Penn Forest Township has been undergoing FBI investigations for alleged misappropriations of some $1.6 million of taxpayer money. Although much calmer and more polite than months prior, Monday's township supervisor's meeting provided few answers on the FBI probe, and even more questions from concerned residents.
Their biggest concerns now seemed to be a proposed zip line in the community. Those attempting to build the zip line desire to put its public access road on a private, resident-maintained drive. The board members don't think the zip line will ever come to pass.
"I don't think they have the wherewithal to even begin to pull off a project of this magnitude. They're trying to make this happen on a shoe string" said supervisor Alan Katz. "They'll have to follow the rules just like anyone else. The zoning might not even allow it. I haven't seen any paperwork yet, and I'd be surprised if they were able to do this, whenever it actually happens."
The residents are still skeptical and their demeanors were tense. The townspeople are clearly seeking answers they cannot seem to find. Their skepticism was not helped any by the unanimous approval of motions to employ new town government software and destroy old township records. The new software will cost $28,000 to install, and $10,000 per year to maintain.
"I don't want to be trumped by some politician. We residents want you people to go to work for us," said longtime resident Walter Gibbon.
When residents questioned these rulings, newly-appointed solicitor Greg Mousseau was quick to point that after three to eight years, the law states that township records can be destroyed. The destruction of records is supposed to reduce the need for necessary resources, freeing up officials to better do their jobs. Many residents didn't see it that way and don't think the board is handling the township's money the way it should be.
Chairman Paul Montemuro continues to spearhead defense of the current boards' handling of the township budget, reiterating that "every penny" of Penn Forest's budget is being accounted for and spent wisely and efficiently.
In other township news, due to worker vandalism and misuse, high-tech cameras have been installed at the transfer station in an attempt to reduce this behavior there. Also, at the request of supervisor Christine Fazio, the controversial political signs ordinance is being redrafted to be presented at next month's meeting.
The next township supervisors' meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. For more information about Penn Forest, visit http://www.pennforesttownship.org/.