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 p.m. Those in attendance were Vice-Chairman Shawn Gilbert; Supervisor Robert Leibensperger; Corporal Duane Frederick and Clerk/ Assistant Treasurer Marie Skripnek. There were approximately twenty five people in attendance and one reporter present. The Pledge of Allegiance was then recited.
Chairman Simchak called Mr. Joseph Shamonsky up to the table and asked him if he would be willing to meet with the Supervisors to discuss his conduct at prior meetings and what he would need to do to be a part of the monthly meetings again. Mr. Shamonsky declined the invitation to discuss his conduct. Vice-Chairman Gilbert suggested the Board forego this meeting and allow Mr. Shamonsky back into our meetings. Supervisor Leibensperger also agreed. The Board was in agreement. Chairman Simchak welcomed back Mr. Shamonsky providing he does not become disruptive and follows the meeting policy that was adopted by the majority of the Supervisors.
Supervisor Leibensperger explained to the public about the WBRE-TV interview. Leibensperger felt it was inappropriate for residents to do a camera interview when they did not have all the facts about the purchase of the Fortunato property. Leibensperger stated that the auditors did contact the Auditor General, Nate Lipton, who investigated this matter. His findings revealed nothing inappropriate occurred concerning the purchase of the Fortunato property by the township.
1. William J. Sanchez, Jr. – questioned the Supervisors as to why they did not comment on WBRE-TV’s story. Mr. Sanchez mentioned about the NESJMA plan. Mr. Sanchez also asked the Board what is the status of the ditch on Crest Street. Leibensperger stated it was looked at, but repairs will be very involved to correct it properly. This would entail spending a considerable amount of money to fix it the right way.
2. Pat Tracey – asked if the potholes could be filled on Purnell Avenue. Mrs. Tracey asked where the Supervisor’s office is now and did the secretary get a $3,000.00 desk and a computer. Supervisor Leibensperger stated the Supervisor’s have their desk in the zoning office now. He also stated that the secretary did get a new computer and her old one is back in the road department and yes there is a new desk. Leibensperger stated that everything will be done electronically now. Mrs. Tracey wanted to know what will be on the Fortunato property. Simchak stated it could be a possible expansion of the police department or a Veteran’s Memorial. Mrs. Tracey had concerns about where the money would come from to pay for this. Leibensperger stated that the Supervisors are always looking for grant money.
3. Jeaninne Motroni – inquired about the bidding process of the Fortunato property according to the second class township code book. She stated that three bids had to be obtained for the demolition of the property. Simchak stated that according to the law, the township has fulfilled the bidding requirements. Attorney Yurchak stated that it is his understanding you don’t have to receive three bids, but you have to solicit for them. Ms. Motroni also questioned the Board about whether Wayne Postupack had the right to submit a bid when he is a member of the Zoning Board. Simchak stated that anybody can bid. Ms. Motroni also wanted to know if the purchase of topsoil for the Quakake Park project had to go thru the bidding process. Ms. Motroni claims that anything purchased over $500.00 has to be bid. Simchak stated the purchase of the topsoil did not have to be bid. Simchak asked residents that they should submit their questions to the Board a week before the meeting so the Board has a chance to gather the correct information. Ms. Motroni stated that the Board does not answer the public’s questions, example the WBRE-TV interview. Leibensperger stated he has and will make himself available to answer any questions that the residents have, that’s why he got elected. He will act in the best interest of everyone in the township. Ms. Motroni questioned Simchak about the statement he made “to go between gas stations for the fuel for police vehicles”. She noted the police department hasn’t been at the Mini-Mart since March for gas. Simchak stated that he just signed a check for the Mini-Mart last week and we are working on a schedule.
4. Mike Tessitore – stated that he sent a letter to Simchak on March 16 and asked him to please respond and he never did. Mr. Tessitore asked for the letter to be read out loud. Leibensperger read the letter. Mr. Tessitore questioned the increase in the taxes and the $2.00 an hour raises. Mr. Tessitore stated he was going by the article in the paper and Simchak was interviewed by this reporter. Simchak stated he did not respond because of the scandalous letter Mr. Tessitore wrote about Gene Rutch before. Mr. Tessitore said he only wrote one letter and asked Simchak to bring it to the next meeting. Simchak stated he will if he can find it.
5. Mr. Tracey – wanted to know if Vice-Chairman Gilbert is invited to all meetings pertaining to the township since it is always a two to one vote. Both Simchak and Leibensperger stated that Gilbert is always aware of meetings and so forth thru memos or phone calls. Leibensperger noted there were two meetings with Marion Lazur and Shawn was invited. Gilbert noted that he has to work during the day.
6. Marion Lazur – stated that she will call Nathan Lipton from the Auditors General office. Lazur feels there was a violation of the township code, since the money was not drawn at a public meeting for the Fortunato property. Lazur stated that this was done by Supervisors’ Simchak and Sanchez. She was not informed what was going on with this property purchase. Ms. Lazur wanted to know what the $5,000.00 for personal property consisted of. Lazur had a question on correspondence last month but could not comment on it at the time, but Gilbert answered her question for her at another time. Gilbert asked why people can’t comment “Under the Question”. Simchak noted that only the Supervisors can ask questions. Gilbert asked Attorney Yurchak about this and Yurchak stated you could. Simchak stated that PSATS says differently and told Gilbert to call them. Ms. Lazur went thru the expenditures from October 2009 for the Quakake Park fund and said there are two checks missing and one check missing on the General Fund. Simchak and Leibensperger asked Ms. Lazur to put in a records request at the office for this information.
7. Donna Yatcilla – wanted to know if anything will be done to fix the Old Hauto Road? Simchak and Leibensperger both stated that something will – Zellner and Old Hauto Road will be done this year.
8. Joe Shamonsky Jr. – asked if the Board would put up a new net on the back court at Lincoln Park and paint the lines. Leibensperger asked Mr. Shamonsky, Jr. if he would like to a member of a committee to fix the parks. Mr. Shamonsky also asked if the pothole on Wyoming Street by the IGA could be filled with dirt or stone. Shamonsky also wanted to know when residents can ask questions about new business. Simchak tried to explain the items under new business to him. . Leibensperger said that when the board does a motion under new business, under the question, the only people that can comment on it is the Supervisors. Gilbert asked Attorney Yurchak if that was totally correct. Attorney Yurchak stated if the motion is specifically worded on the agenda then you can have an opportunity to ask about it under public comment and if there are changes to the motion or an amendment to the motion, then he thinks it opens it open to the public for comment.
9. Charlie Shamonsky – wanted to know when the no truck signs would be put back up on Mariner Street. Mr. Shamonsky also inquired why the Board is soliciting for donations for the parks and wasn’t that one of the charges Officer Romanick was brought up on. Leibensperger stated he was not a Supervisor at the time and he was not at the public hearings for Romanick. Attorney Yurchak stated that the case with Robert Romanick is still pending and the Board cannot comment on it yet. Yurchak stated that there has not been a final decision from the hearing officer yet. Leibensperger said he is asking anyone or any company or business to donate to future upgrades to our parks within the township.
10. William Boyer – questioned the money coming from the sewer fund for the Fortunato house and asked about the fund being solvent. Leibensperger stated that the money was taken from the Investment Fund. Leibensperger explained the operating fund is used for quarterly payments to Tamaqua Borough, Penn Vest loans, and other expenses. Leibensperger received a report from Entech that shows the water rates for the surrounding areas. Leibensperger stated the Board hopes to have reserve money set aside for any problems in the future, such as replacing a sewer line. Mr. Boyer also noted that Ryan Avenue has potholes that need to be fixed. Mr. Boyer also asked the Board why someone was operating the dump truck and the backhoe after 5 pm on May 6th at the township building. Simchak said that Mr. Boyer would have an answer about this the next day and asked him to give Ms. Skripnek his phone number.
11. George Gerhard – wanted to know how many grants the Supervisors applied for in 2010 and when are they awarded. Simchak stated it is under ten and usually takes about a year to get a response. Mr. Gerhard asked when the road crew will return to work because he had a pipe collapse on Orchard Road and a sinkhole developed. Simchak stated within a few weeks the road crew will be starting their projects.
12. Barry Messerschmidt – asked what the status is of the power port for the emergency lights at the new intersection. The Board will contact the electrician, Dave Kerstetter, about this.
13. Joe Shamonsky, Sr. – asked if the Board switched positions because he thought the Chairman was suppose to answer the questions. Leibensperger stated any member of the board can answer questions. Mr. Shamonsky wanted to if the township will be liable for the disposal of the debris from the Fortunato house. Simchak stated no because we have a hold-harmless agreement signed by the contractor.
14. Steve Behun – wanted to know who manages the investment fund for the township. Leibensperger stated the Board of Supervisors does. Mr. Behun asked the Board if they feel they are qualified to do this. Leibensperger noted that all funds are monitored by the auditor and reports have to be completed for D.C.E.D. and U.S.D.A. Simchak also stated the investment fund is actually a CD, a money market fund. Mr. Behun asked if permits were issued for the additional drains put under the road for the Kahler Hill project because of the possible affect on the environment. Simchak noted the plan was designed by our engineering firm and was approved by Penn-Dot and the proper authorities. Mr. Behun asked where the debris was dumped from the house because the news reporter noted in his article that the materials went to a Department of Environmental Protection designated site. Simchak stated that was noted on the copy of the proposal from the contractors and not all of it has to go to a landfill. Mr. Behun stated he was told that the materials removed were taken up to Ginthers and a dump truck was seen dumping dirt over the debris. Mr. Behun also inquired about installing another fire hydrant in the Kahler Hill section. He was also concerned about the pressure of the fire hydrants. Hometown Fire Chief Messerschmidt stated the pressure is sufficient and the fire company has the necessary equipment to handle any fires right now. Messerschmidt also told the residents to come and join the fire company and help out in the community. Leibensperger stated that if this area is developed, the developer will pay for the extra fire hydrants. Mr. Behun also asked about the costs of having quick-connects put on the hydrants and if the pressure is tested by Tamaqua. Mr. Behun feels that Mr. Simchak should step down as the Chairman and give someone else a chance. Marion Lazur did state that the developer had proposed putting 3 fire hydrants in the Kahler Hill section.
Vice-Chairman Gilbert had the following questions and comments:
1. When is the road crew coming back and why are we paying one hundred percent of their benefits when they are laid off.
2. Why was the grass cutting farmed out, why can’t our road department do this?
3. What about the offices being painted and the contractor going down and buying paint and brushes on our account?
4. He is not happy about his desk being moved.
5. Why isn’t the police department alternating where they purchase the gasoline for their vehicles? Should they not be going to the place with the lowest price?
6. Who conducted the water test for the kit that cost $100.00?
7. What were the additional costs for with the Kahler Hill project? Did anybody take a look at the shoulders on that road?
8. Where was the disposal of the house material and where are the disposal receipts? He feels we should not pay the bill till we see the receipts. Attorney Yurchak thinks it’s a good idea since it was questioned.
American Water Services Report
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to accept American Water Services report. Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Police Department Report –
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to accept the police department’s report. Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to accept the treasurer’s report. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Approval of Current Township and Sewer Bills for May, 2010
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to approve all township and sewer bills for May, 2010. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. Simchak and Leibensperger voted for the motion and Gilbert voted no, carried.
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to accept and place on file all municipal reports. Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Correspondence – A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to put all correspondence on file for public review. Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek highlighted on the correspondence received.
1. Letter from Mauch Chunk Trust Company- tells us what our deposits are insured for
2. PSATS Legal Defense –update on ordinances
3. Letter from Mr. Behun – problems in his area
4. Correspondence from NEPA – updates on grants available and seminars
5. Letter from Silberline – possible sewer line replacement in that area
6. Seminar at Schuylkill County Courthouse – on grant monies available
Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Attorney’s Business – none
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to hire Joshua Carter as a part-time police officer at the rate of $12.00 per hour. Vice-Chairman Gilbert asked Corporal Frederick if Josh Carter passed all his background checks. Corporal Frederick stated that he had. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert for the Rush Township Fire Police to assist with the Tamaqua Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 31, 2010. Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to appoint Marie Skripnek as the Labor Compliance Officer. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Under the question, Mr. Behun asked what Ms. Skripnek would be responsible for. Chairman Simchak stated she will be responsible for wage rates for road programs, checking payroll, doing employee interviews, and other compliance issues for the township. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. Simchak and Leibensperger voted yes for the motion and Gilbert voted no. Motion carried.
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert for the continuance of the tabling of the Final Land Development Plan for Lots 16-20, Plan #230 for 90 days, requested in order to accommodate the Department of Protection with reviewing and comments. Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert for the continuance of the tabling of the Final Land Development Plan for Lots 22-24, Plan #231 for 90 days. Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger for Corporal Frederick to begin organizing a Crime Watch program for the township. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. Simchak and Leibensperger voted yes for the motion and Gilbert voted no. Motion carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to approve the change order for the Kahler Road Improvements Project. The original contract price was $82,936.39, additional increased cost of $10,260.72 bringing the project total to $93,197.11. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Under the question, Gilbert stated he has an issue with the change order. Ms. Skripnek polled the Board. Simchak and Leibensperger voted for the motion and Gilbert voted no. Motion carried.
Chairman Simchak adjourned the meeting at 7:30 o’clock pm.