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Delaware Twp. Steady on Personnel and Taxes

Delaware Twp.  Steady on Personnel and Taxes
by Wayne Witkowski
Pike Co. Dispatch - Thursday, January 10, 2019


DINGMANS FERRY -- There were no surprises or new appointees during a brief Delaware Township Reorganization Meeting conducted by the Board of Supervisors on Monday night.

John Henderson was appointed to his second full term as Board of Supervisors chairman as he overcame an illness to effectively complete the previous term with little lost time.

Jane Neufeld also was appointed to her second year as vice chairman and township treasurer and Rick Koehler was reappointed as township Secretary.

Krista Predmore was named to her seventh year as Township Administrator as well as assistant treasurer and Right to Know officer.

Thomas Farley remains as longtime township solicitor and Planning Board solicitor. Legal colleague Robert Bernathy is the alternate for both., Stacey Beecher was appointed township Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor and as township Building Hearing Board attorney.

Reappointments came as expected as the township continues solid financial footing -- with no tax increase over the past 11 years -- and infrastructure maintenance. Resurfacing is planned this year for Doolan Road as the major road project as well as refurbishing dirt & gravel and tar & chip roads.

Vince Flatt was reappointed as township roadmaster.

"Delaware Township is very fortunate to have not only great employees but also so many people who volunteer for township neds," Neufeld said afterward. "The appointments at this Reorganizaiton Meeting reflect the board's appreciation and respect for all of those people."

The township Treasurer's Bond was set at $2.8 million and the Assistant treasurer's bond at $100,000.

The Pike County Dispatch, New Eagle and Pocono Record were reognized as the official township newspapers.

Robin Jones was recognized by the supervisors as deputy tax collector as appointed by township tax collector Mary Lou Corbett. Jones also was appointed full-time administrative/human resources assistant and as ssecretary to the township safety committee.

Appointees to the four-year terms on the zoning hearing board include Max Brinson, Larry Walsh and Alexander Robertson. 

Steve Vitale, Jim Owens and Wayne Day were named to the township building hearing board, with Sean Helferty and Mike Moffa appointed as alternates.

Chris Kimble, Bud DeVries and Kyle Wright were named to the township safety committee.

The only minor change in appointments was George Beodeker named as full township Emergency Management coordinator. Beodeker  at last year's Reorganizaiton Meeting talked aboout retiring from the post and agreed to an interim term while a successor was sought but has since reconsidered and remains the full-time coordinator, according to the supervisors.

SFM Consulting LLC was named toiwnship residential and commercial building inspector as well as zoming/code enforcement officers.

Steven McBride again was appointed to the township vacancy board.

Neufeld, Koehler and Flatt were authorized to attend the 2019 PennsyLvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) Conference in Heshey, with Neufeld as the voting delegate. Sharon Franks was named township representative to the Pike County Council of Government.

The board again set its regular meetings for the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m., following the 6 p.m. workshop. The Safety Committee will meet the first Tuesday of the month at 8:30 a.m. and the Planning Commission will hold workshops and meetings on the first and third Tuesday or each month or as necessary, starting at 6:30 p.m. Zoming Hearing Board and Building Hearing Board meetings will be scheduled as needed.

Twp. Approves No Tax Increase For 11th Straight Year

Twp. Approves No Tax Increase For 11th Straight Year

By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township will have no tax increase for another year after the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the 2019 budget at last week's meeting. "There hasn't been an increase in my seven years here (as township administrator). In fact, there have been several decreases," said Township Administrator Krista Predmore with a smile reagrding her undertaking  with township Supervisor and Treasurer Jane Neufeld. There has not been a tax increase since 2008; however, taxes will not be decreased as they were in three recent years 2012, 2013 and 2016.

The tax rate holds 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 has a listed $1,280,152.25 total income and $1,275,484.09 expenses. Any surplus will go into the township's capital reserve. Tax revenue for the Recreation Fund and Fire Tax Fund is $145,500 for each. Township contribution for the volunteer fire company is $16,085, although no funding was approved for a stipend payment to volunteer firefighters as a few other townships in Pike County are starting. Contribution for the township volunteer ambulance is $53,394.

Three budget workshops were held in the fall. "We are very happy to have the taxes unchanged," Neufeld said. 'There was a lot of opportunityto see how their (tax) money is being spent. Looking at the coming year, we believe we have provided not only for the upcoming operations but also have been able to identify more possible infrastructure work as well as unforeseen needs."

Supervisors also gave final approval for the Delaware Plaza project for Route 739, provided that six conditions are met. The approval came after project engineer Joe Hudak of Riley Associates presented updated blueprints for the hub that will be anchored by Weis Markets. Hudak was joined by John Stieh, representing developer Charles Miller; and an attorney for Weis Markets.

Delaware Township engineer Jon Tresslar was among the 25 people gathered for the meeting.

The conditions include a hefty performance bond accepted by Tresslar. The conditions also state a certificate of occupancy will not be granted for the gas pumps at a station until the state permit is provided. It also stipulates that the developer shall try to accommodate the fire department's concerns raised during the Planning Commission meeting. Those concerns were revised after the preliminary approval and after Chris Kimble was appointed township fire chief. They include, for example, outdoor lighting for behind the buildings so emergency responders could see well at night if summoned.

"We're waiting for the executed development agreement and for the performance bond, which we expect soon," Predmore said. "The plan is to start sometime in 2019 and that the project will take nine to 12 months."

The supervisors, after a brief public hearing, unanimously passed amendments to Ordinance 110 zoning and Ordinance 901 definitions by adding Non-Tower Wireless Communications Facilities to the ordinance. The conditional use regulates things such as trailers carrying wireless communications that would be stationed in the right of way. Supervisor Rick Koehler made the motion.

The change comes amid reports that the state is looking ti allow wireless companies greater access to other servicing opportunities apart from the townshiups' scrutiny. " We have taken steps to make sure that dosen't happen without thorough township regulation,"Neufeld said. Supervisors also agreed to a $39,382.25 payment to Mar-Allen Concrete Products Inc. for the Akenac Park Recreation Building's pier repair foundation project. Mar-Allen has been a lead contractor in the Pike County Courthouse Addition project.The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $7,396 to the Pike County Drug Task Force for one year only. It would go toward hiring a county detective on drug enforcement against illegal traffickers. If most townships do not contribute, Delaware Township will get its contribution back. The board accepted the resignation of Robyn Eldred from the township Planning Commission but appointed her to the township's Recreation Committee. The Recreation Committee will move its meetings into the township building for the second Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. starting Jan.10.

Township bulk disposal days for residents discarding certain large items that cannot be picked up in normal garbage disposal to take place on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. That will run from April through October.

During the workshop prior to the regular meeting, supervisors said there was no update on any response from Blue Ridge Communications regarding revisions proposed by the township for the cable franchise agreement that is up for renewal.

Supervisors said they have not yet gotten a response from the National Park Service to their request for the township to be notified when NPS will close the gates to and along Route 209 during inclement weather or an emergency so township officials can notify residents.

Twp Loses Round the Clock Ambulance Service

Twp Loses Round the Clock Ambulance Service
By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township will no longer have around-the-clock ambulance services available within the township.

That bombshell news was delivered by Kyle Wright, head of Delaware Valley Emergency Services Inc. of Milford, to the township Board of Supervisors in an executive session lasting nearly an hour that delayed the start of the regular meeting last week.

"It's started already," said a resident attending the regular meeting of the cut hours after the supervisors and Solicitor Tom Farley relayed the news to the public.

"It's not going to be 24/7," said Farley of the services, and pointed out only two days a week will have around-the-clock coverage: Tuesday and Thursday. "Apparently, this has been going on for (the past) two weeks."

There is no longer any coverage on Mondays and Saturdays. There is daytime coverage only on Wednesday and daytime coverage only on every other Friday and Sunday. Farley pointed out there would be night coverage only on Tuesday and Thursday.

"What are we supposed to do when there is an emergency and we have no services available," asked resident Ron Hough.

Farley said the times when there is no township ambulance service, residents are advised to call 911 and an ambulance will be dispatched from another regional service such as Bushkill Emergency Corps or EMS Services in Milford.

A shortage of volunteer manpower for the Delaware Township Ambulance Corps is the core issue. The ambulance corps provides Basic Life Support services and Delaware Valley Emergency Services, which signed a private contract with the ambulance corps, provides life-threatening  Advanced Life Support services. Members of the gathering at the general meeting pointed out that the ambulance corps is down to one volunteer, and that person is certified as a paramedic.

Township Administrator Krista Predmore said after the regular meeting it was not established which days would have either or both ALS and BLS services.

Mary Lou Corbett, head of the volunteer ambulance corps who regularly attends Board of Supervisors meetings, was not in attendance. Corbett could not be reached afterward for comment.

Nancy Janiec. of the township Fire Police said she understands that Corbett and another individual are the only two members of the volunteer ambulance corps still serving on the Board of Directors and said there are rumors that Corbett is stepping down.

Members of the gathering at the meeting said that volunteers have left over the past two years since the volunteer ambulance corps signed a private contract with DVES, which pays its employees to provide technically trained ALS service for life-threatening situations, such as heart attack, stroke or drug overdose. DVES also provides some BLS coverage.

"Dedicated volunteers for the ambulance corps have been dwindling for a long time," said township Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker. "We need to talk to people who used to volunteer and ask them what can motivate them to re-volunteer on the BLS side."

Supervisors said local governments are looking to subsidize workers rather than rely on volunteers as a solution.

"We have a problem we were alerted to tonight and we're working to resolve it," said Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson firmly later in the discussion.

Also at the regular meeting, Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin gave a detailed presentation in which he is asking municipalities to collect a $1 fee per resident to go into a separate account toward funding a new county detective who would focus on crimes involving narcotics. He said the money -- approximately $100,000 -- would go toward salary, benefits, purchase of equipment that would include firearms, along with training and operating expenses. "That person would be augmented by our (other) county detectives," Tonkin said.

Tonkin said he has spoken to other municipalities and three expressed interest. He said the position would come in response to a rise in crimes from heroin trafficking, much of it brought in from Paterson, New Jersey.

"What happens if you don't come up with the money (needed), maybe half of it," Henderson asked.

"I'm encouraged by the response but if it does not come to the level needed, we'd have to return the money and come back to it next year," Tonkin answered.

Resident Steve McBride asked, if it is that important, why the county commissioners can't levy their own tax. "This is not the way to do it. Lertting the commissioners off the hook is not the way to do it," McBride said.

Farley, who also is solicitor for Pike County, said in a heated exchange with McBride that the commissioners have been actively involved in the issue.

"The burden of government officials is not to go on the old ways but to find new, innovative ways to try to accomplish this," Tonkin responded.

Henderson said he has talked with the county and that it is looking at its funding as well.

"Are you looking to establish this (position) as a career path," Beodeker asked Tonkin, who said it could be someone with experience such as a member of the county detective's office or a retired police officer.

Budget has no tax increase

The township announced it will have a budget meeting on Dec. 5 and will vote on the 2019 General Budget during the Dec. 19 regular meeting. The proposed 2019 General Budget has no tax increase. It projects a total income of $1,259,152.25 and total expenses of $1,257,564.09. That projected surplus would go into the General Reserve Fund, said Supervisor Jane Neufeld. The budget draft is available for public scrutiny at the municipal building.

There has not been a tax increase since 2008; however, taxes will not be decreased as they were in three recent years -- the 2012, 2013 and 2016 fiscal years.

The total millage rate remains at 11.68, which is comprised of an 8.68 township millage, a 1.5 millage rate for the township volunteer fire department, and 1.5 mills for the township Parks and Recreation Fund.

The Parks and Rec Fund is projected at a $159,172.10 in expenses for 2019. The Fire Tax Fund is $145,600.

The board agreed to replace its elected auditors with a certified public accounting firm.

The board will hold its Non-Tower Wireless Communication Facilities Ordinance Amendments Public Hearing during the Dec. 19 meeting at 7:15 p.m.

Also at the regular meeting, Liz Forrest was appointed as the township representative to the Pike County Solid Waste Advisory Committee. ... The board agreed to waive permit fes for a Habitat for Humanity of Pike County pertaining to the home at 195 Mountain Top Drive in Pocono Mountain Lake Estates in Dingmans Ferry.

Henderson announced that, in a declared emergency, the township has set up with four regional radio stations for information updates: Pocono 96.7, Country 107.7, WYNY 106.9 and Wall Radio out of Middletown New York at 340 AM. ... Delaware Township's Christmas at Akenac Park takes place 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 8.

The Board of Supervisors will have its reorganization meeting 7 p.m.on Jan. 7 and the township Planning Commission will have its reorganization meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 15. Township Auditors have scheduled their reorganization meeting for 6 p.m. on Jan. 8. 

Doolan, Park Roads to Get Major Upgrades

The Pike County Dispatch
By Wayne Witkowski


DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township affirmed its commitment for an $896,000 upgrade of two of its most traveled local roads -- Doolan Road and Park Road -- in the upcoming months.

The township's Board of Supervisors, at their regular meeting last week, agreed unanimously to adopt a resolution requesting a multimodal transportation grant from the Department of Transportation. The board a few months ago passed an ordinance establishing a locally enforced speed limit of 35 mph, with posted signage, for both roads. In the past, both roads fell under Pennsylvania Department of Transportation standards, which allowed for faster speed limits. State police would enforce the newer speed limits. Local roads not governed by township ordinance fall under PennDOT speed limit guidelines.

"Those roads are about to fall in disrepair," Supervisor Jane Neufeld said afterward, saying that the heavier truck traffic in recent years that included gravel deliveries has taken its toll. She said spending the money now would avoid greater expenses later.

Neufeld said the township engineering estimates call for $662,0000 for Doolan Road and $234,000 for Park Road for rebuilding, refurbishing the shoulders and upgrading water runoff.

Neufeld explained that the request will go toward numerous grants and they usually pay a percentage of the cost after the township funds the entire work up front.

The board also agreed to postpone for at least a month amendments to ordinances 901 and 110 to include non-tower wireless facilities. The board had said in previous meetings that there had been concerns statewide about wireless technology companies putting mobile equipment into right-of-way areas and also affixing additional cell receptors to utility poles.

Also, per the township engineer's recommendation, the board agreed to play Dutchman Contracting LLC  its final payment of $28,395.000 for the construction of the salt shed because it had received final permitting approvals.

The board, after discussion during the workshop prior to the regular meeting, agreed to a Wilson Hill Road Winter Maintenance Agreement with PennDOT for $2,826.

Supervisors also brought up the Delaware Plaza project as Planning Board member Ron Hough expressed concern that he would be away for the Thanksgiving holiday and unable to attend a Planning Board meeting on Tuesday this week when permit issues could be decided. Robert Bernathy, township Alternate Solicitor who sat in for absent Solicitor Thomas Farley, assured Hough that nothing would be finalized, especially since Hough pointed out that comment from the county on the project's land development application likely will not come in time for Tuesday's Planning Board meeting.

"This could take two or three (more) meetings because there's not enough information for approval (of the application by the board) for it to be moved forward to the supervisors," Bernathy said. "There could be reasons for it to go back to the drafting table."

With the 90-day application period nearing expiration, Bernathy said it is "customary for extensions to be given by the township for the application."

Also at the regular meeting, the board accepted resignations of two more township Recreation Board members --Jason Ganly and Melissa Llewellyn -- to reduce the board to two members. Township Supervisor Rick Koehler agreed to be appointed by the board to fill one of those vacancies for the time being so the board will have enough members for a quorum. Hough asked during the meeting's public comment period why there had been so many resignations, whether there were personality differences, and Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson said it was because more duties were expected from the Recreation Board than some members had anticipated.  He and Neufeld praised all board members' efforts, including those who had resigned, because they came on board at the end of the summer when the Recreation Board is at its busiest all year.

"As soon as the Christmas events are done, they'll have an opportunity to look at events and not be under the gun and have more of an opportunity to move forward," Henderson said. "They've done miraculous things," Neufeld said, referring to the tight schedule.

The board during the meeting also approved the request by Recreation Board member Rebecca Gray for $360 to purchase items from Oriental Trading toward the Christmas at Akenac Park annual event. It runs from 4--8 p.m. on Dec. 8.

Township fire company Chief Chris Kimble was approved by the board as a full-time public works employee for the township at a rate of $17.25 per hour, plus benefits.

The board also agreed to pay township interim Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker his annual $1,000 stipend and also to pay $1,500 to additionally equip the emergency management trailer and $800 for yearly office supplies for emergency management.

During public comment, Delaware Township Fire Company captain Michael Cairns, who oversees firefighter training, thanked the township for use of the condemned log cabins before the were demolished for "complicated training" drills. "It was an amazing opportunity to run through the  best training we could possibly provide for our firefighters," Cairns said.

The township fire company and ambulance corps were approved to jointly hold their annual Hazardous Materials Awareness Class 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the municipal building.

Henderson announced that the township's fire company will hold its 15th annual Holiday Fire Safety Run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 1. The fire company's fleet of trucks will ride through the township and make various stops with Santa Claus aboard one of the trucks to spread holiday cheer, instead of responding to an emergency as usual, and remind the public about the danger of fire and its added risks during the holiday season. Fire trucks with sirens and flashing lights will make festive stops at clubhouses of private communities Birchwood Lakes (noon), Marcel Lakes (12:50 p.m.), Pocono Mountain Lake Forest Clubhouse (1:15 p.m.) and Wild Acres (1:50 p.m.) as well as the Village at Delaware Ridge (11 a.m.), Arnold's Country Market (11:15 a.m.), Flair Home Center parking lot (11:30 a.m.) and Pocono Mountain Lake Estates sections 5 and 6 along Mountaintop Drive (2:30 p.m.). The journey includes stops at Juniper Terrace (1:30 p.m.) and a final stop at Emery Road/Chestmut Ridge Road (3 p.m.).

Henderson also pointed out that the Smart Recovery Group meets Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the township's Emergency Management Building at 116 Wilson Hill Road.

Goose Poopin’ Won’t Boogie Until Next Year

Goose Poopin’ Won’t Boogie Until Next Year
By Wayne Witkowski
Thursday, October 4, 2018 – Pike County Dispatch


DINGMANS FERRY –The goose poop dilemma at Akenac Park and the Wilson Hill Road ball fields might be resolved, but not until next year.

Delaware Township supervisors at last week’s meeting unanimously agreed to pay the Tri-State Geese Police company in Milford $400 a month to get rid of the honkers during the fair weather months of 2019.    They’ll also pay $100 per nest for the removal of goose eggs. 

Supervisors at previous meetings tossed around ideas with residents from allowing people to come into the park with their dogs on leashes to drive the geese away, to setting up a dog mannequin.  But their conclusion is that geese are too savvy for those ideas to succeed in warding them off for long enough before they return.

That’s when township Administrator Krista Predmore, who said she herself had some bad firsthand experiences with geese and their sometimes aggressive behavior and droppings, found the Geese Police in her research and said they’ve been successful keeping geese away from Delaware Valley School District properties.

With the frustration experienced by residents and visitors at Akenac Park and the ball fields, the board confidently approved the contract and doesn’t expect a peep of criticism.

Also at the meeting, the board agreed to send a letter to owner Ray Hull of Dingmans Shooting Range on Route 739, saying he could lower the customer age limit to 10 years as long as his range meets federal and state regulations.  During the workshop before the meeting the board discussed that they heard from Hull on the issue and said the township has no authority to stop the range from lowering the minimum age to 10, but higher authorities can prohibit if it it is out of compliance.

The saga of the cabins at Akenac Park continues.  Six of the cabins were scheduled to be removed from the park this fall but the board decided to remove only the four log cabins and to leave the other tow that have standard plank walls for next year.  The Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company was scheduled to perform training exercises on three of them but the board tabled a decision on how they will be removed.

They were visited at the last meeting by Bucks County entrepreneurs Lisa and Jeremy Bowman, who went to Akenac Park to examine the cabins earlier that day but have not offered a price to remove them.  Predmore said they needed to respond by last weekend when the fire company performs its drills because the township already received bids to remove the cabins from other companies, with Donald Jablonski Jr.’s company from Bushkill offering the lowest price of $10,000 to cart out all four log cabins.

Also approved was for the board and the township Emergency Management, led by interim Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker, to hold an information session regarding the Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) update at 1pm October 11th at the township building.

The township accepted the resignation of Melanie Palma from the Recreation Committee, the second resignation from the recently constituted five-member board.

“You just started it (the Rec Committee) and things were going pretty good and the bottom falls out,” said Ron Hough during the public comment.  “A lot of people volunteer and then they find out what’s involved,” responded Board of Supervisors Chairman Joh Henderson, who led the way to revive the board.  “I agree,” Hough answered.

Supervisors announced that one letter of interest was received for an interim term to fill the unexpired seat on the township’s Planning Commission.

Township offices will be closed four days at Christmas this year.  The board approved closing township offices Monday, Dec. 24, in observance of Christmas Eve but followed Supervisor Jane Neufeld’s recommendation to add into the approval that it would not happen every year, but only this year rather than open the building one day after the weekend before Christmas.

Coming off its first budget workshop meeting on Sept. 19, the board has two more set for Oct. 17 and 31, both at 6pm… the township’s annul Trunk or Treat will be held Sunday, Oct. 27 from 2-4pm at Akenac Park.  Anyone who wants to bring a trunk with goodies can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The board announced that Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was scheduled to pave the intersection of State Route 2001/Milford Road and Route 739 at the end of last week and to pave Milford Road between Silver Lake Road and Johnny Bee Road starting Tuesday.

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