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Twp. Loans Fire Dept. $120,000 to Expand Truck Bay

Twp. Loans Fire Dept. $120,000 to Expand Truck Bay
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, February 21, 2013 p. 4
By:  Lisa Mickles

**CORRECTION BY DELAWARE TOWNSHIPThe board approved advertising WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY. 27 at 6:15 p.m. as the scheduled date for the public hearing on the zoning ordinance.**

DINGMANS FERRY - Delaware Township Supervisors approved a loan to the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Department (DTVFD) to expand the bay area to store additional firefighting apparatus.

At last Wednesday's meeting, Chairman Tom Ryan laid out the agreement, which still needs to be reviewed by board members from the department.

The $120,000 loan will be over a 20-year period with an annual payment of $6,000 due on or before Dec. 20 with the township holding the mortgage.  Ryan said that if the construction costs exceed $120,000, DTVFD is responsible for the additional costs.

It was also noted that if construction comes in under budget, the department must agree to pay the excess back to the township.  This would include any grants that the fire department receives relating to building construction.

The department provided all of their financials as well as the requested audits.  The first payment will be due December 2014 provided the construction project is completed.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

The township now requires that residents acquire a color-coded sticker, depending on the size of the vehicle, since it was determined that non-residents were using the Township's dumpsite.

The supervisors approved Barbara Foos as the agent to complete applications for public disaster assistance and financial assistance agreements.  The board also appointed Laura Felton as Temporary Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator. 

The board approved advertising Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 6:15 p.m. as the scheduled date for the public hearing on the zoning ordinance.  The board also agreed to order the transcripts from their last hearing for supervisor review.

The supervisors approved Pocono Environmental Education Center to dig for fossils on township property as well as allow the Boy Schout Troop 87 to hold a weekend, winter survival course at Akenac Park.

The supervisors approved a pay increase for right-to-know officer and part-time secretary Mary Feisenberger from $10 per hour to $11 per hour.

The board agreed to purchase three reflective metal signs, pending PennDot's approval, that will be lovated at the intersection of Wilson Hill Road and Route 2001 as well as two signs along Silver Lake Road.  Ryan said that they have received complaints that the township building, which hosts many community events, is difficult to locate.  The township also received the two portable, electronic, GPS signs that will be sued during emergencies as well as for notification of township events at either Akenac Park or the municipal building.

The next board of supervisors meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 6pm.  A workshop will be held prior to the meeting at 5pm.  Both meetings will be held at the municipal building located off Wilson Hill Road.

MetEd Holds Focus Group to Improve Storm Response

MetEd Holds Focus Group to Improve Storm Response
Pike County Dispatch, p. 1 - Thursday, February 7, 2013
by Ken Baumel

DINGMANS FERRY - In an effort to improve the electric untility's company response during emergencies such as Superstorm Sandy, MetEd last week held the first Community Focus Committee meeting in eastern Pike County.

The meeting, held at the Delaware Township building on Wilson Hill Road, included MetEd Regional Manager of External Affairs Marc A. Troutman; other MetEd Supervisors; Pike County and municipal officials from areas served by MetEd in eastern Pike, which include Lehman, Delaware, and part of Dingman Township; representatives from legislators serving eastern Pike and Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau Executive Director Carl Wilgus. 

Troutman briefed the group on MetEd procedures and asked for feedback.  He supervises MetEd resource deployment during emergencies in all or parts of Bucks, Northampton, Pike and Monroe counties.

Troutman asked how MetEd could improve response during future emergencies.  He said "Based on the magnitude of Sandy, MetEd did't do a bad job, but we know we need better communications."

Troutman said that 300,000 MetEd customers, 55% of their customer base in his service area, had no power during Sandy, which did significantly more damage than Hurricane Irene/Tropical Storm Lee.  Sandy took out 113 miles of utility lines and 1,040 utility poles, compared to 143 poles during Irene/Lee.

Municipal Officials at the meeting, such as Lehman Supervisor John Sivick and Dingman Supervisor Tom Mincer expressed concerns related to Sandy, such as difficulties local officials had in getting up-to-date information from MetEd, difficulty reaching MetEd on specific locations where downed power lines forced road closed, and not getting timely feedback about when power would go back on.

Wilgus noted in an interview after the meeting that he had expressed his displeasure about MetEd performance during Sandy as it affected the Poconos, particularly resorts such as Shawnee.

Wilgus said that hundreds of visitors in Pocono resorts had no power, which marred their local visit.  He said he was aware that no two disasters are alike, but wanted more than MetEd assurances about the future.  He wanted to see concrete steps taken to speed up MetEd restoring power and improving communication.

The committee meeting was a follow up to a Sandy emergency response stakeholder public hearing organized by state Senator Lisa Baker and held last month at Fernwood Resort in Middle Smithfield Township.  Wilgus said that he first expressed his displeasure publickly at the Baker hearing.

Pennsylvania's 189th District Representative Rosemary Brown said at the committee meeting, "We need more realistic information from MetEd's customer service."

She and municipal officials in Pike noted that MetEd call-center information was often not up-to-date, sometimes providing inconsistent information, and in some instances, MetEd personnel were rude during Sandy.

Troutman said that MetEd would address those concerns.  He said MetEd would pull up call logs to assess how employees fielded calls.  If staff response is inappropriate, MetEd is willing to conduct employee education and training.

Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg suggested that MetEd employees might have been working more than six-hour shifts, which might have caused stress.  He suggested keeping call-center people working less than six-hour shifts to reduce short-temper flare ups and possible burnout.

COMMUNITY WAS CUT OFF

Sivick said that he recognized that Sandy took out more MetEd lines and poles than other utility companies in Pike.  However, Sivick said that downed lines closed Bushkill Falls Road and isolated a community development on the road.

Sivick said that absent a timely coordinated response to address downed lines by MetEd and clearning the road of downed trees by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot), the Township road crew had to blaze a temporary emergency trail to allow residents and emergency vehicles into and out of the community.

Mincer said, "Our priority was to first clear roads, then restore power.  Its's all about roads, roads, roads.  Without roads, we are screwed."  He said that early during Sandy, Milford Fire Dept. cleared some lines to get a major road (Route 2001) back up.

"We know when the storm his where the problems were, what we have in supplies, and what our needs were.  We need more direct communication between MetEd and us."

Delaware Township Supervisor Tom Ryan said that he obtained key MetEd numbers, so he did not have difficulty reaching MetEd during Sandy.

LIVE WIRES, OR DEAD?

Regarding MetEd, Ryan said, "In a lot of ways, you did great.  We did get a lot of help from you, but we could have used better information during the storm.  Getting a MetEd crew to a prioritized site was a problem.

"All we wanted was for MetEd to send on eperson to test a downed line.  If it's dead, we have lots of people who love working with chain saws.  We have tree cutters, not tree huggers."

Sivick, Ryan and Mincer expressed concern about specific incidents regarding a down line on a road when PennDot and MetEd crews could not coordinate their efforts, which then created road clearing delays.

Troutman said that when anyone calls MetEd during a storm regarding a particular location, the MetEd operator might be from out of state and might therefore have no idea about the location of the caller.  MetEd would address this issue.  He said "It's part of the education process."  He is also studying ways to improve MetEd line-crew allocation.

Brown said that getting PennDot, MetEd, and municipalities to coordinate their efforts must be a priority.  In answer to a question by Troutman about how MetEd could better access gated community developments, Mincer suggested that MetEd contact a Pike Community Development Association.  Sivick suggested that MetEd first contact all township Emergency Management Agency directors, who would have maps, township Emergency Management plan, and key contact persons and phone numbers in the community developments.

Troutman said that although in the past, his office disseminated breaking infromation to Brown's district office, the townships were not on that distribution list.  He said he would put the townships on the call and email list.

Sivick also asked MetEd and PPL to communicate more closely especially regarding Route 402, which traditionally has more power lines affected during storms than other roads in the area.  Each of those power companies provides power on part of the road.

Explaining MetEd methodology to assure safety, Troutman also said that during a major regional emergency such as Sandy, "MetEd quarantines a circuit, shutting down the primary lines and distributor lines.  We don't energize a line until the whole area is safe."

For example, during Sandy, in northern Monroe County and Eastern Pike, MetEd shut all circuits serving the cities and immediate rural areas.  MetEd identified Stroudsburg as a priority area because it had the largest population.  Stroudsburg therefore got its power back before Lehman.

Troutman said that he could not curcumvent this quarantine and prioritizing system, but could work to improve communication.

DELAWARE COMMAND STATION

Ryan explained the effectiveness of running a central command station and staging ground at the Delaware Township Building. 

The building allowed county emergency response people, such as the Sheriff, Pennsylvania National Guard units, and key legislators to get up-to-date information.  The command center facilitated getting federal and state National Guard help.  It became a central collection and distribution point for emergency supplies such as water, ice, and food for local and adjacent municipal residents.

Troutman said that he is gathering feedback to address all concerns.  One way to address the conerns might be to use a local staging ground to deploy MetEd crews, instead of an out-of-state one.

Sivick suggested a way to improve MetEd presence in Pike.  He asked MetEd to contact Mountain Laurel Performaning Arts Center on Bushkill Falls Road for permission to use the site, which would have enough room for MetEd, PennDot, county, and municipal trucks and equipment.

Pike Emergency Management Coordinator Roger Maltby agreed.  He said that Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) uses the Wayne County Fairgrounds, which is spacious.  PPL serves northern and western Pike.

Mincer suggested MetEd meet with township road crews and fire departments to coordinate communication and response for future events.  Sivick said that fire chiefs know immediately where the downed lines are located.  He asked MetEd to contact local EMA first.

MetEd External Affairs Director Roger Heasley suggested that MetEd assign a crew in each township to respond to roads prioritized by each municipality.

Most attendees expressed satisfaction with the information exchange and apparent progress made during this first meeting and looked forward to working together in the future.  Wilgus, however, took a "wait and see" posture.

He said he was not yet convinced that MetEd officials would make the needed changes to improve the utility's response in future emergencies.

Delaware Discusses Upcoming Spring Sports Seasons

Delaware Discusses Upcoming Spring Sports Seasons
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, January 31, 2013 - pg. 5
By:  Lisa Mickles

DINGMANS FERRY - League representatives attended last Wednesday's Delaware Tonwship Board of Supervisors meeting to question what changes, if any, would occur for the spring and fall sport seasons.

Dingman-Delaware Little League (DDLL) President Tony Sciano told the supervisors that he had heard a rumor that the township would begin charging usage fees for the fields located off Wilson Hill Road.  He said that over the past several years they have put a lot of money and labor into upgrading the four fields by purchasing clay, helping with fencing and other field maintenance issues.

Supervisor Chairman Tom Ryan said that the township does not want to collect money from the children's leagues since the townships is a proponent of kids participating in sporting activities, but he was concerned about the costs stemming from the concession stand.  In the past, the township charged $800 to help pay for the electricity and other costs associated with maintaining the concession stand, but it might not be enough.

"Let's see what the real costs associated with the stand are and make adjustments," said Ryan.

Ryan also sought their help in repairing one of the dugouts that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

Sciano said that they are prepared to provide labor to help repair the dugout, but they are prepared to provide labor to help repair the dugout, but they don't have the finances to pay for a new one.  This year, DDLL reduced their fees by $15 per player for minor and major league baseball and softball in order to help families during the tough economic times.  They also want more kids in the area to participate since it is a new board with many new initiatives planned for this year.

Supervisor Thaddeus Parsell questioned Sciano on how the league plans on utilizing the fields at the Dingman Township Park that opened last fall.

Sciano said they would use the Dingman fields for the younger Tee-Ball teams since in the past they have had to use field 4, which is the only regulation-size baseball field, and split it up into four sections.

Township Solicitor Tom Farley said that all of the leagues would need to supply a roster to the township listing only the names of the youth participating with a more detailed list of the coaches, their addresses and contact information for insurances purposes.

As far as the adult leagues, fees might go up since the township is not happy with how they leave the fields littered with beer cans and garbage.  Ryan said that they are contemplating that a bond be in place, which would be reimbursed if they abide by cleaning the fields after use.

Ryan urged all leagues to contact Parks, Building and Grounds Superintendent Luis Barrios as soon as possible in order to get field usage requests in, and other issues completed before their season starts.

To register for the upcoming DDLL season, contact the league by visiting their website at www.leaguelineup.com/ddlittleleague.  The early bird registration deadline is Feb. 16 with team evaluations for player's age 9-12 scheduled for Saturday, March 2 at the Ding-Del Elementary School gym.

The league is also looking for additional volunteers to help with coaching, umpiring, and concessions or sitting on the board as a member or committee member.  For more information, call 570-296-5337.

PROPOSED ZONING ORDINANCE

The supervisors held a public hearing to obtain comments on the proposed zoning ordinance, which ultimately was tabled for further discussion.

The planning commission has been meeting for over a year to outline a revised ordinance, taking into consideration the current one and the proposed ordinance that was part of the township's comprehensive plan.

The majority of the comments related to mineral extraction in a rural residential zone, which flagged some people's concer as to why it would require a conditional use permit.

Chairman Lenny Glamann explained that under the advice of their attorney, they decided to address it under rural residential since it would allow for the supervisors to set restrictions, since ultimately a township must allow for all uses.  Extraction of mineral rights encompasses mining for rock, lime, sandstone, gravel and shale.

Most of the public was concerned that since it was addressed in the zoning ordinance, it would allow for Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

Kittatinny Canoe owner Dave Jones, a proponent of gas driolling, said that Delaware Township was the least likely to have gas drilling, much less in Wayne or Pike County.

Resident Steve Vitale, who is an engineer and sits on the Builders Association, said that the revised ordinance provides a good mix of preserving the scenic and rural beauty of the township and also allowing the economic growth.

"This ordinance is in line with best practices of "Smart Land Development" while supporting the township's vision of intelligent and balanced land dvelopment," said Vitale.

A copy of the proposed zoning ordinance can be viewed at www.delawaretownshippa.gov or at the township office.

Mike Schneider raised his concerns about allowing homes to be built too close together, which is the reason why he moved from New Jersey.

The supervisors and planning commission said that those types of issues regarding housing developments and allowing for open space would be addressed in the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, which the planning commission is currently working on.

The proposed ordinance has reduced setback restrictions from 150 feet to 75 feet from wetlands, which is in line with the Pike County Conservation District (PCCD) and the Pa. Dept. of Enviornmental Protection (DEP).

Jones said that Delaware Township does not need to be more restrictive than the PCCD and DEP.

The Pike County Planning Office has already reviewed the ordinance and all comments and concerns were addressed by the planning commission.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

Krista Predmore will resign as Treasurer with Ryan again taking over the position due to the township's insurance carrier and bonding issues.

The supervisors accepted George Beodeker's resignation as Delaware Township Emergency Management Coordinator (DTEMC).  Beodeker currently holds the position as the Director for the Pike County Emergency Training Center.  In his letter of resignation, Beodeker said that his schedule does not allow him to provide the necessary time required of the position, but he recommended Eugene Lubben to fill the position.  The supervisors approved Lubben as temporary DTEMC.

Delaware Township Recreation Board has changed their name to Delaware Township Community Events Board (DTCEB) with P. Riddlehoover as the chairman and R. Kochovos as the secretary, both for two year terms.  C. Dellabella willt ake on the position of treasurer and R. Eldred will be co-chair, both for one year terms.

The supervisors also agreed to purchase a new digital camera, not to exceed more than $00, to be used for event photos.

The DTCEB will hold their annual Breakfast with the Easter Bunny on Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m. until noon.  The board also approved Joey & the T-Birds to perform at Akenac Park at a cost of $800 on Saturday, July 13.

The township has purchased the two new electronic signs to be used for emergencies and Akenac Park events.

The supervisors approved a resolution for the 2013 tax levy with 9.93 mills for the general fund, 1.5 mills for recreation, and 1.5 mills for the fire tax.

The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.  A workshop meeting will be held prior to the meeting at 5 p.m.

Both meetings will be held at the municipal building located off Wilson Hill Road.




Delaware Seeking Other Cable Providers

Delaware Seeking Other Cable Providers
The Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, January 17, 2013
By: Lisa Mickles


DINGMANS FERRY — At the urging of several residents, Delaware Township seeks other cable companies to service the township.

Resident Michael Schneider told the board of supervisors last week that he is frustrated with the township since it has been three years since they first began negotiating a franchise agreement with Blue Ridge Cable (BRC) so he requested an update. He also takes issue with the 3 percent user fee that is supposed to be forwarded to the township.

“It is my understanding that you don’t even know how much they owe you,” said Schneider while noting, due to past experiences with BRC, “I don’t trust them.”

This relates to a previous 10-year contract in which BRC was supposed to pay the township a 3 percent user fee on all cable subscribers, but the township was receiving a fee based on only about 600 users when there are thousands of subscribers in the township.

BRC settled with the township, but BRC has still not provided accounting records on current subscribers in order for the township to determine how much BRC is collecting and owes the township.

Chairman Tom Ryan said they have been diligently working through an outside law firm to finalize the contract and believes they are close to reaching an agreement.

He said because of the many complaints from residents, he has contacted Verizon to see what their future plans are in providing fiber optics to the area.

Currently, Verizon provides phone and a direct service line (DSL) for internet but does not provide cable TV (FIOS) unless people opt in to have a TV satellite system installed, which provides a substantial savings if purchased as a bundle.

Resident Jane Neufeld has been after the supervisors to look into other cable service providers since BRC keeps increasing their rates.

At the last meeting, she asked the supervisors if they were prohibited from seeking other cable providers or does BRC have a monopoly on the area... for complete story, get this week's issue.

Delaware Twp Sets Appointments

Delaware Township Sets Appointments, Salaries for 2013
Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, January 10, 2013 - p. 4
by Lisa Mickles

DINGMANS FERRY - Delaware Township Board of Supervisors held their annual re-organizational meeting Monday night with the board positions staying the same.

Tom Ryan will remain chairman but his prior positions of secretary and treasurer have been designated to office staff.  Barbara Foos, who was reappointed as office administrator, is now the township secretary with a fixed rate of $48,000 annually.

Krista Predmore will take over the position as treasurer in addition to office manager at a fixed rate of $40,000 annually.  The board approved the motion requiring that all three supervisors be the signees for checks on all banks accounts with the exception of bills that are due between regular scheduled meetings.  The board also set the treasurer's bond at $2.8 million and PLGIT, Wayne, Dime and Citizens banks were designated as the depositories for the township.

Robert Luciano was re-appointed as Supervisor Vice Chairman and alternate Planning Commission member with Thaddeus Parsell continuing as Supervisor.  Charlie Kroener will take on the position of township Road Master due to Parsell's reitrement in December.  Tom Farley will remain the Township Solicitor at a pay rate of $150 per hour with Jason Ohliger as the alternate.

Ohliger will continue as the Planning Commission Solicitor with Robert Bernathy as the alternate.  Steve Guccini was appointed as the Delaware Township Zoning Hearing Board solicitor.

Luis Barrios was reappointed as the Parks, Building and Grounds Superintendent with a fixed compensation of $42,000 annually.  Mary Feisenberger was appointed as Right to Know Officer.

The board approved Boucher and James as the township engineers and Entech as their alternate.  BIU will continue as the residential and commercial building inspectors and alternate sewage officer.  Luciano cast the only no vote but was outvoted by Ryan and Parsell who voted in favor.

Dan Rogers will remain as the township's zoning and code enforcement officer at $13.11 per hour plus travel expenses with Chris Schlegel continuing as the township sewage officer at $18.73 per hour plus travel expenses.

Richard Heimbrook was compensated at a rate of $15 per hour as a road crew employee.  Jeff Shirley was appointed Emergency Snow Plow Driver at a rate of $15 per hour.  The board approved mowing of grass and snow plowing for Delaware Township Fire Department, main building and substation parking lots, American Legion parking lot, cemetary, and ambulance corps.

William Owens and Company will remain the accountant for Delaware Township and Francine Byrne was appointed as a member to the Planning Commission.

George Beodecker will remain as the township's Emergency Management Coordinator with Eugene Lubben as the alternate.  Dennis Stankovich was appointed as Fire Police Captain.

The supervisors approved appointing Steve Vitale, Ph.D., PE, Jime Owens, Wayne Day, and Sean Helferty to Building Hearing Board.  The board will meet on an as needed basis at 7 p.m. as well as the Recreation Committee.  Jeff Shirley was appointed to the Vacancy Board.

Sharon Franks was appointed as Administrative Assistant for Recreation, Zoning and Sewage as well as Alternate Right to Know Officer at a fixed compensation of $48,157.20 annually.

The board set the monthly meeting dates for the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.  The Supervisors will now hold their workshop meeting at 5 p.m. prior to the regular meeting.  They also approved additional workshops for March 20, June 19, Sept. 18 and Dec. 18, starting at 6 p.m.

Planning Commission meetings and workshops will be held on first and third Tuesday of each month beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Pike County Dispatch and News Eagle as the official newpapers for township with the Pocono Record used on an as needed basis.

The board approved the following vacation days as paid holidays:  New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day, the Day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

Office hours were set from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The next board of supervisors meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. Their workshop will be held prior to the meeting at 5 p.m.

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