The President of the Towamensing Trails Homeowners Association spoke up from the back row at the Monday regular meeting of Penn Forest Township Supervisors. Bill Doscher said that it was time for all of the communities to work together in Penn Forest. They tried it several years back but people just didn't keep up with it he said. Seemingly all 35 members of the public agreed during the discussion of who is responsible for emergency personnel getting in and out of safe roads the township is not technically responsible for. Supervisor Alan Katz agreed, "That's one of the more intelligent things I've heard in a long time."
In further discussion clarifying the need for the township to address its' resources such as the road crew being used during emergency situations in private communities in the township, Katz stated, "We as a township, we need to step up to the plate. We need to have a policy to authorize our government to respond…"
Supervisor and Road Master, Paul Montemuro, who visibly sought to weigh both township responsibility as a road master and as a steward of taxpayer dollars stated in a heavier manner, "In an emergency situation, we have to justify our guys being out there (in private communities)."
Katz backed him saying that all 22 private communities "should be held accountable and responsible and one way to promote that sense of responsibility is to compile a list of all personnel available within those communities 24 hours a day, in case of emergency."
This dialogue within the community and supervisors stemmed from two incidents last month where a supervisor had to be called during bad weather when an ambulance got stuck in the Marty Axman Development. Another incident occurred in the Mt. Pocahontas Development. Both areas are located in places not maintained by township road crews which technically is a grey area legally and must be addressed in a manner consistent with private developments and emergency situations. The township is committed in doing this.
A motion passed unanimously to gather a residential listing of email addresses for emergency notifications. This listing is to be comprised of all Penn Forest residents on a voluntary basis. One resident asked for assurance that it would not be used for political purposes. He was told that it would be used specifically for emergency purposes only. Township Solicitor Thomas Nanovic stated that in principle an email emergency notification system is a good idea but asked the supervisors to be as specific as possible in how the list would be used.
Supervisors Katz and Montemuro told members of the public that they went on a field trip to Carbon County to assess a reduction in tax mailings and tax copies sent out to residents for the year 2012. Instead of going through the county Katz said that they determined making copies and printing on plain paper instead of embossed as the county does, will save the township several hundred dollars. Katz looked out to the audience, "This board is looking out for your money."
The Supervisors went into an executive session at 8:30 p.m. and returned at 9:18 Supervisors interviewed several Engineering firms for the planned recreation area but no decisions were made.
Also, a computer specialist from Jim Thorpe was hired for the Township Building at 65 an hour.
Building Code Officer James Melber reported that the Township Codification will be reviewed at the public meeting on March 21 at 6:30 p.m. The Township codification began, he said, in 2009 and is now completed. He said that possibly at some time in the future residents can purchase or view copies of the Township code online although nothing is assured at this time except the scheduled public review.
All Supervisors were in attendance.