Local Judge Reports On ‘State of the District’
Local Judge Reports On ‘State of the District’
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, July 19, 2018
DINGMANS FERRY – Paul Menditto, magisterial district court judge, drove a short distance from his offices on Silver Lake Road last Wednesday to share with the Board of Supervisors at the start of their workshop his State of the District report.
The four-page pamphlet includes a pie graph breaking down total cases into categories and a chart showing how fees from collections are disbursed in his district 60-3-04, which includes Delaware, Lehman and Porter Townships.
“The state of the district is good right now,” Menditto said and later said with a smile, “But there is less money coming to your township.”
Although state and county disbursements went up, Delaware Township’s fees went down from $6,923.71 in 2016 to $3,164.50 last year.
Traffic (violations) seems to be the biggest thing, although we don’t have an interstate (highway) here,” Menditto said.
Total cases went up last year from the previous year to 1,617 from 1,449, with traffic making up the largest part of that pie chart with 674 cases.
Menditto said he is most proud of the reduction of truancy at the East Stroudsburg Area School District High School North campus, which is under his jurisdiction. Truancy in the state of Pennsylvania is considered a crime, Menditto said. “Many families there are transplants from New York and New Jersey and don’t know that,” he said.
His pamphlet read, “By working with the school district and having pre-adjudication meetings with parents, students and school officials, truancy citations have dropped from 71 in 2014 when Judge Menditto first took office to 35 in 2017.”
“I’m personally proud of that,” Menditto said at the meeting.
Supervisors commended Menditto’s pamphlet and presentation ditto’s pamphlet and presentation for providing ample information on the variety of cases he handles, including Protection From Abuse orders, which can only be issued in cases of immediate danger and not based on old allegations.
He said his is the only district in Pike County protected solely by state police, whereas Easter Pike Regional and municipal departments cover some municipalities in other districts.
REVISED SUBDIVSION ORDINANCE
During the regular meeting, the board unanimously approved, after a brief public hearing, a revised Subdivision and Land Development (SALDO). The ordinance was last amended in 2014 and the current version contains many revisions.
“We’ve tightened it up to make it more functional,” Township Solicitor Tom Farley said in introducing the ordinance hearing.
“It had addressed subdivision only but there’s been a lot of land development (in the area) and this make it clear and lists the requirements of land development,” township Engineer Jon Tresslar commented during the hearing.
Supervisor Jane Neufeld posed the only other point during the hearing when she asked about engineering fees. Tresslar said those costs now are included in the application escrow that comes out of the land development fee.
Also at the meeting, the board approved, after discussion during the workshop, to put out to bid for a contractor to remove what will be left of six cabins at Akenac Park that are condemned by the township. Its fire department will stage firefighting drills at each of them, and Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson said that he wants the cabins all removed by October. Road master Vince Flatt said details and the schedule of the drills have not been discussed yet with the fire department.
Township Administrator Krista Predmore said that based on her research the cost of removing the debris from each cabin would be $4,000, the same as it would cost the township employees to do it themselves. But she said a contractor “can stick to the schedule” and not have to handle other township demands for its employees that may arise.
Predmore and the supervisors also discussed contacting nonprofits Safe Haven and local food pantries to see if either would want to take discarded filing cabinets and an upright refrigerator from the condemned cabins.
Supervisors also authorized township engineers to develop a cost estimate to resurface lower Myck Road. Flatt said it is a “big project” that he figures would take a five years. “I don’t think we have the equipment to do that and we are past (making) temporary fixes for that road.”
The township also will vacate the dirt road section of Chestnut Ridge Road to the National Park Service in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Supervisors also agreed to waive permit fees for Holy Trinity Church to build a new food pantry. They had agreed to waive land development costs at the previous meeting.
The board awarded the contract to the lower of two bidders – Carpentry Unlimited – for the Library/Historical Society building’s floor replacement. Carpentry Unlimited bid $15,074.00 along with alternative prices of $100 per joist for joist repair and $2,000 to repair each girder as needed. Tresslar said, when asked, that the extent of joist and girder work could not be determined until the floor is removed.
EAGLE SCOUTS COMMENDED
Local Boy Scouts Jason Budd and Andrew Errico received proclamations from the supervisors for completing Eagle Scout projects. Budd directed volunteers to build an American flag depository at American Legion Post 851 for proper disposal of timeworn American flags. Errico developed a section map and spreadsheet for Delaware Cemetery’s section A, its oldest section.
Supervisors announced a 4pm July 23 deadline for the township to receive letters of interest for the Planning Commission seat vacated when Len Glamann stepped down last month.
The board also renewed the agreement with Portland Contractors for certified water operation and process directions at Akenac Park for $415 per month.
The yearlong contract begins August 1st.
During public comment, Ron Hough asked if there was any decision made at the executive session held before the meeting on the Delaware Plaza project on Route 739. Henderson said he could comment only that issues were being handled and the project is “moving forward.”