At the Nov. 5 meeting of the Towamensing Township supervisors resident and planning commission member Roy Christman explained why he has been bringing cake and pie to meetings.
He said three years ago he did a study of New England town meetings where residents met at a site such as a gym. It was supposed to be perfect democracy in action.
As it turned out, meetings were dominated by lawyers and teachers. When a less-educated person spoke he was often laughed at. People became tense and argumentative.
One of the suggestions was to serve food.
"Why don't we try to make these meetings more civil?" Christman asked. "I'm going to keep bringing cake and pie and see if we can make them more friendly."
The proposed budget was approved for advertising. It contains $1,008,600 for the general budget, $333,000 in the garbage fund, $337,412 in liquid fuels money received from the state, and $62,100 in the recreation fund. Liquid fuels money is available only for certain types of projects as designated by the state.
Income comes from $215,000 in real estate tax and $375,000 in earned income tax. A donation to the Palmerton Library, which was discussed in October, is listed at $3,500 as promised.
Supervisors have been asked how much they receive for recyclables but no figure was ever given. In the budget it is $10,000. Landfill fees account for $160,000. Supervisors have said that recycling lowers landfill costs in addition to providing a small amount of income.
The road project is budgeted at $212,412. The project is usually designated at the December meeting when the budget is approved.
In other business: Patrick Gremlin of the Woods Campground asked if, since conditional approval had been given, the owners and campers could begin getting building permits. They had been refused until approval was given for the plan.
Campers want to add such things as decks and the campground wants a pole building.
The holdup on the plan is with the Department of Environmental Protection which has had the plan for review for several months. Gremlin was told to contact DEP and see if it could get a timeline at least.
Solicitor Tom Nanovic said he was reluctant to begin issuing permits while the plan was not approved.
Gremlin asked about alternative ways for collecting campground recyclables, especially glass.
Bill Meecham is still having trouble with sewage on his lot in Beltzville Lake Estates. At the November meeting one of his neighbors also attended. Josh Roderick has built what he terms a quarter-million dollar house and now his sewage permit has been revoked.
He wanted to know why Meecham could have the sewage enforcement officer, Sean Corey, check on the problem and have the township pay Spotts, Stevens and McCoy's bill. Roderick said the township knows where the problem is - with an artesian well upstream of the problem.
"Why can't you come in and fix it," he asked.
Supervisor Rodney George said they could not go on private property to do work.
The reason for withdrawing the sewage permit is that water is redirected but is still within six feet of his proposed septic system and the ordinance calls for 50 feet.
Solicitor Tom Nanovic said it is entirely a civil matter.
Roderick said he thought he had a good faith permit and now he is being told he can never get a septic system.
Nanovic said they should hire a lawyer and an engineer who is familiar with the sewage facilities act.
Connie Bieling, a planning commission member, said the source of the water is an artesian well. If water is ruining a driveway the township sees that the problem is resolved. She thinks the man should have to cap the well
Kleintop said the water would have to be redirected.
Roderick said it would take 300 feet of redirection and only 30 feet is on his property.
Resident Earl Beers said the other property owners are innocent victims. "You have to stop it at the origin.,"
Kleintop said she would "go knock on his door" but she can't make him fix it.