Rush Township Municipal Building
Hometown, PA 18252
Minutes of the Monthly Meeting of the Rush Township Board of Supervisors
The monthly meeting of the Rush Township Board of Supervisors was called to order at 6:04 o’clock p.m. by Chairman William J. Sanchez, Jr. Those in attendance were Vice-Chairman Shawn Gilbert; Supervisor Stephen Simchak.; Secretary/Treasurer Terri Conville; Attorney Robert Yurchak; and Corporal Duane Frederick. Approximately fifteen residents and one reporter were also in attendance. The Pledge of Allegiance was then recited.
Ms. Conville read the following statement: These proceedings are being recorded for the sole purpose of constituting the accuracy of written minutes. Tapes are reused, eliminating recorded records of these proceedings. For the record, please state your name if you have comments to make.
Chairman Sanchez, Jr. stated that the Board of Supervisors held an executive session at 5:15 o’clock p.m. to discuss personnel matters.
American Water Services Report
John Tiejaro read the American Water Services report as of June 16, 2009. Mr. Tiejaro informed the Supervisors that Verizon will have to dig and install a telephone pole for the auto dialer at the fifth pump station. Supervisor Simchak asked Mr. Tiejaro to get a quote from Verizon as to what needs to be done to complete the project. The Supervisors gave permission for a laborer on the road department to go over with the back-hoe and dig a thirty to forty foot trench from the pole to the pump station for the four lines that are hooked up. This work was not included in the proposal from TK Electric. Chairman Sanchez, Jr. noted the time spent to do this project should be recorded and a bill submitted to the township for reimbursement from the Hometown Sewer Fund. Mr. McMullen stated that a PA One Call should be submitted for each of the stations. A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to accept the American Water Services report. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A. Equipment Rentals – (see attached bid sheets) A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to accept and pass the bids onto our engineer and township secretary/treasurer for review and hopefully their recommendations before the end of the meeting. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
B. Materials for the Road Program – (see attached bid sheets) A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to pass the bids onto the township engineer and the secretary/treasurer for review and possibly award at tonight’s meeting. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. Under the question, Mr. McMullen clarified with the Board that no one bid on the pipe. The Supervisors gave Mr. McMullen permission to obtain prices for the pipe. All voted in favor of the motion.
Corporal Duane Frederick read the police report for the month of May, 2009. A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to accept Corporal Frederick’s report for the month. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Minutes of Previous Meetings
A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to approve the minutes of the previous meeting May 19, 2009. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Ms. Conville read the fund balance for each account as of May 31, 2009. A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to approve the treasurer’s report for May. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Approval of Current Township and Sewer Bills for June, 2009
A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to approve the current township and sewer bills for June, 2009. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to accept and place on file all municipal reports. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Key areas noted by Ms. Conville in the correspondence file for the month were as follows:
1. Letter from Marion Lazur
2. E-Mail from Lori Kane about the Energy Pool for Chamber Members
3. E-Mail from Signal Services
4. E-Mail from Michelle Kintzel
5. Correspondence from Arro
6. Letter from the Chamber
7. Township Today Quarterly Newsletter
8. Letter from Commonwealth of Pa
9. Letter from Pa. Public Utility Commission
10. Minutes from Northeastern Schuylkill Joint Municipal Authority
11. Letter from Traffic Solutions
A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to accept all correspondence and place it on file for public review. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Attorney’s Business – No report for the month
Chairman Sanchez, Jr. addressed the part-time police budget. Sanchez, Jr. noted that it is estimated the part time officers have worked 400 hours per month. At this rate, the total amount needed for the year would be an estimate of $56,880. For the 2009 budget, $35,000.00 was budgeted in the General Fund and $4,000.00 in the Police LST Fund. This would present a shortfall of $17,880.00 at the end of the fiscal year. Sanchez, Jr. stated the reason for this is because we are without a Chief of Police and the part time officers are covering that shift. Sanchez, Jr. asked the Supervisors if they want to continue with 24/7 police coverage from now until the end of the year or what their intentions are. Supervisor Simchak asked Sanchez what his opinion was. Sanchez, Jr. stated if the money is there okay, but he is not going over the budget. Simchak stated that is why we call it a deficit because we don’t have the money. Simchak stated when we prepared the budget there was enough money there to have 24/7 police coverage and the budget has not been followed; that’s why we have over $5,000 deficient and that’s his feelings. Vice-Chairman Gilbert asked the citizens in attendance at the meeting who wants 24 hour police coverage in Rush Township. No one raised their hands. George Pinkey stated the reason part timers are overworked is because there is no Chief of Police. Mr. Pinkey also wanted to know what happened to the money that was allocated for the Chief’s salary. Vice-Chairman Gilbert stated there is no shortfall, the money is right there, but some of the Supervisors don’t want to use it. Gilbert wants 24 hour police coverage and use the money that was put away for the Chief’s wages. George Pinkey suggested using part of the big carryover from last year to this year. Simchak noted a carryover is needed because our tax revenues do not start coming in until April or May and that carryover pays the bills for January, February and March. Sanchez, Jr. stated there is a deficient for the police part time budget but with money the police are bringing in on fine money can be transferred at the end of the year to cover the budget. Sanchez, Jr. stated he wanted this brought up so it can be settled and be part of the minutes. Sanchez, Jr. does not want to be mixing monies around and making decisions without going through a meeting with the possibility then of being assessed by the Auditors. Simchak wants to follow the budget. Gilbert wants 24 hour coverage. Simchak told Sanchez,Jr. it is up to him to break the deadlock. Corporal Frederick did note the district magistrate fine money collected is $26,240.00. The total budgeted for the year is only $37,000.00. At this rate, fine money will be over what was anticipated by the end of the year. Simchak noted that it is anticipated fine money and the cost involved are not factored into the numbers. Ms. Motroni stated the Board was told that 24/7 coverage would work providing no officer got sick, needed extra training and that Robbie was still working for the township. Supervisor Simchak stated that Robbie prepared the budget and said the numbers would work for 24/7 and the state police would help with coverage. Ms. Motroni wanted to know what plan the Board had for police coverage if they knew they were going to terminate Robbie Cathey Schimpf asked the Board to define 24/7 police coverage. Vice-Chairman Gilbert’s definition is to have our police department cover all shifts. Chairman Sanchez, Jr. basically has the same definition except to have the state police cover when an officer calls off or on a slow shift. Cathey Schimpf stated that frequently there are multiple officers available during the dayshift. Jack Starry wanted to know if there was ever a study done by the Supervisors on this 24/7 coverage as far as police being needed to find out when you need them and when you don’t need them. Supervisor Simchak thinks it should be done. Simchak feels the officers in charge should know and advice the Board. Chairman Sanchez, Jr. stated that is why things need to be addressed now and that Corporal Frederick did a three page letter to the Board addressing these issues. Mr. Starry asked for the letter to be read. Supervisor Simchak did not feel this was a good idea because he has not had the time to respond to the letter yet. A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to table the issues of the police coverage and the police budget at this time. Everybody needs to work together and try to have a plan for next month’s meeting. Chairman Sanchez, Jr. stated he has been asking the Board about this now for three months and that Corporal Frederick needs to know how to direct his work force until the next meeting. Vice-Chairman Gilbert stated he feels we should use the forty thousand budgeted for a Police Chief to cover part time wages since we are down one full time police officer. Supervisor Simchak noted the issue of having two or three officers on the same shift needs to be addressed. Corporal Frederick stated there is one officer per shift and the federal government pays the full salary for the second officer out doing traffic enforcement. Supervisor Simchak stated that was not the impression he had about the programs. Corporal Frederick stated the Federal Government will not pay Rush Township for an officer to be out answering calls. There has to be one officer on duty responding to the calls. Simchak stated the Board was told the traffic safety programs were totally free. Simchak stated there was a motion on the table that the Supervisors, our secretary/treasurer, and Corporal Frederick sit down and figure this out one way or another before the next meeting and implement a plan. Chairman Sanchez, Jr. stated that until then, there is to be one officer on duty per shift. Simchak agreed with that statement. Corporal Frederick noted there is highway safety money that should be used, but Simchak stated to turn it back like other townships do. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. Under the question, Cathey Schimpf wanted to know if it was appropriate to use fine money to cover a shortfall. Ms. Schimpf felt doing so encourages the officers to stop more residents for violations. Vice-Chairman Gilbert stated the reason there is a shortfall is because we are missing 1 full time employee to cover those forty hours and not enough was budgeted at the time for part time police wages. George Pinkey asked if there was a line item in the budget for fines and forfeitures that cover state police and township police. Mr. Pinkey also reminded the Board that a 5% change in the budget needs to be done by a motion of the Board. He also wanted to know why the Board can’t hammer out things now and not go behind closed doors to do it. Supervisor Simchak stated there are too many issues to settle right now. Mr. Pinkey noted the treasurer can tell you right this minute where you stand on the budget by using the computer. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to hire Gene Rutch as the full-time Road Foreman at the rate of $16.25 per hour and a probationary period of 90 days retroactive to June 15th. Chairman Sanchez, Jr. seconded the motion. Under the question, Steve Behun wanted to know how many people applied for the job and if any of the applicants live in the township. Ms. Conville noted about fifteen applications were received. Supervisor Simchak stated the top two choices were qualified for the foreman’s job. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak for the Rush Township Fire Police to assist with traffic control for the Fireman’s Association Parade being held on June 27, 2009 in McAdoo. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
General Purpose Public Participation
1. Tom Murphy wanted to know what can be done with the ditch on Ardmore Avenue. Mr. McMullen explained that a special permit would cost the township approximately one thousand to fifteen hundred dollars. Mr. Murphy stated that storm-water development has to be done in Hometown.
2. John Starry wanted to know if the survey was completed for the waste-water runoff in the township. Mr. McMullen explained the study was done and the maps show the problem areas in the township. Supervisor Simchak noted the township has a rough draft of the study and not a completed copy. Mr. McMullen did note the study is done to the point where it can be submitted for funding application. It would cost the township approximately $20,000.00 to complete the study. A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to instruct our township engineer to complete the storm-water study as per the agreement signed by the Supervisors in a timely manner with a rough draft in 30 days and a hard copy by Thanksgiving. Mr. McMullen stated the study itself is complete, but the book is not finished which explains the entire study. The book would list the drainage areas, calculations, recommendations for pavement upgrades, paving analysis, and cost estimates. Ms. Conville stated the total funding for the storm-water study was included for the 2008 budget and would have to check the availability of funds to pay for the book in this year’s budget. Attorney Yurchak suggested doing a budget transfer to pay the remaining balance when the time comes. Under the question, Vice-Chairman Gilbert questioned why the Board needs to spend an extra $20,000 for a book. George Pinkey wanted to know where the large amount of money budgeted for this year under the storm water study category will be spent. Ms. Conville noted that most of that money will be spent on the project being mentioned tonight for road materials, pipe, and equipment rental. George Pinkey asked the Board if they were aware that there is an ongoing effort in the county to do an entire storm-water study for the county. Mr. McMullen noted the county is doing Act 157 studies for storm water basins and drainage areas. That is not a capital improvement plan for storm-water and pavement. George Pinkey spoke on behalf of Cheryl Calvonetti of 25 Tamaqua Street. Since Penn-Dot has started the construction project at the intersection, the Calvonetti’s have problems with water in their yard. The water is bubbling all around the manhole cover. A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak for Mr. McMullen to get in touch with the homeowners, develop a letter and send it to Penn-Dot on the Board’s behalf. Chairman Sanchez, Jr. seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
3. Don Buchanan (1024 Hunter Street) Mr. Buchanan asked the Board if they would consider putting a stop sign on the corner where the traffic is going north on Hunter Street. There is no stop sign for the northbound traffic. The hedge on the corner of Hunter has gotten very tall and there are children now riding their bicycles here.
4. Marion Lazur wanted to know what type of retention policy the Board has in place for the tapes of meetings since they are public record. Ms. Lazur stated it should be brought up before the board of Supervisors and voted on at a public meeting. Attorney Yurchak stated the only policy the board has right now is the state law that says if you are going to destroy a record it should be brought before the board to vote on it. Ms. Lazur asked if the Supervisors were going to establish a policy as to how long the Board retains them. A motion was made by Chairman Sanchez, Jr. to establish the policy that after the minutes are approved the tapes can be destroyed or taped over. Supervisor Simchak seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried. Ms. Lazur also asked the Board if anybody applied for any of the stimulus money that is available. Mr. McMullen explained he submitted the Capital Improvements Plan to the Schuylkill Chamber for consideration for funding. The plans would then be submitted to Penn-Dot if there is any residual funding available. It seems as though Penn-Dot is keeping most of the federal stimulus money for transportation projects on the federal level.
5. Robert Leibensperger wanted to know if the projects for the Storm-Water study would be broken down by critical areas.
6. George Pinkey wanted to know if the Storm-Water study documents are in the township building. Supervisor Simchak stated the calculations aren’t.
7. Steve Behun had several issues for the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Behun wanted to know if anything was ever done to address the problem with the water freezing in the winter months that comes down Lincoln Drive and then crosses over to Joyce Street at the intersection for fifteen or twenty yards. Chairman Sanchez, Jr. stated that when he was Road Foreman he did contact Penn Dot and was told that if the intersection wasn’t there the township wouldn’t have a problem. Mr. Behun asked the Board if anything was done about the trash on the property owned by Mr. Goettner. Mr. McMullen did apologize to the Board for not being in touch with Mr. Goettner, but will do this as soon as possible. Corporal Frederick did state that extra patrols have been done in this area to no avail. Mr. Behun wanted to know what information the Board had about the fire hydrants in the township. Chairman Sanchez, Jr. stated that according to Rob Jones of the Tamaqua Water Authority the fire hydrants are flushed twice a year and are expected to be done within the next month. In order to have an extra hydrant installed at the Kahler Hill section, the Board of Supervisors would have to pay for the cost of the hydrant, labor and material. Mr. Behun also wanted the police department to be aware of the young age of the ATV drivers’ going thru the Goettner property. Corporal Frederick stated that he could file a citation for information received, but the rider could have permission to ride on the Goettner property. Chairman Sanchez, Jr. stated that it is a police issue and Mr. Behun should file a complaint and the police will take care of things on their end
8. George Pinkey mentioned about the drainage on the west side of Lincoln Drive.
9. Robert Leibensperger asked the Board about adopting the Uniform Maintenance Code. He feels this would give Bill McMullen a little more leeway that they can go on other properties to enforce the ordinances with the junkyard, etc.
Chairman Sanchez, Jr. received a note back from Mr. McMullen. Supervisor Simchak made a motion on the aggregate contract to award the bid to Hazleton Materials with a maximum value of $10,154.20 for 2A Stone and #10, #4, and #57 Stone both FOB and delivered as needed. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Supervisor Simchak made a motion to award the bituminous materials contract to Lehigh Asphalt with a maximum value of $98,910.50, both FOB and delivered as needed. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Supervisor’s Response Period
Supervisor Simchak asked Corporal Frederick to get additional information about the North Central Highway Safety programs for the Board to review explaining what can and can’t be done.
A motion was made by Supervisor Simchak to adjourn the meeting. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion, carried. The meeting adjourned at approximately 7:45 o’clock p.m.
Transcribed and Attested
Terri Conville, Secretary/Treasurer