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Once again, the East Lake Campground situation became a primary topic of discussion at the August 20 New Milford Township meeting. Mr. Bevan opened the discussion, inquiring if sewage permits had yet been applied for by the owner. Upon receiving a negative response, Mr. Bevan and a few other visitors confronted the supervisors at length over the situation.
The visitors asked why the camp was allowed to be open. One stated that the judge had told the East Lake Association to work through the township. They were concerned about the status of the 8000 gallon tank which had been put in the ground illegally at the beginning of the conflict, the current presence of campers and the refusal of the owner to let the supervisors past a certain point when they went to the campground to investigate. The visitors also wondered aloud whether the township's solicitor was being proactive and accessible enough, and why there were once again signs posted directing people to a supposedly closed campground. One woman suggested that a padlock be put on the entrance, locking the campers inside; another man merely wanted to see the campers put out. The request was made repeatedly for a contempt of court to be filed, and law enforcement then brought into play. The visitors stated that they were not going away, and would continue to come to the meetings to speak on the same issues.
The supervisors felt it was up to the judges, DEP, the SEO, and law enforcement to enforce the judge's ruling. They assured those present that they were not ignoring their concerns, and Jack Conroy repeatedly stated that he sympathized with their feelings. He promised that he would call the solicitor and the judge the next day. The supervisors had put in a request for the removal of the signs, which was completed. The state, however, put them back up. The supervisors agreed to investigate this as well. They expressed, however, an inability (and unwillingness) to try and act as enforcement agents by themselves.
Not all comments on the situation were censure toward those elected. The supervisors were recognized for the work they do, and it was acknowledged that they had inherited the problem, not caused it. The matter was dropped for the time being.
Mr. Bevan also asked about the state of Sutton Road, stating that it was still not finished. It was replied that it had been worked on, and was still on the schedule to be tarred and chipped.
In other news, a resolution was made regarding permit fees for building applications. In the past, the fee had been designated as $50 for the first $10,000 of a project and $1 for every additional thousand thereafter. This fee is no longer in effect. An administration fee of 10% of the total is now in place, which amount is including, rather than in addition to, the permit fees. The change was made in order to cover the cost of the recently hired new code enforcement officer, Bill Shiglo. Mr. Shiglo will be handling residential matters, while Labor & Industry handles commercial.
Jim Hunter arrived at the meeting near the end, and announced that the township had been approached by someone regarding the leasing of township land for gas mining purposes. The township has 11-13 acres, and was notifying the public that they may look into this in the future. At least two of the supervisors were slated to attend a gas exploration and drilling class and discussion in Scranton, which was held for local governments.
Due to a scheduling conflict, no Transcript reporter was present at the August 20 Elk Lake School Board meeting. Right after the meeting ended, however, an opportunity presented itself to speak with the board president and secretary, who explained the new transportation policy enacted that evening.
The district has, over the course of some months, been working to come up with a transportation compensation plan to offset escalating fuel costs. They did not want repeated increases to lead to repeated adjustments, but sought a single plan which would provide a lasting and flexible solution in a changing fuel market. The policy enacted that evening, which is set to last for five years effective from August 1, 2008 through June 30, 2013, establishes a Fuel Adjustment Supplement which theoretically has the ability to meet contractor needs without subsequent repeated adjustments. It is based on the gallons used, regardless of the miles per gallon a particular vehicle uses. It is designed to apply to late runs as well as regular runs, such that a separate plan is rendered unnecessary.
The FAS is designed to be used solely at the district's pumps; contractors choosing to use outside gas sources forfeit the supplement. It utilizes a base cost, established in 2005, of $2.20 per gallon, and is calculated by the number of gallons used times the price of fuel over the base price. This means that for a fuel increase which ranges between $2.20/gal. and $4.00/gal. the district will pay 50% of the fuel cost increase. It will pay 70% of increases ranging from $4.01 to $5.00, and 80% of increases ranging from $5.01 to $6.00. If the price exceeds the $6.00 cap the board will reopen the formula for further discussion.
If the state or federal government reimburses the school district for a fuel supplement payment, the drivers will receive the greater of the two reimbursements. They will not receive both. The supplement is designed to be received either twice a year (in December and June) or once a year (in June). Contractors have a choice of payment plan.
Two guests were in attendance at the August 19 COG meeting, invited to speak about the process involved in posting and bonding roads, which COG members have discussed at previous meetings as a means to deal with potential damage caused by the influx of gas drillers in the area of late.
Tom Lyons and Gary Hopple are both retired from PennDOT, and have formed Municipal Solutions with the intention of using their expertise to help municipalities with the posting and bonding procedure, to keep the cost down and make it more manageable than doing it on their own. Municipal Solutions also has an engineer on staff with PennDOT experience.
In order to post and bond roads, first an ordinance must be passed. Then, users of the roads in question must be notified, and signs must be posted with load limits at each end of the road. Security bond amounts must be established, as well as excess maintenance agreements which would define who will do the repairs. Permits must be issued, and the roads should be videotaped to show their pre-usage condition. And, the roads should be monitored for damage. A sample ordinance provided by Municipal Solutions allows for a daily inspection fee to be charged.
There would be local traffic exemptions for the bonding, such as emergency vehicles, school buses, utility vehicles, etc. The municipality would define (in the ordinance) which vehicles are allowed the exemption status, which could be rescinded if necessary.
Bonding limits are set by law at $6,000 per mile for dirt and gravel roads, $12,500 per mile for paved or oil and chipped roads, and $50,000 per mile to allow a paved or oil and chipped road to be maintained as a gravel road until the hauling is complete.
Detailed information is available in PennDOT’s pub. 221, including the procedures to post and bond, what the law allows, and blank permits that can be used as templates.
Also provided was a sample resolution that would be used to establish inspection fees and “rental” fees for the municipality’s equipment usage based on local costs.
In summation, Mr. Lyons said that posting and bonding would give the municipality the “teeth” to pursue the costs of repairing damage; if a permit-holder were to refuse to comply, the permit could be rescinded.
In other business, COG’s insurance premium had been divided among the three committees, with 82% paid by Sewage, 15% by Codes and 3% by COG. A motion carried to change that percentage to 65% Sewage, 32% Codes and 3% COG.
A number of items of correspondence were read, including invitations to an economic development breakfast on August 28, the Susquehanna County Information Network public meeting on September 9 and 10, an information gas leasing/development meeting on August 25, a master well program on September 20, and a natural gas program on August 21.
The building committee is putting together numbers and information on obtaining funding for COG’s new office building.
Andy Gardner, president of the Thompson Boro Council was present to inquire about re-joining COG, specifically the Sewage Enforcement Committee; information was provided about dues, which are based on population, and the ordinances that would be required to join COG and the Sewage Enforcement Committee.
There was no new information regarding the regional police study, it is still in progress.
In response to some misperceptions about COG, particularly in regard to zoning, the executive board had put together an advertisement with facts about COG (it appeared in the August 20 issue of the County Transcript).
Information was made available by DEP for cleanup grants that are available, in amounts up to $50,000. Applications will be accepted after September 1, with a short application window of about six weeks. Funding may be used to clean up non-responsible party sites, and municipalities’ contributions may be made in in-kind services, including the utilization of volunteers to clean up sites.
The Sewage committee reported that things have been busy again, as usual for this time of year, and that the new SEO has been working out well.
At last month’s meeting, members had approved a request from BIU to increase permit fees by 2¢/square foot. The increase will be effective as of September 1.
A member had a question about whether or not fuel tanks need to be permanently fastened down, particularly in a flood plain; the building inspector will provide clarifying information.
And, a motion carried to pursue grant funding to help member municipalities with the costs of street and road sign replacement, in anticipation of regulations to replace them with new, retro-reflection materials.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 16, 7:00 p.m. in the COG offices in New Milford Boro.
Clay J. Greenway to Donald F. and Kathleen M. Bennett, in Ararat Township for $1,000.00.
Donald F. and Kathleen M. Bennett to Donald F. and Kathleen M. Bennett, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Franceski Lumber Co., Inc. to Franceski Lumber Company, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Timothy M. and Christine M. Smith to Shelly White and Nicholas Demaree, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Hare Ridge Sportsman Association to Maurice, Jr., Robert C., Ernie, Jim and Raymond Newhart, Michael Thomas, Donald Hunsinger, Richard F. Perella, Tami Kendall and Rick Ayres, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Donald T. and Julie Ann Salvia to Donald T. and Julie Ann Salvia, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Donald T. and Julie Ann Salvia to Donald T. and Julie Ann Salvia, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Richard E. and Donna L. Carpenetti to J. Michael Mulloy, in Lathrop Township for $50,000.00.
John J. Czachor to Alice Marilyn Czachor, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Chad D. and Christina M. Wallace to Chad D. Wallace, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Philip R. and Marilyn W. Holly to Philip R. and Marilyn W. Holly, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
William A. and Judith A. Delaney (NBM) Judith A. Preston to Joseph R. Betkavsky, in Apolacon Township for $125,000.00.
Mark Romanowski to Gary Zawodniak, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Pamela C. Williams (By POA), John C., Gail M. (By POA) and Jerome H. (By POA) Cramer and Mary Anne Hayes to Byron and Renee L. Sands, in Hallstead Borough for $60,000.00.
Federal National Mortgage Association (AKA) Fanniemae (By POA) to Logan S. Droppa, in Forest City for $58,000.00.
Brian Brainard (Estate) to Josh Olivo and Adam Carter, in Harford Township for $28,000.00.
Hare Ridge Sportsmans Association to Hare Ridge Sportsmans Association, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Barbara A. Burdick to Christina Wallace, in Oakland Borough for $54,500.00.
Thomas W. Young to Thomas W. and Carol Young, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Alice E. (AKA) Alice S. Clink to Alice S. Clink (Trust), in Springville Township for one dollar.
Stephen Schlasta, Jr. to Edward J. Kozlowski, in Harford Township for $45,000.00.
John A. Tomassacci to John A. and Terri M. Tomassacci, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Mark P. and Helen M. (Estate) Kurosky to Nicholas A. Vakay, in Bridgewater Township for $95,000.00.
Violet, Francis and Helen K. Lutkiewicz and Anthony and Joanne Quarracino to Anthony and Joanne Quarracino, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Nancy C. Rudock (NBM) Nancy C. and James Posten to Nancy C. and James Posten, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Clyde Payne to Tammy M. O'Reilly, in Ararat Township for $70,000.00.
Jeffrey C. Henn vs. Valeriy Oleksandra Henn (AKA) Valeriy Oleksandra Markelova, both of Thompson, married 2006.
Ashley E. Pudish vs. Jonathan C. Pudish, both of Susquehanna, married 2005.
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