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October 9, 2014 - Regular Meeting

The Regular Monthly Meeting of the Montour Township Board of Supervisors was called to order on October 9, 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.

PUBLIC COMMENTS:

Forrest Bennett, 38 Perry Avenue, requests that money be budgeted for classes & seminars for continued education for Planning and Zoning members possibly for next year’s budget.  

Mr. Powers stated that he supports this suggestion with the condition that the person wanting to attend a class submit a proposal ahead of time to the Board for approval with the following information: Where they are going, why it is important to the Township and what value does it give to the Township.  

Linda Woodward stated that in the past, she was told that if she wanted to participate in a class, she would have to register and pay and then submit the receipt for reimbursement.  

Linda said that she would submit a request letter for the upcoming budget meeting.  

If a class comes up and is due before the next meeting date, members are to contact the Supervisors for approval and the cost will be ratified at the next meeting.

Steve Kurian, 521 Montour Blvd. He is still working on the sewer hook-up.  Mr. Kurian is to call a meeting with the neighbors to see if they can come to an agreement on the project.  He has 2 options:  A sand mound or go under Rt. 11.   He can’t get an estimate on the cost of going under Rt. 11, another project similar was a cost of $40,000 and that is out of his budget.  He is now trying to get an agreement with the neighbors.
 
MINUTES:

A MOTION was made by Mrs. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Powers, to approve the Minutes of the Regular Monthly Meeting of August 14, 2014, as drafted.

Mr. Mullen asked that at the bottom of page 6, a statement he made concerning the date that he had researched information back to, be changed from 2000 to 1991.  Motion carried.

BILLS DUE FOR PAYMENT:

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Mr. Powers, to approve bills to be paid from the General Fund in the amount of $61,124.43.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Mrs. Ebright, to approve bills to be paid from the Special Police Account in the amount of $2,069.21.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mrs. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to approve bills to be paid from the Highway Fund in the amount of $3,866.19.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Powers, seconded by Mrs. Ebright, to approve bills to be paid from the Sewer Fund in the amount of $11,619.30.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Mr. Powers, to approve bills to be paid from the Debit Card for the month of September in the amount of $559.28.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Powers, seconded by Mrs. Ebright, to approve bills to be paid from the Fire Tax Account in the amount of $4,044.46.  Motion carried.

Solicitor Roberts announced that the Board had an Executive Session on October 7, 2014 for personnel matters, and there will be an Executive Session following the meeting to consult with counsel concerning litigation matters.

OLD BUSINESS:

STP OPERATOR’S REPORT:

John Bauer, STP Operator, has submitted a written report of activities for the month of September, 2014.  He was not present.  

Max Stoner stated that they are waiting on testing results for the NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems) before submitting the forms & permits.  Test results and forms must be submitted every 5 years.  Permits in the past were $500 for five years and are now $500 per year.

KURIAN SEWER HOOK UP:

This item was previously discussed.

RAISING OF PUMP STATIONS:

Max Stoner stated that this project is complete.

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 a Federal grant program was due 10/1/2014 and that he submitted the application.  He asked, through the county, for $31,000.  The Townships share for this project would be $18,500 making the total project cost $49,500.  Some of the $18,500 could be gotten from other sources.  

BUDGET VS. ACTUAL EXPENSES AND REVENUE UPDATE:

Mrs. Ebright stated that all looks good.  All but approximately $10,000 of the property taxes have been received.  
Mr. Vanderpool asked how much has been budgeted for copying.  

Mrs. Ebright replied that the office supply budget is $150 and so far the Township has spent $356.48.  

Mr. Vanderpool stated that there was only one copy of the draft minutes from the previous meeting and he did not get a chance to review them.  He would like to know if there could be more than one copy made for the next meeting.  

Mr. Powers stated that at the previous meeting it was discussed and decided that only one copy be made for review.  

Mr. Vanderpool stated that as he serves on the Zoning Hearing Board, he has forgone payment for the two meetings that he has attended and that the Township can take what would have been paid to him and put it toward the cost of more copies for the meetings.

Mr. Powers thanked Mr. Vanderpool as well as Mr. Webber, who also has not taken pay for being on the Planning Commission, for volunteering their time.  

It was decided that for the next meeting there be 4 copies made.

UNITED WATER SERVICE – UPDATE:

There is nothing new to report on this matter.

Linda Woodward commented that with the survey that was put out for the Comprehensive Plan, most everyone said that they would want water hook up and sewer.
 
FLOOD MITIGATION PROGRAM – UPDATE:

Theresa Hampton reported that the packet that was sent previously was good, however there were a few items that needed to be separated by the two projects.  The new representative is still out of the office on leave and we now have two new representatives, one from PEMA and one from FEMA.  Mr. Hoover is to come into the office on Monday to review the information and get what is needed sent out as soon as possible.

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 was discussed at the previous Planning Commission meeting the different areas they feel need changed.  Some land use will expand, some will overlay.  There is Industrial with the quarry that will be overlaid with Business.  Some Agriculture will change to suburban Residential while the rest will remain Agriculture.  Once the changes are set they will be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan as it is rewritten.  It will be then submitted to the Supervisors for review and approval and it will go out to the public.  It will then be finalized and signed by the Supervisors.

HAZARDOUS WASTE PICK-UP AREA:

There was nothing new to report on this matter.

STONE CASTLE ZONING CHANGE:

Linda Woodward stated that this comes into play with the Highway Commercial overlay with the ability to do Townhouses and Condos and those types of developments.  

OFFICE COMPUTER SYSTEM:

Theresa Hampton reported that a tech from another company came to the office to review the space and what is needed.  He submitted a verbal quote to integrate a new server at a cost of $900 for the server and $300 for labor.  There is also an option to replace the third computer in the office that is used for the Planning Commission at a cost of in the $450 range.  

SMALL CELL TOWERS:

Nothing new on this matter.
                                
ENERGY ORDINANCE:

Solicitor Roberts stated the he and Jerry Walls have been discussing the ordinance, Jerry submitted a draft ordinance.  Solicitor Roberts will develop an ordinance from this and it will be presented to the Supervisors and Planning Commission for review.    

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 attended a program on common speed techniques and according to the code, if houses are within 300 feet of each other it is considered a residential zone and should be 25 MPH.  He will send the information to Solicitor Roberts for verification.

NEW BUSINESS:

EMA TRAINING & DIRECTOR:

Mr. Powers noted that he has tried to contact Joe Yeager, current EMA Director on 7 occasions with no response.  Chief Terry Eckart took over and reviewed the NIMS forms and they have been submitted to the county.  He also generated various SOP’s that were needed.  The deadline to submit these forms was September 30, 2014.  Along with the forms to be NIMS compliant the Township Supervisors and some employees must have training.  

Chief Eckart is to make a list of who needs the training and what training they need.  

Mr. Powers also stated that we need a new EMA Director that is more reliable.  

Ashley Ebright has expressed some interest in the position but does not have any of the training needed.  Mr. Powers suggests that Chief Eckart take over as EMA Director and Ms. Ebright be appointed as Assistant Director after the proper training.  

Chief Eckart has some of the training needed but not all of it.

Solicitor Roberts suggested that a letter be sent to Joe Yeager asking him if he is still interested in retaining the position. If there is no response, that would constitute resignation of the position.  

Mr. Mullen asked if being EMA Director will be too much along with being Police Chief, is there enough time for both.

Chief Eckart stated that he is basically already doing both now and as Police Chief he will be on scene of emergencies already.  

Mr. Powers asked Ms. Ebright if she is still interested in the Assistant Position.  She will look into the training and get back to the Supervisors.

Mr. Powers wanted to commend Chief Eckart for taking time out of his schedule to prepare and submit the reports before the due date.  Chief Eckart spent approximately 30 hours of his own time completing the forms.  

BUDGET WORKSHOP:

The Budget Workshop for the 2015 budget is scheduled for Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm at the Township Building.

CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER’S REPORT:

Nick Fritz, Codes Officer, reported that there are still roll off containers on Nathan Roberts property on Perry Avenue.  The containers are owned by Evans Disposal.  Mr. Fritz spoke to Jeremey Evans and he claims that he does not own them.  DEP has been contacted, however they stated that the Township can do more than they can at this point.  

Solicitor Roberts stated that the owner of the property should be the one to receive the enforcement letter.

Mr. Fritz brought up the property at 522 Montour Boulevard, he contacted someone to haul away junk that has accumulated at some of the residences.  He would haul the junk away for $45 per resident with an additional cost of the container.  Mr. Fritz stated that he could do this job for about half of the cost to the residents but wanted to check to see if it was ok to do this.  

Mr. Powers stated that he thought it would be a conflict of interest for a Township employee to do the work, as well as liability issues.  

Mr. Mullen recommended going through the ordinances and citation process.

Solicitor Roberts agreed with Mr. Powers and Mr. Mullen.

Mr. Fritz stated that at the Perry Ave. Trailer Court Lot 14, he received a complaint about sewer smell.  He went and found Grey Water going onto ground.  Brian Bankes owns the trailer and he is to fix the problem.

Lot 4 in the same court was reported to have roaches.  When speaking to the resident, she confirmed that she did have them as well as some surrounding residents.  Mr. Fritz contacted Steve Belski of the Cog office and contacted the owners of the three trailers and there is to be treatment done to all of them.  This will be followed up on.  

There was a complaint from a resident in Sunken Heights stating that the water pressure is low.  She was concerned that if there is a fire there won’t be enough pressure to fight the fire.  

Brian Fosse, Fire Chief, stated that there are hydrants in the area and if pressure gets too low that water will be tinkered in for an emergency.

The property owned by Tiffany Robbins has been sold to Cody Unger and Mr. Fritz stated that he assumes that the new owner will be cleaning up the property.  The Supervisors had previously asked Mr. Fritz to check on this property.

Mr. Fritz has been working with Zoning Officer Tim Mauk to have the motor homes and campers removed from Tom Longs property.  There are only two left.  It was told to Mr. Fritz that the property was originally purchased to store campers.  He informed them that it is not zoned for that use.  They asked for something in writing concerning this ordinance.  

Mr. Powers stated that a letter was received from Mr. Long stating that before he purchased the property he spoke to a previous Zoning Officer and was given permission to use it in such manner.  It was the condition on which he purchased the property.  

Solicitor Roberts suggested not to move forward until the letter and its assertions can be investigated and determine what can be verified and what cannot be verified.  Once determined, then there will be further instruction to Mr. Fritz and Mr. Mauk.

Mr. Fritz addressed Mr. Mullen stating that on Old Danville Road there is a drain pipe that has major erosion from high waters and the blacktop is hanging in places, can it please be looked at.

Mr. Mullen stated that he has been hearing construction/carpentry type work in the Perry Ave. Trailer Court, he asked Mr. Fritz if in his travels, did he see any of this activities.  He has not but will look into it.

ZONING OFFICER’S REPORT:

Tim Mauk, Zoning Officer, submitted a report. He thanked the office staff and Solicitor Roberts for the help he has received in understanding some of the Zoning issues.  

He stated that he issued a permit to Tim McNinch 156 Cross Road for a prefab garage.

Also a permit was issued to David Lamb, 157 Cross Road for a deck.

He issued a political sign permit to Rich Ridgeway, 95 Prior Lane.

Some permits rejected were:

Glen Neiderhiser would like to put in a Day Care Center, this was rejected because it is not Zoned for that district.  He was sent a letter with the decision and the proper forms for a Hearing with the Zoning Hearing Board.

Amy Zimmerman/Zeisloft, 422 Surrey Lane, application was denied because it had problems with the plans.  She was informed and will be refiling at the next Planning Commission meeting.

A letter was sent to the Owner of Mustang Sally’s telling them to move the trailers from the property.  They are only allowed 1 unoccupied trailer and they are down to that one.  With this issue resolved, he will be moving on to the next issue with them which is, when the establishment originally went in it was for a Cabaret/Athletic club.  It is now being used as a private club.

Solicitor Roberts is in the process of looking into this issue.  

Mike Morris, 401 Ridge Road, is proposing to demolish the existing home and build a new structure on the land

John Klinger, owner of J-Link on Rt 11, would like to put a sign up.  Mr. Mauk has been to property several times and measured and will be giving approval in the next day or so.  

Jesse McWilliams would like to demolish a trailer in Bakers trailer Court.  Mr. Mauk will be meeting with him tomorrow.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:

UPPER COLONIAL AVENUE:

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

Mr. Mullen stated that the road crew worked Wednesday, Thursday and will finish Friday, re-grading Brobst Drive.  He is looking into the cost of putting stone down the middle of the road and if the cost is minimal, approximately $1000 or less he will consider it.  If the cost is more than that it will not be done.

For the past several weeks the crew has mowed all of the berms of the roads and the flood properties.  

The yellow dump truck had to be taken for repairs and they have finished repairs on the boom mower.   Mr. Mullen will be putting in a proposal to build a mechanism for the plow to prevent build up under the guardrails from plowing that prevents the roads from draining properly.  

Mr. Vanderpool asked Mr. Mullen in regard to Colonial Ave., what process he was in.  It was stated that it was the process of possibly vacating that street.

Mr. Vanderpool expressed confusion on whether the Township owns the road.

Solicitor Roberts indicated that his understanding is that the Township owns the road.  He said that it seems the Township owns the road because it accepted Liquid Fuels monies and has maintained it and this would constitute ownership.

Mr. Mullen stated that he has found no record of the Townships ownership.  His biggest concern for the future is the cost of resurfacing the road.

There was much discussion on this matter.  

Mrs. Webber stated that as result of the 2011 flood there was extensive damage to Valley Road, the road was closed for approximately 6 months.  The guide rails were never put back in place and she asked if there were plans for them to be replaced.

Mr. Mullen replied that he has met with an LTAP representative and has been looking into the LTAP guidelines for guide rails.  The Route 11 side of the project is finished, however the north side of the project is not finished.  There is a drain pipe that is to be removed from a culvert.  When the project is finished, they will look into replacing the guide rails.

Mr. Vanderpool brought up again about Colonial Avenue.  He asked why the Township would abandon that portion of the road because of the cost to resurface it if the entire road has to be resurfaced any way.  

Linda Woodward asked that if the Township did own the road would they still maintain it, and if not what would it take for the Township to take ownership.  

Mr. Mullen replied that in the past several years there have been requests that other areas be considered as Township roads.  If we start accepting roads it would set a precedence for others to ask the same.

Forrest Bennett asked that if it turns out that the Township does not own the road, will they consider taking ownership.

Mr. Mullen replied that it comes down to a cost issue of maintenance and resurfacing that has to be considered.  There are sections of four roads in the Township that are in need of repair.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:

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

Fines Issued
$3166.00 – Montour Township
$4386.00 – Catawissa Township

13 Traffic Citations – Montour Township
80 Traffic Citations – Catawissa Township
 7 Non-traffic Citations – Montour Township
 0 Non-traffic Citations – Catawissa Township
 3 Criminal Arrests – Montour Township
 1 Criminal Arrests – Catawissa Township
90 Incidents in Montour Township
41 Incidents in Catawissa Township

Mr. Powers gave compliments to Chief Eckart on completing the EMA reports before the due date.

Chief Eckart had nothing more to report.

HIRING OF POLICE OFFICERS:

Mr. Powers commented that the Township advertised for open Police Officer positions and received a lot of applications.

Chief Eckart stated that interviews were conducted and the Supervisors recommended that Tyler Soboleski be promoted from part time to full time and Daniel Kilgus be hired as part time and John Stoker be hired as part time as needed.  Part time officer’s wage will be $14 per hour and full time will be $16 per hour.  

A MOTION was made by Mr. Powers, seconded by Mrs. Ebright, to employ Tyler Soboleski as a full time Police Officer at a rate of $16 per hour with a 6 month probation period.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Powers, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to employ Daniel Kilgus and John Stoker as part time Police Officers at a rate of $14 per hour with a 6 month probation period.  Motion carried.

FIRE COMPANY REPORT:

Fire Chief Brian Fosse has submitted a written report of Fire Department Statistics for the month of September, 2014.Chief Fosse stated that $2500 in grant money to buy EMS equipment is coming in.  

A proposal was presented to the Supervisors to purchase Hurst E-drolic rescue equipment to replace the current equipment that is approximately 15 years old.  He received an offer of between $6000 to $8000 to purchase the current equipment bringing the total cost of $48,000 down to $42,000.   Chief Fosse suggests using the money from the EMS Fund (LST Fund) to pay for the new equipment.

Mr. Powers asked how much money is in the LST account.  The balance at this time is $66,645.19.

Mr. Powers also asked if being replaced just because it is old.

Chief Fosse replied that the new system would give higher PSI, it is lighter, more reliable and more durable.  This would be a long term investment and it would better the department in the long run.

Mr. Powers mentioned that the Fire Tax was established to put money aside for the future purchase of a new truck.  He asked Chief Fosse what truck and when did he estimate the need to replace.

Chief Fosse stated that the Tanker is the next to be replaced.  

Mr. Powers asked if it will need to be replaced within the next 10 years.  Chief Fosse replied that it most likely will.

Mr. Powers asked if the tools needed to be purchased all at once.

Chief Fosse replied that he would like to purchase them at one time, the trade in will be worth more all at once.  

Mr. Mullen asked if because we are a township, does this item need to be bid out.

Chief Fosse stated that Susquehanna is this departments Hurst dealer and he cannot go through another company.

Mr. Mullen stated that there are legal requirements for the Township.  This was referred to Solicitor Roberts who will look into this matter.  

Mr. Powers stated that this is a large expenditure and he is not prepared to make a decision at this time.  This item was tabled until next meeting for more information.

Nancy Powers asked if there was anyone available to help with the grant writing.  Chief Fosse said he would welcome any help with the grant writing.  Mrs. Powers is to look into finding someone to help.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD:

Mr. Vanderpool stated that the Hazardous Waste project is a good idea.

Linda Woodward stated that she has not had the time to look further into it because of the work in the Comprehensive Plan.

Mrs. Webber commented that as has been discussed about cleaning the canal, she would like to remind the Supervisors to put in the budget to spray for Black Flies that are coming from the canal.

Jamie Smith, Middle Ave., commented on the Perry Ave. trailer court that it needs to be taken care of.  The situation is deplorable.  Codes Officer Nick Fritz has been and will continue to look into the area.

MEETING DATE:

Mr. Powers reported that the Montour Township Board of Supervisors will hold their next Meeting on November 13, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.

There being no further business to discuss, the Meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m., on a MOTION of Mr. Powers, seconded by Mrs. Ebright.  Motion carried.



Respectfully Submitted,


Joelene C. Sponenberg
Township Secretary

Theresa M. Hampton
Township Clerk