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Delaware Votes To Help the Animals

  By: Kenneth Books
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, February 4, 2016

DINGMANS FERRY- A packed house Wednesday, Jan, 27, debated the pros and cons of Delaware Township donating tax dollars to Pike County Humane Society, Inc. The often-heated discussion was prompted by a request from Humane Society Executive Director Barry Heim for a donation equal to 50 cents per township resident.  The 2010 censes recorded 7,396 residents of the township. In a written request, Heim noted that the Humane Society has served Delaware Township for 18 years but has not received contributions since 2008.  “Last year alone, over 30 percent of our calls and workload were from your township,” his written plea stated. “Several months ago, we attended one of your meetings to let you know what our services are and how we continue to help the residents and their pets.  We also informed you that these services cannot continue without receiving adequate funding."  The request threatened to discontinue services in the township Feb 1 “because you feel that our services are not important enough to be included in you budget for 2016.  In an impassioned speech that drew several rounds of applause from spectators, Heim said, “The last thing we want to do is stop servicing Delaware Township, because you don’t need us until you need us.” Jane Neufeld, secretary for Delaware Township auditors, supported Heim’s request. “It’s time for us to recognize that this is something that impacts humans,” she said.  “We have the amount (requested) in the budget I think it’s something we can and should do.  Supervisor Tom Ryan noted that a Humane Society report lists net assets for the organization at $127,000. Heim said, however, that $100,000 of that amount came in the form of a bequest.  He said he had to reduce the society’s manpower from nine to seven people because of revenue shortfalls.  Ryan wondered if it is the township’s obligation to help finance the Humane Society, a comment that drew widespread opposition. In the end, it was Ryan who moved that the township donate $4,000 to the Humane Society, $302 more than would have been contributed at 50 cents per resident. Motions regarding maintenance and activities at Akenac Park sparked additional controversy as Supervisor John Henderson stood against any expenditure in that area. Three motions-one of which was retroactive-were approved by 2-1 margins for such expenditures.  They were: $1,903.43 to buy plumbing materials for the Rec Hall Kitchen from Home Depot; $2,366.59 to buy tools for plumbing projects, also from Home Depot; and $5,135 retroactively to buy tile for the bathhouse from Pocono Interiors. A fourth motion, to approve an estimate from Combined Energy Services of $4,800 for the park kitchen was tabled at Ryan’s request pending receipt of additional information.  “I’m not in favor of putting good money after bad in Akenac,” Henderson said in voting against the expenditure.   He also said any such expenditure request should include the total labor cost using township employees, including benefits and workers compensation, a suggestion that was approved unanimously by the supervisors. An Akenac project that was approved was payment of $66,690 to Kobalt Construction for septic system replacement. Approval was given for use of Akenac Park for five events: Easter Egg Hunt March 12; free movie nights July 9 and Aug. 13; Harvest Fest Sept. 24; Trunk or Treat Oct. 22; and Dickens Christmas Dec. 10. Approvals were given for use of the township building by Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Police for March 12, July 9, Aug. 13, Sept. 24, Oct. 22, and Dec. 10; by  for Pocono Mountain Lake Estates Jan. 30 from 9 to 11am for its January meeting; by for the Lion’s Club Thursday, March 3,5 to 7pm and Friday Mach 4, 2 to 9pm, for its fish fry; and Delaware Township Democratic Club for the second Thursday of each month from 7:30 to 9:30pm.  The supervisors announced that electronic recycling days have been canceled because the vendor raised the collection rates from $10 to $20 per carload, with an obligation to the township to make up the difference in the vendor’s monetary goal is not met.  Other are municipalities will be surveyed with an eye to possibly pooling efforts.  A motion to advertise for additional Planning Commission members died for lack of a second.  The Planning Commission currently has five members.  There was some confusion as to whether the township was permitted to expand in according to local ordinances.

 The correction should read Delaware Township requested assistance from the Volunteer Fire Police for the following dates:  March 12, July 9, Aug. 13, Sept. 24, Oct. 22, and Dec. 10.

Delaware Fire Dept. Lists Strategic Plan Goals

 Delaware Fire Dept. Lists Strategic Plan Goals
By: Kenneth Books
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, January 21, 2016

 DINGMANS FERRY-A year-end report from the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company to the township supervisors Wednesday, Jan 13, included a list of areas in which improvement is planned, according to fire company President George Beodeker.Strategic plans will be developed for one-three-and five-year goals, Beodeker said, with a focus on the infrastructure of the fire company.These include identification of capital projects as both buildings and all physical plant systems are at least 25 years old, replacement of aging equipment to meet “service life” considerations, new standards and regulatory requirements, and resumption of fire company social activity fundraisers to increase interaction between the public and members in a non-emergency environment. Beodeker said social activities being considered include golf outings, a turkey shoot, a 5K walk/run, holiday parties and dances and a firefighters’ field day.

Another area Beodeker stressed is recruitment.  Currently, the fire company has 40 members, about two-thirds of whom are active firefighters or fire police.  In 2015, six firefighters resigned and four new members were recruited, but, Beodeker stressed, it will take time to fully train the new staff.

 Adams Creek Rescues

The continual need to rescue people who sustain injuries at Adams Creek was another area Beodeker cited, noting that while Adams Creek is part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, which is under federal jurisdiction, Delaware Township rescue personnel are also called to the scene in case of emergency.  Then, he said, township personnel are restricted from offering assistance until federal officials arrive.  In addition, he said, the possibility exists that an emergency could take place elsewhere in the township while rescue personnel are tied up at Adams Creek. “It’s inevitable that one of our residential houses is going to go up while we’re there hanging off the cliffs.”  The potential also exists for a Delaware Township firefighter to be injured during such rescue operations, leaving township taxpayers liable for a workers compensation claim. The supervisors agreed to send a letter to NPS Superintendent John Donahue, seeking a meeting on the matter, and to invite emergency responders from Dingmans and Milford townships as well. In another matter, the supervisors announced that a lawsuit filed by township auditors against the township and former supervisors has been dismissed.  Supervisor Tom Ryan said he does not expect the case to be appealed to the state Supreme Court.Auditor Jane Neufeld said the supervisors spent $24,878 on the case.  She said she does not expect further bills to arrive from their attorneys.

Numerous organizations were granted permission to use township facilities.  Approved requests for the township building include Warrior Extreme Cheer for a year-end party March 5; the Republican Club for the third Friday of each month beginning Feb. 19; Gambetta Ballet for each Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday Jan. 19 through May 27 and Sept. 6 through Dec. 31; Delaware Township Auditors every third Saturday as needed, starting Feb. 20; and Milford Valley Quilters Guild every Monday in 2016 and Saturday, March 26.  Ryan commended the Quilters Guild for donating 30 quilts to the Gino Merli Veterans Center in Scranton, with the intention of donating an additional 270 in the future.

The supervisors also:

  • Accepted an application for a license to operate a junkyard by Kathleen and John Henderson at 1756 Route 739;

  • Accepted the resignation of Steven R. Guccini as solicitor for the township Zoning Hearing Board;

  • Approved tax abatement for Donald Clyde Farber for property located at 130 Gumtree Lane, based on the disabled veteran real property tax exemption certification.

 

Supervisors Approve 2016 Budget

 Supervisors Approve 2016 Budget
By: Kenneth Books
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, December 24, 2015

 

DINGMANS FERRY-The Delaware Township Supervisors approved the 2016 budget at a special meeting Wednesday, Dec. 16, featuring a one-fourth-mill tax decrease.

The budget calls for tax revenue of $1,134,192.98 from property taxes, $75,000 from real estate transfer taxes, $30,200 for licenses and permits and several smaller sources of revenue from non-business licenses and permits, fines and forfeits, interest, rents and royalties, intergovernmental accounts, building permits and public safety.

The total revenue anticipated for 2016 is $1,332,167.98.  That figure is matched by expenses, including $165,317.98 for governing body necessities, $11,000 for auditing and bookkeeping, $18,000 for tax collection, $66,200 for legal fees, $125,300 for office administration, $20,000 for data services, $25,100 for engineering services, $122,000 for building maintenance, $552,917.98 for general government, $55,000 for office administration salaries, $147,200 for fire control, $6,000 for ambulance and rescue, $37,500 for sanitation, $212,700 for public safety, $288,150 for highways, roads, and streets, and $159,000 for employee benefits.

The township tax rate will be 12.68 mills.  This means the owner of a home appraised at $100,000 will owe $1,268 in township taxes down from $1,293.  The township office will be closed Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas.  The Dec. 23 meeting has been canceled

 

Dispatch Article 11.5.2015

 

Delaware Plaza Project Takes Step Forward
By: Kenneth Books
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, November 5, 2015

 DELAWARE TOWNSHIP-The proposed Delaware Plaza Shopping Center on Route 739 is one step closer to reality as township supervisors granted preliminary approval at a public hearing Wednesday, Oct. 28.

 Attorney John T. Steih conducted a question-and-answer session with project engineer Joseph Hudak of Kiley Associates in which topics such as sewage treatment, infrastructure, traffic management, landscaping and impact to surrounding properties were addressed.            

Hudak said only land development and conditional use approvals were being sought.

Sewage management will be handled by an on-site enclosed treatment facility, Hudak said, involving aeration and chlorination.  The treated water will then be disposed of using a drip irrigation process that allows treated water to seep slowly to the roots of surrounding vegetation.  Hudak said the PA. Dept. of Environmental Protection had already approved such a system

Underground retention ponds and monitoring wells will be used for storm water management, Hudak said.  He stressed that streams and rivers will remained unchanged.

Hudak also noted that few surrounding wooded areas would be affected.  Those on the rear of the property will be retained as a buffer between the center and residents.

The center is the brainchild of Centerpoint Properties of Atlanta, a firm that constructed such local commercial properties as Milford Landing (Staples), Westfall; Westfall Town Center (Kmart) and Lowe’s.  The Center’s footprint will encompass 26 acres north of the current Dingman Medical Center, and include 77,000 square feet of commercial space.  The developers anticipate the center will be home to a supermarket, a bank and three food service structures, as well as other retail outlets, Scuttlebutt has it that the supermarket will be a Weis, but neither Steih nor managing Centerpoint partner Charles Miller would confirm or deny the rumor.

Centerpoint will pay for a new traffic light at the entrance to the center, as well as highway access, Hudak said.

 A groundbreaking is anticipated in the spring, he said.

 During the public comment portion of the public hearing, Alan and Kimberly Alexander expressed concern about sewage treatment odors.  Hudak said he anticipates that sewage would be rendered odorless.

Kathleen Henderson expressed concern about security at the center, worrying that it would attract drifters.  Steih said the developers have no current plans to hire private security, noting that no such service was needed at the Westfall Township facilities.

But he had no answer when it was pointed out that Westfall is protected by a police department, while Delaware Township relies on PA. State Police from Blooming Grove.

 In Another Matter

Dr. Trilby Tener raised the ire of the supervisors when she asked if supervisor chairman Thomas Ryan was receiving special favors from companies contracting with Delaware Township.

 Tener noted that several firms that have contracts with the township also have worked on Ryan’s home, an implication that Ryan would not comment on.  But both Supervisor Jeff Scheetz and Township Solicitor Tom Farley took umbrage at Tener’s implication.

 “I think you’re suggesting some compensation for votes,” Farley said.  “All the supervisors have to vote.  No one supervisor has any more authority than any other”.

Farley called Tener’s comments “a little nasty” and “inappropriate.”  Scheetz said he was “insulted by what you said.”

In Other Business

 Supervisors authorized Kobalt Construction, Inc., for the Akenac Park septic system replacement project for $78, 000.  The matter had been tabled at the Oct. 14 meeting when eight widely divergent bids were opened, but upon review by consulting engineer Boucher and James, Inc., the supervisors accepted Kobalt’s low bid.

 The supervisors agreed to renew the township Worker’s Compensation policy with Amerihealth for $21,699, and to make final payment of $1,845.45 to Rutledge Excavating for the Akenac emergency access.

 Supervisors renewed TruGreen service for the ball fields for 2016 at an annual $3,6000, which includes lawn service, lime application, and vegetation and grub control, and renewed TruGreen service for Akenac vegetation control for an annual $350.

 A motion was approved to purchase kitchen equipment for the Akenac recreation hall from Singer Equipment Company for $54,590, using funds from the Monroe Legal Share Account.  Jane Neufeld asked if the money in the grant was nearing an end and was told there is still roughly $180,000 left.

A donation of $2,500 to the Holy Trinity Food Pantry was approved, as was a disabled veterans real property tax exemption for Jackie T. Singer, 127 Pocono Circle Drive West.

The 2016 budget will be available for public inspection at the municipal building, 116 Wilson Hill Road, Dingmans Ferry, from Nov. 20 through Dec 21.Finally, it was announced that the November board of supervisors meeting scheduled for Nov. 11 and 25 have been canceled and rescheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 18.  The workshop will take place at 5pm and the regular meeting at 6pm.

 

               

 

Delaware Twp. Tables Park Sewage Bid

 

Delaware Twp. Tables Park Sewage Bid
By: Kenneth Books
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, October 22, 2015

 DINGMANS FERRY-Financial matters took center stage as the Wednesday, Oct. 14, meeting of the Delaware Township Supervisors.

 When the bids were read for construction of a sewage disposal system at Recreation Hall in Akenac Park the supervisors voted to table the matter due to a wide discrepancy in the totals.

The bids were solicited for construction of two 1,500-gallon septic tanks, one 1,500-gallon pump tank, about 585 lineal feet of 2-inch, schedule 40 force main and a 25-by-100-foot elevated sand mound.  But the totals ranged from a low of $78,000 from Kobalt Construction to a high of $285,000 from J.S. Write Excavating.

 “I’ve opened bids for years and I’ve never seen such a wide range” said township solicitor Thomas Farley.

The other six bids were: $94,700 from Chilewski Enterprises; $108,857 from EBI LLC’ $151,000 from Residuals Management Services; $157,185 from Leeward Construction; $159,600 from JEV Construction; and $168,341 from Pioneer Construction.

In other financial moves, the supervisors agreed to pay several bills totaling $52,768.89, transferred $249,524.61 from several funds to cover expenses, voted to renew the State Workers Insurance Fund workers compensation policy for $20,912 and agreed to renew Aetna Dental Insurance employee benefits for $316.40 per month, a decrease of nearly 5 percent from 2014, and Aetna Life and Disability insurance employee benefits for $216 per month.  Both are effective Dec.1.

 Supervisors rejected four bids for paving the rear parking lot of the township municipal building: Wayco Inc., $87,954.60; Intercounty Paving Associates, LLC, $97,777; Leeward Construction Inc., $99,890.70 and Northeast Site Contractors, $107,021.

 A $39,650 bid from Kocher’s Water Pumps Tank, Inc., Bath, for the Akenac Park water system reconstruction project was accepted, with an additional $50 for removal of existing equipment.  Also bidding were Favor, Inc., of Jessup, $62,485 with an additional $3,853 for existing equipment removal, and Surburban Water Technology, Inc., of Gilbertsville, $71,000.  Surburban did not submit a bid for removal of existing equipment.

The supervisors voted to donate $5,000 to Safe Haven of Pike County, an organization that combats domestic abuse and sexual crimes.

 A motion was approved to purchase tile and grout for the Akenac Park recreation hall kitchen from Pocono Interiors for $4,180.

 Also approved were motions to buy a new refrigerator from Mountain Restaurant Supply for $2,155.12 for the municipal building kitchen and the purchase of stairs for the recreation hall kitchen for $914 from Beech Pond Woodworking.

The supervisors also accepted the donation of a TSR Series commercial stove from resident Al Peselnick.

 The supervisors agreed to waive the $309 building permit fee for the Delaware Township Fire Company roof and refund $372.32 in 2015 real estate taxes for Harold Strassburg, 106 Martine Court. Lot 52, under the disabled veterans real property tax exemption.

 In Other Business

It was announced that a public hearing would be held jointly by the board of supervisors and planning commission Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 6:45 p.m. regarding conditional use and land development at Delaware Plaza.

The issue concerns a traffic study, which the supervisors deem unnecessary, according to Farley.

 Resident Jane Neufeld asked if state requirements would be followed if the study were waived.  Farley said the issue would concern only Delaware Township’s ordinance.  “The township can never supersede state regulations,” he said.

The supervisors approved use of the municipal building for several events, including a Medicare Part D open enrollment assistance program Oct. 27 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., sponsored by the Pike County Area Agency on Aging.

Gambetta Ballet (Silver Sneakers) requested and was granted the use of the building each Monday, Little Acorns Daycare was approved to use the building Friday, Dec. 11 from 4 to 9 p.m. for its annual Christmas party, the Delaware Football League was granted use of the building Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for an open-forum board meeting and the Lions Club was given use of the building for an all-you-can-eat breakfast Saturday, Oct. 21 31 from 8 to 11 a.m.

An electronic recycling day is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the municipal building, 116 Wilson Hill Road.  The cost is $10 per carload. 

Finally, the Delaware Trunk or Treat and haunted house will take place Saturday, Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Dickens Christmas will be held Saturday, Dec 12, from 3 to 8 p.m.  Both events will take place at Akenac Park.

 

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