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Delaware Holds Plaza Hearing At Reorg Meeting

Delaware Holds Plaza Hearing at Reorg Meeting
Pike County Dispatch
By Wayne Witkowski
Thursday, January 9, 2020

DINGMANS FERRY -- John Henderson was unanimously approved for another year as chairman of Delaware Township's Board of Supervisors, which steamrolled through a status quo agenda during Monday's reorganization meeting that reflected a past year of efficient government and no tax increases.
Virtually all appointees were holdovers from the previous year as supervisors saw no need to discuss most of the 55 agenda items. Jane Neufeld remains as vice chairman of the board and township treasurer while Supervisor Rick Koehler is township secretary.
Krista Premore was appointed to another year as township administrator, assistant treasurer and Right to Know officer while Vincent Flatt continues as roadmaster. George Beodeker remains township emergency management coordinator.
The Pike County Dispatch is one of the official township newspapers along with the Tri-County Independent and the Pocono Record.
After the reorganization meeting, the supervisors conducted a hearing before giving approval to amendments for the final Delaware Plaza Land Development Plan. Henderson expressed regret that the session was not listed in a public advertisement as a public hearing but rather as a meeting, which drew barbed online posts from angered residents.
"It's my fault it was not advertised as a public hearing," said Henderson.
"We are grateful to any township residents who come to the meeting and for people on Facebook to come to the meeting as well," said Supervisor Jane Neufeld.
At the hearing where engineer Joseph Hudak of Kiley Associates LLC again presented the revised blueprints, Thomas Farley, approved for another year as township solicitor, encouraged the supervisors to give final approval to the project that was held up for a month when the amended plans were first presented. The site had been cleared and grading was under way when work was halted for the plaza that is expected to be built and opened by later in the year.
"The changes are not really major at all, except for the size of the supermarket, storm water (management) that is better than it needs to be and a drive-through pharmacy that is necessary (for residents)," Farley said.
Delaware Township Planning Commission reviewed and advanced five conditions posed by township Engineer Boucher & James during a Dec. 18 meeting and the Pike County Planning Commission also wrote an approval after its examination.
"We have complied with the direction of the (township) Planning Commission and made the revisions and gotten the approval from Pike County Planning," said Hudak.
The foremost point was Weis Markets anchor store announcing in the December meeting that it was reducing the square footage from 63,299 square feet to 47,900, a nearly 25 percent shrinkage. The remaining space would be a grass surface that will enhance stormwater drainage, which was another condition. Weis management said it would have the same sewage treatment setup for the original sized supermarket.
"What if Weis may come back and ask for expansion," asked Farley
"We have the potential for that," said Hudak, referring to the leftover parcel.
It was learned that is the reason why the parking lot still allows for 347 spots, unchanged from the original plan, which is 48 spots more than required.
"If there is no need for additional parking spaces, why have them," asked Henderson.
"On the chance there could be expansion," answered Hudak. "We have stormwater (drainage) set up for that."
Another concession is to move the fire protection tanks that are four feet below ground from the parking area to a place where there is no traffic.
Another change involved a drive-up pharmacy added to the plans. Originally U-shaped, the driveway now is L-shaped and two lanes wide with a sidewalk area over the exit of the drive-through. "That (idea) was voiced favorably by township engineering, said Hudak.
Alex Orerbia, who oversees Land Development for Weis Markets, again attended the meeting and, just like at last month's meeting, said when he was asked that there are no tenants yet for the bank and fast food restaurant in the plans. "At this point, it's still in negotiations; we don't know," said Orerbia. "There's some interest but I won't be told until there is some certainty by the developer." The gas station in the blueprints is part of Weis Markets.
As for the rest of the reorganization agenda that preceded the Delaware Plaza hearing, the township's Treasurer's Bond is set at $2.8 million and the assistant bond at $100,000. Wayne Bank, Dime Bank and PLGIT remain the township's depositories. Kirk Summa & Co. LP is the certified public accounting firm to replace the elected auditors.
Robin Jones again will serve as the full-time administrative/human resources assistant and as deputy tax collector as appointed by township tax collector Mary Lou Corbett. She also was re-appointed to serve as secretary to the township's safety committee where Chris Kimble, Russel Sioretti and Kyle Wright were appointed to one-year terms and Bud DeVries was named as an alternate.
SFM Consulting LC was appointed as the township's residential and commercial building inspectors as well as the township's zoning/code enforcement officers.
Ron Tussell is sewage enforcement officer.
Along with being appointed for another year as township solicitor, Farley also again is serving as solicitor for the township planning commission. Robert Bernathy is the alternate in both roles. Stacey Beecher is township zoning hearing board solicitor and Predmore again will serve as secretary. Beecher also is township building hearing board attorney.
Lori McCrory is zoning hearing board secretary and Sharon Franks is planning commission secretary as well as township representative to the Pike County Council of Government.
Flatt again will represent the township on the Pike County Road Task Force, with Kimble as alternate. Neufeld, Koehler, Flatt and McCrory will attend the 2020 Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) Conference in Hershey in the late spring.
Steve McBride was appointed as township vacancy board.
As for meeting schedules, the supervisors again will meet for the workshop at 6 p.m. and the regular meeting at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month except November and December when those meetings take place on the first and third Wednesdays because of the holiday schedules. The planning commission meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. or as necessary. The safety committee meets the first Tuesday or the month at 8:30 a.m.
The township zoning hearing board and the building hearing board meet on as needed basis.

Board Passes Budget; Sends Plaza Changes Back For Review

Board Passes Budget; Sends Plaza Changes Back For Review
By Wayne Witkowski
December 19, 2019 - The Pike County Dispatch

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township is starting the new decade the way it spent the last one: holding the line on taxes.
The Board of Supervisors approved the 2020 budget after a series of workshops during its regular meeting last week. It will mark the 12th straight year without a tax increase since the last increase in 2008; however, taxes were decreased in 2012, 2013 and 2016.
The tax rate has held at 11.68 mills, including 8.68 mills for the General Fund, 1.5 mills for the Recreation Fund and 1.5 mills for the Fire Fund.
The General Fund is $1,307,050.07, which includes $1,041,0000 in tax revenue and the balance from other revenue sources. Total expenses are $1,282,035.67.
The Fire Fund is $146,500. The Recreation Fund also is $146,500, with $137,091 in total expenses allocated. It also lists an additional revenue component that brings the Recreation Fund total to $154,500.
Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker took issue with the Recreation Fund being listed with higher financial figures than the Fire Fund for the township volunteer fire department even though both have the same millage figures. Beodeker responded critically to Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson's statement that the Recreation Department brings in revenue from its activities. Supervisor Jane Neufeld further assured Beodeker that it does not mean the fire company is valued any less by the township than Recreation, commending the dedicated work of the fire company, but that the Rec revenue has to be listed in the budget.
The total state Liquid Fuels Fund is at $626,251.91, with projected expenses at $23,538.84 
Supervisors confirmed that there is no allocation set aside in the current budget for the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps but said that its ambulances continue to get fuel from the township.
"There will be more on that in the next few weeks," said Henderson. "They're still working on an ambulance corps proposal among seven municipalities (in Pike County)."
Henderson also said, when asked afterward, that there was no new development on Samaritan Emergency Services' inquiry into establishing an Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance coverage in Pike County.
The response to that question came after the board allocated a $10,000 subsidy to Bushkill Emergerncy Corps, which the supervisors established during a workshop before the meeting that the corps responded to enough emergency ALS and BLS calls in the township to warrant the subsidy. Beodeker asked if there were exact figures on the calls but Henderson assured that there were a number of meetings the supervisors held with Bushkill Emergency on the subject.
Also at the meeting, site engineer Joseph Hudak of Kiley Associates Surveys & Engineers LLC in Lakeville gave a presentation showing changes to the plans for Delaware Plaza that recently broke ground. He was joined by Alex Orerbia, who oversees Land Development for Weis Markets, which is anchoring the plaza.
Hudak, who presented two sets of blueprints that included the original ones and the updated ones, explained that the change involved reducing the Weis Markets store from 67,295 to 47,900 square feet.
"It was a demographic decision. It will still have the same services as the larger store," Orerbia explained afterward.
The unused space would include a drive-up pharmacy window with a U-shaped driveway and grassy, open space behind it in the area of the reduced Weis Markets footage. Hudak said there would be no change needed for storm water drainage and the grassy land, in fact, would enhance that end.

There would be three other businesses: a drive-through bank, a Dunkin Donuts and a fast food restaurant, although Hudak said the companies for the bank or the restaurant were not named. All three will still have drive-up services as in the original plans.
There will be traffic signals at roadways at both ends of the plaza.
"Work is ongoing. We're at the stage to start building," said Hudak.
With that, Orerbia raised concern when township Solicitor Thomas Farley said the changes needed to be reviewed by the Planning Board, which would take place at a meeting on Thursday this week, and go before the Board of Supervisors to approve the amended final plan at the next scheduled meeting on Jan. 6.
Orerbia objected to the delay, saying it would affect the timetable for construction of the project but finally agreed to the necessary process. During the discussion, Orerbia answered Farley's question to him that the change actually was decided in October and Farley asked why it was not presented to the board then instead of now.
Farley said the new drive-up pharmacy might need more steps and paperwork but encouraged Orerbia to keep it in the plans and not eliminate it to save time on the construction. "I don't want to lose something that benefits the residents," said Farley.
Also at the meeting, the board approved executing Kirk Summa & Company LLC's management letter for the 2019 independent audits. 
The board unanimously approved $1,305.30 for a one-year contract with Apogee Insurance Company for cyber security insurance. Township Administrator Krista Predmore presented the proposal during the workshop, to be voted on during the regular meeting, because of a rising need for it. Supervisor Jane Neufeld pointed to another local municipality that had a cyber hacking.Supervisors also announced a letter was sent to DEWA (Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area) expressing the township's objection to a complete tolling of Route 209, including local residents.
It reads in part: "We suggest that 'first do no harm' be applied to the Visitor Use Management Plan. We suggest that tolling Route 209 would once again harm the residents of Dingmans Ferry."

The "once again" part referred to the Tocks Island Dam project of the late 1960s that changed that general area, forcing residents from their homes under eminent domain.
Neighboring municipality Lehman Township also has submitted a letter of objection to DEWA's tolling idea.
The board discussed during the workshop and approved during the regular meeting pursuing a proposal by township engineering company Boucher & James to refurbish the maintenance building at Akenac Park. Proposed work includes a new roof, new electric lighting, new siding, gutters and repairing foundation cracks. 
Supervisors approved the use of Akenac Park on June 6 for therapeutic horseback riding center GAIT to hold a 25th anniversary event.
The board also approved bulk days for the first Saturday of the month for the first three months of the year from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and twice monthly for six of the following seven months (except July) before going back on a winter schedule for November and December.

Supv. Proud Of Zero Tax Increase

Supv. Proud of Zero Tax Increase
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, November 28, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY -- "There will be no tax increase this year," proudly announced Delaware Township Supervisor Jane Neufeld to the gathering during the bi-monthly Board of Supervisors meeting held last week.
Neufeld voiced that result of the 2020 budget that she crafted extensively with township Administrator Krista Predmore as the supervisors approved a motion to advertise the budget that became available for the 20-day public inspection last Wednesday. 
There will be a hearing and ratification vote 7 p.m. on Dec. 11.
There has been no tax increase since 2008; however, taxes were decreased in 2012, 2013 and 2016.
The tax rate has held at 11.68 mills, including 8.68 mills for the General Fund, 1.5 mills for the Recreation Fund and 1.5 mills for the Fire Fund.
The General Fund of $1,307,050.07 includes $1,041,0000 in tax revenue and the balance from other revenue sources. Total expenses are $1,282,035.67.
The Fire Fund is $146,500 with a balanced expense line. The Recreation Fund is $146,500, with $137,091 in total expenses.
The total state Liquid Fuels Fund is at $626,251.91, with projected expenses at $23,538.84 
Supervisors approved final payments to Wayco Inc. of $32,259.12 for completion of work on Doolan Road and $20,945.14 for completion of work on Park Road.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson announced that he has learned from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that the extensive Wilson Hill Road project is in the design phase and "on track" for 2020. It includes bolstering crumbling roadside shoulders and drainage.
Also at the meeting, supervisors approved advertising for their annual reorganization meeting to be held 7 p.m. on Jan. 6. They also approved for advertising for reorganization meetings for the township Planning Commission 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 and for the township Auditors on that day at a time to be determined.
Supervisors approved for the township Recreation Board the purchase of elf tunics with hats, holiday aprons and 12 pairs of shoes not to exceed $350 for the annual township Christmas event at Akenac Park from 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 14. The Dingmans Ferry Children's Choir will sing while revelers enjoy hot cocoa and a cookie and enjoy a roaring bonfire.
The Rec Board, in a memo sent to the supervisors, expressed concern about obtaining signed photo release forms from families of every child photographed in efforts to promote publicity for its events and suggested that instead it post a disclaimer at any event where children might be photographed.
"Be careful with that," cautioned township Solicitor Thomas Farley. "Let's see if we try it out and see if we get any parents' complaints."
The board also approved the purchase of 10 reflective vests, flashlights and traffic wants from Amazon for $325.26 for Recreation Board volunteers to use on an as-needed basis to assist the local fire police. The Rec Board also was granted permission to move its monthly meeting on Dec. 12 from the municipal building to Akenac Park.
Supervisors also announced a free Thanksgiving Day dinner to be held at St. Vincent de Paul Church on Route 739 in Dingman Township from 2-4 p.m. that day.

Twp. Opposes Tolling On Route 209

Twp. Opposes Tolling On Route 209
By Wayne Witkowski
The Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, November 14, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township Board of Supervisors is sending a letter to the National Park Service opposing a toll on all vehicles traveling along Route 209 through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
That toll proposal, which is under study by the NPS as part of a Visitor Use Management Plan draft, would include all vehicles driven by residents of the township and neighboring municipalities who need to drive along the roadway.
That decision to draft the letter, passed unanimously by the board at last week's bi-monthly meeting, comes on the heels of a copy of a letter received by the township from Lehman Township, which expressed similar objections. It was discussed during the workshop that preceded the regular meeting.
The issue has gotten the attention of many Pike County municipalities, particularly after one of the National Park Service public input meetings held recently at the Lehman Township Volunteer Fire Company's firehouse on Evergreen Drive.
Also discussed during the workshop was amending township codes to include short-term rentals. Supervisors agreed to forward the matter to the township Planning Commission. The topic also has been discussed at length in meetings in Lehman Township, which plans on amending its ordinance at its regular meeting next month where more than 200 homes offer short-term rentals, many of them in private communities.
The ordinance amendment in Delaware Township would specify housing and occupancy guidelines for permitting. and may cover exterior restrictions as well.

No timeline was specified toward adopting the amendment.
The amendment in both townships also intends to curb problems in communities stemming from "party house" rentals.
Supervisors also unanimously approved two funding proposals, one for $3,577.86 for Emergency Management minor capital purchases and another for renewal of a TruGreen contract for the township athletic fields at a cost of $5,210.09, which includes lawn service, vegetation control, grub curative and lime application.
The board also approved Chris Kimble and Roadmaster Vincent Flatt of the township Public Works Department to attend the states's Local Assistance Technical Program (LTAP) Active Transportation training on Dec. 6 and to attend LTAP Introduction to Traffic Studies training on Dec. 18.
Supervisors discussed and approved Blue Ridge Tree Service quote of $2,900 to remove four trees at Akenac Park that pose a safety hazard, with 10 percent profits donated to the Delaware Township Recreation Commission.
Supervisors unanimously agreed to renew the Aetna dental policy for December with approval of United Concordia, effective January 2020 for township employees, and to renew Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance policy at a no increase for 2020 for township employees.
The resignation of Shane Williams from Delaware Township Public Works, effective Nov, 20, was accepted by the supervisors, who agreed to advertise for a full-time Public Works CDL driver.
Supervisors unanimously moved to authorize township Solicitor Thomas Farley to handle litigation involving the property at 106 Westwood Drive. The property owner was denied a variance by the township Zoning Hearing Board and the township has moved forward with litigation.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson reminded residents at the meeting of a detour for motorists looking to use Brisco Mountain Road at the intersection of Milford Road/State Route 2001 because of repairs on the road. He also said that the next Reality Tour is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Thursday at the Milford Bible Church at 110 Foxccroft Drive in Milford. The program shows the effects of drug abuse on the victims and their families, including fatalities, and re-enacts scenes from a hospital emergency room and morgue. Advance registration is required at $5 per person.
He said Smart Recovery Group for victims of drug abuse continues meeting on Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Delaware Township Emergency Management building on 116 Wilson Hill Road.
Henderson said that Holy Trinity Food Pantry is collecting quick meal items, such as pasta, pasta sauce, egg noodles, canned tomatoes, soup, beef stew and canned meats, on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. The township recently approved a donation for the pantry's Thanksgiving food drive for needy families.
During the public comment period, supervisors responded to residents' inquiries, saying there are no new developments regarding the financially troubled Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps. They also said that groundbreaking and set-up work for construction of the Delaware Plaza shopping center anchored by a Weis Markets store is moving along.
Because of the Thanksgiving break, the supervisors have moved their two November meetings a week earlier, with the second one scheduled for Nov. 20.

Bids Awarded For Doolan, Park Road Projects

Bids Awarded For Doolan, Park Road Projects
The Pike County Dispatch
Thursday, November 1, 2019

By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township continues moving forward with approved motions for road improvement projects during last week's Board of Supervisors meeting.
The board agreed unanimously to pay low bidder Wayco Inc. $290,332.08 to complete work on Doolan Road and $188,506.21 to conclude workon Park Road. Each project was passed in separate motions, with 10 percent set aside to hold in each pending punch list completions.
During the workshop that preceded the meeting, the board moved to apply for a $700,000 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Multimodal Transportation Fund grant for Myck Road resurfacing and drainage work and for yellow and white line painting. Township Administrator Krista Predmore alerted the board during the workshop that the figures need to be revised with engineering fees that are not included in the original figure.
"We have all the documents needed. We just have to move forward with the application," Premore said during discussion at the workshop. Predmore said the figures requested will be blocked out until final costs are determined with engineering fees included.
Submitting the application to PennDOT was approved unanimously in a resolution presented during the regular meeting.
The board also approved a final payment of $3,750 to Davidheis Construction Services for the Akenac Park demolition project. Only one cabin remains in the park.
Also approved was $1,175.00 for Northeast Communications to install radios on the township Public Works dump truck, skid steer and backhoe and $500 retroactively approved for the purchase of candy from Walmart for the township Recreation Committee's annual Trunk or Treat event last Saturday at Akenac Park. Roadmaster Vince Flatt also was granted permission to use township truck No. 1 during the winter season after regular business hours beginning Nov. 1.
The township approved the municipal hall request by Choosing Integrity from 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Nov. 16 to cordinate support to Pike County. Choosing Integrity provides help for recovery and for support services to victims of addiction and substance abuse.
Supervisors approved Tree of Life preschool for its annual decorating of the township's holiday tree on Dec. 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ... Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson announced that Holy Trinity Food Pantry is collecting canned soups at its pantry and at the township building on weekday mornings. ... Another budget workshop will be held 6 p.m. on Wednesday this week.

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