier in hopes to recover the money which was paid on behalf of the Dombrosky litigation. Mr. Pranski said there has been a rumor going around town that the township was not properly insured. Vice Chairman Melvin said it is difficult for the Supervisors since they are not able to comment since they were in a legal situation. Mr. Pranski said there is also a rumor that there is a handwritten letter that the Supervisors would not be held personally liable. Solicitor Bernathy and Vice Chairman Melvin said they do not have any knowledge of that. Mr. Pranski said the rumor is part of what is tearing this town apart right now. He said he wants to know what is going on. Vice Chairman Melvin said he appreciates Mr. Pranski’s tone this evening and that his points are well taken. Solicitor Bernathy said we are hoping the litigation has merit and we are able to recover the money which could be hundreds of thousands of dollars which could be used for essential services.
Tom Lamb addressed the Board. He asked who is paying for the phone bill with a Supervisor on the phone. Secretary Jodi Hulse said Supervisor Banach calls in so he is paying for the bill. Mr. Lamb asked if this is legal to do. Solicitor Bernathy said this has been checked not only through him but through the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors. Mr. Lamb suggested Supervisor Banach should resign if he is not able to attend the meetings and to let someone else take the position who is available for the township. Solicitor Bernathy said he values his opinion. Mr. Lamb asked the reason Supervisor Banach is not present. Vice Chairman Melvin said Supervisor Banach is out of town.
James Trotta addressed the Board. He said he agrees with Mr. Lamb on the phone situation. Mr. Trotta referred to the article in the Pocono Record regarding the arrest of Chairman Flansburg. He said that Supervisor Dotey is involved and it seems like the three of them are involved in something. Solicitor Bernathy suggested Mr. Trotta be careful with his statements since they are allegations. Mr. Trotta said something is going on since we come to meetings and we do not get answers. It is tying up the business of the Township. He said this is going to take a while. Solicitor Bernathy said sometimes the “wheels of justice” turn slowly. Mr. Trotta suggested that the ones names respectfully resign so we can have someone appointed to the Township so it can move on with business. There was applause from the crowd. Solicitor Bernathy assured Mr. Trotta he checked and the law allows and it is not uncommon across the country and state wide that public official have charges pending against them and that does not provide any substance for their resignation. Mr. Trotta said we have a township to run and it is a problem if there is no quorum. Solicitor Bernathy said that was the first time that he can ever remember at Westfall Township that we did not have a quorum. He said other townships sometimes do not have a quorum and cannot have their meetings. He would be concerned only if it became a pattern and something out of the norm. Vice Chairman Melvin confirmed there was nothing pressing enough on the agenda from the last meeting to warrant scheduling and advertising a special meeting. Mr. Trotta asked if the Supervisors could pass a law regarding the attendance of Supervisors. Solicitor Bernathy said that is something that is addressed by state law and not by township ordinance.
Mr. Pranski said when Mr. Brown was a Supervisor and his job took him out of town, his understanding is, that after he missed three meetings he was pretty much forced out. Vice Chairman Melvin said he does not know that. Mr. Pranski said if that is the case then there will be a lawsuit or the Supervisors are setting a precedent. Vice Chairman Melvin said Supervisor Banach is on the phone and participating in the meetings. Mr. Pranski said “what is good for the goose is good for the gander”. Supervisor Dotey said there have been past Supervisors such as Mr. Muir who have not been present for meetings and spent the winters in Florida. Mr. Pranski said that was maybe two or three months out of the year. Vice Chairman Melvin said we are following up to make sure we stay within the perimeters of the law.
Beth Brelje addressed the Board and asked the amount of Supervisors needed for a quorum. Vice Chairman Melvin said three. She said Supervisor Banach had appeared via phone a number of previous meetings and skipped last meeting when he would have been a minority voter for the first time in a long time and back now on the phone. She questioned where Supervisor Banach was last month. Solicitor Bernathy said as he indicated it was employment related. Ms. Brelje said Supervisor Banach works out of town a lot but the meetings are always at the same time. She asked Supervisor Banach specifically what he was doing at 7:00 PM. Vice Chairman Melvin said he has missed a couple of meetings since his work takes him away sometimes. Ms. Brelje said the pattern has been phone, phone, phone, phone, and phone, change of power ship, no meeting, and change of power ship back, then Supervisor Banach on the phone again. She asked again where Supervisor Banach was last month. Mr. Gregory said he may have been on vacation. That is none of your business. Solicitor Bernathy said to Supervisor Banach that if it is work related, he is under no obligation to provide an explanation. Ms. Brelje said she was not asking Solicitor Bernathy, she was asking Supervisor Banach. Supervisor Banach said that Solicitor Bernathy already answered the question. Ms. Brelje asked if he was working at 7:00 at night. Solicitor Bernathy said he is not getting into any further detail questioning people’s work obligations. It is not appropriate. Ms. Brelje said there is an appearance of it being kind of “creepy”. Solicitor Bernathy said that is Ms. Brelje’s opinion. Ms. Brelje questioned again what Supervisor Banach was doing at work at 7:00 at night. Solicitor Bernathy said he does not think that is any of Ms. Brelje’s business.
Carla Brown addressed the Board. She said she came to the meeting not knowing her husband’s name would be brought up. Mrs. Brown said that Supervisor Banach would come to the meetings when Mr. Muir was a Supervisor. Mr. Muir would fly home from Florida because Supervisor Banach was the one who was primarily complaining. There was applause from the audience. Mrs. Brown said Mr. Muir spent his own money to fly back from Florida to attend the meetings. She said the Supervisors did not have a personal agenda and they were all on the same team back then. Mr. Muir made a good faith effort to be here. She said there was one resident sitting here at every meeting complaining. That resident was Supervisor Banach and now he is not here to attend the meetings in person. Mrs. Brown said it is not fair. She said forget about all of the other matters, this matter is problematic. She feels that if someone is going to work for the township then they should be here to work for the township. There was applause from the crowd.
Mr. Dalton commented. He addressed the crowd and suggested when publically speaking one should stand up. Mr. Dalton addressed the Board and said that they should keep their hands down and sit forward. He said he has a couple of concerns over the past two years. He said he is disgusted about what happened on August 6, 2014. He said there was sabotage at the August 26, 2014 while he was out of town. That meeting was supposed to be a budget meeting. He stressed there cannot be the same budget for the police department. Mr. Dalton said he relies on the police department for his own safety. The police department knows him and he does not want a state trooper coming to respond to his home. He said his wife is deaf like himself. Mr. Dalton said he does not even ask for a sign language interpreter. He suggested to the crowd that Earned Income Tax be considered. Mr. Dalton said the “guy on the phone” does not want it. He said he does not care and we need to be realistic since our expenses are rising. Mr. Dalton said that Supervisor Banach said he would like to buy a couple of trucks and hire one more highway department employee. We can do this with the Earned Income Tax and there would be better services for the township and more money for the roads. He referred to it being the fault of “the clown on the phone”. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Dalton to please be civil. He said Mr. Dalton could make his point without being disparaging.
Kevin Rose asked if all of the Supervisors will be physically attending the August 18, 2014 meeting. Supervisor Buchanan, Vice Chairman Melvin and Supervisor Dotey all said they will be present. Supervisor Banach said it depends on his work schedule. Mr. Rose thanked Supervisor Banach for his answer.
May 28, 2014 Workshop Meeting Minutes: A motion was made by Supervisor Banach to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with three in favor and one abstention. Vice Chairman Melvin abstained since he was not present at the meeting.
June 2, 2014 Regular Meeting: A motion was made by Supervisor Banach to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
June 23, 2014 Special Meeting: A motion was made by Supervisor Banach to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with three in favor and one abstention. Vice Chairman Melvin abstained since he was not present at the meeting.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Scott Myer gave the report. The report was from January through the end of July, 2014. He said the real estate taxes at an income standpoint are at 100%. Permit fees are over budget which is good. He said expenses are in line with where they should be at this point. The Tax Anticipation Note was paid off. Vice Chairman Melvin confirmed the salary increases took place on July 1, 2014. He also confirmed with Mr. Myer that we will need a Tax Anticipation Note in 2015. Vice Chairman Melvin said that the monies being brought in are being spent on services. There is no big “slush fund” sitting around for the township. This hurts the township in case of a catastrophe. We are running it very tight on funds. Mr. Myer said, as Jonathan Hendrickson said at the Act 47 Hearing, we should be able to make it through the low cash points. Vice Chairman Melvin said we should have at least a 15 to 20 percent reserve with the budget. Mr. Myer agreed and said two months operating expenses. Mr. Pranski said he remembers hearing at the Act 47 Hearing that the Liquid Fuels money would be going up significantly over the next few years. Vice Chairman Melvin said in terms of percentages it will be significant but not in terms of dollars.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to approve the Treasurer’s Report. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
POLICE REPORT: Chad Stewart gave the report for July, 2014. The monthly count of offenses were as follows: 5 assaults, 22 larceny theft, 4 fraud, 1 recovery of stolen property, 2 vandalism, 4 weapons, 2 drug abuse, 4 dui, 1 liquor law, and 7 disorderly conduct. The monthly count of persons charged for offenses were as follows: 2 assault, 12 larceny theft, 1 recovery of stolen property, 1 weapons offense, 2 drug abuse, 2 dui, 1 liquor law and 1 disorderly conduct.
The total miles patrolled for the month were 6, 302 and year to date 44, 880. The total motor vehicle accidents for the month were 19 and year to date 115. Total calls for service for the month were 232 and year to date 1,375.
Chief Stewart said they also conducted aggressive driving detail. They conducted speed enforcement on Delaware Drive and crosswalk violations in the Borough of Matamoras. He said they will continue to do aggressive driving detail including in front of Price Chopper at the left turn lane only. There are grants provided by “Buckle Up PA and DUI Enforcement” to put extra patrols out for aggressive driving. There is reimbursement for the overtime for the officers.
Supervisor Buchanan asked if there has been any improvement in the crosswalk law since Port Jervis started enforcing it. Chief Stewart said no. The crosswalks continue to be an issue within the Borough. He said they have seen more with seatbelts since it is the law in New York and New Jersey. It is a primary violation in those states and secondary in Pennsylvania. Supervisor Dotey asked if there is any regulation regarding cell phone usage while driving a vehicle. Chief Stewart said texting is against the law but talking and surfing the internet is not illegal. It is a primary violation in New York State. Vice Chairman Melvin asked Chief Stewart if there is any progress with the carjacking in Matamoras. Chief Stewart said they are following all of the leads and it is still under investigation.
Mr. Pranski asked the breakdown of the report between Westfall and Matamoras. Chief Stewart said 204 for Westfall Township and 109 for Matamoras which included citations being written. 140 for Westfall and 92 for Matamoras without the citations. Mr. Pranski confirmed that the accidents are primarily in Westfall. Supervisor Dotey asked if the Police Department keeps track of where the offenses take place in the Township or Borough. Chief Stewart said yes and it is reflected in the monthly reports provided.
Vice Chairman Melvin asked if there were armed robberies in Montague, New Jersey recently. Chief Stewart said one was in Montague and one was in the Deer Park area. He said there should be an arrest for those shortly.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to accept the Police Report. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
FIRE DEPARTMENT: The Mill Rift Fire Department Report was given for June and July, 2014 by Chuck Pranski. The reports were as follows:
June, 2014: 6/01/14-Hovercraft Training; 6/04/14 Public Service Pool Fill-Engine 1 & Tanker 1; 6/06/14-Surface Water Training; 6/07/14- Surface Water Training; 6/09/14 -Swift Water Training; 6/17/14 -Monthly Meeting; 6/17/14-Mutual Aid Huguenot-Tanker 1; 6/18/14-Work Night-Cleaned Substation-Washed Engine 1 & Tanker 1; 6/25/14 Cleaned and Waxed Engine 1 & Tanker 1 for Port Jervis Parade; 6/25/14 Auto Fire Alarm-Cummins Hill-Engine 1; 6/27/14-Mutual Aid 39-Car fire 84-Tanker 1; 6/30/14 Chief’s Call-Meadow Brook Road-Cat in Tree
Total Man Hours: 169.75; Total Equipment Hours: 64.75 and Total Man Hours for the Year: 803.5
July, 2014: 7/01/14-Repair Hovercraft; 7/01/14-Monthly Meeting; 7/02/14-Mutual Aid 39; 7/2/14-Operation Training Hovercraft; 7/03/14-Prep for Port Jervis Parade; 7/5/14 Coin Toss-Brush 1; 7/6/14-Coin Toss-Brush 1-Total $496; 7/9/14-Parade Prep for Port Jervis Parade; 7/11/14-Hovercraft Training; 7/11/14-Dive Call-Port Jervis; 7/11/14-Parade Prep for Port Jervis Parade; 7/12/14-Port Jervis Parade-Engine 1, Engine 2, Tanker 1 and Hovercraft; 7/16/14-Work Night-Cleaned Substation; 7/30/14-Work Night Main-Power Washed and cut grass
Total Man Hours: 228.25; Total Equipment Hours: 96.5 and Total Man Hours for the year: 1031.75
The Westfall Fire Department Report was given by Rob Llewellyn for June and July, 2014. The reports were as follows:
June, 2014: 15 calls, 133 Man hours, 142 Calls year to date EMS Report: 38 calls in Westfall Twp., 18 calls to cover Squad 33, and 7 calls to cover Squad 19; Total EMS calls for June were 63; 122 Man hours; 436 Calls year to date and 932.5 man hours year to date.
They held four drills/in-house training sessions for 118 hours. The overall calls year to date are 578 and overall man hours year to date are 3,143.85.
July, 2014: 32 calls, 159.5 man hours, 174 calls year to date and 1486.43 man hours year to date. EMS Report: 31 calls in Westfall Twp., 30 calls to cover Squad 33, and 14 calls to cover Squad 19; Total EMS calls for July were 75; 104 man hours; 511 calls year to date and 1,036.5 man hours year to date.
They held five drills/in-house training sessions held for 210 hours. The overall calls year to date are 685 and overall man hours year to date are 3,617.35.
Chief Llewellyn said they have three new divers. There will be a car and motorcycle show fundraiser at River Runners Roost in Pond Eddy, NY to benefit the Westfall and Lumberland Fire Departments held on August 9, 2014 beginning at 10:00. Also, the Pulled Pork take out dinner will be August 15, 2014 from 4pm-7pm at the cost of $8.00 per meal.
Vice Chairman Melvin asked if Mill Rift if they have any fundraisers planned. Mr. Pranski said they have something planned for August at the church on Doug Miller Lane. He also said they are looking for members. Supervisor Dotey asked the reason the two fire departments do not have joint fundraisers. Chief Llewellyn said they are looking to venture that way. Supervisor Dotey said it could be beneficial to both departments. Mr. Pranski said the relationship between the departments has been strained but they are working toward making things better. He feels they have come quite a long way. Supervisor Buchanan asked if we won any awards at the parade. Chief Llewellyn said no.
Vice Chairman Melvin asked who responds to accidents on the bridge from PA to NY. Chief Llewellyn said it is handled between Westfall and Huguenot Departments.
A motion was made between Supervisor Dotey to accept the Fire Department Reports. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with all in favor.
HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT: Bill Schneider gave the report for July. The department has been replacing culvert pipes on Cummins Hill and Bluestone Boulevard. This is the area that we will be putting out for bid this year so they want to make sure it is prepared. The department has been clearing the right ways from vegetation. They are still working on gabion baskets on Heaters Hill. Mr. Schneider said he met with Scott Maciak from PennDOT to obtain the bid descriptions. Kuharchik installed the battery backups for Rueben Bell Drive and Stella Street. If the power goes out the battery backups will automatically go on and the batteries last for about 10 hours. There are generators hooked up to charge the systems. Mr. Schneider thanked the EPRPD for directing traffic at the last power outage. He said there were many trees down that they have cleaned up. Mr. Schneider said the department has been filling potholes and working on shoulders throughout the Township. He attended the road task force meeting this month. They are also continuing to replace the street signs throughout the Township.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to accept the highway report. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
BUILDING/ZONING REPORT: Doug Olmstead gave the report for June and July, 2014. He said for the month of June there were 8 building permits totaling $7,844.71. There were 7 zoning permits which totaled $975.00. The report for July was 2 building permits totaling $473.00 and 1 zoning permit totaling $200.00.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to accept the building/zoning report. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
CORRESPONDENCE: On desk for review.
- Henchel Road Issue: Bill Schneider said Kiley Associates came to look at the issue. Solicitor Bernathy said the estimate was $3,280.00 for the engineering professional services. Vice Chairman Melvin confirmed this is the private road issue. Supervisor Buchanan it is an issue that runs onto our road but it is not our issue to fix the private road. He said any other time in Westfall Township that a road has been damaged, the township takes legal action against the property owners. Supervisor Buchanan added if the township repairs the private road it will set a precedent. Supervisor Dotey agreed. Bill Schneider said the problem is at the foot of Heaters Hill which is eroding away. The idea is to get the water flow to decrease from Henchel Road. He said they have worked on the area at Heaters Hill and installed gabion baskets. Supervisor Banach suggested sending a letter to all of the property owners on Henchel Road to inform them of the issue and that they need to fix the problem. He suggested if they do not fix it then the township does and charges the owners. Solicitor Bernathy said they are diverting water runoff into the township right of way which is actionable. The Supervisors can send a letter to the property owners to take whatever corrective measures needed and if they do not litigation would be instituted. He did not recommend doing the work and charging the owners.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to send a letter to the property owners on Henchel Road informing them of the continuing trespass/damage of water onto the township highway and legal action will be taken if not remediated within thirty days. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with all in favor.
Solicitor Bernathy confirmed with Bill Schneider an estimate of the costs. Mr. Schneider said probably a couple of thousands of dollars without engineering. It will cost more in engineering fees if the road needs to be widened. The survey will cost extra. Supervisor Buchanan asked Chief Llewellyn if a fire truck would fit in the roadway. He said it is very tight.
Supervisor Dotey asked Solicitor Bernathy the cost of litigation. He responded a couple of thousand dollars. He said it may be more appropriate for an injunction which would be somewhere in the area of $750 to $1000. The court could direct the property owners to reimburse the township.
- Diesel Tank/Advertise sale of leaf machine: Supervisor Buchanan said he spoke to Mr. Schneider regarding this matter. We gave the tank to the fire department and they could not use it so we have it back. He said we can clean the tank out and hook it back and use it for diesel fuel storage so that we have 1000 gallons of diesel on hand. This could be used in case of emergency situations. Supervisor Buchanan said we can probably get a lower rate if we buy 1,000 gallons. Mr. Pranski said if there was a power outage the police department would have fuel. Supervisor Buchanan asked Mr. Schneider to obtain a price for cleaning the tank and hooking it up. Supervisor Banach questioned the issue once had regarding insurance. Mr. Schneider said that was when the gas was there. Vice Chairman Melvin asked Secretary Jodi Hulse and Mr. Schneider to get insurance information. He said it might night make sense to have the tank depending on the amount of insurance premium. Mr. Pranski suggested considering an alternate site which is out of the flood zone. He is concerned if the river comes up and the tank gets submerged. Vice Chairman Melvin said the site would need to be owned and insured by the township. Mr. Pranski suggested the firehouse. Vice Chairman Melvin said they just gave it back to the township. Chief Llewellyn said the tank is not permitted on the property of the firehouse due to the proximity of the fireworks store. Mr. Pranski said his concern is the flooding. Vice Chairman Melvin said he is more concerned about the power outages. Supervisor Buchanan said the electric is there and it just needs to be hooked up. Bill Schneider said once there is a flood the whole area is affected and the only way out is Route 84 westbound to Milford.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to advertise the leaf blower for sale at $2,000.00. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with all in favor.
- Letter from Eastern Pike Regional Police Commission/Appointment of new representative: Vice Chairman Melvin said we received a letter from the Police Commission advising that Supervisor Flansburg missed three meetings so the commission asked Westfall Township to appoint a new commissioner. He then asked if any committee meetings have taken place. Supervisor Dotey said not yet. Vice Chairman Melvin confirmed that Supervisors Dotey and Buchanan are on the committee and the point of that was to have two members on the committee who are not on the commission. He said we need another representative on the commission since there is a chance of dead locks with only four members. It is only fair to the Supervisors and the residents to appoint another commissioner from Westfall as soon as possible. Supervisor Banach suggested appointing a temporary for a few months until the committee meetings take place and things are ironed out. He made a motion to appoint Supervisor Dotey if he wants to do it. Vice Chairman Melvin asked if this would be a temporary for one or two months. Supervisor Buchanan said he will does not go along with that. He said a commissioner needs to be appointed for the rest of the term. Vice Chairman Melvin said there is no second to the motion at this time.A motion was made by Vice Chairman Melvin to nominate Supervisor Buchanan as commissioner. There was applause from the crowd. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor. There was applause from the crowd. Vice Chairman Melvin asked Secretary Jodi Hulse to send a letter to the Secretary of the commission to confirm.
- Exoneration of Taxes (Judicial Sale-May 28, 2014): A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to approve the exoneration of taxes for John Carey ($148.32), Peter J. Carney, Jr. ($286.81), and Andrezej Torbus ($148.32). The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
- Partial Release of Escrow-Richard Conklin-110 Pear Court: There was discussion regarding the escrow funds held by the township due to the previous fire on the property. The township currently holds in escrow $6,000.00.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan for a partial release in the amount of $5,000.00 and the balance to be paid upon issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
The Board agreed that Mr. Conklin will need to obtain approval of the release of the balance from the Supervisors when the Certificate of Occupancy is issued.
- Application for Service Line/Water Service and Agreement-Milford Water Authority: Vice Chairman Melvin read the letter. Supervisor Banach said they approached us one day before they needed a grant and they brought the water to a private residence and now the tax payers are required to pay for the service. We made a stipulation that there be representation from Westfall on the Water Authority board. Supervisor Banach suggested holding off on signing the agreement until we have representation on the board. Vice Chairman Melvin agreed with Supervisor Banach. Supervisor Buchanan said they agreed as soon as they have an opening on the board. Vice Chairman Melvin said we do not want to get argumentative with the Authority but we had the same issue with Matamoras and they agreed to put someone on their board. He said we should be able to know when the vacancy will be. He does not want to wait three, four or five years for it to occur. Solicitor Bernathy said he would like to take a look at the bi-laws. Mr. Pranski asked if this is to benefit one business. Vice Chairman Melvin said he does not think so. There were three new fire hydrants installed which he feels beneficial to the township. Mr. Schneider said they are to service the trailer park.
The matter was tabled.
- Letter from PCCD-Pike County Baseline Groundwater Study-Letter of Support: Vice Chairman Melvin read the letter. Supervisor Buchanan said this project is already approved. No action was taken.
- Cummins Hill Road and Bluestone Boulevard-Advertise for paving bids: A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to approve the advertising of the road project bids. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
- Flood Insurance Renewal Notice: Vice Chairman Melvin said the current coverage for the flood insurance is $62,900.00. Secretary Jodi Hulse said this has been the coverage amount for the past several years. Vice Chairman Melvin asked if anyone knew the amount of damage which was covered due to flooding. Supervisor Buchanan confirmed with Mr. Lamb the cost was less than $10,000.00.A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to approve the coverage amount of $62,900.00 (Option A on the invoice). The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
- RC Lain Insurance Quote for increase in coverage: Vice Chairman Melvin read the quote from RC Lain to increase the liability coverage which would increase the current policy premium by $6,000 approximately. Mr. Pranski asked if the quote was from the same company which insured the township during the Dombrosky settlement. Vice Chairman Melvin said no.
The Supervisor agreed to continue paying the current coverage and not to increase at this time. The matter was tabled.
- Proposed Drone Ordinance: Supervisor Banach suggested to table the matter. He said he is going to look further into obtaining a sample ordinance. Mr. Pranski said New York City has been dealing with this and it is an FAA matter and not a local matter.
The Supervisors agreed to table the matter.
- Schedule/Advertise Supervisor Workshop Meeting: A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to approve the scheduling and the advertising of the Supervisor Workshop meeting for Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
- Schedule/Advertise Joint Meeting as per Regionalization Agreement-Workshop August 18, 2014: A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to approve the advertising of the Joint Meeting for Monday, August 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
- Schedule Public Hearing for Liquor License Transfer-Milford Farms, LLC-Staples Plaza from Dingman Township: Solicitor Bernathy explained the application to the Board. Mr. Pranski asked if the license transfer is regulated by the census. Solicitor Bernathy said they are controlled by the State Liquor Control Board. Mr. Pranski said the amount of initial liquor licenses for an area is controlled by the census. Solicitor Bernathy said he is not aware of that and that is only aware of an approval process which required an application to the Township before the State. Solicitor Bernathy explained the process of the hearing.
A motion was made by Supervisor Banach to approve the advertising of the Public Hearing-Liquor License Transfer-Milford Farms, LLC-Staples Plaza from Dingman Township. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with all in favor.
- Letter from Upper Delaware Council-Westfall Township Representative: Supervisor Buchanan said we need a volunteer to serve on the UDC. There was discussion regarding the involvement of the representative. Secretary Jodi Hulse explained we have not been receiving the $100 per month since our representative has not been present. Mr. Pranski volunteered for the position. He agreed to give it a try and will give notice to the township if he has any schedule conflicts.
A motion was made by Vice Chairman Melvin to appoint Chuck Pranski as Upper Delaware Council Representative for Westfall Township. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
Mr. Barth volunteered for the alternate position. A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to appoint Mr. Barth as Alternate Upper Delaware Council Representative for Westfall Township. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey and carried with all in favor.
- Highway Department Roof and Municipal Building Ramp Railing: Bill Schneider said he will get estimates if the Board wishes to move forward with the repairs. Supervisor Buchanan asked Mr. Schneider if he has looked into whether or not the railing is ADA compliant. He said he will talk to the inspector. Solicitor Bernathy asked Mr. Schneider to provide specs to make the railing ADA compliant. He believes it is acceptable since it is pre-existing.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to approve Mr. Schneider obtaining specs for both projects and to advertise once specs are obtained. The motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Melvin and carried with all in favor.
- Pike County Humane Society Donation: There was discussion regarding whether or not the Township could donate. Secretary Jodi Hulse said she checked with PSATS and they confirmed it was allowed in second class townships.
A motion was made by Supervisor Buchanan to donate $400.00 to the Pike County Humane Society. Mr. Pranski said Port Jervis services our area also. He suggest we donate to both. Vice Chairman Melvin said there are a lot of great organizations who do a lot for our community. Supervisor Buchanan said the Pike County Humane Society services Westfall Township. Supervisor Banach said once donating then it starts a trend and it is hard to say no. Supervisor Banach asked the crowd their opinion. Most commented “donate”. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Dotey. Supervisor Buchanan said what will be done with all of the others that come forward and want a donation of $400. Supervisor Buchanan and Supervisor Dotey were in favor. Vice Chairman Melvin and Supervisor Banach were opposed. The Motion failed.
Vice Chairman Melvin decided to personally donate $200.00 to the Pike County Humane Society and Mr. Pranski decided to personally donate $100.00 to the Pike County Humane Society.
SUBDIVISION REVIEW AND ACTION: None
Mr. Lamb said back in March a letter was sent to the Matamoras regarding the Police Department giving ninety days. The ninety days are coming up. Supervisor Buchanan said we are having the joint meeting so hopefully everything will be resolved. Vice Chairman Melvin said the letter gave Matamoras ninety days to respond which they have. Supervisor Buchanan said hopefully on August 18, 2014 we can resolve all of our misunderstandings.
EXECTUIVE SESSION: An executive session was called at 8:48 pm for the purposes of litigation. The meeting was back in session at 8:54 pm.
A motion was made by Supervisor Dotey to engage the services of Attorney Charles Kannebecker to institute bad faith litigation against the previous insurance carrier of Westfall Township on a contingency fee basis. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with all in favor.
Beth Brelje asked the name of the insurer. Secretary Jodi Hulse said Darwin National Assurance Company and Allied World Assurance Company. Solicitor Bernathy confirmed that is correct.
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m. on a motion by Supervisor Dotey. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Buchanan and carried with all in favor.