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Debate Continues On Akenac Renovations

 

Debate Continues On Akenac Renovations
by: Bessy Gurian
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, June 2, 2016

 DINGMANS FERRY-Once again, Akenac Park is a topic of disagreement.  During the May 25 Delaware Township Board of Supervisors’ meeting, the public and supervisors disagreed on how renovation efforts are being carried out at Akenac Park.

 Dawn Bukaj, a resident and active member of the community, questioned supervisors on what had been done between 2013 and today, since in 2013 the Board of Supervisors knew that the playground was at the end of its life.

“Back in 2013, the supervisors charged the then Events Board to find the money to do a new playground.  They got the booklet of grants, they started the process and then this Board of Supervisors, without any discussion with the Events Board dissolved them at a Supervisor’s Meeting…So between 2013 and 2016 when the playground was taken down, what was done?  In 2013, the Board of Supervisors knew that that playground was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced.  What happened in that time span?  Since the Events Board, who could’ve very well taken care of that, taken it off of everyone’s plate, brought it to you for approval, was dissolved and today?”

 Supervisor Chairman Jeff Scheetz, responded that he was not present at the time, so he could not answer, to which Bukaj responded, that there was one supervisor that was there.  Supervisor Tom Ryan replied, “My memory is shot, I can’t remember the whole story.”

  Earlier in the meeting, Ryan had also commented on the lack of support they were receiving from parents.  After Bukaj’s comments, a resident and parent responded that parents who took their kids to Akenac were not always available for township meetings.  “They are not here for these meetings.  They’re down there working.  They’re only here, you know; on the weekend and the summertime…Let’s start something.  Like you said, you had the boards up (in reference to boards the Supervisors had on display at a previous meeting depiction playground designs) and everyone thought it was a go, and now we’re just sitting here wondering what’s going on.”

Supervisors explained that they were waiting on an interactive DVD from a manufacturer so it could be available for residents to see playground designs.

 There are also disagreements amongst the supervisors in terms of renovation efforts.  When it came time to vote on a payment if $4,200 for a 400-amp overhead service, meter consolidation and connection to the distribution panel with new breakers and a reconnection of all sub-feeders, Supervisor John Henderson voted “no.” Henderson is also against some of the renovations taking place.  He sat with the Dispatch immediately after the meeting to discuss his concerns.  “Well, basically I’m opposed to a lot of ‘extraordinary’, I’ll use the word ‘extraordinary’ spending on the camp (Akenac).  I think it’s a wonderful idea.  I don’t think the camp should ever be closed.  It started out as a rural recreational area and it was a wonderful idea, but it somehow got changed to…..one of the things in the documents, ‘to establish a restaurant .’ I’ve had people go through there and the restaurant equipment there is high class equipment.  It’s wonderful equipment, but it’s above and beyond what I believe the township needs.  We’re a rural area yet and we’re building the Taj Mahal in there, and that’s why I voted ‘no.’  We need to bring stuff down to a scale that’s appropriate for Delaware Township.

 In the previous Board of Supervisors’ Meeting, Henderson had expressed concerns regarding Boucher & James’ construction plans, holding up a folder containing very few documents and asking the Supervisors to look into the matter.

 “….I asked them (Boucher & James) for all the drawings that they had and those three plans were the only ones they produced for me (referring to the file he had shown at the previous meeting).  And those plans raise a lot of questions.  For instance, on one of the plans there is stairs, and if you look at the stairs, there is a beam right across the stairs.  Nobody can use them.  There’s no way those stairs are ever going to meet ADA of OSHA requirements.”

When questioned whether Boucher & James built those stairs, Henderson replied that one of the letters sent to him by the aforementioned firm state that the stairs were put in after they did their evaluation of the grounds and that he doesn’t know who put them in, but that they’re dangerous.

When asked what his recommendations to the township would be, he states, “I would remove those stairs, first of all, to eliminate the safety hazard.  I would hire somebody who that knows, a professional that knows about kitchens, and get them in there to evaluate the kitchen.  The one restaurateur that I had through there said the layout is bad, the whole situation is, as I say, so upscale for Delaware Township.  It’s like we can afford a Chevy, but we just brought a Cadillac.”

Supervisor Scheetz had this to say with regards to Henderson’s comments, “What we are replacing as per the committee who looked at that, which I think Mr. Henderson was on it; it was a commercial kitchen…..those appliances were antiquated.  They couldn’t be used anymore, so we had to buy new.  We had to bring them up to code, all the safety standards, ‘cause that’s our primary issue.  And, if there was a cheaper way to do it, I don’t know what it would’ve been.  We have made that whole kitchen facility useable now for at least three seasons of the year, possibly even four.  Originally it was designed for just the summers, when it was just the campers that stayed there….and we wanted to get a lot more use out of it, because it was costing a lot of money to do it.”

 When asked about Mr. Henderson’s comments about taking a restaurateur through the facility, he answered, “Well, A: that’s one person’s opinion.  We had our engineer, Boucher & James.  They designed it and they approved it.  Our building inspector approved it.  I’m not going to say their opinions weren’t perfectly valid, of course they were.  That’s what we’re paying them for, that’s what they’re certified to do.  If we had any viable opinion that what was in there was unsafe, I certainly wouldn’t have approved it.

“And, again, I’m a layman when it comes to the equipment that’s in there, but it’s essentially the same equipment, the same kind of equipment that was in there previously, that stay unused, for I don’t know how many years.”  It should also be noted that the other Supervisors had at least five large binders containing documentation on the Akenac project for the public to see.”

 Among other things voted on at the meeting were, Resolution 2016-3 to participate in an online electricity auction with EMEX, Inc, to acquire better rates; Bid Awards in favor of Pocono Spray for $14,570.11 for ½ mile of Spencer Road, Wayco for $12,666.76 for a portion of Weber Road and the Child’s Park Road Culvert for $49, 700 to Leeward Construction.

 If you would like to attend the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors meetings, they meet the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at the Delaware Township Municipal Meeting.  The workshop begins at 5p.m. followed by the meeting at 6:30.  The workshop is a place for discussion of various items concerning the community.  For more information, contact the office at 570-828-2347 or check out their Website at www.delawaretownshippa.gov for meeting minutes and other documentation.

 

Supervisors Chide Auditors for Sunshine Law Violation

Supervisors Chide Auditors for Sunshine Law Violation

By: Bessy Gurian Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, May 19, 2016

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP-It was listed under the workshop heading as “Township Auditors” during the Delaware Township workshop and meeting Wednesday, May 11. What no one suspected was the “unintentional violation of the Sunshine Law” Township Supervisor and Chair Jeffrey Scheetz would use to describe the actions of the elected auditors.
According to Scheetz, the elected auditors held an executive session in February without notifying the public. Township Secretary and Assistant Treasurer Krista Predmore said elected auditors submitted a schedule of their February meeting as the third Saturday of the month, but held an executive session the Saturday prior, which was not announced to the public. Township Solicitor Thomas Farley stated the township would be informing the elected auditors of the violation in a formal letter addressing the issue.
Immediately following the township meeting, Scheetz sat down with the Dispatch to discuss concerns surrounding the actions of the elected auditors, the first of which is whether elected auditors are going beyond the scope of their duties.
“We’re not saying they’re not doing their job,” Scheetz said. “They’re doing more than their job, or they would perhaps, like to do more than what the law says they should be doing or can do.”
Supervisor concerns also involve taxpayer pockets. “If they were having meetings or as part of their meetings discussing issues…that are not within their purview to do, we have to pay for that—we, the tax payers, and we don’t think that that’s right.” Scheetz referred to the $10 per hour compensation elected auditors receive when they hold a meeting.
Jane Neufeld, the only elected auditor present at the meeting who did not attend the workshop where the announcement was made, told the Dispatch that she had not heard what was discussed about the Sunshine Law and if the auditors might have violated it.
Neufeld and fellow elected auditors Dennis Lee and Cody Smith had held an executive meeting back in February to discuss the litigation outcome involving a pension dispute from 2006. This was an activity that according to supervisors is outside the scope of their duties.
Elected auditors also argue that Thomas Ryan, who serves as township treasurer, and Predmore are not bonded, according to legal stipulations. Neufeld estimates Ryan should be bonded for $3.5-$3.7 million, (currently at $2.5 million) and Predmore should be bonded for the same amount as Ryan (currently at $100K). According to Neufeld, “She (Predmore) is the one who is the most involved with getting financial things done. Township treasurers do a lot more than sign checks. Township treasurers do budgets….they reconcile, enter information in QuickBooks, they provide information to the independent auditors…Krista has done the bulk of the budgeting with either Tom (Ryan) or Jeff (Scheetz) inputting for the last couple of years.
“I took an oath, as did everybody else, to uphold the laws of the state of Pennsylvania and I ran on basically, what I believe is integrity and oversight as best allowed by law,” Neufeld said “…What we did? We found something that was not in compliance with the law and we followed the only thing we knew to do,” referring to a letter sent by the elected auditors to township supervisors addressing the bonding concerns.
Supervisor John Henderson brought up concerns regarding construction plans for Camp Akenac’s bath house and rec hall. Henderson commented on the ill-suited location of handicapped bathrooms, the emergency exit and stairs that have been built without being in compliance with OSHA or ADA. He added that he sent a letter to Boucher and James and their response “raised more questions than answers.” He added, “We owe it to the township to get our ducks in line in this building.” Farley
assured the public that before any construction takes place, the township will have to abide by the same building codes as any other resident.
Township supervisors also announced plans to file a lawsuit against Camp Gan Israel due to township code violations, ordinance violations, and violations cited by the Department of Environmental Protection. Gershon Sandler, representing Camp Gan Israel, asked to speak to those allegations, but was told by Farley that a letter had been sent to their lawyer addressing all the notices and violations and that he should abstain from comment until consulting with his attorney.
The meeting included a public Hearing for the approval of Ordinance 206, which provides a curbside recycling program that governs the collection, storage, transportation processing and disposal of municipal solid waste in the township. After no public comment was received on the ordinance it was approved by the supervisors.

Board Seeks Parental Input For New Playground Design

 Board Seeks Parental Input For New Playground Design
By: Bessy Gurian
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, May 5, 2016

 DINGMANS FERRY-During the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors workshop and meeting held April 27, supervisors urged parents of young children to give their input regarding the development of the playground area at Akenac Park, discussed solutions to dealing with waste oil, and the possibility of carrying out a traffic study for Doolan Road.

             The Delaware Township workshop began with a new challenge for township supervisors: Disposing of waste oil.  The company that removes Township waste oil will now begin charging the township for said collection.  Supervisors and the public in attendance discussed several options: charging residents for the disposal of waste oil, eliminating waste oil collection altogether and reaching out to other waste oil collection companies.  Supervisor Tom Ryan suggested the township supervisors continue to research the matter in order to find a solution that would not affect the township or the residents.

             Supervisor John Henderson discussed the matter of setting a speed limit on Doolan Road.  According to Henderson, PennDOT states that if a rural road is not marked with a speed limit, the speed limit is 55 miles per hour, a speed that on Dolan Road could prove hazardous for drivers.

             Township Secretary Krista Predmore stated that according to her sources, an engineering and traffic study would cost up to $5, 000 per road.  Supervisors discussed several ways to approach the matter and Township Solicitor Thomas Farley agreed to review documentation in order to make the best decision possible for the township.

             The Delaware Township Board of Supervisors meeting focused mainly on Akenac Park.  Motions were approved to hire seasonal gatekeepers and life guards and during the public comment section of the meeting, Jane Neufeld, elected Township Auditor, suggested supervisors reach out to area residents with children to gain their input with regards to the design of the playground area at the park.

             Mother of three and Township resident Tricia Langelotti spoke up and said that her family loved Akenac Park because they did not live in a community and therefore enjoyed the park for all its amenities.  She also said families like hers would suffer this summer due to a lack of playground area.

             Supervisor Jeffrey Scheetz welcomed her comments and replied that the playground had been taken down because it was no longer safe to use.  He went on to explain that the Township was working on gathering more information with regards to grants and funding to build a modular playground that would be safe and long lasting.  He added that supervisors had attended the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisor’s Conference April 17 at Hershey Park and that they had had the opportunity to meet with vendors who design and build modular playgrounds.

             Ryan suggested Langoletti and Predmore work together to urge parents to get involved in the development of the playground.  Scheetz said the supervisors wanted to hear from families such as Langoletti’s, who did not live in communities and did not have access to amenities.  The supervisors urged township families to get involved by attending meetings and providing their input.

             Township supervisors also wanted to let the public know that the Dingmans Ferry Lions Club Annual Fishing Contest would be held April 30 at Egli’s Pond on Route 739.  This contest is being held for the 37th year in a row and provides families with a fun afternoon filled with fishing, food and prizes.

             They also announced that there would be a Public Hearing on Ordinance 206 Amendment at 7 pm Wednesday, May 11 to discuss changes to the recycling policy in order to be consistent with county policy.

             Lastly, Township Supervisors wanted to let Delaware Township residents know that there is a Burn Ban in effect.

 

Rescinding the Burn Ban on Open Burning in Pike County

Pike County Commissioners


Resolution No. 16-15
Rescinding the Burn Ban on Open Burning in Pike County


WHEREAS, the Pike County Commissioners, on April 22, 2016, issued a County-wide burn ban on open burning; and

WHEREAS, there has recently been significant rainfall with more rain being forecast; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Community and Natural Resources District 19 has recommended that the County-wide burn ban be rescinded.

NOW, THEREFORE, we the undersigned Commissioners of Pike County, declare that the County-wide burn ban be rescinded effective 8:00 a.m. on May 3, 2016.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our hands and caused the Great Seal of the County of Pike to be affixed on this 3rd day of May 2016.


BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF PIKE COUNTY

Matthew M. Osterberg, Chairman
Richard A. Caridi, Vice-Chair
Steven R. Guccini, Commissioner

Attested:  Gary R. Orben, Chief Clerk

Ban on Open Burning in Pike County

PIKE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
RESOLUTION NO.16-14

ESTABLISHING A BAN ON OPEN BURNING IN PIKE COUNTY

WHEREAS,the County Commissioners are desirous of providing for the health,safety and welfare of the people of Pike County;and

WHEREAS, because of record low stream levels,very low ground water levels,drier than normal temperatures, with no significant rain fall being forecast,the county has been placed under a burn ban;and

WHEREAS,due to be low nonnal rain fall over the past four months,there has been an increase in brush fires over the past several weeks,there by keeping the wildfire potential very high throughout Pike County; and

WHEREAS, the District Forester,on behalf of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the majority of the fire chiefs of Pike County's fire departments have expressed concern that this fire potential poses a serious and imminent threat to the life and property within Pike County;and

WHEREAS,emergency measures are required to reduce the severity of this danger in order to protect the health,safety,welfare and property of the residents of Pike County;

NOW,THEREFORE,we the undersigned Commissioners of Pike County, pursuant to the provisions of Act 1995-52 and Section 7501of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Services Code,(35PAC.S.) as amended, do hereby establish a temporary 30-day county-wide ban on any and all open burning.  This burn ban shall supersede any municipal ordinance to the contrary.

Open burning is here by defined as the ignition and subsequent burning of any combustible material (garbage, leaves, grass ,twigs, litter, paper,vegetative material involved with land clearing or any sort of debris) out-of-doors either in a burn barrel (screened or unscreened) or on the ground.The use of propane or gas stoves,charcoal briquette grills,or the use of tobacco in an form is not covered under this resolution.  Campfires,in designated state,federal or Department of Environmental Protection licensed campgrounds,are allowed in fire rings that confine and contain the campfire.                                                                                                    ·

Enforcement of this ban shall be the responsibility of any sworn police officer,in accordance with the provisions ofAct1995-52.  Specifically,any sworn  police officer when available,including the Pennsylvania State Police,shall be responsible for enforcing the provisions of this act.  Also, whenever a violation of this act occurs in a city, borough, incorporated town or township which has in effect an ordinance prohibiting open burning,the police officer may site the violation under either the municipal ordinance or the county resolution.  Under no circumstances shall any person be cited for violations of both the county resolution and the municipal ordinance for the same violation.

PENALTY- A person who violates this resolution commits a summary offense and shall,upon conviction,be sentenced to a fine of not more than $100.00 for the first offense, $200.00forthe second offense and $300.00 for the third and subsequent offense.

DURATION-The ban shall continue for 30days from the effective date set forth unless terminated earlier by subsequent  resolution.

FURTHER,we direct the Pike County Emergency Management Agency,to ensure the wide spread publication and distribution of this burn ban resolution,to distribute notice there of to all local radio,TV and newspapers and to maintain proof of distribution and of the manner and,frequency of publication,to coordinate the enforcement of this ban with all law enforcement agencies in accordance with Act 1995-52, i.e.,to encourage their resort to filing or issuance of a citation where appropriate;to take all appropriate action needed to coordinate response to the dangers posed by the unusually dry conditions;and to take any other emergency management actions deemed necessary to respond to this imminent threat to the health, safety and welfare of the people of Pike County.

This declaration shall take effect at 12:00a.m.on April22,  2016.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF,we have here unto set our hand sand caused the Great Seal of the County of Pike to be affixed on this 22nd day of April, 2016.

 

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