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July 9, 2015 - Regular Meeting

The Regular Monthly Meeting of the Montour Township Board of Supervisors was called to order on July 9, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., by Chairman Gerald Powers.  All members were present.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

A Moment of Silence was observed.

A plaque was presented to Joelene Sponenberg for her 29 years of service as Montour Township Secretary.  Dr. Powers commended her and thanked her for her service.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

There was no public comment at this time.

 

MINUTES:

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Dr. Powers, to approve the Minutes of the Regular Monthly Meeting of June 11, 2015 and the Special Hearing of June 11, 2015.  Motion carried.

Dr. Powers announced that the Supervisors will hold an Executive Session following the conclusion of meeting to consult with counsel.   

                                                           

BILLS DUE FOR PAYMENT:

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Ms. Ebright., to approve bills to be paid from the General Fund in the amount of $35,553.74. Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Dr. Powers, to approve bills to be paid from the Highway Fund in the amount of $2,093.13 Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Ms. Ebright, seconded by Dr. Powers, to approve bills to be paid from the Sewer Fund in the amount of $14,319.09.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Ms. Ebright, to approve bills to be paid from the Flood Mitigation Account in the amount of $755.19.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Dr. Powers, to approve bills to be paid from the Debit Card Account for the month of June in the amount of $259.29.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Ms. Ebright, to approve bills to be paid from the Fire Tax Account in the amount of $1091.00.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Mr. Mullen to ratify the Sewer Fund checks #4521 in the amount of $82.50, check #4522 in the amount of $77.10 and check # 4523 in the amount of $192.56.  Motion was carried. 

Dr. Powers asked Joelene to comment on her 29 years with the Township.  She said it has been a good 29 years, she learned a lot and met a lot of nice people.  She thanked the Board, present and past, for all of the good things they allowed her to do, for the flexibility in her work schedule to be with her family.  She will miss it but is looking forward to spending time with her grandchildren.

OPENING OF BIDS FOR ROAD PROJECTS:

Mr. Mullen mentioned that there are two projects, the first is the Reclamation and the second is the Resurfacing.

                        Project 1---Reclamation

                                    Bid #1:  Midland Asphalt in the amount of $87,845.68

                                    Bid #2:  E J Breneman in the amount of $105,095.60

                        Project 2---Resurfacing

                                    Bid #1:  Midland Asphalt in the amount of $142, 448.88

                        Aggregate Bid

                                    Bid #1:  Hanson Aggregates in the amount of $53,782.25

Mike Hinkle, Road Forman, asked if the bids included the aggregate in the total amount or if it would be required in addition. 

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, Seconded by Mr. Mullen to table the bids until all of the bids can be reviewed by our Penn DOT representative and Township engineer.  Motion carried.

John Reibsome asked how much time will this motion delay the road project.  It was mentioned that a Special Meeting can be held to reduce the delay.

Mr. Mullen mentioned that with the bids as they are, the Township does not have the funds to complete the project. 

Mr. Reibsome mentioned that he was under the understanding that the Tower Drive project was to be completed first then the Township would work on Quarry Drive.  Mr. Mullen mentioned that he had applied for grants for both projects and was awarded $25,000.00 for the Quarry Drive project but nothing for Tower Drive.  That is why Quarry Drive was added to the project. 

 

OLD BUSINESS:

 

PUBLIC SEWER:

 

STP OPERATOR’S REPORT:

John Bauer, STP Operator, reported that all is good. 

KURIAN SEWER HOOK UP:

There was nothing new to report.

BEVERLY DEITERICH – 5 Perry Avenue Sewer Bill:

Beverly Dietrich has requested to have her past due sewer bill waived.  Solicitor Roberts checked with Steve Bielskie to see if the building has been condemned, he believes it may have been and he was to check with his office staff.  He has not responded back to Solicitor Roberts as of yet.  Solicitor Roberts mentioned the Township position has been that sewer must be paid unless the line is capped.  He also stated that the first thing we must determine is whether the property has been condemned.      

SEWER COLLECTIONS:

Mr. Mullen mentioned that in talking to Garey Bittenbender, Sewer Billing Agent, Mr. Bittenbender sent out several demand letters for past due sewer bills. 

Mr. Mullen mentioned that most people are more inclined to pay a past due bill when the amount is more manageable as opposed to waiting until the amount is overwhelming.  He is suggesting to the Board that a policy be made to make collection attempts after the account is four months delinquent. 

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Dr. Powers, to have Garey Bittenbender send a demand letter after a sewer account is four months delinquent.  Motion carried.

Dr. Powers mentioned that Jane Mensch asked to be put on a payment plan for her past due sewer account. 

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to accept the payment plan as offered by Mrs. Mensch.  Motion carried.

BUDGET VS. ACTUAL EXPENSES AND REVENUE UPDATE:

Ms. Ebright reported on the Townships financials.  Everything seems to be on track.

Theresa Hampton, Township Clerk, mentioned that at last month’s meeting it was voted to transfer $150,000.00 into a CD.  After looking at the available funds, she recommended to adjust that amount to $75,000.00. 

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Mr. Mullen to amend the previous motion to transfer $75,000.00 to a 6 month CD.  Motion carried.

UNITED WATER SERVICE – UPDATE:

There was nothing new to report.

FLOOD MITIGATION PROGRAM – UPDATE:

There was nothing new to report.

CODE OF ORDINANCES UPDATE:

This matter is on hold.

LANDLORD REGISTRATION ORDINANCE:

This matter is on hold.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AND ZONING MAP:

A clean copy of the Township Zoning map has been provided and needs to be signed by the Supervisors and the Township Seal affixed.  It will then be uploaded to the Township website. 

Linda Woodward, Planning Commission, mentioned that the Planning commission has completed their anticipated changes to the Zoning map and will be holding a public meeting between now and the end of August.  When the public meeting is finished, those comments, along with the map will come back and be recommended to the Board of Supervisors.  At that point it will have to be sent out to the County Planning Commission and all of the surrounding municipalities, they have 45 days to respond with their comments.  Then the Township will hold a public meeting and either recommend it or decline it.  

HAZARDOUS WASTE PICK-UP AREA:

There was nothing to report.

STONE CASTLE ZONING CHANGE:

This was discussed as part of the Comprehensive Plan & Zoning Map

SMALL CELL TOWERS:

Solicitor Roberts sent a copy of the Comprehensive Ordinance for Cranberry Township. To change our Ordinance with regard to towers would be a major undertaking.  Mr. Mullen asked if sections could be pulled and made into a separate ordinance.  Solicitor Roberts said he would look into it. 

EMERGENCY WATER SOURCE:

There are still none available.  Terry Eckart, Police Chief, will continue to check.                                

EMA DIRECTOR:

There was nothing to report.

TOM LONG ZONING VIOLATION:

The hearing was held before the Zoning Hearing Board.  The Board found that there was a violation and ruled against the appeal.  The Board did grant a variance to allow Mr. Long to store RV’s during times of emergencies with a time period limit.

STONE CASTLE STORMWATER RUNOFF:

Max Stoner, Township Engineer, was not present, nothing to report. 

AIR CONDITIONING FOR THE TOWNSHIP OFFICE:

Theresa Hampton reported that quotes were received from 2 companies, however the compressor for the unit is missing and it probably would not be feasible to install the unit.  Dr. Powers also stated that with the condition of the roads and the finances he would not recommend a new air conditioning unit.  Mike Hinkle recommended that the unit in the meeting room be replaced with a regular home unit.

NORTH SHORE RAIL ROAD BOX CULVERT:

Max Stoner was not present.  Mr. Mullen commented that the North Shore Rail Road Co. wants to lift the road bed and put in a larger culvert.  With the sensitivity to flooding, Mr. Stoner was asked to do an engineering study to see what impact it would do on future flooding events.  Mr. Stoner found little implications and gave approval to the Rail Road Co. to put the new culvert and raise the road.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

 

KEVIN STOLZ CONDITIONAL USE APPROVAL OF OPINION: 

Solicitor Roberts mentioned that at last month’s meeting a Hearing was held with regards to Mr. Stolz application for Conditional Use.  At the conclusion of the Hearing the Board took action granting that, subject to a condition that the conditional use for storage be limited to the 8000 square foot section in the rear of the building and be further limited to storage of wood pellets and bagged coal only.  Solicitor Roberts then stated that the law requires there be a written decision.  Solicitor Roberts prepared the written decision which needs the Board approval and signatures.  A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Ms. Ebright, to approve the Opinion as prepared by Solicitor Roberts.  Motion Carried. 

RESIGNATION OF NICOLE CUMMINS, TOWNSHIP CLERK:

It was mentioned that the recently hired Township Clerk Nicole Cummins, phoned Ms. Ebright with her verbal resignation.  Ms. Ebright and Mrs. Hampton both requested a written letter of resignation from Mrs. Cummins.  No reply has been received as of yet.

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to accept Nicole Cummins verbal resignation.  Motion carried.

RESIGNATION OF JOELENE SPONENBERG, TOWNSHIP SECRETARY:

A letter of resignation was received from Joelene Sponenberg, Township Secretary, effective August 31, 2015.  It was with great regret that the Supervisors accepted the resignation.  Joelene will be covering for Theresa Hampton one week in August while she is on vacation.

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Mr. Mullen, to accept the resignation of Joelene Sponenberg as Township Secretary.  Motion carried.

APPOINTMENT OF THERESA HAMPTON AS TOWNSHIP SECRETARY:

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Ms. Ebright, to appoint Theresa Hampton as Township Secretary effective August 1, 2015.  Motion carried.

A MOTION was made by Dr. Powers, seconded by Ms. Ebright, to raise Theresa Hampton’s salary to $16.00 per hour effective August 1, 2015.  Motion carried. 

RE-ACTIVATE SIRENS:

Ms. Ebright mentioned that there have been conversations with residents since the recent tornado warnings in the area.  The Township does not have anything in place for emergency announcements.  The sirens have not been being used and have recently been disconnected. 

Terry Eckart, Police Chief, stated that there are three sirens in the Township.  The wires have been cut on one of them and another is possibly seized up.  He asked if the Township wants to implement some kind of emergency announcing system.  He said that he could have Keystone Communications look into reactivating the sirens and the cost involved.  It was mentioned that the electric was recently disconnected on two of the sirens because of lack of use, the Township was still paying a connection charge every month.  Theresa Hampton mentioned that the Township has received and is continually receiving Township Notification Sign Up sheets from residents who would like to receive notifications.  Chief Eckart stated that there are programs available to the Police for such notifications, he is to look into them. 

CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER’S  REPORT:

There have been several barking dog complaints over the past few months and Nick Fritz, Codes Officer, has looked into the problem and has had some results, however there continues to be complaints of the same dogs barking again.  Mr. Mullen stated that the Township could continually send Mr. Fritz to the areas of complaint or consider an Excessive Dog Barking Ordinance. 

Solicitor Roberts has a sample ordinance and will draft one for the Township.

Mr. Fritz reported that he sent out several high grass notices and all have complied. 

Mr. Fritz spoke to Fire Chief Brian Fosse concerning open burning in the Township.  It was agreed that Chief Fosse will investigate burning complaints and if he feels it is warranted, Mr. Fritz will issue citations. 

Mr. Fritz spoke to Bob Stoudt concerning 208 Legion Road.  Solicitor Roberts has drafted a License Agreement and sent it to Mr. Stoudt for review.

The property at 229 Legion Road was for sale and was sold to Jody Brenagan.  The house was condemnable.  He spoke to the new owner and it will be remodeled.  Mr. Fritz did not condemn the building.

Mr. Fritz contacted Robert Waters, 212 Legion Road concerning a camper being stored on the property.  Mr. Waters had the camper removed.  Mr. Fritz was contacted by Mr. Waters’ attorney, he read her the ordinance and she seemed to be satisfied with that information.

Tom Whitenight from the Catawissa Boat Club was issued a Fireworks Permit.  Mr. Fritz spoke to neighbor, Sharon Fisher to inform her of the fireworks schedule.  This was done because of past complaints from Mrs. Fisher concerning the fireworks display.  The display started at 9:30 pm and was finished by 10:00 pm.  The surrounding residents with fireworks also complied with that time frame.

Mr. Fritz received a complaint from Michael Lazardi concerning goats on his property.  Mr. Fritz spoke to the goat owners and told them they would have to keep the goats in a fenced in area.  He has not received further complaint.

Mr. Fritz mentioned at last month’s meeting, that he filed 2 citations for junk & debris at 522 Montour Boulevard.  He has since withdrawn the citations, the properties were cleaned up.

ZONING OFFICER’S REPORT:

Tim Mauk, Zoning Officer, reported the following permits issued:

Eric Sorge, Roto Rooter, 130 Cross Road was issued a deck permit.

Steve Persel, 101 Division Street was doing heavy landscaping.  Mr. Mauk informed him that a permit was needed.  The application was submitted and the Permit was issued.

Harry Weiss, 246 Tower Road was issued a Car Port/Farm Equipment Shed Permit.

Seedling Real Estate, Legion Road was issued a Demolition permit.

Robert & Amber Bennett, 228 Tower Road, were issued a Pool permit.

Jenny Bucher (Verizon Wireless) 213 Valley Road, Permit included an equipment shed, generator, cell tower, and 50’ x 50’ fenced in area.

Thomas Long appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board was denied.  The Board however, granted him allowance to store campers on the property in extreme emergencies for a limited time period.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:

 

HOLLOW ROAD CULVERT:

Nothing new to report.

APPROVAL TO HIRE ROAD WORKER:

An interview was conducted and employment was offered to Charles LaRue.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Dr. Powers, to hire Charles LaRue for the Road Crew with a salary of $10.50 per hour.  Motion carried.

CDBG CONTRACT:

Mr. Mullen stated that this is a contract for a project on Hollow Road.  The Township does not have to contribute any money toward it, the funds used are leftover FEMA money.  The CDBG asked the Conservation District if there were any projects worth putting money into and they recommended the Hollow Road project.  They will be replacing two 3 foot diameter pipes with a 5 foot diameter pipe.  Mike Hinkle asked if the Township Crew could possibly do the job.  Mr. Mullen stated that the CDBG contracted for the bids. The Township had nothing to do with it, however he will ask if the Township Crew can be considered.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mullen, seconded by Dr. Powers, to approve the CDBG contract for Hollow Road contingent on inquiring if the Township Crew can do the job.  Motion carried.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:

Police Chief Terry Eckart stated that there was nothing new to report. 

Chief Eckart has submitted the following written report of activities for the month of June, 2015:

                                Fines issued - $1825.00 – Montour Township

                                                   $3085.00 – Catawissa Township

                                                    40 Traffic Citations – Montour Township

                                                    56 Traffic Citations – Catawissa Township

                                                    0 Non-traffic Citations – Montour Township            

                                                    2 Non-traffic Citations – Catawissa Township

                                                    3 Criminal Arrests – Montour Township

                                                    1 Criminal Arrests – Catawissa Township

                                                    93 Incidents in Montour Township                       

                                                    47 Incidents in Catawissa Township

 

QUOTES FOR PAVING POLICE DEPARTMENT PARKING LOT:

Chief Eckart reported that he has calls in to Bowers, Paden’s and Young’s but has not heard back from them as of yet. 

Larry Sponenberg, Tower Road, asked why the Township has money to pave the Police parking lot but not repair the Township roads. Chief Eckart responded that recently the Police Department seized almost $100,000 from a drug arrest.  Most of that money goes to the District Attorney’s office.  Because the Montour Township Police Department was involved the District Attorney’s office agreed to give the Township Police $7,500.00 to go towards this project.  It would then cost the Township approximately $1800.00 for the project.

FIRE COMPANY REPORT:

Fire Chief Brian Fosse was not present but submitted a written report of Fire Company activities for the month of June, 2015.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD:

John Bauer, asked about the abandoned trailer by Spade Ave, is there something to be done with it.  Mr. Mullen mentioned that former Zoning Officer Sharon Ferry attempted to contact the owners several times during the FEMA buy out and received no response.

MEETING DATE:

Dr. Powers reported that the Montour Township Board of Supervisors will hold their next Monthly Meeting on August 13, 2015, at 7:30 p.m.

There being no further business to discuss, the Meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m., on a MOTION of Mr. Mullen, seconded by Ms. Ebright.  Motion carried.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Joelene C. Sponenberg

Township Secretary

 

Theresa M. Hampton

Township Clerk