Chairman steps down
Paul Montemuro, chairman of the board of supervisors for Penn Forest Township, surprised those gathered at the February township meeting by offering his resignation as chairman, treasurer and assistant road master.
"I'm getting different complaints about what is going on in the township, things that I don't agree with and as chairman, you get looked back on as if you are in control of the board, and I can't control the board, so at this time I am stepping down as chairman. I'm going to let them control it and I am going to let the people know when things go wrong. I'm just going to be a plain old supervisor," said Montemuro.
"Mr. Montemuro and I are on the outside looking in," said Supervisor Judith Knappenberger. "We're the outcasts."
"Those three on the left of Mr. Montemuro are running the township now," said Knappenberger, referring to the other three supervisors, Alan Katz, Christine Fazio and Warren Reiner.
Katz made a motion to not accept the resignations of the positions by Montemuro. The motion was seconded by Fazio. The matter was tabled until the executive session to be held later in the evening.
In the end Montemuro's decision to step down stood.
During Monday's meeting, the township accepted bids to update the SALDO (Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance) to make sure that sections that deal with commercial development are current. The most reasonable bid was received from Barry Isett & Associates, the current township engineers. The cost will be $5,200.
"I have a concern with the turnpike ramps coming, that we will have more commercial development along Route 903 and we need to be prepared so that we don't end up with something that is out of control," said Montemuro.
The permits for the new park have been received and work has begun on a pavilion. The pavilion and a number of other planned projects will be Boy Scout and Eagle Scout projects. According to Montemuro, a "good deal" of the work to be done in the park will be volunteer labor.
"You will really see it take off when spring breaks, said Montemuro. "The grant we have is good through June of 2014 and there is other grant money available. With Mrs. Obama's push to get kids outside and healthy, there will be even more money available to help get the park finished.
"We will be getting the school children involved with picking the playground equipment. We will drop off the catalogs at the two closest schools and let the kids mark the equipment that they like. Then we will narrow it down from there. At least this way we know we are picking things the kids will use. We will also be making the playground handicap accessible," Montemuro went on to say.
The township has received enough applications for candidates for the new recreation board and will be interviewing them soon.
The township will be setting up a workshop to discuss the comprehensive plan and to review planning and zoning fees.
The tax collectors salary was set for $7,663, which represents no increase over the next three years.
The township will no longer accept cash payments larger than $10. Katz made a motion to add a check scanner, which would permit the township to accept checks and electronic money transfers. The proposal from Bank of America was received right before the meeting and the supervisors did not have an opportunity to review the proposal, so the motion was tabled until a later meeting.
It was brought up that with all of the address changes over the years, at times mortgage companies and other businesses sometimes send out letters requesting correct addresses of properties within the township. The board set a fee of $5 to respond to the requests.
There are still over 400 open permits that need to be closed. The supervisors agreed to have Barry Isett & Associates send second notices to those residents who have not yet responded to the first notice.
"I want to get this out there so please put this in the newspaper," requested Montemuro. "We are not trying to bust anyone's chops. We need to open a dialogue with these residents. If they can't comply with the dates in the letter, just let us know, send a letter to the township with the date that they think they can comply, and we will try to work with them."
In other business:
• Patrick Walsh was reappointed to the zoning hearing board.
• A motion passed unanimously to restore $10,000 in funds to Penn Forest Volunteer Fire Company No. 1.
• The township is looking into enforcing the 911 addressing requirement. New penalties for non-compliance will be discussed at the next meeting.
• A new policy was adopted for township employees who drive township vehicles. All employees will be subject to an annual MVR (Motor Vehicle Report). Employees who receive bad reports will be banned from driving township vehicles.
• The board voted to purchase a scanner at $349, and a router for up to $150. The township also voted to purchase a ladder, a power washer and a space heater for the township garage.
The next BOS meeting will be Monday, March 4 at 7 p.m.'
The township zoning hearing board will meet on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Penn Forest Fire Company No. 1. Navitat is on the agenda. At this time Navitat is not on the agenda for the March planning commission meeting.