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January 15, 2015 - Regular Meeting

The Regular Monthly Meeting of the Montour Township Board of Supervisors was called to order on January 15, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., by Vice Chairman Joseph Mullen, Chairman Gerald Powers was not present. 

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited

A Moment of Silence was observed.

Solicitor Roberts announced that the Board held an executive session on December 30, 2014, to consult with counsel concerning potential litigation.  

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD:
Cleve Hummel, Planning Commission, on behalf of Linda Woodward, was present and addressed the Board.  He expressed their deep concern over Mr. Long’s zoning violation.  Mr. Hummel stated that it is clear in the ordinance, the use of storage of trailers is a zoning violation.  As a fairly long term member of the Planning Commission, a lot of time is spent working on zoning issues and reviewing the zoning ordinance, advising and recommending changes so the Municipality can adhere to and improve with planning.  This only works if the citizens are made to abide by the laws.  It appears that Mr. Long has been thumbing his nose at the existing zoning to which he is to comply with.  
He continued saying that this requires someone to authorize the enforcement of the zoning ordinance.  If Mr. Long has a defense, it is his responsibility to come forward, but there doesn’t appear to be any question that there is a violation of the use regulations. The only way to have a full and fair hearing to see if our government is working as it should, if there were mistakes in the past, if it’s a legitimate contention that there is a problem or a detrimental reliance.  You have to bring it to a full and fair hearing so it can be heard, not to be discussed in an executive session because someone writes a letter, but rather a full discussion or hearing on the matter.  Mr. Hummel continued saying, as our Supervisors, Linda and I are asking you to take deliberate action, not a discussion, not a what if.  Find out what the facts are, let’s move forward from that.  He then stated that after the last Planning Commission meeting, he spoke to other members & told them what he intended to do in bringing this matter up and they expressed concurrence of opinion that they do not want to invest their time on behalf of the Township if their good work is going to be ignored.  Mr. Hummel continued saying that if the Planning Commission is asked to provide recommendations on zoning variances and it is clear that there is no right to a variance, but it is determined that it is going to be granted, If we are not going to follow the laws in Montour Township, laws that the Township creates, we might as well all do what we want to do and threaten to sue.  That doesn’t leave the Township in a very good spot.  Mr. Hummel asked the Supervisors to take deliberate, public action to enforce its ordinance.
Mr. Mullen stated that he knows from conversations, that the Township is in the process of finalizing the information that has been collected.  He expects a decision to be made next month with a full Board present.
Rick May stated that he agrees with Mr. Hummel.  He also asked Mr. Mullen about the ditch on his property.  It has been scraped and it worked for a while.  It was mentioned previously the Mr. Mullen would get a transit.  Mr. Mullen stated that it will be put on the docket to do in the spring.
Nick Fritz asked what decision will be made about the Long property.  Mr. Mullen stated that it will be decided if action will be taken and what action.  Solicitor Roberts mentioned that the action would be an enforcement notice.  The Board would authorize the issuance of an enforcement notice.
John Reibsome brought up an article he previously presented to the Board.  Mr. Mullen responded that he went to the Redevelopment Authority, who is responsible for this.  That section of road was part of a three part section for FEMA to reimburse as a second stage, any infrastructure damage that was missed after the 2011 flood.  We are getting money for Hollow Rd. but not Tower and Gipple.  Mr. Mullen continued with the answer to the question in the newspaper article, they asked the counties if there was anything they recommended.  Mr. Mullen recommended the extension of Perry Ave. to the highway.  Federal Housing and Urban Development looks at medium to low income.  You must have 51% affected.  We do not meet that requirement.  The Conservation District came along with a project.  Hollow Road has a 3 foot pipe that was insufficient in the flood.  It was recommended to put in a 5 foot pipe.  This will be a Federal project and the county will bid through the Redevelopment Authority.  Tower Road will have to be funded with Township monies.

MINUTES:
A MOTION was made by Ms. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to approve the Minutes of the Regular Monthly Meeting of December 11, 2014 and the Reorganizational Meeting of January 5, 2015.  Motion carried.
                                
BILLS DUE FOR PAYMENT:
A MOTION was made by Ms. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to approve bills to be paid from the General Fund in the amount of $35,451.44.  Motion carried.
A MOTION was made by Ms. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to approve bills to be paid from the Special Police Account in the amount of $608.35.  Motion carried.  
A MOTION was made by Ms. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to approve bills to be paid from the Highway Fund in the amount of $1944.63.  Motion carried.
A MOTION was made by Ms. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to approve bills to be paid from the Sewer Fund in the amount of $12585.98.  Motion carried.
A MOTION was made by Ms. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to approve bills to be paid from the Debit Card Account for the month of December in the amount of $84.79.  Motion carried.
A MOTION was made by Ms. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to approve bills to be paid from the Fire Tax Account for January, in the amount of $2,844.46.  Motion carried.

OLD BUSINESS:

PUBLIC SEWER:

STP OPERATOR’S REPORT:
John Bauer, STP Operator, has submitted a written report of activities for the month of December, 2014.  John was not present, there was nothing further.

KURIAN SEWER HOOK UP:
There was nothing new to report.

REMIT CORP. PROPOSAL/TERMINATION WITH ARB:
Solicitor Roberts reported that our contract with ARB was terminated on December 31, 2014, and the Township is free to contract with Remit Corporation.  Someone needs to contact Remit and get a contract proposal for the Township to review.  Mr. Mullen stated that he would contact them.  

LETTER FROM J. SCOTT GREENE:
Mr. Greene sent a letter to the Township requesting that the sewer fee be waived on a property he owns but is not occupied.  A discussion was held and the request was denied.  Theresa Hampton is to draft a letter to Mr. Greene and Mr. Mullen will sign it.                              
BUDGET VS. ACTUAL EXPENSES AND REVENUE UPDATE:
Ms. Ebright reported that the Township is above budget in tax income.  It was mentioned that this is due to the 2 mill Fire Tax addition.  We are doing well except for the flood reimbursement money that we are waiting for.  
Mr. Mullen mentioned that the Township will need to take out a Tax Anticipation Loan again for 2014 because the flood money has not been reimbursed.  
It was asked, what the interest rate is on the loan.  Solicitor Roberts stated that the interest rate on the note is 1.06%.  

UNITED WATER SERVICE – UPDATE:
There was nothing new to report.

FLOOD MITIGATION PROGRAM – UPDATE:
There was nothing new to report.  We are still waiting for approximately $106,000 from PEMA/FEMA.

CODE OF ORDINANCES UPDATE:
There was nothing new to report.

LANDLORD REGISTRATION ORDINANCE:
This matter is on hold.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AND ZONING MAP:
This matter is still being worked on with the Planning Commission.

HAZARDOUS WASTE PICK-UP AREA:
There was nothing to report.

STONE CASTLE ZONING CHANGE:
There was nothing to report.
                    
OFFICE COMPUTER SYSTEM
Solicitor Roberts stated that there is no conflict of interest if the person is an In-Law.  A message was left with Joe Hampton and we are waiting to hear back from him as to when he can start the work.  

SMALL CELL TOWERS:
Solicitor Roberts stated that since the last meeting he has had the opportunity to review the article and has spoken to Jerry Walls about it.  He also contacted PSATS to see if they have a model ordinance, they have not gotten back to him.  Solicitor Roberts also contacted the authors of the article.  They do not have a model ordinance but they offered to have a telephone conference with the supervisors and him to review our ordinance and make suggestions.  He sent a sample of our ordinance and will try to arrange a phone conference.  

ENERGY ORDINANCE:
Solicitor Roberts did a draft of the ordinance.  The Planning Commission reviewed it and gave some recommendations as well as Jerry Walls.  Mr. Walls gave him a final iteration of changes which he will incorporate into the ordinance.  Once this is done it will go back to the Planning Commission and when they are satisfied, it will be put on the agenda to take action.

E-MAILS “STOP THE PIPELINE”:
The e-mails have stopped and or slowed down.  Solicitor Roberts stated that they can be deleted.

EMERGENCY WATER SOURCE:
There was nothing new to report on this matter.
                                
EMA TRAINING & DIRECTOR:
There was nothing new to report on this matter.

RESOLUTION OF TAX and REVENUE ANTICIPATION NOTE:
Solicitor Roberts stated that as the Vice Chairman indicated, because of cash flow concerns, the Township needs access to funds.  So as done last year, we are proposing to execute a note to First Columbia Bank to draw down as needed, up to $100,000 at an interest rate of 1.06%.  
A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Ms. Ebright, to adopt a Resolution authorizing a Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note.  Motion Carried.

NEW BUSINESS:

APPOINTMENT OF JOE MULLEN AS TEMPORARY RIGHT to KNOW OFFICER:
Gerry Powers will be out of town and not available until February 7, 2015.  
A MOTION was made by Ms. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Mullen to appoint Joseph Mullen as temporary Right to Know Officer.  Motion carried.  

2015 CONTRACT WITH JERRY WALLS:
Jerry Walls is the consultant to the Planning Commission.  The only significant change to the contract is an additional cost of $100 for his retainer.  Solicitor Roberts stated that the Planning Commission indicated that they would like him to stay on as consultant.  
A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Ms. Ebright, to retain Jerry Walls as the Townships Planning Consultant.  Motion carried.  

APPROVAL OF FIRE COMPANY OFFICIALS FOR 2015:
A list of the Montour Township Fire Company Officials list was received by the Township.  
A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Ms. Ebright, to accept the Montour Township Station 240 Fire Company Officials for 2015 as stated on the document.  Motion carried.  
                                
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER’S  REPORT:
Nick Fritz, Code Enforcement Officer, submitted a report for the month of November and December.  He also stated that he had previously submitted a letter of resignation to Ms. Ebright.  After a discussion with Solicitor Roberts concerning some issues and paperwork for the trailer court, he is withdrawing his letter of resignation.  He would like to resolve issues that have been in process for a long period of time.   

ZONING OFFICER’S REPORT:
Tim Mauk, Zoning Officer, has submitted a written report of activities for the month of December, 2014.  He reported that the Glenn Neiderhiser Variance was granted with 2 conditions.  The first condition is:  he must have state licensing in place before opening.  The second condition is: no ambulatory children are allowed in the basement.  
He stated that he received a call from Apex Environmental, they would like to put a 200 gallon gasoline tank on one of the Verizon Cell Towers off of Grovania Dr.  They asked if a permit was required.  Mr. Mauk contacted Solicitor Roberts and it was determined that no permit is required, however the fire chief was informed that the tank may be installed in the future.  
Mr. Mauk received a complaint about a sign for Kreekside restaurant at the intersection of Tower Drive and Rt. 11.  This sign is against code and the owner was asked to remove it.  Also there is one on a telephone pole that also needs to be removed.  In addition to these signs, the former Busters sign was removed and a new sign was put in place, this needed a permit and fees paid.  

John Reibsome mentioned about conditions on a previous variance that was granted and now the variance Mr. Mauk talked about, with conditions.  He stated that he thought he saw recently in the paper and article that the State Attorney General Office is disputing the fact that the Township could grant a variance with conditions.  
Solicitor Roberts responded that Mr. Reibsome was conflating a couple of thoughts.  He stated that the Zoning Hearing Board has the right to impose conditions as long as they are reasonable and rational conditions.  Solicitor Roberts then stated that the Attorney Generals complaint is not that there were conditions imposed.  Their argument is that our ordinance is inconsistent with the ACRE law (the state statute concerning the right to farm).  The A G’s office hasn’t told the Township specifically what they think is in violation of the ACRE law.  We are waiting for a response from the Attorney General’s office.  

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:

UPPER COLONIAL AVENUE – VACATING PROCESS:
Solicitor Roberts looked into the documents that George Welliver presented at last month’s meeting and Mr. Mullen received documents from Greg Dipple, LTAP representative.  Both sets of documents show that the Township does own the road.  There is no question of ownership, the only question Mr. Mullen has is that when plowing that section, turning around becomes an issue.  The Township will have to ask Mr. Welliver for permission to use his driveway for turning around.  Backing down out of the road becomes a safety issue.

PERRY AVENUE EXTENSION:
This issue was previously discussed.  

HOLLOW ROAD CULVERT:
This issue was previously discussed.  
                            
POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:
Police Chief Terry Eckart has submitted the following written report of activities for the month of December, 2014:

Fines issued:
$696.00 – Montour Township
$1,050.00 – Catawissa Township
5 Traffic Citations – Montour Township
10 Traffic Citations – Catawissa Township
7 Non-traffic Citations – Montour Township    
2 Non-traffic Citations – Catawissa Township
3 Criminal Arrests – Montour Township
0 Criminal Arrests – Catawissa Township
90 Incidents in Montour Township                        
40 Incidents in Catawissa Township

FIRE COMPANY REPORT:
Fire Chief Brian Fosse has submitted a written report of Fire Company activities for the month of December, 2014.  Also submitted were the 2014 final report and the 2015 Officers report.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD:
John Reibsome asked what concerns the Township has concerning the recent meth lab.  
Mr. Mullen mentioned that when the Township enacts the Landlord ordinance, issues like that will be easier to regulate.  When there is a problem or criminal activity, the tenant can be asked to leave.  Mr. Mullen also mentioned that Police presence and action will help eliminate these problems.  Mr. Hummel suggested another approach is to enforce the Townships codes for building maintenance so that the landlord has a responsibility to keep the building up.  
Forrest Bennett mentioned that he was told that all of the trailers were sold to the residents. Mr. Mullen mentioned that we do not know that for a fact.  When looking at the county GIS maps it only shows one parcel with the land owner’s information, not individual trailers.  
Solicitor Roberts suggested looking at the tax assessment office for individual trailer owners.  
 
MEETING DATE:
Mr. Mullen reported that the Montour Township Board of Supervisors will hold their next Monthly Meeting on February 12, 2015, at 7:30 p.m.

There being no further business to discuss, the Meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m., on a MOTION of Ms. Ebright, seconded by Mr. Mullen.  Motion carried.


Respectfully Submitted,

Joelene C. Sponenberg
Township Secretary

Theresa M. Hampton
Township Clerk