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Township road foreman appointed

Published February 11. 2010 05:00PM

Lower Towamensing Township has appointed a township road foreman.

The township's board of supervisors unanimously agreed on Tuesday to employ Lee Costenbader to the part-time position.

In the absence of the road master, the road foreman will be responsible to call out the road crew at his discretion.

Prior to the vote, Supervisor Glen Hahn made the motion to appoint Costenbader to the position, and then made a motion to demote Kathy Wallace to a casual worker.

"We have a small township here," Hahn said. "When you're a part-time worker, you should be able to (perform all the duties associated with the position)."

However, supervisors Chairman Ron Walbert said he was told that Wallace was able to handle all the job duties associated with her position.

"I talked with (township road master) Charlie Shupp, and he assured me Kathy Wallace is capable," Walbert said. "I think she did an all-right job."

Walbert told Hahn that while he agreed with the appointment of Costenbader to road foreman, he had a problem with Hahn's suggestion to demote Wallace.

"To demote a person, that could be sexual discrimination," Walbert said. "I disagree with you that we demote her to casual employee."

At that, Hahn rescinded his motion to demote Wallace to a casual worker, and then made a new motion to leave her on as a part-time worker, which was seconded.

At its reorganizational meeting last month, a motion to change Wallace's position from administrative road foreman to assistant road foreman deadlocked on a 1-1 vote.

Walbert voted in favor of that motion, with Hahn opposed. As a result, the motion died due to a lack of a second. Supervisor Jesse Mendez was absent.

Also on Tuesday, the owner of the former Aquashicola Post Office was taken to task by a township resident who requested that the building be demolished.

Resident Richard Leiby told supervisors the building is a "health hazard."

"Sooner or later, that building is going to collapse," Leiby said. "That building has to be demolished; it's an eyesore."

Township solicitor Jim Nanovic told Leiby that the township has met with the current owner, as well as the previous owner, to discuss the matter.

"It's a very weak ordinance," Nanovic said. "If it is a safety hazard or in danger of the structure falling in the road, it's property maintenance."

Lee Costenbader Sr., the owner of the building, then yelled several obscenities toward Leiby, and then told supervisors that plans are in the works to address the situation.

At that, Leiby urged supervisors to make Costenbader Sr. address the matter immediately.

"Give him notice, so many days; give him an affidavit," Leiby said. "You don't go calling me names; you got the wrong boy, buddy."

Walbert then asked both men to allow cooler heads to prevail.

In an unrelated matter, Roy Christman, a member of the Towamensing Township Planning Commission, told supervisors he believes a consultant should be hired to write an implementation agreement for the Palmerton Region Comprehensive Plan.

"We need an implementation agreement," said Christman, who played a role in the formation of the plan. "I suppose we should have a budget, and I propose the funding for the budget should be shared (between Palmerton, Bowmanstown, Lower Towamensing and Towamensing townships)."

Christman said he was told the current agreement "has no teeth to force anybody to do anything", and suggested they ought to consider a name change to 'Regional Planning Committee'.

The creation of such an agreement would likely help Lower Towamensing receive grant money toward an update of its zoning and planning regulations, Christman said.

If an implementation agreement were not to be intact, Christman said it would essentially be a waste of $50,000 the four municipalities paid as part of the plan's conception.

"There are things that are of a regional nature," Christman said. "What I recommend would be to hire a consultant to write an implementation plan."

Walbert then told Christman that he believed his idea has merit.

"I think what you need to do is come back with a proposal," Walbert said. "I think we're willing to work with it."

In other business, supervisors:

• Held a second public hearing on Community Development Block Grant funding, under the direction of Judy Borger, director of planning and development for the Carbon County Office of Planning.

• Agreed to hold a public hearing for changes to the township's zoning ordinance when the board of supervisors meet April 13.

• Agreed to give a $3,500 donation to the Palmerton Area Library this year, as well as a $2,500 donation for last year.

• Authorized secretary Christine Wentz to obtain a visa credit card at a maximum amount of $1,000, with the stipulation that she can only spend up to $200 of that amount on her own.

• Agreed to change the payroll end date from Wednesdays to Fridays, effective April 2.

• Agreed to compile a list of delinquent garbage bills.

• Tabled a suggestion to distribute a garbage questionnaire to residents.

• Tabled the matter of a garbage bill payment for Jeff Lilly.

• Agreed to pay half the cost for a Quick Books setup in conjunction with Towamensing Township.

• Made a motion to have Bob Beers submit sketch plans for Brian Stroup to the township's Planning Commission for their review.

• Agreed to check out prices for the potential purchase of a chipper.

• Agreed to advertise for road material bids for blacktop (to be picked up) for 400 ton of 9.5 mm fine grade; 400 ton of 9.5 mm wearing; 100 ton of 19 mm wearing; 200 ton of 25 mm binder; and 400 ton of 25 mm base course. All amounts are more or less.

• Agreed to advertise for stone (to be delivered): 800 ton of dirt/gravel modified; 100 ton of #2B stone; 100 ton of #4 stone; and 1,000 ton of anti-skid type 2LS. All amounts are more or less.

• Agreed to advertise for diesel fuel and gasoline for 2010. In 2009, supervisors purchased 2,800 gallons of diesel fuel, and 1,500 gallons of gasoline.

• Authorized the secretary to request fire police at the Carbon County Fair to be held Aug. 11-15.

• Granted permission to part-time assistant secretary Jillyan Sterling to attend a free grant workshop.

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