Tentative budget to be advertised in Washington Township
Washington Township supervisors voted at their Nov. 1 meeting to advertise the tentative budget.
Treasurer JoAnn Ahner said there will be a $150,000 carryover, but part of that will be to pay for a bridge for which the bill has not been received. Earned income tax is expected to provide $740,000 and there will be $120,000 from real estate tax.
Sizeable savings were made for electricity and gas by changing providers.
The total budget is $1,360,940.
The sewer budget is $496,420. Returns on sewer fees have increased because the Lehigh County Authority which is operating the sewer line has better collection methods.
The state fund - liquid fuel money - is $232,396. This is used for road work.
The street light and fire hydrant tax generates $20,447 and pays costs since it was reevaluated.
Chairman Josh Friebolin asked for a vote on whether or not the playground contribution will be raised. It went from $500 to $600 - an increase of $100 per playground.
The tentative budget will be available for viewing until the December meeting.
Guy Schmick, representing Friedens Fire Company, said the dam across from and owned by Friedens Church, has to be cleaned. There is a dry hydrant in the pond available as the major source of water in that section of the township.
Fire Chief Joel Merkel said the fire company would remove the water and a closer source than originally found would accept the muck that has to be removed. He asked if the supervisors would pay the bill.
The price they had was $7,795 which would come down with the fire company removing the water and the closer dump for muck. It is estimated there will be 30 to 40 triaxles of material to be hauled, though not everyone from the company agreed with this amount, considering it less. Providing a flag man so trucks can move onto the road quickly would also cut down on cost, said Assistant Chief Dwayne Henritzy.
Merkel has a letter from the church giving the company permission to have the work done."
"It was built to benefit the community," he said.
Solicitor John Ashley said the township cannot pay the bill unless the company gets three quotes.
Henritzy asked if the road crew could do the work.
"It's 10 times worse than last time when Gerald Phillips (now a supervisor) did it," said Merkel. "Schmick and some others put the dry hydrant in."
Friebolin said the township does not have that amount of money.
"That's a major water supply in that area. It's not for our benefit but for the community. There was water to the fence but now it is several feet in to get to water," said Merkel.
Friebolin said the township just gave them $26,000 but Henritzy said that was state fire relief money and cannot be used to clean the pond.
Ahner said they would need an exact amount. Then a decision can be made.
Anything over $4,000 needs three phone quotes, said Friebolin.
Merkel asked about having the township do the hauling. Solicitor John Ashley said they should get the quotes to include hauling or with the township doing it.
Schmick said they will draw up specs and give them out so anyone that calls will be asking for the same work to be done.
Merkel said he attends the Firechiefs' Association meetings. There are 43 companies in the association.
The fire company cannot get barricades when they are needed. When he contacts the supervisors there is no response, said Merkel. On Monday he was called names by a woman on Shady Nook Road because downed wires were sparking. He needed barricades to block off the area because water cannot be used on an electrical fire.
Henritzy said the township newsletter listed the most important thing for supervisors was the safety of the residents.
He called emergency management and the dispatcher said he should go to the supervisors.
Supervisor Roy Dengler asked how much of the township Friedens covers. The company is near Route 873 and would be the responder for an incident at Peters School.
Friebolin said they were not helping themselves by complaining just after asking for money.
"The community needs the money (for cleaning the pond), not us," said Henritzy.
Friebolin said if they call him he'll get in touch with Tommy Dengler or someone else on the road crew.
Alternatively, the company suggested barricades be made available where they can pick them up themselves. "We don't want to be out there for hours at a time," said Henritzy.
They are also called out to cut trees in the roads and do not consider that the responsibility of a fire company.
Bob Varayko from the Emerald Fire Company agreed with Friedens that when they call the county emergency management they get laughed at when they ask the county to contact the supervisors. He said a dry hydrant at the boat dock was approved three months ago. The township made the commitment to install it but nothing was done. He also said they should contact Slatington because the costs are to be split.