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West Penn Twp. keeps current slate of officers

Published January 08. 2013 05:02PM

The West Penn Township Board of Supervisors reorganized last night, electing to keep the current slate of officers, Alfonso Martinez as chairman and James Akins as vice chairman. James G. Dean holds the third supervisor position.

The board voted to also retain the following: Rettew as the engineer, Gretchen Sterns as solicitor, Karen Wittig as treasurer and Jeremy Frable as road crew leader. A tax collection committee was also formed of the following: Treasurer Karen Wittig, Auditor Larry Dubetsky, Auditor Delroy Haas, Auditor Thomas Gibiser and the entire board of supervisors.Ted Bogosh was hired as part-time road master. Lehigh Engineering was voted in to be both zoning enforcement and code enforcement. Former zoning officer, Harry Barron, was made assistant zoning and code enforcement officer.

A regular board meeting was held following the reorganizational session. The meeting began with an executive session regarding litigation concerning the Dunn family's farmers market. Solicitor Sterns told the public what would be done about the appeals filed against the township in Schuylkill County court to reverse the action of the zoning hearing board's findings of zoning ordinance violations.

On Dec. 5, the zoning hearing board ruled that, in a number instances, Steven and Valerie Dunn of 59 Peach Drive, New Ringgold, who operate a roadside produce stand at the intersection of state routes 309 and 443 in South Tamaqua, were in violation of certain township ordinances. On Dec. 31, Dunn appealed the board's decision to Schuylkill County court, and as director by township supervisors, the township and the zoning hearing board itself will defend in that appeal and file an injunction for the case.

Sterns said supervisors "reviewed additional options for them with respect to insuring that in the upcoming year the ongoing violations that the zoning hearing board noted would not continue."

Until zoning issues and appeal are resolved and permits are applied for, supervisors have asked that the Dunn's site not be used.

At the August meeting, an administrator and consultant for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program discussed advertising for an engineer to run the grant project.

Last evening, the board voted to notify Alfred Benesch engineering company as bid winner; however, the board does not yet know how much the grant is for and has a couple ideas of what to do with it, but hasn't settled on any specific plans. The grant comes through the state from the federal government and is intended mainly for low to moderate income project.

Income surveys of residents have to still be taken to determine whether or not the township might qualify for future grants.

Next, Chairman Alfonso Martinez was happy to announce that after this year's budget was approved, there will be no tax increases in the township.

Also at the meeting, Chief of Police Brian Johnson, was awarded a certificate of appreciation for being an "outstanding leader and role model," as one officer put it.

The board also accepted Jason Morgan Jr.'s resignation as part-time police officer.

The next West Penn Township board of supervisors meeting will be on Monday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building.

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