Motion fails to hire officer for meetings
JUDY DOLGOS-KRAMER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS A state police cruiser sits outside Penn Forest Township Municipal building during Tuesday evening's board of supervisors' meeting. A motion to hire Kidder Township police officers to provide security during meetings was struck down.
The first thing you noticed when you arrived at Tuesday's Penn Forest Township meeting was the state police cruiser parked outside the building. Corporal Ryan Stefanick of the Fern Ridge barracks sat at the back of the room, right inside the door, during the meeting.
"We often try to be present at township meetings whenever manpower allows," said Stefanick. "I attended Kidder Township's meeting last month as well."
During the course of the meeting Supervisor Alan Katz made a motion to hire an off duty Kidder Township police officer to act as security at Penn Forest Township supervisors' meeting.
"It is for the protection of the citizens and the supervisors," said Katz, responding to a proposal from Kidder Township Police Chief Matthew Kuzma.
The motion failed to pass. Only Chairwomen Christine Fazio and Katz voted in favor of the measure.
The proposal included supplying one officer at overtime rate, plus 15 percent.
"It has to be cheaper to hire a private security company," said Supervisor Judy Knappenberger. She estimated that the cost for the Kidder Township police officer would run more than $120 per meeting.
"These officers are trained municipal officers. I don't want one of these $10 per hour cowboys in here. We should not put a price on the health and safety of our residents. We spend a lot more than $120 per month on inconsequential in this township," said Katz.
In other business, a motion was made by Supervisor Paul Montemuro on behalf of Salvatore Troia, a local Eagle Scout candidate. Troia's proposed Eagle Scout project is to build eight picnic tables for the new Route 903 Park. The tables will be handicap accessible.
According to Montemuro, Troia is requesting the township purchase the materials in the amount of $823.36.
Supervisors Fazio, Katz and Reiner all voted no to the project, citing the lateness in the year and that it would be better to relook at this in April.
Montemuro explained the time needed to get to this level in Scouting and the approval needed to get the project started. But the motion was defeated.
Reached after the meeting, Montemuro said that his company, Frosty Mountain Inc. would donate the materials to the project.
Township solicitor Gregory Mousseau donated money to cover the cost of tarps to protect the tables during the winter. Both Montemuro and Mousseau have sons who are Eagle Scouts.
In other matters discussed:
• A bid in the amount of $17,297.28 was accepted to paint the township roads with the exception of Stoney Mountain Road.
• The township has funds in the amount of $7,594,545.61 on deposit as of July 31.
Bills in the amount of $250,558.54 were paid.
• Upon a motion from Fazio the revised SALDO was adopted, as well as the Middle Carbon County Comprehensive Plan and the Park, Recreation, Greenways and Open Space Plan. Supervisors Montemuro and Knappenberger voted no on both motions.
• The supervisors passed a motion to hire the law firm of Elliot Greenleaf to represent Penn Forest Township in labor relations and insurance matters.
• According to Montemuro there will be no changes in the price of garbage permits in 2014. Permits purchased by Saturday, Jan. 4 will cost $75. Permits purchased after that date will cost $100. Senior citizens can still purchase the permits at the discounted rate of $50, but are strictly limited to two bags per week.
• After the executive session the supervisors passed a motion requesting Mousseau to commence a lawsuit against Quality Homes over a nuisance property in located in the township.
• Fire Chief Dave Vukovic approached the board to request funds for a new fire/rescue vehicle for Penn Forest Volunteer Fire Company No. 2. With the opening of the turnpike on/off ramps in the near future, Vukovic is anticipating an increase in the number of rescue calls.
• The board also approved a motion to have the township fire police take part in traffic control for the upcoming "Dream Come True" dream ride, which will take place on Sept. 15.