SAFE HAVEN RENEWS APPEAL FOR DELAWARE TOWNSHIP FUNDING
SAFE HAVEN RENEWS APPEAL FOR DELAWARE TOWNSHIP FUNDING
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, July 6, 2017
DINGMANS FERRY – Safe Haven Executive Director Tamara Chant returned to the Delaware Township Supervisors for their bi-monthly workshop session last week for an update on the Pike County agency and another appeal for funding.
Chant, who again was accompanied by Safe Haven Vice-President Allison Taylor and Treasurer Brian O’Hare, had visited the supervisors in December and were told to return when their financial restructuring was completed. Chant said her agency passed state and federal compliance standards on finances and data recording for nonprofits on March 9. Since then, it has served 60 clients who are victims of abuse, including 56 women, three men and one transgender. There also have been 33 calls to the hotline and 11 shelter nights recorded in that span.
“We’re doing great since March 1,” said Chant whose staff of size includes herself, three advocates and two outreach specialists, along with 11 volunteers working out of their Milford Borough offices.
Chant requested a $10,000 donation from the township, whose budget carries a $6,000 limit for overall donations. Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Scheetz said afterward that funding could go beyond that $6,000 limit if merited. Delaware Township did not donate to Safe Haven last year while awaiting results of the restructuring. It donated $10,000 in 2015 and $5,000 in 2014.
Chant said reports of possible federal and state cuts on the horizon threaten the yearly budget that projects at $412,410 for fiscal year 2017-2018. As a result, there has been an even greater push for support from townships, community foundations and grant writing. Dingman Township already has donated $10,000 and Lehman Township has donated $2,000.
Cuts to the state Coalition Against Domestic Violence budgets would affect subsidies to Safe Haven.
“We’ve even looked at school districts because we do a lot of work with them but they’re not in a position right now,” said Chant, whose agency has a Media Literacy presentation plan for ninth graders in both the Delaware Valley and East Stroudsburg North high schools for next school year on how media can affect healthy relationships.
Safe Haven has opened a satellite office in Lehman Township to cover the southern end of the county. It operates two hours a day on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Supervisor Ron Hough asked if Safe Haven has clients from the township and, if so, how many. Chant said there are township residents who are clients but said privacy agreements prevented her from specifying the number.
Resident Jane Neufeld pointed out that Safe Haven payroll expenses ($224,919) make up more than half the upcoming budget and was told it covers the many hours put in by advocates, who are paid hourly for their work. “That’s very typical of agencies like ours,” Taylor said.
Safe Haven also pays, a mortgage on its building. O’Hare said owning the building will increase equity over time for borrowing money as needed. “We’re looking to strengthen the agency and grow is,” he said.
“We’re very excited about the work Tamara and her staff has done,” Taylor said. “They’ve done an outstanding job of outreach, so much more than the former staff.”
Safe Haven had a Colorfest at Akenac Park on Saturday.
VIRUS PROTECTION FOR WEBSITE
During the regularly scheduled meeting, the board approved $648 for a managed support/security plan with plug-in/modular updates for the township website with the Niki Jones Agency that manages the website. It came after owner Niki Jones gave a detailed explanation during the workshop before the meeting showing the need for the update to prevent possible Malware viruses from hackers while the township loads updates to the website.
The board approved $93,600.15 for Waycorp, Inc. of Waymart to repave Chestnut Ridge Road and line stripe a number of roads in the township.
The Township also is executing an agreement for the Gravity Rail at Akenac Park playground with Miracle Recreation Equipment Company.
The agreement calls for replacing the wheels above the seat that youngsters ride on the rail. They’ll be replaced by the end of July. The agreement covers the next five years as needed. Children often have been unable to ride the rail on seats with the momentum from their weight, as advertised, and another person would have to push them along. If the product enhancement kit does not correct the problem over the next year, Miracle agreed to remove the gravity rails for free and refund the township $14,940.
“I think the company realized they made a mistake,” said township Solicitor Thomas Farley after a lengthy discussion with the company led to the agreement.
The board approved general park policies for Akenac Park that were discussed at previous meetings. Residents of the county enter for free and non-county residents living in the state pay $5 but out-of-state residents pay $30. Visitors from outside of the county who are guests of the township residents are admitted for free pending verification at the front gate.
Neufeld recommended writing into the policies in the future about the catch-and-release for fishing at the lake but township employee Ed Hammond said it is posted on signs throughout the lake area.
The board approved a $413 payment to Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. for copyright to present “Smurfs: The Lost Village” on Free Movie Night at Akenac Park on August 19th and also approved the Birchwood Swim Team to operate a concession stand that night on condition it presents a certificate of liability insurance. Resident Dawn Bukaj suggested during the public comment period at the end of the meeting that the board look into movie nights with adult-themed movies as well for middle aged and senior residents.
The board tabled two motions. Once for use of Akenac Park by GAIT Therapeutic Riding to present and celebrate the acquisition of a new therapy horse. Board members are awaiting details on whether GAIT can meet the conditions to use the park. The other motion as for the Akenac Park Recreation & Kitchen Rental Policy with full kitchen use of $400 for five hours and $80 per additional hour rented. Supervisor John Henderson said he was looking into more information on the policy.
TRUCKS ON DOOLAN ROAD
During public comment, Jim McCaw expressed concern about the heavy truck traffic along Doolan Road near where he lives. A resident since 1991, McCaw said that on June 15 he kept track of traffic from 8:30am to 4:30pm and said it included 76 trucks, and all but 10 of them were dump trucks that he figured were involved with the quarry nearby. Neufeld said those trucks apparently preferred not to take Milford Road/State Route 2001 “because they feel it’s not safe anymore.” She said maybe roads should have updated classifications.
Farley said the only way to regulate the situation would be to establish weight limits on the road in agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. “Other than that, it’s not enforceable,” said Farley, who added there has to be a balance struck on the matter with local businesses. “All we can do is ask” that those trucks use Milford Road, said Scheetz. Henderson said he had talked with state Rep. Rosemary Brown, who said she’s look into it.
The board presented, in coincidental timing with Safe Haven’s request, a donation policy during its workshop session. Scheetz said it will set a precedent for boards in the future with some stringent guidelines, including submitting three years of tax returns, showing the extent that entity serves the township residents and that its work does not duplicate activities already supported through school taxes or already provided by the township or other governmental agencies. The amount of fundraising that organization needs to do also will be weighed.
The board announced a blood drive at the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps at 135 Park Road in Dingmans Ferry from 10am to 2pm on July 22. Donors must make appointments in advance with the American Red Cross.