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West Penn Twp. fire relief funds disbursed to only one company

Published November 03. 2009 05:00PM

The West Penn Township Board of Supervisors has disbursed a state fire relief check to only one of the township's two volunteer fire companies.

The funds, in the amount of $27,123.76, were awarded in their entirety to West Penn Fire Company No. 1's relief association during the board's monthly meeting Monday night.

Prior to awarding the funds, the board asked Solicitor Paul J. Datte, Pottsville, to read section 1553 of the Second Class Township Code regarding emergency services, which was amended last year.

The section, Datte read, required and itemized listing of expenditures of funds before further funds could be disbursed to EMS companies.

Supervisors Chairman moved to present the check to West Penn Fire Company, with a second from Vice Chairman David Zeigler.

"We have not received any financial information from the Andreas Fire Company," said Troxell.

Under public comment, the board was asked to clarify the decision.

"Going back 8-10 years, the Andreas Fire Company hasn't provided financial information to the township," explained Troxell. "The township is not obligated to give them the money."

"I think they should have an audit done professionally," said Datte.

Jeff Bradford, a member of the Andreas Fire Company, told the board that Lucy Murphy, a Tamaqua certified public accountant, does an annual audit for the company. "The township required us to have a detailed audit as to where the top monies go," he said.

Datte said a letter should be written to the fire company to get them to let the township know exactly what was spent.

The issue of the disbursing of the relief funds has been contentious in the past. The West Penn Fire Company was formed as a spin-off of Andreas. For a number of years, the supervisors refused to award any of the funds to Andreas, as the company was embroiled in a lawsuit against the township and the board was advised against giving Andreas money to use against it in the suit.

Once the lawsuit was settled, the supervisors did award a portion of the funds to Andreas once again, prior to Monday's action.

In other business, Marlin Zehner of the West Penn Park Commission said that West Penn Park is now winterizes and will be closed from dusk to dawn for the season.

The board opened two bids for its 1982 International six-wheel dump truck.

The bids that were received were for $3,601 from Mike Vanezio of Bellefonte, Pa., and for $1,853 from J.M Teagarden, LLC, Claysburg, Pa.

Supervisor Alfonso Martinez said a minimum of $5,000 was asked for the truck and moved not to accept the bids. The truck will be readvertised in the PSATS (Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors) magazine as well as on-line.

The board approved the installation of insulation in the police pole building at the cost of $1,502.49, with materials from Bailey Building Supplies, New Ringgold. The funds will be taken from the police department budget.

Police Chief Brian Johnson said his department has received a $700 grant from Buckle-Up Pa. for speed enforcement between Nov. 16-30.

Johnson also noted that a statement for the operation of the traffic signal at the Leiby's Intersection of Routes 309 and 443 was received from Signal Services, West Chester, the company that has taken over for Traffic Solutions. The bill was $131.25 for the quarter from June-Aug. Traffic Solutions' contract was to run for two years through 2010 and was for 43.75 per month.

Datte said the bill should be paid but advised checking with township treasurer Karen Wittig to make sure there was no overlapping of funds.

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