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September 11, 2014 - Regular Meeting

The Regular Monthly Meeting of the Montour Township Board of Supervisors was called to order on September 11, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., by Chairman Gerald W. Powers, with all members present.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

A Moment of Silence was observed.

Solicitor Roberts stated that the Board of Supervisors held executive sessions on August 19, 2014, August 21, 2014 and today September 11, 2014 just before the Regular Meeting for personnel matters.   

PUBLIC COMMENTS:

Robert Webber made a suggestion to have draft copies of the previous meetings minutes available for review for residents prior to the meeting and approval.  A discussion was held.  It was decided to have one draft copy available and the residents can share it.  

Varonica Klesh asked if the bill approvals could be moved to the end of the meeting to move things along, and that the residents didn’t need to be present to hear them.  

Mr. Powers responded that the bills are being approved with Township monies and that the residents do need to be present and aware of what is being spent.  The bill approvals will remain as is on the agenda.  

Nancy Powers stated that other organizations read their draft minutes at the start of the meetings, can we do that to save the copying or is it to laborious.  It was stated that it would be too time consuming.

MINUTES:

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Mrs. Carl, to approve the Minutes of the Regular Monthly Meeting of August 14, 2014, as drafted.  Motion carried.

BILLS DUE FOR PAYMENT:

A MOTION was made by Mr. Powers, seconded by Mrs. Carl, to approve bills to be paid from the General Fund in the amount of $43,940.74.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Powers, seconded by Mrs. Carl, to approve bills to be paid from the Special Police Account in the amount of $1,273.37.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Mrs. Carl, to approve bills to be paid from the Highway Fund in the amount of $3055.08.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Mrs. Carl, to approve bills to be paid from the Sewer Fund in the amount of $50673.74.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Mrs. Carl, to approve bills to be paid from the Debit Card for the month of August in the amount of $84.79.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Mrs. Carl, to approve bills to be paid from the Fire Tax Account in the amount of $7,017.46.  Motion carried.

OLD BUSINESS:

STP OPERATOR’S REPORT:

John Bauer, STP Operator, has submitted a written report of activities for the month of August, 2014.  He reported that it has been a busy month.  The resurfacing of Indian Head Pump Station was done.  It was a week and a half to two week project.  He stated that he is looking into a small aerator to keep the gases down.  He also thanked the residents for their cooperation.  

The Spade Ave. raising is completed, the platform for PPL is done.  

The Quarry Ave Pump Station is half done, approximately 2 to 3 weeks more.  

There are two more stations to raise and a couple more to re-coat.

KURIAN SEWER HOOK UP:

There was nothing new to discuss.

RAISING OF PUMP STATIONS:

This item was discussed in Mr. Bauer’s report.

DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS – COLLECTION AGENCY:

The Township is still under contract with ARB with no out until contract is over.

EXTENSION OF PERRY AVENUE TO ROUTE 11:

Mr. Mullen stated that Max Stoner, Engineer, has a letter from PPL.

He also stated that there is a block grant program available with the Columbia County Commissioners that we might qualify for.  Mr. Mullen will look into this.

BUDGET VS. ACTUAL EXPENSES AND REVENUE UPDATE:

Mrs. Carl stated that all looks good.  There could possibly be a reimbursement from the Sewer account for engineering services.

UNITED WATER SERVICE – UPDATE:

There is nothing new to report on this matter.

FLOOD MITIGATION PROGRAM – UPDATE:

Theresa Hampton reported that she and Terry Hoover completed the information requested by FEMA/PEMA.  Terry Hoover reported that he has been e-mailing the new PEMA representative as to the progress of our paperwork.  The new representative is out of the office on leave and no one has reviewed our paperwork as of yet.  He will continue to inquire and express the urgency of the reimbursement.

CODE OF ORDINANCE UPDATE:

There was nothing new to report on this matter. The Board will consider this for the 2015 budget.

LANDLORD REGISTRATION ORDINANCE:

This matter is on hold.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN & ZONING MAP:

Linda Woodward stated that it is moving along slowly.  It is anticipated to be finished by the end of December.  There will be extra Planning Commission work sessions in October to wrap things up.  The Zoning Officer and the Codes Enforcement Officer are looking at the Land Use Maps.

HAZARDOUS WASTE PICK-UP AREA:

There was nothing new to report on this matter.

WEBSITE SURVEY:

The survey is finished.

STONE CASTLE ZONING CHANGE:

Linda Woodward stated that this will have to be addressed with the zoning changes in the Comprehensive Plan.

OFFICE COMPUTER SYSTEM:

Theresa Hampton reported that one quote was received and is waiting to meet with another gentleman to get another.  She will present when both quotes are in.

SMALL CELL TOWERS:

Mr. Mullen gave an article to Solicitor Roberts dealing with small cell towers.  Solicitor Roberts said that this issue will be addressed with the energy ordinance.  Solicitor Roberts will speak to Jerry Walls concerning this matter.

ENERGY ORDINANCE:

Solicitor Roberts sent Jerry Walls a copy of the sample ordinance, he stated that it is very well written.  They are meeting Friday and will review and draft the ordinance for the Township.

EMERGENCY WATER SOURCE:

Chief Terry Eckart is to check on information on a water buffalo.

TRAFFIC STUDY FOR REDUCING SPEED LIMIT – SUNKEN HEIGHTS:

Mr. Mullen spoke to Greg Dipple, PennDOT representative and he stated that the township can do the survey themselves.

NEW BUSINESS:

2015 PMRS MININUM MUNICIPAL OBLIGATION:

A copy of the draft report was given to Chairperson Powers to present to the rest of the board for review and approval.  

HERRING, ROLL & SOLOMAN ENGAGEMENT LETTER FOR 2014 AUDIT:

A MOTION was made by Mr. Powers, seconded by Mrs. Carl to approve the Herring, Roll & Soloman  Engagement letter for the 2014 audit to be performed in 2015.  Motion carried.

Mr. Mullen stated that when he reviewed the 2013 audit he found an addition mistake on page 5.  Theresa Hampton to call Auditor concerning this matter.  

SEWER FUND CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT – RENEWAL:

The CD for the sewer Fund is up for renewal.  

A MOTION was made by Mr. Powers, seconded by Mr. Mullen to renew the Sewer CD.  Motion carried.

AIR CONDITIONER UNIT FOR MUNICIPAL BUILDING:

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Mrs. Carl, to prepare for the installation of an external Air Conditioning unit and duct work for the 2015 budget.  Motion carried.   

CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER’S REPORT:

Nick Fritz, Codes Officer, reported that he responded to a call at the Perry Ave trailer court concerning loose dogs.  He went, looked around and spoke to residents.  He also spoke to the Dog Warden and he is going to look into the licensing and vaccinations of the dogs.  

He Issued a Peddlers Permit to Potters Produce.

He also received a complaint about roaches in a trailer at Perry Ave.  When he went to investigate, there was no power to the residence.  

Steve from The COG condemned the trailer for lack of power.  When Mr. Fritz returned to the trailer, a caseworker was there.  The residents left the trailer.

Mr. Fritz stated that he is in the process of issuing a 15 day notice for too many unlicensed/unregistered vehicles.  
Mr. Fritz received a complaint from Joy Kroning about a neighbors light that was shining on her home.  He told her that it was not the Township’s responsibility to regulate lights and there was nothing he could do.  

He also stated that Mr. Baker, owner of Perry Ave trailer court, has been cutting weeds & cleaning.  There are still 3 or 4 residents that still have stuff on their property.  He spoke of contacting someone to contract for a cleanup for the residents.

ZONING OFFICER’S REPORT:

Tim Mauk, Zoning Officer, submitted a report.  He stated that he issued a permit to Tim McNinch 156 Cross Road.  
He has one permit pending for Zimmerman.  She will be submitting a sub-division application soon.

He asked Tom Long of Indianhead Campground to move some campers from a storage area.  Mr. Long is in the process of moving the campers.

Mustang Sally’s is in the process of moving the campers from the property.  Solicitor Roberts drafted a letter to Mr. Phillips to comply, Tim Mauk mailed it certified and it was received.

Linda Woodward stated that private clubs are not permitted in the Highway Commercial district so they are in violation of the ordinance.  When the strip club was closed they opened a private club and did not come to the township for permission.  

Solicitor Roberts stated that it must first be documented that it is a private club.  Then the owner will be contacted and an enforcement letter will be sent.   It was mentioned that on the sign it states Private Club.  

Solicitor Roberts will research the information and if needed draft a letter.

Dave Evans Disposal has 2 dumpsters on Perry Ave.  Mr. Mauk called and left messages with no response.  Nick Fritz contacted DEP and they are aware of them.  The property they are on is owned by Nate Roberts.  Nick will give them till the end of the week and he will call DEP again.  

Other permits:  Kessler 302 Rupert Drive is replacing a deck.  Dave Lamb 157 Cross Road is replacing a deck with a larger deck.  And Glen Nederheiser would like to put a daycare in his building.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:

TOWER DRIVE PROJECT:

The Tower Drive project will be a 2 part process and is scheduled for next year.  

UPPER COLONIAL AVENUE:

There is no change and nothing new to report on this matter.

The Swale in Sunken Heights is to be finished and seeded next week.
 
At Last month’s meeting, residents from Quarry Drive mentioned about pot holes in road.  Most of them have been filled in by the road crew.  Mr. Mullen will be putting a proposal into the county for monies to possibly repair the road next year.

The Berms of the roads will be done in the next week or two.

Rick Vanderpool asked if the boom mower was repaired yet.  Mr. Mullen stated that they are working on it.

Mr. Vanderpool asked what part of the road is to be vacated.  

Mr. Mullin stated that it is Upper Colonial Avenue.  He said that he has researched past meeting minutes and found no record of the road being dedicated to the Township.  The road to the left of Sunken Heights Avenue, renamed Colonial Avenue, is now owned by the Township and we need to begin the vacating process.

Mr. Vanderpool said he never talked to Mr. Mullen concerning it so why is he now questioning the road.  He also wanted to know why and how this came about.  The road services his property.  He is disappointed but not surprised by this.  Mr. Vanderpool mentioned that Mr. Mullen did not have the decency to contact him about it.    He has cooperated with the Township, trimmed trees, branches ect. , for 26 years and he has plowed the roads, put stakes up so the Township plowed the correct road.  He also helped get the Township truck out during a blizzard.  The Township never requested an easement for his property during the sewer project but he cooperated and the issue was resolved.  

Mr. Vanderpool also mentioned that the road is paved, and who paid to have the road paved, Mr. Vanderpool paid for half of it.  

Mr. Vanderpool stated that he was concerned about the kids at the school during an emergency, He granted an easement for emergencies.

There was no response from Mr. Mullen.

Solicitor Roberts will look into this matter and do some research.  If the vacating process is started there will be an Ordinance with a hearing.

The Ordinance will be drafted and advertised, there will be a notice of the hearing and a notice to all residents.  Then the Board will vote to approve or decline.

Linda Woodward asked if the Township does not own the road, who does and what is the length of the road to be vacated.  It was mentioned that there is a need for a surveyor and the length to be vacated is 1/10 of a mile.

The issue of ownership is complicated because of Liquid Fuels Allocation and there is confusion of ownership.  

Mrs. Vanderpool asked how far back in the minutes was researched.  It was researched back to 2000.
 
Mr. Vanderpool mentioned again that he never had a conversation with Mr. Mullen concerning this road and its ownership.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:

Police Chief Terry Eckart has submitted the following written report of activities for the month of August, 2014:

Fines Issued
$5215.00 – Montour Township
$4297.00 – Catawissa Township
63  Traffic Citations – Montour Township
68  Traffic Citations – Catawissa Township
7   Non-traffic Citations – Montour Township
0   Non-traffic Citations – Catawissa Township
2   Criminal Arrests – Montour Township
3   Criminal Arrests – Catawissa Township
118 Incidents in Montour Township
53  Incidents in Catawissa Township

Chief Eckart had nothing more to report.

A MOTION was made by Mrs. Carl, seconded by Mr. Powers to accept the resignation of Robert Anderson.  Motion carried.  

Mr. Mullen commented that they were professional officers and that it is unfortunate that we lost them.

A Motion was made by Mrs. Carl, seconded by Mr. Powers, to accept the resignation of Timothy Kiefaber.  Motion carried.

Solicitor Roberts mentioned that just before the meeting he was delivered an Agreement of Discipline.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Powers, seconded by Mrs. Carl, to accept the Agreement pertaining to police discipline with a 15 day suspension without pay for Chief Terry Eckart.  A vote was taken with Mr. Powers and Mrs. Carl in favor and Mr. Mullen opposed.  Motion carried.  

A MOTION was made by Mr. Powers, seconded by Mrs. Carl, to employ Jimmie Hill as full time Police Officer at $16.00 per hour to fill one of the vacancies, with a 90 day probation period.  Motion carried.

FIRE COMPANY REPORT:

Fire Chief Brian Fosse has submitted a written report of Fire Department Statistics for the month of August, 2014.  He was not present to comment further.

Mr. Powers mentioned that the completed NIMS report is needed by September 30, 2014.  Joe Yeager, EMA Director has been contacted on several occasions with no response.  Chief Eckart is to contact Mr. Yeager.  FEMA funds are tied in with the NIMS reporting.  

Nancy Powers asked if there is a way to communicate with Mr. Yeager to make him aware of the urgency.  It was stated that attempts to contact him were made via phone and email with no response.

Marie Williams stated that one of the Supervisors should personally contact Mr. Yeager concerning this matter.  

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD:

Kristin Baver, reporter for Press Enterprise, asked what is the reason for the suspension and what is the time line for the suspension.  She was told the suspension was a personnel matter and the specific dates of suspension could not be given but it will be sometime in October.  

She then asked who will be the Officer in Charge during the suspension.  It was stated that it was not determined as of yet.  

Ms. Baver asked Mr. Mullen why he disagreed with the 15 day suspension.  He responded that it was a personnel matter and had no comment.

She also asked that with the suspension and resignations, will there be enough coverage for the Township.  It was stated that there is now and will be coverage for the Township.  Catawissa Township will also not be affected.  

Ms. Baver asked what the reasons for the officer’s resignations.  

Solicitor Roberts stated that copies of the resignation letters will be provided if requested.  

She then asked that now that the issue is over, will the report be made public.  

Solicitor Roberts responded that the report is not public information so it will not be provided.

Ms. Baver asked if there will now be a public statement.  It was stated that there will not be one.

She then asked if the investigation was reopened.  She was told it was a personnel matter.

Ms. Baver asked if the Township received a statement of cost from Attorney Naparsteck.  She was told that the invoice was received and will be provided if requested.  

Linda Woodward wanted to remind everyone of the Planning Commission meeting with Jerry Walls, Planning Commission Consultant, on September 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm.  The meeting will be open to the public.  

Marcy Webber, being concerned with the safety of the Township, requested Ms. Baver of the Press to hold off on the article until after Chief Eckart’s suspension is over.  

Ms. Baver responded that she does not have specific dates for the article and it is not up to her to determine when it is published.  She recommended Mrs. Webber to take it up with the editor.  

Richard Vanderpool thanked Mr. Powers for the recognition of volunteerism, but Linda Woodward also does a lot of work and should be recognized as well.

Two letters of praise for Chief Eckart were received by the Township.  They were read by Mr. Powers and Mrs. Carl.

Mr. Mullen spoke to Rich Kishner, County Redevelopment Authority, they are looking into flooding issues and how it affects housing.  He will keep Mr. Mullen informed.

Terry Hoover would like to be involved in the Flood Mitigation for the County.

Mr. Vanderpool asked when investigating vacating Colonial Avenue, what will be the Township’s expenses.  There was no comment.

Linda Woodward asked it the Township is already taking care of the road then why vacate it now.

Mr. Mullen commented that if the Township does not own it, why would they maintain it.

Mr. Powers stated that when it comes down to a vote, there will be three individual votes from the Supervisors.  

Linda Woodward asked if the cost justified in vacating the road as opposed to keeping and maintaining it.

Mrs. Vanderpool asked if the distance of the road to be vacated could be verified.

Mr. Mullen stated that it is less than 1/10 of a mile.

Mrs. Woodward asked who is on either side of the road to be vacated.  It was stated that the Katerman and Vanderpool properties are on the road.

Forrest Bennett asked if the road is vacated does the Township take care of it.  He was told no.

MEETING DATE:

Mr. Powers reported that the Montour Township Board of Supervisors will hold their next Meeting on October 9, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.

There being no further business to discuss, the Meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m., on a MOTION of Mr. Mullen, seconded by Mr. Powers.  Motion carried.



Respectfully Submitted,


Joelene C. Sponenberg
Township Secretary

Theresa M. Hampton
Township Clerk