No tax, garbage fee hike anticipated
LIZ PINKEY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Greg Tucci (left) from the Pottsville EMS and Joel Essington (right) from the Tamaqua Ambulance Association discuss proposed changes in the ALS and BLS services that Schuylkill Township currently has. Under a tentative agreement between the two companies and the township, Tamaqua will continue to provide BLS services to the entire township. Lehighton Ambulance would provide ALS services to the eastern part of the township, including Newkirk, Reevesdale, and Tuscarora, while Pottsville would take over ALS service to the western part of the Township, including Mary D and Brockton.
Schuylkill Township residents should not be facing any tax or garbage fee increases in 2010, based on the preliminary budget that was presented at this week's township meeting. The budget will not be much different from the 2009 budget, according to township treasurer Mary Bubel.
"It's at approximately $582,000," she said. Although certain items, like the liquid fuel reimbursement will be $1,671.90 less than the 2009 allotment, supervisors are hoping they can also save money in some areas like their electric bill. The township was notified that they have been accepted into the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce energy pool and will begin purchasing energy from Direct Energy in January 2010. "We were told it could save us up to 30 percent of our electric bill," said Bubel, "We usually spend in the neighborhood of $28,000 on electricity for the year."
Greg Tucci, from Pottsville EMS, and Joel Essington, from the Tamaqua Community Ambulance Association, also spoke briefly to the supervisors and residents at the beginning of the meeting, concerning ALS and BLS service to the municipality. "We found out through several channels that your paramedic services had terminated several weeks ago," said Tucci. "In good faith, we sent out letters explaining that our services would be available."
Township officials are required to designate a BLS and an ALS provider. Currently, the Tamaqua Community Ambulance is the BLS provider and the Lehighton Ambulance is the ALS provider for the entire township. According to Tucci, he has meet with Essington and based on a discussion they had had, Tucci recommended that Tamaqua continue to provide the BLS service to the Township, while Lehighton would continue as the ALS provider for Newkirk, Reevesdale, and Tuscarora. The Pottsville EMS would provide ALS support for Mary D and Brockton. "I'm not going to lie to you, it still takes us 20 minutes to get here from our station," he said, "but adding your township is not a burden to our station." Essington said that residents should not see any interruption in services. "You'll still call 911 and you'll still get an ambulance. We'll work out these agreements behind the scenes," he said.
Tucci also said that once the agreements are in place, the Pottsville EMS would honor subscriptions to the Tamaqua Ambulance. Although the Supervisors will not vote on the changes until the agreements are in place between the two ambulance companies, Tucci said that the Pottsville EMS will begin coverage in good faith immediately.
Resident Bob Davidson question dumping that has been taking place on county property behind his home. According to Township solicitor Michael Greek, although the township has permission from the county to dispose of clean fill, such as leaves, fallen limbs, and grass clippings in the area, they cannot give residents permission to dump in the area. Any concerns related to the dumping must be directed to the county.
The Supervisors also voted to appoint Bill McMullen as the new zoning officer for the township. As the Eastern Schuylkill Plan was finally adopted, each township is now responsible for its own zoning. Supervisors explained that instead of having to go to the county for the zoning permits, residents will now just have to come to the township office for both their building and zoning permit. Supervisors will be appointing members to a zoning board at a future meeting.
The Supervisors authorized the township's yearly donation of $300 to the Tamaqua Library. Township police chief Frank DiMarco noted that he and township worker Joe Pedron have been painting yellow lines around the fire hydrants in the township and reminded residents that parking is not allowed within 15 feet of a hydrant.