Contractors chosen for paving projects
The first order of business at this month's Penn Forest Township board of supervisors meeting was to select contractors for a paving project on Old Stage Road and the widening of State Route 903 near the entrance to the Penn Forest Township Recreation Area. The board unanimously passed two separate motions.
The first motion assigned the Old Stage Road paving project to Locust Ridge Contractors for a total cost of $459,866 and the second assigned the widening of SR903 to James D. Morrissey Inc. for a total of $164,674.
The floor was then open to public comments. Albrightsville resident Glenn Bachman asked about the plans for a new recreation committee and when applications will be considered for people interested in serving on the committee.
Supervisor Judith Knappenberger explained that Supervisor Paul Montemuro, who is chairman of the board, was absent, and is responsible for that and that he would know.
Supervisor Alan Katz, who attended the meeting via phone, dissented.
"We have been talking about a parks and recreation committee for a year now and I want to know why we haven't accomplished anything with it in Mr. Montemuro's absence. He is not the entire board, and at this point we need to move along and get a recreation board together," Katz said.
Katz made a motion to establish a recreation committee at the meeting in June. The motion passed unanimously.
Robert Serafini of Towamensing Trails took the floor to complain about a drainage problem near Old Stage Road and Guest Circle.
"All the water is diverted into the street, and when the rain is two inches or more the puddle is six inches deep, which causes pretty bad traffic problems," Serafini reported.
"I was on that thing with Hanover Engineers and Towamensing Trails … the property owners were not OK with us digging a ditch for drainage, and we cannot dig a ditch through Towamensing Trails," Supervisor Warren Reiner responded. "We would put a ditch there if they would let us dig a ditch there, but they won't let us."
"What I am suggesting is, that since you are doing the repaving, why not add the 30-inch pipe during that process?" Serafini suggested.
"Where would the pipe go? We can't put a pipe in a ditch that doesn't exist," Reiner replied. "I have spent a long time at that place with the engineers from Towamensing Trails and they could never agree on what to do with that water. All the property owners would have to agree to allow a drainage pipe to run under their driveways."
Reiner promised to have the township engineer take another look at the site.
After public comment the board addressed correspondence from a law firm in regards to an accident that occurred in 2010, for which someone would need to provide testimony on behalf of the township. The board unanimously voted to send Chairmen Montemuro to the deposition because he was the road master at the time of the accident.
The board then approved a treasurer's report which reported a total of $6,408,631.99 in township funds.
The focus then shifted toward concerns regarding Amusement Tax Ordinance 2012-05 and the 2013 amusement tax application forms and permit. The primary concern was that there was no section to provide exemptions for nonprofit business and businesses that are not profiting. Even the definition of amusement was brought into question.
"If they fill out the application and it turns out that they are a nonprofit, then they may very well be exempt from the tax," solicitor Gregory Mousseau said.
According to Albrightsville business owner, Scott Lignore, a limo or event (prom, wedding, party) transportation service could be confused as an amusement business.
"I think amusement needs to be defined more clearly, and we definitely need a section for exceptions," Supervisor Christine Fazio said.
Mousseau agreed to take on the task of adding a section for exceptions and a clear definition of amusement for the sake of the ordinance.
Attention shifted to PA Turnpike engineer Donald Steele for the next topic on the agenda. The assembled public had many questions for Steele about the slip ramp project on 903.
Joseph Swigar was worried that after the ramp is completed the influx of extra traffic, as a result of the proposed Navitat zip line, might overwhelm the system.
"PennDOT and the turnpike have been very conservative in entering the numbers and calculating the demands of the ramp well into the future. It should be sufficient for well into the future," Steele responded to their inquiry.
The board unanimously passed a motion to send Chairmen Montemuro and township refuse administrator Cindy Henning, to discuss a recycling grant with the DEP recycling coordinator in Wilkes-Barre on Friday.
Reiner motioned to purchase a new tractor and trade in the old one.
"The tractor we have now is all rust under the hood because of the salt, which is why we need a new one," he said. "This one won't only be better, but we will have a pressure washer and we will be able to take better care of it."
The motion passed unanimously. The trade-in value of the old tractor brought the cost of the new tractor down to $14,800.
The board passed a motion to approve a 5 Star Credit application for no less than $4,000 to maintain the township's backhoe.
A motion to donate $100 to Albrightsville Volunteer Fire Company to sponsor classes at their 9th annual horse show and a motion to approve the payment of $100 to Sensinger's Greenhouse to install four hanging flower baskets outside the municipal building both failed.
Motions to advertise revisions to the subdivision and land development ordinance (SALDO), and to advertise an open position in the planning commission passed.
A discussion about the middle Carbon County comprehensive plan will continue at the next planning commission on May 28. The planning commission will make its recommendation to the board of supervisors on June 3.
A motion to approve a change in zoning permit fees, a change which was proposed in a March workshop, passed.
The board continued to pass various motions involving the payment of township bills, the reimbursement of $26,000 to Albrightsville residents Lloyd and Joan Vought for fire loss, and the approval of correspondence regarding open building permits.
An executive session was held until 10 p.m. after which the meeting was adjourned.