ROUTE 715, BRODHEADSVILLE, PA 18322
MINUTES OF MEETING—AUGUST 20, 2002
A regular meeting of the Chestnuthill Township Board of Supervisors was called to order at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 20, 2002, at the Municipal Building, Rte. 715, Brodheadsville, PA. Those present were Chuck Gould (Chairman), Maureen Tatu, Mike Possinger, and Atty. Joseph P. McDonald, Jr.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was led by Delbert Heller.
Executive Session. A meeting was held on August 19, 2002, regarding personnel and real estate issues.
Public Comment. Bob Klose said he noted the tax measures that were taken by Pocono Township in the Pocono Record. Are we going to do the same? Chuck answered that that was coming up later in the evening.
Charlie Shubert asked what happened to the water cooler at the park and noted that the park is dirty.
Delbert Heller noted that he sees people walking their dogs in the park even though there is a sign forbidding that at the park.
Al Bourke is convinced that PA is not going to do anything about the taxes levied by the school boards. He thinks we should be doing something for ourselves, such as making Chestnuthill Township friendly to seniors—maybe sidewalks, tax rebates, etc. He noted that he is on the Chestnuthill Senior Housing Advisory Group and that he has also spoken with Rep. Tom Tigue.
Kenny Altemose asked when the new bridge off of Sugar Hollow Road would be ready. Chuck answered that we finally have permits. We are putting in an acro bridge which has been ordered. It is a six-week turn around. Kenny then asked about a weight limit. Chuck answered that if a weight limit is enforced and not obeyed, there is a very large fine. He then asked if the Township has taken over the roads that are being blacktopped. Mike answered yes, and the Township will be reimbursed with liquid fuels money. Also, Chuck noted that the County Commissioners voted to give us $10,000.00 of County liquid fuel funds toward the Warner bridge project.
John Vinck noted that the bridge on Jonas Road has a 3 ton limit. There was a fire and the fire trucks could not get across. Chuck answered that some vehicles that were over limit were caught crossing the bridge and received heavy fines. Chuck said he met with Sen. Dent who is trying to find some money for these projects. Mr. Vinck noted that there are about 40 ruts in the roads due to work being done by the cable company. Chuck said progress is slow. June O’Neill said the reason we are rushing to do the turnback is because we are in danger of losing our money. Chuck said we renegotiated with them for a substantial savings.
Jean Dimarsico asked if Hawk Terrace is on the agenda. Chuck answered yes for patching. She also noted that Saddle Ridge Road badly needs to be repaired.
Dr. Clark had some issues about the real estate property tax regarding 2% discount as opposed to 10% and how it’s paid. Dr. Clark asked what is the population here. Chuck answered around 15,000.
Eagle Scout Resolution. On motion by Mike, seconded by Maureen, it was voted to sign Eagle Scout Resolution #02-5. The Supervisors congratulated Douglas James Klemm on his achievement. (3-0)
Approval of Minutes. On motion made by Chuck, seconded by Maureen, it was voted to approve the minutes of the Friday, July 26, 2002, Township Supervisors’ Meeting.(2-0) Mike abstained because he was absent.
On motion made by Mike, seconded by Maureen, it was voted to approve the minutes of the Tuesday, August 6, 2002, Township Supervisors’ meeting. (2-0) Chuck abstained because he was absent.
A letter was received from Noelle VanderBrink regarding the swipe card for the Park Building. She thinks it is inefficient and asked to go back to the old system of using a key. Chuck asked Pat to talk with Joe Weston and answer her letter.
A letter was received from Randy Schuler asking for a donation to help finance the equipment and food for the Monroe County Youth Field Day to be held on September 14, 2002. Maureen made a motion, seconded by Mike and it was voted to donate $500.00. (3-0)
A letter was received from PennDOT advising that Section l.l0.l4 of Publication 46 regarding the hanging of banners across State highways has been modified, thereby eliminating the need for a permit. Every time someone wants to hang a banner across a State highway the Township must pass a resolution addressing the relevant issues and forward a copy to PennDOT.
Orchard View Estates. Steve Parisi addressed the Board and said he would like to offer the roads for dedication. He said that last time he had talked with Joe Weston was 6 weeks ago. Atty. McDonald said he had asked for an update from Brad Miller, Chestnuthill Twp. Engineer two weeks ago. The most recent correspondence he has is dated January of this year. He still doesn’t know if the engineer has been satisfied. He asked Pat if she had sent a memo to Joe Weston and Brad Miller since the last meeting two weeks ago. Pat answered that she had. He asked did you get an answer. Pat answered no. Atty. McDonald also noted that when this Plan first came in last November there were two major roads and a small “paper street” that is proposed for dedication and called a “future access road”. He said in the past it has been his understanding that the Township has not taken over these roads. Chuck said that it is ill conceived for the Township to take over an unimproved road. Mike asked is the 20’ paving of the driveway old or new? Under one Ordinance you were not required to pave it; under the new Ordinance you are required to pave it? After the houses are in how do you determine who has to blacktop and who doesn’t? Who pays? Chuck said the position he is inclined to take is that any home that was built after the Ordinance was passed in September of 2002, those aprons need to be paved. Mr. Parisi said that in Orchard View Estates the Township issued driveway permits without the paving requirement He has a list. Chuck asked him for it. After some further discussion, Chuck made a motion, seconded by Mike and it was voted to table until the September 17th Supervisors meeting. (3-0)
Employee Handbook. Maureen said that if it pleases the Board, they will take the new Union Contract and see if there are any sections in the employee handbook that are applicable and do a cross-referencing and then, hopefully, bring the employee handbook for approval to the Board the second meeting of September.
Leon Clark and Mike Possinger. Update on open space fundraising committee efforts. Mike said that the last thing that we had, Dr. Clark gave us a somewhat informative thing and they haven’t had their second meeting yet to discuss anything further. Dr. Clark noted that there was a death in the family so he did not get much done but he did make calls. He noted that the properties they had talked about are under Michael Baxter and he wants to meet with Mike and Mr. Baxter because he’s out there every day and they can look at some things that would be very helpful to keep down the costs.
C’hill Twp. Transient Retail Business Task Force. Maureen reported that the group did not meet since the last Supervisors meeting. They are focusing on transient retail businesses with a fixed location versus the other part of the previous ordiance which had to do with door to door peddlers. They are addressing a change in permit fees, addressing a possible time limit for the term of the permit and they’re addressing the possible requirement of a land development plan to have a transient retail business. Their next meeting is September 24th at 7:00 p.m. at the Township Building. All Township residents are invited.
Senior Housing Advisory Group. Maureen said that as she had noted at the last Supervisors meeting they heard from Pearce, Inc., who are doing a senior housing project at Weir Lake Road and Rt. 115 intersection area. The Senior Housing Advisory Groups’ next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 22nd, at 7:00 p.m. at the Township Building. All Township residents are invited to attend.
Regional Comprehensive Plan. Chuck explained that this is a joint planning effort between Chestnuthill, Eldred, Ross and Jackson Townships. They have asked us to send four names as study committee members to them. After a short discussion, Chuck made a motion, seconded by Maureen, and it was voted to appoint Matt Connell as the citizen-at-large (3-0) Maureen made a motion, seconded by Mike, and it was voted to appoint Chuck Gould as the elected official. (3-0), Chuck made a motion, seconded by Mike, and it was voted to appoint Dave Johnson, and Larry Smith, of the Chestnuthill Twp. Planning Commission, as primary and alternate respectively. (3-0)
Resolution--Regional Comprehensive Plan. A letter was received by Meredith Miller from the Monroe County Planning Commission noting that she was attaching DCNR resolution language that will need to be submitted as part of the grant application for the Regional Comprehensive Land Use Plan. It is required that this Resolution be signed by the lead municipality (Chestnuthill Township) in order to complete the application. After some discussion Mike made a motion, seconded by Maureen, and it was voted to authorize Cathy A. Baker to sign the Resolution 02-6 as Secretary. (3-0) Maureen noted that she was disappointed that Polk Township had opted out of this plan.
2002 Audit. Chuck noted they met with the State over the last couple of months on the audit requirements for the municipality, and we are approaching very fast the million dollar threshold on grant receipts. He said that Leigh Kane has been very effective on one project alone, securing $766,000. ($406,000. of County funds; $360,000. State funds). There is a whole other list of audit requirements for this Gatsby 2000 where we have to go out and have our roads appraised, etc. Chuck said they have talked about this issue for the last couple of years; and, in order to be compliant with some of those issues, it is just going to be too time consuming to have all of that done in-house. Atty. McDonald explained the mechanics of hiring a firm to do the auditing. It’s one or the other—the auditing will either be done by the elected auditors or an outside C.P.A. or firm. Maureen noted that at the State convention of Township Supervisors when she went to the Gatsby presentation , the format for the audit was unbelievable and all of the townships that went to the Gatsby inventorying of their property said that they had C.P.A.s doing their audits. She supports the hiring of a C.P.A. Maureen made a motion, seconded by Mike, and it was voted to authorize Atty. McDonald to advertise for the hiring of a C.P.A. (3-0) Julia Cattaneo, one of C’hill’s auditors, asked if they would still check invoices, bidding processes, record keeping, etc. Atty. McDonald answered that the law says that when an accountant or firm is appointed, then the elected board of auditors shall not audit, settle or adjust the accounts audited by the appointed firm or C.P.A. Chuck said time is of the essence. This will have a major impact on our future grants. June O’Neill, another C’hill auditor said that a lot of the internal tracking must come from the employees and Chuck answered that is correct and the Center for Local Government is going to help us with that. Mike asked why we couldn’t have our auditors trained at the same time. Chuck said we need to look at that. June said that the auditors answer to the people; C.P.A. answers to the Supervisors. Chuck added, who also answer to the people. There were some questions and Chuck said that this merely gives the Township the right to hire a firm or C.P.A. if it chooses. This will be done at a public meeting.
Zoning Map Change—Merwine. The Merwine property is currently zoned RR/GC, present use commercial. They are requesting to change it to LIC. They are asking the Supervisors to set a date and time for hearing. Atty. McDonald advised that the Supervisors must give the County Planning Commission and the Chestnuthill Twp. Planning Commission at least 30 days to make a recommendation. After some discussion, Chuck made a motion, seconded by Mike, and it was voted to forward the request to our Township Planning Commission and the County Planning Commission and put it on the agenda for the next meeting for September 3rd to select a date for the hearing. (3-0)
Delinquent Transfer Taxes & Building Permits. Chuck mentioned the article in the Pocono Record this morning regarding Pocono Townships action. Chuck asked for comment. Russ Fisher said he thinks we should “smack down” on this—don’t tell homeowners a year later that they owe taxes. Maureen said she admires the action taken last night by Pocono Twp. regarding the collection of delinquent realty transfer taxes. Helen Decidue, the Monroe Co. Recorder of Deeds, told Maureen today that at least $59,830. is owed and $29,915. would come directly to the Township. Maureen said she thinks a state wide solution will be a long time coming and the paying taxpayers are making up for the loss of revenue for the scofflaws who don't pay taxes. Maureen made a motion to the effect that Chestnuthill Township will not issue a building permit for any new construction anywhere in Chestnuthill Township unless the proper transfer tax has been paid, and the Township will not issue a building permit to anyone who owes back transfer taxes. Maureen amended her motion to include any delinquent tax, i.e., earned income taxes and real estate taxes. Mike seconded. (3-0) Atty. McDonald advised that the Twp. is governed by the Commonwealth of PA. You have a very express set of laws regarding taxation. He recommended additional language. Maureen said she would like to amend the motion to state that we would do this provided it is consistent with the laws of the Commonwealth of PA. Mike seconded. (3-0) Chuck made a motion, seconded by Mike, and it was voted to have Atty. McDonald send a demand letter for delinquent realty transfer taxes. (3-0)
Park & Recreation Maintenance Manager. Russ Fisher noted that we need a park maintenance manager because Mabel has been injured again and is out. Many people use the Park and it needs care. If you count everyone who used the Park just on Friday, there were probably 600 people. You need to have someone there to clean trash for everyone’s safety. Please hire someone to cover weekends for sure. There is a need and he is asking the Board to act now. Maureen commended Russ, June, Julia and all of the volunteers for what they’ve been doing as far as the teen socials on Friday nights. After some discussion Maureen made a motion, seconded by Mike, and it was voted to hire a full-time park and recreation maintenance manager. (3-0) Russ thanked Joe Weston and all who are involved.
Development Rights Option. Chuck noted that Mr. Anthony Modafferi has offered to give the Township a six month opportunity to do an appraisal on 30 acres +/- on property that is very close to the 121 acres the Township owns for parks and recreation in the Little Mexico area. Atty. McDonald has prepared a draft of an Option Contract for $l.00—to take out a 6 month option to review, appraise, etc.. If the Twp. chooses to exercise this option sometime within the 6 months, if we enter into this tonight, that would be February 20th. This is not a fee simple purchase of the land—this is an option to purchase development rights that would preserve the land in open space for perpetuity. The contract calls for no further option payments. How much is it worth? Chuck asked Atty. McDonald to use a figure (no more than $2,500.00 per acre) that is based on prior purchase of development rights, and would be subject to an appraisal. If you choose to exercise this option, then a related agreement similar to an agreement of sale, but is only for the sale of development rights, would kick in and would call for the signature of Mr. Modafferi and the Township. After some discussion, Maureen made a motion, seconded by Mike, and it was voted to ask Mr. Modafferi to enter into the Option Agreement for 6 months for $l.00 tonight (3-0) Dr. Clark donated the $l.00.
Approval to pay the Bills. Maureen made a motion, seconded by Mike, and it was voted to pay the bills. (3-0)
Dr. Clark discussed the schedule of fees regarding fencing and decking. Fencing was amended and he would like the decking changed also. Chuck explained. Dr.Clark said he had looked at available land. He recommends this evening that we, either through the comprehensive land use plan or the university extension plan, look at our census figures and look to see if what we are doing will achieve our goal or will we need to do more? Chuck answered that the four township Open Space Municipal Plan goes right to that issue.
Adjournment. There being no further business, on motion by Maureen, seconded by Mike, it was voted to adjourn at 9:45 p.m. (3-0)
Patricia A. Meckes