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Accounting for Park Expenditures Wanted

Accounting for Park Expenditures Wanted
By Wayne Witkowski
April 18, 2018 Pike County Dispatch

DINGMANS FERRY – How much money has been spent on Akenac Park since it was taken over by Delaware Township in 2006?

Supervisor John Henderson, regarded for his tough stand on township finances, wants answers.

His motion for a study of how that money was spent in the park, open to county residents and out-of-county visitors for a fee, was passed unanimously during last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

“I want to know 100 percent of what taxpayers have paid,” Henderson said firmly.  “We have a crumbling foundation in one building (being repaired) and leaking roofs on other cabins.”

“We may not know how all of the money was spent going back years ago based on records that were kept,” said Supervisor Jane Neufeld, who has monitored and developed township spending plans in recent months as the treasurer.

Henderson could not venture a deadline for when the figures would be sorted out.

“What is the end game?” asked resident Karen Hagen.  “Is it so we don’t make the same mistakes?”

“Exactly,” Henderson said.  “It’s going to be a history lesson.”

“It will help us do it all better,” Neufeld said.

The supervisors also agreed to put together a survey questionnaire for people entering the park of what they plan to do and what they expect coming to the park, an idea endorsed by Neufeld.

There will be a workshop at the township 9am on May 5 to discuss Akenac Park.

The park began its summer schedule last weekend, which includes weekdays as well as weekends from dawn to dusk.  It’s only open on weekends for the winter schedule.  During the pre-meeting workshop, there was a discussion on specifying operating hours for the park but that was put off for future discussion.

Also on financial matters, the township continued along the goal set by Neufeld and township Administrator Krista Predmore for transparency and to better specify allocation of taxpayer money by unanimously approving resolutions to move money from the General Fund into itemized reserve funds.

“We have a log of money (in General Fund) and we have to show (specifically) what’s being done with it,”  Neufeld said.  “We’re putting money aside (now) so we don’t have to put so much money in to the budget for expenses expected to come our way in the next give to 10 years, instead of looking at things one year at a time.”  The resolutions, first introduced last fall, set aside $310,767 for operating reserve, $250,000 for recreational capital reserve, $325,000 for emergency services and $475,000 for roads, bridges and major equipment.  With “$50,074 already set aside from the past for recreation funds, that, reserve now carries a $300,074 total.  There remains in the general fund $77,000 that has not yet been allocated.

The board also approved spending no more than $2,700 on replacing road equipment damaged from winter storms Riley and Quinn, including “road closed” signs and barricades.  It also approved $583.17 to the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps to repair one ambulance damaged during the storms.

It also approved spending $6,937.56 for mulch at the Akenac Park and Ballpark Road playgrounds and for more said at the Akenac Park beach and volleyball court there, both shipments coming from Dingmans Ferry Stone.

Michael Dickerson was approved unanimously for one of the three township auditor posts.  Rick Koehler had won the election last fall for the seat but resigned as of Jan. 1 in order to take the other position as elected township supervisor. 

Only one letter of interest was received for the Recreation Committee that is being revived.  Neufeld said the responsibilities that include raising money for recreation might have discouraged some people and suggested a round table discussion on the topic.  “I’m going to wait until I get more mobile to get around and talk to people,” said Henderson, who has been battling an illness.

The supervisors unanimously agreed to advertise for a public hearing 7:15pm on May 9 regarding the township’s Blue Ridge Cable franchise renewal.  The hearing will include a review of past performance and identifying the future cable-related community needs of the township.  Citizens are invited to testify.  “Come with your questions about service,” Neufeld said.

The board at its next meeting on April 25 will have a public hearing to amend ordinance 901’s definition of land development.  The hearing begins at 7:15pm.

DELAWARE ISSUES SPECIFIC STANDARDS FOR DOG KENNELS

DELAWARE ISSUES SPECIFIC STANDARDS FOR DOG KENNELS
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, April 5, 2018

DINGMANS FERRY – Residents looking to house dogs or breed dogs, including show breeds, in a kennel will face more specific standards after the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors at last week’s meeting passed two amendments to existing ordinances after a public hearing.

With no opposition from the gathering and brief questions and comment from four individuals who shared some perspective, the board approved the amendments to Ordinance 901, defining the word “kennel” and Ordinance 110, listing more specifics for kennel use.  Township Attorney Thomas Farley said during the hearing the kennel is for boarding purposes only and responded to resident Steve McBride’s question about “puppy mills” that the ordinance does not allow for retail sale of dogs.

Ordinance 901 further defines kennel as any location with no more than 20 dogs kept at a time or a boarding kennel in which dogs are not all licensed in the property owner’s name.  Once those dogs are bred for puppies, the puppies must be removed to a new owner as soon as possible.  If the puppy is staying and gets licensed, it becomes part of the 20-dog limit.

A boarding kennel is defined in the ordinance amendment as “any establishment available to the general public where a dog or dogs are housed for compensation by the day, week or a specified or unspecified time” for the purposes of exercise, day care or entertainment for the dog.  It also does not allow for veterinary medicine to be practiced there as a service under act P.L. 995, No. 326.  It does not include an establishment engaged only in dog grooming or dog training, according to the ordinance.

Ordinance 110 amendments include that the property must be at least four acres in size.

The kennel is for conditional use, and an applicant must be approved by the Planning Commission and provide a copy of the kennel license to the zoning officer, who will be allowed access to the property as needed to enforce the ordinance.

Kennel owners may reside on the property, but if they don’t, it must be staffed 24/7.

Dogs may be let outside only between the hours of 7 am and 8pm, no closer than 100 feet to a property line and no less than 200 feet to any existing residence or noncommercial district line.  The township Planning Commission may impose additional setback restrictions regarding noise, odor, water pollution and other impacts on adjacent properties.

Areas must provide indoor and outdoor exercise areas for animals and must be enclosed by a fence satisfactory to containing the animals.

Animal waste and unconsumed food must be removed on a daily or more regular basis and water for cleaning cages must be disposed in a sewage disposal system approved for that purpose by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the township’s sewage enforcement officer.  Fecal waste must be stored in odor-proof, fly-proof containers to be removed from property by a solid waste hauler at least once per week.

Farley said that residents already housing or breeding dogs fall under previously existing ordinance requirements.  He said those “grandfathered” facilities can be sold to another breeder and continue under the old standards if established with the township by the original owner. 

The idea of the amendments stems from a September meeting in which the board granted a conditional permit from the zoning office to nationally certified show dog breeders Elisabeth Cologne-Szymanski and husband James Szymanski.  A neighbor had complained about noise from the 20 dogs on their property.

Farley said the township worked with them on the specifics to allow for their service many of them included in the new amendments.

The main points of the approval, all sides agreed, was the time allowed for the dogs to be outside: 7am to 8pm and a stockade wood fence to be built around the back of the property facing the neighbor, to reduce sound.

George Beodeker asked what happens if someone decides to open a breeding operation on commercial property and he was told it falls under the building ordinance.  Farley said any construction goes under standard zoning and is referred to the Planning Commission.

McBride offered some “housekeeping items” to tighten and clarify wording of the amendments.  Farley said necessary changes were noted and would be made.

“If someone is breeding dogs for short term and not keeping them in that case, there’s no need for conditional use,” Farley said.

Jennifer McPherson, who said she issues dog licenses, pointed out that the state has established more specific standards on matters such as the lowest temperature for a dog to be kept outside.

Dorothy Moon said as a professional breeder who also houses rescue dogs and has stayed under the 20-dog limit, she is concerned about exceeding that limit, but Farley assured her that her property falls under the old standards. 

Later in the meeting, the board approved a public hearing during the April 25 meeting at 7:15pm to further amend ordinance 901 to include the definition of “shed” and update the definition of land development with exception.

In other meeting news, Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson resigned as township secretary because of a physical condition he suffered recently that he said restricts use of his hands.  Supervisor Rick Koehler was approved as new secretary…Supervisors also accepted the immediate resignation of Marguerite Nemeth from the Planning Commission because she and her husband are moving.  The board agreed to advertise for letters of interest for the position.

The board also accepted the fiscal year 2017 audit performed by Kirk Summa & Co LLP and agreed to publish and advertise the township’s Concise Financial Statement for fiscal year 2017 on the modified cash basis by Kirk Summa & Co.

Key totals include $2,996,115 in total assets.  $44,048 in liabilities, $2,055,470 in total revenue and $1,879,777 in total expenditures.

It also approved renewing volunteer accident insurance with CIMA at a $582 annual cost.

Repairs by Marshall Machinery Inc. for $5,277.79 for the township chipper were approved after discussion.  Township Roadmaster Vince Flatt pointed out the chipper had been used extensively during storm cleanup and new ones cost between $40,000 and $80,000… The board approved payment of $1,800 to 12 independent contractors working the three days on road clearing and traffic control following Nor’easter Riley at $10 per hour over 15 hours of work by each.

Township Administrator Krista Predmore said during the workshop session before the meeting that the Delaware Plaza project “is moving forward despite what you’ve heard.  It will start this spring.”  She said the developer is looking to change the septic requirement but has gotten approvals from the state DEP, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Highway Occupancy Permit and a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System approval from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.  “They (developer) can come to the township for a zoning permit and move forward this spring,” Predmore said.

Predmore said during the workshop a “thank you” letter was sent to local company Sequoia Tree Service for its work during the storm but said additional work is needed that township employees do not have the equipment to handle.

Flatt said half a dozen “widow makers” (a hazardous detached or broken limb or tree top) are above local roads and Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker recommended the supervisors contact state Rep. Rosemary Brown and state Senator Lisa Baker to see if that work would be covered by state emergency grant money.

The board approved an Eagle Scout project by Matt Budd of Troop 175 to install two picnic tables that have handicapped accessible seating and to paint one of the swing sets to match the other at Ballpark Field off Wilson Hill Road.

Delaware Twp. Gets Debriefing on Storm Response

Delaware Twp. Gets Debriefing on Storm Response
By Dakota Hendricks
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, March 22, 2018

DINGMANS FERRY – At their March 15 meeting, Delaware Township Board of Supervisors heard a preliminary report from Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker about the response to Winter Storms Riley and Quinn.

In the preliminary report, Beodeker outlined the struggles Delaware Township faced during the first few days, including where and when vehicles were stuck, the fire department’s response, tree cutting and other measures.  He said Delaware Township did not meet federal requirements to open as a shelter; however, they provided a warming station, MRE’s etc., at the township building. 

Beodeker said they struggled to get information out to the public and had difficulty fighting rumors of mandatory evacuation and other misinformation.  The Township had to hire Sequoia Tree Service, a company with disaster certification, to clear trees near live wires and clear trees for emergency responders.  There will be a formal emergency action review in the next 30 days.

Beodeker praised Roadmaster Vincent Flatt, Mike Moffa, Steve Tarquini, Lori McCrory, Robin Jones, Krista Predmore and the 20 firemen from the Township Fire Department for “carrying” the residents of Delaware Township through the storm and cleanup.  Beodeker warned that residents should prepare for the upcoming storm early as the infrastructure is already damaged and the people that maintain it are work out.

Tom Zologa, a PennDOT subcontractor, said he was upset at the lack of communication during the storm.  He asked why the Township did not have adequate measures to get information out ahead of time like a radio broadcast considering similar circumstances occurred after Hurricane Sandy.  He accused the Board of doing “nothing” despite Beodeker’s attempts at explaining what the Emergency Management Response entailed.  Zologa said “How can you check it [Facebook] when the power is out?”

According to Michel Baehr, executive director of American Red Cross Poconos and Wayne/Pike Chapter, the Red Cross was deployed to Matamoras, Milford, Bushkill and Dingman Fire Departments, bringing food and other needed supplies.  “it’s up to Pike EMA to let us know what they need.”

 There will be a Red Cross Appreciation Dinner at Bushkill Fire Department on April 22 starting at 4 p.m. for Bushkill, Dingman, Milford Township, Matamoras and Lackawaxen Fire companies that opened shelters.  Any others that also set up shelters can attend.

The Supervisors will be asking Boucher & James Consulting Engineers to re-evaluate two birdges in the township, on Park Road and Log and Twig, to determine the extent of the damage done by Winter Storms Riley and Quinn.  Boucher & James will also be contracted to repair the docks at Akenac park, finish the Akenac Rec Hall Piers, design a salt shed for the township and create plans for the restoration of the Dingmans Ferry/Delaware Township Historical Society.

Resident Dick Hanel asked the Board if there was any way to reach out to the Park Service to get a timetable as to when local parks such as Child’s Park will be reopened.  He was particularly concerned as the last closure of the park lasted over two year.  Beodeker responded, saying the Park Service has yet to do a damage assessment and will not until the weather clears. 

IN OTHER BUSINESS

There will be a public hearing on March 28 to amend ordinance 110 and 901 adding kennels as conditional use in commercial zones and defining what a kennel is.

The Township approved motions to advertise for staff at Akenac Park during the summer months. Positions include lifeguard, seasonal gatekeeper and public works.

The Board approved a pay raise to $16 an hour to full time public works employee Mike Moffa.

The Dingmans Ferry Lions Club will be holding a Fish Fry at the municipal building on March 23 from 3-8pm.

The Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps is holding their Annual Easter Plant and Bake Sale Friday, March 30 from 12pm to 7pm.

The Supervisors approved a request to use Akenac Park by North PPODS & Friends, Parents of Children with Special Needs, to hold their annual Walk for Down Syndrome Awareness on Sunday September 23.

The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on March 28.  The Workshop begins at 6pm The Supervisors’ meeting starts at 7pm.

Met-Ed is in the process of performing Post Storm Sweeps

Met-Ed is in the process of performing Post Storm Sweeps
March 14, 2018 - 4:00 p.m.

Following an event the magnitude of Winter Storm Riley and Quinn damage and destruction exists even following restoration. In some cases facilities are temporarily repaired inorder to expedite restoration. Debris such as wires, transformers, and poles to name a few can be found in abundance. Inorder to restore facilities to pre-storm conditions and reinforce the infrastructure Met-Ed has a process which is called a Post Storm Sweep. 

What does this mean? The process consists of three main activities.  Assessment, Construction & Clean-up 

Assessment - Teams are deployed to interrogate circuits, identify existing damage and specify needed repairs. (This process started yesterday and anticipated to complete around Sunday)  

Construction - Following assessment, construction crews and management review assessment results and devise a plan to make repairs. However, if a hazardous condition is identified during assessment  repairs are initiated at that time.   

Clean-up - During assessment crews identify the location of broken poles, downed transformers, wires and the like. Construction crews and if necessary other contracted teams will gather and dispose of wires and poles. Transformers must be handled by qualified personnel. 
Please note: If a customer identifies a transformer that is leaking or spilled they should contact Met-Ed directly at 1-800-545-7741 and identify the location.  

Customers should never go near a downed wire even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity. Extra caution should be used in areas where downed lines are tangled in trees or other debris. We remind customers to immediately report downed wires to Met-Ed. 

Again we thank you for your patience and cooperation as as we work through this process as safely and efficiently as possible.  

3/9/18 Emergency Management Update

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT


PUBLIC NOTICE

To:               Residents & Community at large
From:           George Beodeker, Del. Twp. Em. Mgmt. Coordinator
Date:            March 9, 2018
Re:               Update        

  • State of Emergency still exists in Delaware Township until Friday, March 9, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
  • The Township would like to extend their heartfelt sympathy to all those that sustained damage to their properties during these past storms.
  • You may start repairs to protect your properties but please remember you must obtain proper permits and inspections through the township.
  • Please report any level of structural damage to the township via phone at (570) 828-2347 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., at this time we will need your name & address at minimum.
  • Advisory for seasonal home: Delay checks on your home due to weather, utility crews working and unknown road conditions.
  • For the safety of the utility crews who are helping us – SLOW DOWN!!! Be aware of sudden stops for utility crews and floating road closures. Reminder the posted speed limit is 35, conditions permitting.
  • Call 911 for any true emergencies!

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