Changes discussed on several ordinances
Penn Forest Township supervisors and staff have been working on a number of changes to a handful of ordinances.
On Wednesday evening, the supervisors met in an open workshop to discuss changes to ordinances related to an amusement tax, creating a parks and recreation board and the disposal of solid waste.
The original ordinance which addresses amusement taxation was adopted in 1981. Township supervisors feel that the ordinance needs to be updated to address the changes and growth in Penn Forest since the ordinance's inception. Board solicitor, Gregory L. Mousseau, opined that the existing ordinance lacks "teeth."
Mousseau also pointed out that the definition of amusement as written is too vague. The supervisors tasked Mousseau with redefining exactly what the tax will apply to and how. Mousseau stated that the new section "will contain a much broader definition, but will also be much more specific."
It was also proposed that the revised ordinance contain a requirement for the businesses that fall within the new definition be required to file an application for a permit on a yearly basis for their general activities. There will be a separate application and permit for special uses/major events.
The revised ordinance is expected to contain provisions for fines and enforcement for non-compliance. The supervisors are hoping to have the draft ready for further discussion at the supervisor's next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 1.
The supervisors also hope to be ready to begin advertising for members to form the new Parks and Recreation Board. It is anticipated that the board will consist of seven members. One member will be chosen to represent the Jim Thorpe Area School District. Three additional members will be selected from applicants who reside north of the turnpike and three will be selected from applicants who reside south of the turnpike.
The new board will be asked to draft its own by-laws and present them to the supervisors for approval. Supervisor Christine Fazio stated that she was hoping that the parks and recreation board could be made up of a "number of people with experience in finance or business; generally people who have experience and can bring that to the board."
The supervisors are hoping to advertise shortly after the Oct. 1 meeting.
During last month's supervisor's meeting, Chairman Paul Montemuro stated that the trash fees would not increase for 2013. Montemuro restated that at Thursday's workshop, but did indicate that there would be changes to the solid waste ordinance.
The biggest proposed change is that starting Jan. 1, 2013 the township would be doing away with the "back punches." Each household would still be permitted to bring four, 30-gallon bags to the transfer station per week. In addition, the township would be reinstating the bulk item drop off. Each punch card would have one bulk item punch per year.
The township has a list of approved large items that can be accepted. Residents can contact the township for the list of approved items.