Minutes of the meeting of the Rush Township of Supervisors – February 16, 2010

Rush Township Building
Hometown, PA  18252

Minutes of the Meeting of the Rush Township Board of Supervisors

The monthly meeting of the Rush Township Board of Supervisors was called to order by Chairman Stephen W. Simchak at 6 o’clock a.m.  Those in attendance were Vice-Chairman Shawn Gilbert; Supervisor Robert Leibensperger; Officer Brian Thompson and Secretary/Treasurer Terri Conville.  There were approximately forty people in attendance and two reporters.  The Pledge of Allegiance was then recited.

Public Comment
William J. Sanchez, Jr. had several areas of interest.  He wanted to know when the potholes on Crest Street would be taken care of.  Chairman Simchak stated the road foreman will address that issue.  Sanchez asked for clarification between the two PSATS pension plans.  Chairman Simchak stated the new PSATS 457 plan is a supplemental pension plan and does not have anything to do with the old pension plan.  Mr. Sanchez asked what departments would be getting new computer systems and what the costs would be.   Chairman Simchak stated all departments would be addressed in one way or another and the estimate cost was roughly $7,800.00.  Sanchez asked if the SOP had to be approved by the FOP.  Both Simchak and Leibensperger stated that it does not have to be approved by the FOP.  Sanchez wanted to know the status of the regionalizing police force and what cost it would be to the taxpayer.  Simchak stated the process of regionalizing was just started and we do not have all the information on the program yet.  Sanchez questioned why the road foreman was given more of a raise than the full time road employee with the most experience.  Simchak stated that the road foreman has more responsibilities and should be compensated for that.  Sanchez asked for an explanation of the employer/employee pension plan.  Simchak stated it was the same plan that has been in place for years.   Sanchez wanted to know if the appointment of an attorney for the auditors at $125.00 per hour followed the procedure as set forth in the second class township code and if there is a need for one.  Simchak stated that an attorney was appointed for the auditors just like one is for any of our other boards.  Simchak stated that Sanchez would have to talk to the auditors about any pending need for an attorney.  Sanchez asked for an explanation of the PAHRA conferences.  Simchak noted it is like the PSATS convention in Hershey, but geared towards grant opportunities.  Sanchez asked who the young lady was sitting at the end of the main table.  Jennifer Kowalonek introduced herself as an associate for our engineering firm Alfred Benesch and Company.   Sanchez asked if the time of the monthly meeting would be changed to 7 p.m. for the summer months.  Simchak stated no.  Sanchez wanted to know what type of audit Maillie, Falconiero and Company did each year and what do our township auditors’ contribute to this.  Simchak explained that our township auditors will review and approve the audit by the accounting firm.  Ms.Conville noted that the auditing firm does an electronic audit and will submit the audit to DCED.  Sanchez asked if Crossroads Computers had someone that would be checking for employee abuse of the computers.  Simchak stated yes to that.  Sanchez wanted an update on the web page firm, Precision Design.  Simchak noted that it is in the preliminary stages and all electronic information has to be given to them for the start up program.

Mr. Tracy – suggested having Seitz Brothers remove the mold in the Fortunato property that was purchased by the township and put the building up for sale.  Chairman Simchak stated the building was bought by the township for future expansion and also that the township is not land locked.  Simchak also stated the house will probably be torn down in the future.

Pat Tracy– wanted to if Marie Skripnek will be authorized to do payroll and be bonded for two million dollars like Ms. Conville is now.  Chairman Simchak stated that Terri is the only one at the present time.  Mrs. Tracy also had concerns about what liability issues might arise for the township if our police officers do not have the right equipment to defend themselves.  Mrs. Tracy was referring to the disposal of the police assault rifles by donating them to the state police or offering them for sale by sealed bid. Chairman Simchak stated if a situation does occur in the township, the state police would be called in to assist.  Mrs. Tracy stated that everyone will be dead by that time.  Simchak reminded Pat that we adopted a resolution on how the meeting will be run and gave her a verbal warning about her sarcasm.  Mrs. Tracy wanted to know what the costs will be to the taxpayers for Alfred Benesch & Company to begin preliminary studies for infrastructure, maintenance and improvements to Meadow Avenue, Kahler Hill, Iganitis and Heckman Streets, Ye Old Hauto Road, and Ryan Memorial Park.  Simchak stated we won’t know until we get the reports back, and we have a rate schedule for every engineering personnel per hour.

Jeannine Motroni –  wanted to know the status of the part time police officers that were hired in January, Anne Lutz and Brian Zulic.  She also asked if the background checks were done on them and also the new hires in the road department.  Simchak stated he was not sure and would have to ask Corporal Frederick about the status of the background checks.

Faith Rummel –wanted to know if inspections are being done at the old Morgan’s building.  Chairman Simchak stated the fire chief and zoning officer do regular inspections and the reports are on file.

Marion Lazur – wanted to know what municipalities will be involved with the regional police force.  Chairman Simchak stated we are looking at Ryan, Kline, and Delano.  Supervisor Leibensperger stated that Schuylkill Township, two others townships and possibly a borough to the east.   Chairman Simchak stated he is hoping to hold an informational meeting in another month and have a representative speak from the Pocono Regional Police.

Cathy Schimpf – asked what is the purpose of a community development consultant?  Chairman Simchak stated we are going to apply for a housing rehab program for the low to moderate income of our township and the consultant will be applying on our behalf.  Ms. Schimpf stated that you are really hiring a grant writer.  Simchak noted the person will also manage the program if we get the money, and the initial costs will be reimbursed.  Simchak stated we are putting an ad in the paper requesting proposals from professional consultants.  Whoever applies will negotiate a contract at that time.  Ms. Schimpf stated that hopefully one which is they get paid if they get the grant.  Simchak noted that 99 % of the time it is reimbursable.

Sue Bittner – wanted to know if the new secretary’s job was full or part time and if it had to be advertised.  Simchak stated it is part time and no it was not advertised and doesn’t have to be.  Ms. Bittner stated the taxes went up, and the township had a good secretary who was from the township and helped her a few times with problems.

Joan Houser – stated she never attended a township meeting.  She came this evening because she did not receive the sewer bill in the mail and now there are late fees added on.  Chairman Simchak asked her to bring the bill to the office and the secretary will take care of having the late fees removed

Tom Klein –   wanted to know the cost of the web site, how much will it cost to maintain it, and what use it will be to taxpayers.  Supervisor Leibensperger stated it will cost approximately six or seven thousand dollars and the employees will update it as needed.  Leibensperger mentioned that many records requests forms come to the office now because of the new right-to-know-law.  With the web page, people can look up all this information on-line. Mr. Klein was concerned about the people who do not have Internet access.

Mr. Boyer – noted that in 2008 when the taxes were raised 1 mill, Mr. Simchak said that was for the roads.  Chairman Simchak stated you are wrong and the paper made a mistake.  Simchak noted the increase was because of the recession and to pay bill.  Mr. Boyer also asked why the township needs new cell phones and if there will be a record of the phones.  Supervisor Leibensperger stated that by switching to AT&T, $50.00 per month will be saved.   Simchak noted there will be a total of five new phones split with the department heads, supervisors and police.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert wanted it clarified that he will not be getting one of those cell phones.   Supervisor Leibensperger stated that he and Shawn have an AT&T family plan now and do not need a phone.  He also noted that any township employee who has an AT&T plan can take their paystub to the phone store and save 15% on their bill. Gilbert asked Officer Thompson if he thinks we should get rid of the Nextel.  Officer Thompson said the coverage is better with AT&T and it will save the twp money.

Charles Shamonsky – wanted to know if the issue was ever addressed about placing signs on Mariner Street for no trucks allowed because of the eighteen wheelers using it.  He also asked about the parking on the south side of Wyoming Street.  Supervisor Leibensperger stated the engineer will be doing a report on that next month and the parking issue is being addressed.

John Schickram – told the Board that expenses could be cut by doing a lot of work in house instead of paying an engineer fee all of the time.   Mr. Schickram noted that when he was a Supervisor there were four full-time road crew guys, twenty-four hour police force, bought trucks, and managed to keep up with things.     Supervisor Leibensperger begged to differ about the comment Mr. Schickram made about not needing an engineer.  As an example, Leibensperger noted that the lights in this new building are not according to code.  He stated there is not one cable holding up those lights.  He noted the roof on the other side wasn’t done right, is leaking, and has to be replaced.  Leibensperger stated that you need a responsible engineer to back you up.  Leibensperger noted our road crew will be doing storm drains, inlets and repairs on different roads this year.

Carmen Forke – wanted the public to know that the road crew did a fantastic job cleaning up everything from the last snow storm.  He noted the state trucks couldn’t get thru because they were on the interstates.  Mr. Forke also stated that assault rifles are very dangerous.  For example, in Hazleton, bullets were flying by women and children in their homes from the AR15’s.  Mr. Forke noted that when the state police are called, they will give you a response time and rank in priority list.  Chairman Simchak was going to make a comment and Charles Shamonsky told him to shut his mouth.  Chairman Simchak told Mr. Shamonsky he had to leave for that comment and told Officer Thompson to escort him out.  Shamonsky then said he’s waiting outside.

Steve Behun- wanted to know why the tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles are allowed up the Kahler Hill section to make delivers, etc.  He also asked who is responsible to make sure the fire hydrants are cleared out when there is a storm.  He also asked the status of the quick connects for the fire hydrants.  Chairman Simchak stated he will check with the fire chief about the issues with the fire hydrants.

Engineer’s Report – presented by Jennifer Kowalonek, Alfred Benesch & Company
1.  DCNR grant application for the developmental project for Ryan Memorial Park is due April 21st of this year.  She has provided a ready to go check list for the Board so we can meet the application requirements.
2.  Kahler Hill project has a projected cost estimate of under $122,000.00 for the actual construction portion.  She recommends preparing an advertisement and getting that out for bid.
3. Within two weeks, she should have a recommendation for the improvements needed for Meadow Avenue.  Possible avenues of funding the project could be Penn vest, Commonwealth Finance Authority, and USDA Rural Development.
4. The grant process is on hold for the Recycling program until some money can be freed up.
5.  Two response letters were sent out last week for the Chapter 94 reports.

A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to approve the engineering report.  Chairman Simchak seconded the motion.  Under the question, Vice-Chairman Gilbert voted no for the record.  Motion carried.

A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to approve the proposal submitted by Alfred Benesch and company to do the boundary survey and legal description for Ryan Park at $7,400.00 Chairman Simchak seconded the motion.  Under the question, Vice-Chairman Gilbert voted no for the record.   The motion carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to advertise the Kahler Hill Road Project.  Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Vice-Chairman Gilbert voted no.  The motion carried.

American Water Services Report
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to accept T.J.’s report for the month as read.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion.  All voted in favor of the motion, carried.

Police Department Report
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to accept the police report for the month of January.   Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion.  All voted in favor of the motion, carried.

Minutes of Previous Meetings
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to approve the previous minutes of December 22, 2009 budget, January 4, 2010 reorganization and monthly, and January 22, 2010 budget.  Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion.  All voted in favor of the motion, carried.

Treasurer’s Reports
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to accept the treasurer’s reports as of December 31, 2009 and January 31, 2010 as presented.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion.  All voted in favor of the motion, carried.

Approval of Current Township and Sewer Bills for February, 2010
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to approve all current township and sewer bills for February.  Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion.  All voted in favor of the motion, carried.

Municipal Reports
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to accept all municipal reports and place them on file.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion.  All voted in favor of the motion, carried.

Correspondence – Ms. Conville highlighted on the correspondence received.
1.  NEPA Alliance Newsletter
2.  Email from Michele Kintzel- Recycling Coordinator for the county
3.  Letter from Physical Therapy
4.  Letter from Carbon Engineering
5.  Letter from Gannet Fleming
6.  Letter from Guzek Associates
7.  Letter from Law Office of James Scallion
8.  Correspondence from MCT Bank
9.  Letter from Signal Service Inc.
10.  E-Newsletter from Senator David Argall
11.  PSATS Legal Defense Newsletter
12.  PSATS News Bulletin
13.  Letter from Stone Energy
14.  Letter from Penn-Dot
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to put all correspondence on review.  Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion.   All voted in favor of the motion, carried.

Attorney’s Business
Attorney Yurchak stated he has prepared a resolution that would amend the police pension plan to repeal the benefits of an officer killed in the line of duty so the township does not have a double payment.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert read the proposed resolution.
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to accept this Resolution as prepared by our Solicitor.  Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion.  All voted in favor of the motion, carried.

New Business
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to adopt Ordinance #169-handicapped parking.  Chairman Simchak seconded the motion.  Supervisor Gilbert voted no.  Motion carried.
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to complete the Salt Contract Participation Agreement with Co-Stars for August 2010 through July 2011 season.  Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion.  All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger for Stephen W. Simchak and Terri Conville to attend a DCNR grant workshop, Feb 18th, in Naticoke and include mileage and sustenance.  Chairman Simchak seconded the motion.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert voted no.  Motion carried.
A motion was made for Corporal Frederick, Officers’ Thompson and McHugh, to attend 12 hours of mandatory in-service training, at the costs of $59.40 per officer, scheduled dates March 22-23rd, April 19-22nd, at Lackawanna College. BT stated class is in Tamaqua that the instructor is from Lackawanna College.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion.  All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to advertise the request for proposal for Community Development Consultant, due back Friday, March 5th.  Chairman Simchak seconded the motion.  Under the question, Vice-Chairman Gilbert voted no for the record.  Motion carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to enter into an agreement with AT&T for five cell phones at a cost of $103.96 per month.  Chairman Simchak seconded the motion.  Under the question, Vice-Chairman Gilbert voted no for the record.  Motion carried.

Vice-Chairman Gilbert had the following comments to make:
1. Vice-Chairman Gilbert wanted to know why an attorney was appointed for the auditors when the code book states that the auditors have to make a request to the Supervisors for this.  Chairman Simchak stated that the auditors asked to have an attorney appointed for them.   Attorney Yurchak agreed with Mr. Gilbert on his statement.    Auditor Carmen Forke stated that this is a gray area in the code addressing legal representation and there is still a pending court case. Vice-Chairman Gilbert suggested rescinding that motion to have an attorney appointed to the auditors because he is not having himself liable.
2.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert also stated that Terri was hired as the secretary/treasurer for the township.  The code book states that she is a clerk to the supervisors.  He also stated Marie Skripnek was hired as a clerk and assistant treasurer.  Gilbert asked what happens if our secretary/treasurer gets sick.  Supervisor Leibensperger explained to Gilbert that under the code rules, a township can have only one secretary, only one treasurer, or one person can do both positions. Leibensperger stated you do not have to appoint an assistant treasurer, but you can have clerks.  Simchak stated the code book says who you have to have. Leibensperger noted that on Gilbert’s recommendation, Marie Skripnek was hired as the assistant treasurer to sign payroll checks and be bonded once her probation period is up.
3.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert asked who set the pay scale for the township for this year.  He stated that the secretary/treasurer was given a raise of $2.00 per hour, the road-foreman, $2.00 per hour, Denny Boyle, thirty cents per hour, and Dennis Rupert, only twenty-five cents per hour.  Gilbert stated Dennis Rupert has been a fulltime employee with the township for twenty years.  He also stated that Marie Skripnek, clerk/assistant treasurer was hired at $10.50 per hour.  He noted that Darlene Fenstermacher was making $12.00 per hour, but in the adopted budget for this year $21,840.00 was keyed into that line item.  He also stated Ms. Fenstermacer collected $8,900.00 in delinquent accounts. Simchak stated Dennis Rupert declined the road foreman position and the other employees deserved their raises.  A brief discussion followed about the original version of the budget back in November of 2009.
4.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert asked Supervisor Leibensperger what was budgeted to print the newsletter and what would it cost to mail out.
5.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert asked our attorney to explain Resolution # 2010-08 – burning of the records. Attorney Yurchak noted this resolution states that a list of what is going to be destroyed would have to be provided and approved by the Supervisors.
6.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert asked Supervisors’ Simchak and Leibensperger what they will do with the $181,000.00 surplus that will be in the Hometown Sewer Fund.  Supervisor Leibensperger stated that repairs to the sewers on Meadow Avenue will be made.  Chairman Simchak stated the rates had to be raised in order to qualify for loans. Gilbert feels that it is fraud.
7.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert asked about the $2,000.00 that was budgeted for building and ground security.  Supervisor Leibensperger stated that a holding cell for the police department will be looked at.  This is an area that needs to be addressed according to our insurance carrier PIRMA.
8.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert stated that the changing of the locks in the building was unnecessary.
9.  Vice-Chairman Gilbert stated that the police department gave a recommendation not to hire Ann Lutz back in the twp.  Supervisor Leibensperger stated that Ms. Lutz is not working for the township right now; she doesn’t have all her qualifications up-to-date.  Attorney Yurchak stated that the Board does not have to do anything at this point.
10. Vice-Chairman Gilbert asked the Board what their intentions are concerning the damage to the lamp post on the property of Donna Woodring.  Supervisor Leibensperger would like to wait till springtime and check the ordinance for the right- of- way.

Chairman Simchak adjourned the meeting at 7:25 o’clock pm.

Terri Conville

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