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Dedicated Del. Twp. Ambulance Tax Under Discussion

Dedicated Del. Twp. Ambulance Tax Under Discussion
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, October 19, 2017

DINGMANS FERRY – Delaware Township residents may get an additional tax for their ambulance corps, but it may not come for a long while.

The proposal was an agenda item discussed at the latest township Board of Supervisors workshop before its regularly scheduled meeting.  It calls for a half-mill dedicated tax, a yearly fee of $5-$8 per resident.  It would reap about $53,000 a year.

“We’re very much interested in the idea,” said board chairman John Henderson, who cautioned during the meeting that it would take some time if it were enacted.  “It’s a long way to consider it, a long way for dedicating it,” he said.

Because of its low millage rate, the tax fee can be approved by the Board of Supervisors and does not need to go to a voter referendum.  According to a spokesman for the state Center for Local Government, there is no millage limit requiring voter referendum approval for an emergency services tax.

Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps (DTVAC) Capt. Mary Lou Corbett and Ambulance Corps volunteer Kyle Wright came to the meeting to talk about that issue and to request $28,400 for repairs for one of its two ambulances, which includes $25,000 for a new engine and transmission and $3,400 for a new exhaust system, with paperwork receipts presented to the township.

The ambulance model year is 2010.  The township, during its regular meeting that followed, approved a reimbursement of that money from its unallocated General Fund.

Corbett said the other ambulance, a 2003 model year, has problems with its compressor and cannot be shut off while it is in service, which drains the battery.

But a dedicated funding for the Ambulance Corps became a more significant issue for discussion with the recent withdrawal from Pike County of Pennsylvania Regional EMS and Critical Care of Allentown, which provides Advanced Life Support (ALS) services.  Regional had informed local municipalities that it no longer could afford the insurance rates.

DTVAC Has ALS Service

Wright pointed out that Delaware Township has an ALS ambulance service in with paid, professionally qualified personnel who are available to township residents and greater Pike County.  Those personnel cover only 40 hours a week, based on the highest call volume.  Wright said the corps would like to expand that to 72 hours a week.

And what happens when a call for something urgent, such as a heart attack, comes in when ALS is not on duty?  “We drive (the ambulance) faster to the hospital,” Wright said.

DTVAC’s professionally trained volunteers cover the rest of the service – Basic Life Support (BLS), which covers things such as wounds and broken bones – around the clock.

“We’re in good position,” said Wright about the offering of ALS services by the ambulance corps for township resident with the loss of countywide ALS services.

Wright and Corbett pointed out that Delaware Township Fire Company currently has a 1.5 mill dedicated tax.

The Ambulance Corps relies on medical insurance coverage of residents in need, donations that Corbett said, “are not the way they used to be,” and a subscription drive that is under way.  She said a third party service handles billing for services and collections for the ambulance corps.

“It would not be a donation but a responsibility to help,” Corbett said.  “We want to be able to provide service and, unfortunately, have had to rely on mutual aid (for assistance).”

Corbett said the tax charge would help the corps, whose two ambulances have run up significant repair costs of late, to perhaps finance a new ambulance, which would cost about $300,000 fully equipped.

There are seven municipal ambulance services operating in Pike County, including Lackawaxen, Dingman, Palmyra and Westfall townships that each have two ambulances and Milford and Blooming Grove each have one.  Palmyra is served by two ambulances, with volunteer personnel from the Tafton Fire Company and Blooming Grove’s based out of Hemlock Farms.

Delaware Township and Lackawaxen are the only ones of those municipalities that have their own ambulance corps separate from the municipality’s fire company.

Wright said Lackawaxen has a 2.5 mill tax and Blooming Grove has a .5 mill tax that go to their ambulance corps.  Many other municipalities surveyed do not have dedicated taxes toward their emergency services but instead may donate money from their General Fund to emergency services that include fire companies and ambulance service.

Lehman Township has a .3 mill tax enacted in 2011 that goes toward all emergency services, including its volunteer fire company in its two firehouses and its ambulance services.

The ambulance service fees go largely to Bushkill Emergency Corps and part goes to Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which recently added to its call list the northern parts of the township that includes Ranchlands private community. 

Township officials continue to indicate that with the loss of countywide ALS services that municipalities will have to take further action for emergency health care under their primary mission of health, safety and welfare for the community.

“We do not have a (dedicated) tax (for emergency services) and it may come to that,” said Jo-Ann Rose, township administrator for Palmyra Township.  “With Regional gone, many of the townships are looking into things.  It’s becoming quire dire.”

Some townships without ambulance services such as Shohola , which relied on Regional for both ALS and BLS services now have to wait for the emergency call center to assign a service.  Lehman Township, for example, is serviced by Suburban when Bushkill is not available for calls.  Corbett said that, in some cases, it would involved a 40-minute wait for Delaware Township to get its ALS unit to someone in need at a distant municipal location, if it’s ALS unit is in service at that time.

No Tax Increase Anticipated

A draft of the township budget was released at the meeting, showing a surplus of $57,317. The budget, which has a $1,118,435 revenue figure versus $1,061,118 in expenditures, was formulated at the first budget workshop held on Oct. 6.  Township Treasurer and Supervisor Jane Neufeld stressed that it is the first draft before it is presented in a public hearing for approval in December.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Henderson, who has been budget conscious in his tenure as supervisor.  “I can’t say enough about what Jane and Krista (Predmore, township administrator) have done on this budget.  Residents should be heartened and reassured.”

Henderson said he particularly liked how some General Fund money would be set aside in separate reserve fund accounts to pay for things, such as building repairs in that designated fund, as needed.

Neufeld, who served as township auditor, was developed the budget in her latest role as interim supervisor.  She resigned as auditor to take that post and is running unopposed for a supervisor seat in the Nov. 7 General Election.

False Alarm Ordinance

Also at the township workshop, the board released its new “False Alarm Ordinance,” which not only involves false calls but also faulty detection signals by emergency protection devices.  First and second offenses will get a written warning but third offenses will get hit with a $50 fee, forth false alarms will get a $100 fee and give or more will cost $200 each.  Township Acting Fire Chief Chris Kimble and Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker both supported the ordinance but were granted the opportunity to meet with township officials to discuss rewording some of the ordinance.  As a result, the date for the public hearing on the ordinance was tabled during the regular meeting.

Also at the regular meeting, Marguerite Nemeth was appointed to the township Planning Commission seat held previously by Tom Ryan.  Margaret Veydovec also was in consideration after both submitted letters of interest.

Neufeld praised the commendable backgrounds of both candidates but board members said they were very impressed with Nemeth’s credentials from her work as a 30-year resident in the township and in New Jersey where she lived previously and worked in municipal government.

Nemeth served as township Zoning Hearing Board Secretary for four years and on the Environmental Advisory Council for six years and has been a member of the Board of Directors for private community Wild Acres for 10 year.  The Planning Commission now has its full complement of seven members with Nemeth’s appointment.

Dog Breeders Get Permit, But with Conditions

Dog Breeders Get Permit, But with Conditions
BY Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, September 21, 2017

DINGMANS FERRY- A Delaware Township couple who is certified to breed show dogs and preserve certain lines of pedigrees was granted from the township Board of Supervisors at their meeting last week a conditional permit from the zoning office after a neighbor complained about noise from the 20 dogs on their property.

Elisabeth Cologne-Szymanski and husband James Szymanski were at the meeting to heat the supervisors’ response from a correspondence earlier this month when their attorney, Charles Geffen of the Geffen Law Firm in Philadelphia, contacted township Solicitor Thomas Farley on the issue concerning their property on Meadow Ridge Acres Road. The neighbor also attended the meeting.

The couple declined comment afterward because they said their attorney was handling the permit, but they appeared satisfied with the outcome, which specifies 10 conditions in the permit.

“We tried to reach a compromise between the dog owns and their neighbor,” said Farley.

Farley said a key element was the township determining that the couple’s property is not a kennel, a category that falls under township ordinance.  The main point, all sides agreed, was the time allowed for the dogs to be outside; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. except during the months of May through September when dogs can be let out starting at 6:30 a.m.  The permit also requests a stockade wood fence to be built around the back of the property facing the neighbor, to reduce sound. 

We only let them out when they have to get out (to go to the bathroom), which is more than once a day” said Cologne-Szymanski. 

She is President of the Borzoi Club of Greater New York, a district of the American Kennel Clubs, and is former president of the Borzoi Club of Delaware Valley.  Her husband is recording secretary of the Borzoi Club of Greater New York. 

The Borzoi Club is described on the website as a guardian of the elite lines of pedigrees.  The couple also is reminded in the 10 points of the permit to abide by the laws of the Commonwealth on dogs and that they cannot board any dogs other than the ones they specifically own, which prohibits establishing a kennel on the property. 

In other meeting news, the board unanimously agreed, after research by Farley, to no longer require the presence of township Constable Ed Hammond at township supervisor meetings unless specifically requested by the township or if circumstances warrant it.  Hammond had been assigned, with pay, for the past two years as a security precaution after the fatal shooting of a supervisor by a resident at a supervisors meeting in Ross Township of Monroe County. 

Also, the board accepted the resignation of Thomas Ryan as a member of the township Planning Board, effective Sept. 5.  Ryan submitted a letter of interest and was approved for the position earlier this year, a few weeks after he had resigned his position at the beginning of the year as a member of the Board of Supervisors.  In both cases, he said he resigned to allow himself more time for his retirement as a contractor.  The board plans to advertise for letters of interest for the Planning Board. 

“A lot of issues are resolved by that commission before they come to the board,” Farley said, recommending that the seat be filled soon. 

The board also accepted recommendation by Farley to have the contracting company involved to remove the Gravity Rail at Akenac Park and refund the township the $14,940 cost.

“We had some issues with the Gravity Rail and entered an agreement in June and if problems continued, that the company remove and get the money back (to the township) and it’s come to that point,” Farley said. The Gravity Rail, even with the replacement of wheels by the contractor, was not sliding smoothly on an overhead rail with the momentum of the weight of the child sitting on it. 

Also, the board after discussion approved an Oct. 6 date from 7-9 p.m. for its budget workshop.  Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson questioned whether it would be better to convene on that issue after the General Election when two expiring seats of supervisors who resigned would be filled.  He said the interim supervisors now serving may not be serving in the future and interim supervisor Jane Neufeld pointed out afterward that, although running unopposed in November, she could lose to a write-in candidate.   Ron Hough suggested that the board hold two meetings, the one in October and another one in November where the budget could be fine-tuned with the newly elected supervisors, and the board agreed. 

Captain Mary Lou Corbett of the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corp asked the township during public comment period for assistance with expenses.  “We have an ambulance down and need help,” said Corbett, who said one ambulance needs a $30,000 repair for engine and transmission and another has a $900 bill for a compressor because the engine keeps shorting out and it has to be started in the ambulance building and kept on during calls.  Corbett said each ambulance has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer.  Henderson asked for financial records for the ambulance corps and said the board would discuss the matter at the next meeting.  At the workshop prior to the meeting, supervisors discussed the update on the installation of new piers (concrete footings) to replace the deteriorating ones at the Akenac Park Recreation Hall.  Hammond, a township employee associated with the project, said that 17 of the 64 were done, covering 122 manhours of labor, and another four would be installed before the onset of winter seasonal weather that would deter the work.  The supervisors said that, because the hall would not be used much during the winter, it would be best to complete the work in the spring. 

Supervisors during the workshop discussed attendance at the Annual Convention of Township Officials of Pike County 9 a. m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 6 at The Inn of Lackawaxen.  The $200 admission fee allows for no more than nine officials from the township and the Township Administrator Krista Predmore said she did not think Delaware Township would have more than nine people attending.  Neufeld objected during the workshop discussion to participating in a new Census Form available to municipalities, saying that it did not apply to population figures but to other matters.  “There are really strange questions in it for municipalities to address.  It costs a lot of money and I’m not in favor of it,” Neufeld said. 

The board also discussed during the workshop the Akenac Park Electrical Plan and approving schematics for wiring from the lifeguard station to the bathrooms and then to the cabins.  Predmore questioned whether or not to continue in the lines to the cabins if they are not being used during the park events.  Henderson suggested that the circuit breaker panel needs to be redone.  “If we do that, we need to go underground with the wires because if you do it, you do it right,” said Henderson, recommending a cost estimate.  The supervisors recommended that the amp box be in compliance with the amp power of the circuits. 

The board discussed operating hours for Akenac Park during the off season, saying it has been closing at 7 p.m., and Henderson recommending it close by 3 p.m. before dusk with the onset of shorter days and for the park to be closed on weekends.  Board members raised the question on how it would affect operation of the library at the park and whether its volunteers would have access to opening the gate on other hours in which it is open. 

During the announcement segment, the board pointed out that the annual Harvest Festival at Akenac Park takes place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 23. 

The township Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors joint public hearing takes place 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27, during the next Board of Supervisors meeting for land development and conditional use on the Birchwood Lakes Community Association maintenance building on Tamarack Road and Evergreen Drive. 

Animal Safety Also Considered in Delaware Township Emergency Plan

Animal Safety Also Considered in Delaware Township Emergency Plan
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, August 31, 2017
by Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY – Helping residents keep their pets and livestock safe during a natural disaster, something that might be considered more in other parts of the state, was put into focus in the updated Delaware Township Emergency Management Plan.

During last week’s township Board of Supervisors workshop prior to its regular meeting, Township Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker gave a presentation valuating different aspects of township emergency response.

Beodeker said he would discuss with supervisors the report’s points about training and planning and a list of needs to best serve township residents during an emergency.

It would include utilizing Akenac Park as an emergency hub.

“There are a lot of gentlemen farmers and more horses in township now than in any other time in the 27 years I’ve been here, even chickens.” Beodeker said.

“A lot of things could happen in a long-term disaster when animals become vulnerable.”

He said the report was put together with the help of Kristin Jones, who spent 10 weeks as intern contracting 70 businesses and organizations to gather an inventory of information in case of an emergency.

Beodeker said 95 percent of the goal for the report was reached.

“Many were glad we contacted them and said they had not been contacted in a long time,” Jones said afterward. 

Jones received a proclamation from the supervisors acknowledging her efforts after the presentation. 

Another element Beodeker discussed was equipment to be used during an emergency.

“The equipment we have is serviceable but old in technology, age and ability,” he said.

He said there are “six or seven” dams on water bodies along Silver Lake Road that are in issue.  “If they fail catastrophically, it would be impossible to travel from the northeast to the southwest side of the township,”  Beodeker said.  “We have a number of people who would be isolated.  We can look at what purpose Akenac serves in that situation.”

Beodeker said overall infrastructure of the township would be evaluated with the supervisors. 

“This is an insurance policy for the citizens of the township,” he said.

Beodeker in his report recommended the township approve paying for township emergency Public Information Officer Robin Jones to attend the Emergency Preparedness and Hazmat Response Conference at the Sheraton Square Hotel in Pittsburgh on Oct. 17-19.  Beodeker said he has attended it for the past 20 years and paid out of pocket.  The board unanimously approved that request for Jones during the regular meeting.

The board also approved appointing Michael Kolenet as an interim roadmaster for the final two months of the year.  Township Roadmaster Charley Kroener is retiring as of Nov. 1.  A full-term roadmaster will be named at the township reorganization meeting in early January.  For those two months, Kolenet will be paid a prorated portion of Kroener’s $46,800 yearly salary.

The board also approved Kolenet’s attendance at the Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance Training for the Pennsylvania Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Road Program on Oct. 11-12 and to attend the Pennsylvania LTAP training, Curves on Local Road Issues and Safety Tools on Oct. 5, both held for free at the Pike County Training Center Hawley.

The board also approved township Permit Assistant Lori McCrory’s attendance at the free Zoning in Local Municipalities Workshop on Oct. 5 at the Pike County Training Center.

Beodeker also reported an update of the township fire company, pointing out that Chris Kimble is taking over as Acting Chief after the current chief resigned for a personal, family reason.

He said the company would replace its old tanker pumper with a new one next year and that the company is preparing for the commemorative anniversary observance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade center.  The board pointed out that members of the company are taking CPR training.

The board also approved, after lengthy discussion during the workshop, the use of field 4 by the Downtown Baseball and Softball 7pm from Aug. 28 through Oct. 16, with a field usage fee of $300 fee to cover potential damage to the field, as proposed by Supervisor Jane Neufeld, and that the academy list players on the Under 11 team who live in the township, as proposed by Supervisors John Henderson.

 Academy representative Krystyn Stasyshyn said during a workshop discussion before the meeting that the team would take the proper care of the field.  “Our name and reputation are at stake,” she said.

Field usage for adult softball and area Little League programs fees are $150 but board members stressed that the Milford-based academy is a for-profit organization, which had to be considered in an approval.  Resident Dawn Bukaj pointed out that other for-profit groups had been approved to use township property and recommended the board establish a written policy for those groups requesting usage of the township property.

The board approved a request from Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps. event chairman Kyle Wright to borrow township tables, chairs, traffic cones and traffic control devices for its annual Pig Roast and Community Fun Day Fundraiser on Sept. 3. 

In other meeting news, the board agreed to advertise for a joint public hearing 7:15pm on Sept. 27 of the township Planning Department and the supervisors regarding Birchwood Lakes Community Association’s request for land development and conditional use for its maintenance building on Tamarack Road and Evergreen Drive.

The board agreed in 2-1 votes with Henderson dissenting to purchase hay, cornstalks and pumpkins not exceed $750 for the township’s annual Harvest Fest and to approve “The Magic of Science” for two presentations for $695 at the event.  Henderson felt more information was needed on the science program.  The approvals followed long discussions in which Neufeld said some of those items might be omitted to save money and that some volunteers and local farmers may donate some items.  Supervisor Ron Hough said the event is well attended and he did not want to see anything cut.  “My goal is that we see volunteers get back into saddle,”  Henderson said.

“You talk about cutting costs when the township is in surplus so why not do something for the citizens?  When is the last time the township was in a deficit,” Beodeker objected.  “I’m tired of hearing about volunteers.  We’re not spending a fortune for families in the community who have struggled enough with taxes and other expenses.  It’s frustrating.”

Resident Dennis Lee asked during public comment period at the end of the meeting about township Constable Ed Hammond having been assigned as a security officer during meetings.

Lee said he contacted the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and was told that a constable cannot be assigned to a township meeting as security.  He questioned whether Hammond should be wearing constable identification.  But township Solicitor Tom Farley said he had received a call from the PSATS legal office to discuss the call from the township resident.  Farley said he was told there is nothing prohibiting a constable from being there.

The board was asked if ti ever passed a motion to assign Hammond and Farley said it was more of a “tacit agreement” by the township in response to the fatal shooting in August 2013 of a township supervisor in Ross Township in Monroe County, and that question would be researched.

It was discussed whether Hammond, if assigned, should attend as a constable or a private security officer and Hammond said there is a “moonlighting clause” in the laws governing constables working in private assignments.

Farley also responded to resident Steve McBride’s point about what insurance coverage is involved in security protection.  HE said a lot of that would be clarified for the January reorganization meeting.

Three boys scouts of local Troop 174 were on hand to announce they are receiving merit badges for Citizenship and Community; Kyle Grunwald, who will be a 10th grader at Delaware Valley High School; Evan Williams, who will be an eighth grader at Dingman Delaware Middle School; and Alexander Rodriguez, who will be a sixth grader at Dingman Delaware Elementary.

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP BUDGET HEADED TOWARD NICE SURPLUS

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP BUDGET HEADED TOWARD NICE SURPLUS

By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, August 17, 2017

DINGMANS FERRY – Delaware Township’s budget got a clean bill of health during its current exam of the first eight months, as presented by township Administrator Krista Predmore at last week’s township workshop before the regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting.

A total actual income of $1,208,823.26 for the township was tabulated versus $822,527.52 for actual expenses.

Income was projected for the yearly budget at #1,239,023.24.  Actual expenses are about a third less than the $1,293,023 estimated for the budget. 

“Overall, I think the budget will be at a surplus at the end of the year,” Predmore told the gathering.  “Expenditures should be minimal for the rest of the year.”

That is, barring an unforeseen emergency or natural disaster such as hurricane or an early season epic snowstorm.

If it stays the course, what that should amount to is no tax increase for the next fiscal year and perhaps another tax decrease.

The board of supervisors last year unanimously approved a tax millage rate of 9.68 for the 2017 budget year’s taxes and the forth drop in the last six years.  That’s uncommon in the challenging financial climate.

Predmore attributed it to 99.1 percent of real estate taxes having been collected and that the real estate transfer taxes at $92,731.78 have exceeded by about $22,000 the $70,000 budget projection. 

INSURANCE POLICY SAVINGS

She said the township invested carefully in insurance.  In fact, supervisors during the regular meeting last week, along with approving a renewal of its annual property/inland marine/crime/commercial auto with MRM, moved other policy coverages to that company based in the Philadelphia area.  After considerable research, the board proposed and approved unanimously changing its general liability insurance to MRM for $7,100 and its liability insurance for public officials/employment practices to that company for $9,647.00.  Compared to other price quotes, Supervisor Jane Neufeld said the “savings is considerable, over $15,000 saved.”

“We’re in a comfortable place,” said Predmore, who pointed to last year’s budget at the end of the year 20 percent ahead of projections, with expenses at 1.3 percent above projections.

“We’ve worked hard to things, like lower insurance rates,” Predmore said afterward.  “We always look to see where we can reduce the amount of expenses.”

In other meeting news, the board agreed to pave certain parking areas of Akenac Park in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act.  The board also, after discussions on the subject during the workshop, unanimously passed a motion at the meeting to add “no vaping” alongside “no smoking” on the written policy and on the park signage.

Lori McCrory, township Permit Assistant and an Akenac park liaison, said many visitors to the park the prior weekend were smoking vapor cigarettes.  Although they differ from tobacco cigarettes, McCrory said they set an example for the younger visitors with their families and that many adults were smoking them at different areas of the park, more than usual.  Although township ordinance does not establish a penalty for the offense, McCrory said most people agreed to stop when reminded of the “no smoking” directive , but requested a designated “no vaping” designation.

The board advanced to the township Planning Commission a proposed zoning ordinance amendment establishing the placement of dog kennel classification under conditional use based on whether it is in a commercial or residential area.  McCrory said residents complained of excessive barking from a lot of dogs housed by a neighbor, but she said her research found that the township ordinances defined what is a kennel but set no restrictions.  The existing ordinance defined the term “kennel” applying to anyone with three or four dogs breeding on the property.

The township denied a request by the Downtown Baseball and Softball Academy, based in Milford, to use Field No. 4 at the township municipal grounds on Mondays from Aug. 14 to Oct. 16.  It involves the academy’s Under 11 travel baseball team for 10 and 11 year olds.  Resident Steve McBride pointed out that this is a “for profit” venture for using township property, which typically is granted for nonprofits.

The supervisors agreed with McBride’s suggestion that the township should charge the academy more than the $150 service fee per team for use of a field and that the academy help maintain upkeep of the field after using it.  Academy representative Krystyn Stasyshyn was at the meeting and said the academy would be open to a higher fee and would inform her league of the township’s directive that it must help in the upkeep of the field.

Predmore said she and Stasyshyn would keep in communication and the academy’s request would be reintroduced with those revisions at the next meeting on August 23 for consideration.  Stasyshyn said they would need a field soon with the league season about to open or the academy would have to look elsewhere. 

Supervisors approved the use of the municipal building for 9am to 4pm on October 19th by Diakon Community Services on behalf of the Pike County agency on Aging for Medical Open Enrollment assistance and counseling.  Neufeld stressed the importance of the event as a community service.  The board also approved use of the municipal building from 9am to 4pm on Sept. 28 by the Milford Valley Quilt Guild for a class.

The board also granted a request for the use of the municipal building for a general community meeting of resident from Pocono Mountain Lake Estates Sections 4,5,6 on Sept. 23 from 9am to noon.

The date was changed from Sept. 9 Although the private community has a clubhouse for meetings, it is for residents in Sections 2 and 3, one resident pointed out.  Akenac Park was approved for a Sept. 3 Labor Day Family Nature Getaway Weekend from 2-5:30pm by PEEC.  Shawn Coleman, during public comment, said he appreciated the playground equipment for families at Akenac Park and praised the township for its “diligent efforts to improve and promote a great product” with the park.

Dingmans Ferry Historical Society will hold its annual Ice Cream Social for township residents at 7pm Thursday at the Delaware Township Municipal Building.

Scheetz Resigns As Delaware Township Supervisor; Neufeld Named Interim

Scheetz Resigns As Delaware Township Supervisor; Neufeld Named Interim
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, August 3, 2017
By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY – Jane Neufeld was seated on the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors six months earlier than expected during its bi-monthly meeting on July 26.

The township auditor and a regular at the supervisor meetings, Neufeld was approved in a vote by township supervisors John Henderson and Ron Hough as an interim replacement for the rest of this year for Jeffrey Scheetz, who resigned as supervisors and treasurer on the board a day earlier.  Scheetz, who had served as chairman of the board, said he and his wife were relocating to New Jersey to join his children and grandchildren who live there.  His term expires at the end of 2019.

Henderson then was named board chairman and Hough was named to the vice chairman post, which had been held by Henderson.  Ironically, Henderson had the shortest term of service on the board at the start of this year.

Neufeld also was approved by Henderson and Hough as Treasurer.

Scheetz is the second supervisor in the township to resign this year.

Tom Ryan stepped down as supervisor in January to devote more time to his retirement from the contracting industry and to spend more time at his other residence in Florida.  Hough had been named interim supervisor for that position for the rest of the year.

Neufeld in May had defeated Hough in the Republican primary for the seat vacated by Ryan in the Primary Election.  There was no opposing candidate on the Democratic slate for the May election, so Neufeld was running unopposed in the November General Election.

Last week, she was named interim Supervisor for the seat held by Scheetz until January when she begins her full six-year term.

“To have a chance to get a let up in learning with the other two supervisors and employees and learning this part of local government service to our residents is fantastic,”  Neufeld said.

To take the interim position, Neufeld resigned as township auditor she had been holding before she was sworn in as supervisor.

Resident Steve McBride endorsed the selection of Neufeld during the township workshop prior to the regular meeting, pointing out that she not only would gain experience but also be able to give input on the town budget with her experience as auditor, although township Solicitor Thomas Farley said Neufeld still could recommend revisions after beginning her full term in January.

The Pike County Republican and Democratic committees will seek candidates to run in the November General Election for the remaining two years of Scheetz’s term, starting in January.  Those candidates will be named in early September.  Th committees also have to select candidates for auditor for the General Election.

“I never saw this before with this timing,” said Farley, referring to a resignation coming after a primary election that leaves it up to the county’s committees to select a candidate.

Hough may get another shot at a full-term supervisor seat if selected by the Republican party, but said afterward he is open to the possibility and would just wait and see what would happen.

In his letter of resignation to township Administrator Krista Predmore, Scheetz said.  “I apologize for the suddenness of this announcement, but, as many residents of the township know, my wife and I have been considering moving back to New Jersey in order to live closer to our children and grandchildren.”

“It has been my honor to serve the good people of Delaware Township and to help supervise its many outstanding employees.  Please convey my best wishes to them and my sincere gratitude for all their hard work on behalf of the township.”

“Lastly, I would like to recognize the current and past supervisors I have serve with.  It has been my honor to help them represent our citizens .  I would also like to thank our solicitor, Tom Farley, for his sage advice and friendship, which has made my job as chair of the BOS so meaningful and pleasant.  I would like to especially recognize you, Krista, for your professionalism, patience and accessibility.”

Henderson praised Scheetz during the public comment period at the end of the meeting, saying, “Although we occasionally disagreed, he was a gentleman.  I held him in high esteem with his integrity.  It was good working with him.”

Henderson said the resignation was no surprise.  “Everyone knew it was coming for a couple of weeks,”  he said.

“I knew it was a matter of time,”  said Len Glamann, head of the township Planning Commission who said it looked like Scheetz might have closed on a sale of his house two months ago before it was finally completed this week.

Changes already are under way with the turnover on the board.  Henderson made a motion that was unanimously approved to change the starting times of the supervisors’ workshop before the meeting to 6pm and the time of the regular meeting to 7pm.

He said moving the starting times a half house later would give more residents an opportunity to attend the meetings.

Also at the meeting, the board approved adopting the Akenac Park Recreation and Kitchen Rental Policy with full kitchen use at rate of $400 for five hours and $80 per additional hour and would include mandatory online training for kitchen and food safety.  The board also approved the online training package of $248 annually for usage of both Akenac Park and the township building kitchens.

Also approved by the board was a stringent township donation policy and application to nonprofit organizations and individuals who must show that the work directly impacts township residents along with following other guidelines.  Three years of tax returns also must be provided in the request.

The board approved the $139,700.90 contract bid of JPA Masonry for the new salt shed project at 145 Wilson Hill Road to be completed by Sept. 29.  Township employee Ed Hammond asked how it would be funded and Predmore said there was a $100,000 line item for the project in the current budget and the rest would come from the general fund or capital reserve.

The board also approved renewal of its annual contract with Portland Contractors Inc. for August 1, 2017 through July 31, 2018 as the township’s Certified Water Operator at a rate of $400 per month.  The board pointed out it was the least expensive firm that meets the qualifications.

Mike Kolenet, Mike Moffa, and Hammond were approved by the board to attend a free LTAP Chainsaw Safety Training and Demo 8am to 3pm on Thursday at Chestnuthill Township in Broadheadsville.  Glamann asked if it would reduce township insurance costs and Predmore expressed doubt but said she would look into it.

The board approved a budget workshop 7-9pm on Wednesday, August 2.

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