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, Secretary/Treasurer Terri Conville and Clerk/ Assistant Treasurer Marie Skripnek. There were approximately twenty six people in attendance and one reporter present. The Pledge of Allegiance was then recited.
Thomas Murphy – wanted an update on the storm-water management program and also if the drawings were available in the office to look at. Chairman Simchak stated the drawings are in the office and the plan is being reviewed by our engineering firm because some inconsistencies were discovered in the plan. Mr. Murphy also stated there is a maple tree that needs to be cut down at or near 51 Ardmore Avenue and it is in our easement. Mr. Murphy also said the ditch needs to be cleaned out.
Cheryl Caldonetti –25 Tamaqua Street- explained to the Board about the water problems on her property for over a year now. Water testing done by the sewage enforcement officer showed high levels of e-coli being discharged from the manhole onto Ms. Caldonetti’s property. An old sewer main with a manhole is located in her backyard and is overflowing. If no homes are connected to the old sewer line, then possibly the manhole can be filled and capped to prevent any future discharge of sewage onto the property. Dye tests performed by John Tiejaro showed no dye visible in the manhole, property or the creek. Ms. Caldonetti stated the water problems got worse when Penn-Dot started to dig up Route 309 about a year ago. Ms. Caldonetti stated Penn-Dot was there and feels it is the township’s responsibility to address the drainage problem. The Supervisors will send another letter to Penn-Dot and then get in contact with Senator Dave Argall and State Representative Jerry Knowles. George Pinkey suggested doing a smoke test and to run the camera up and down the pipe.
Pat Tracey – wanted to know when the potholes would be patched on Purnell Avenue because it looks like a fried egg to her. Leibensperger stated that the road crew did a cold patch on it. Ms. Tracey asked Leibensperger how many years he is in the township why he always refers things back to prior Supervisors Leibensperger stated he is here since 1989 and that mistakes have happened in the past. He stated this Board will probably make mistakes, try to correct them and move on. Mrs. Tracey wanted to know if the debris from the tearing down of the Fortunato property was legally dumped. Attorney Yurchak stated that all the legal requirements were met and all necessary permits were obtained.
George Pinkey– stated that the township could have purchased eleven acres of ground on Joyce Street for a price of $46,000.00. This was one of the sites considered for the new township building. The Board did not choose that site. Taxes were raised to help pay for the purchase of the Fortunato property. Mr. Pinkey feels a lot of money was spent and could have been spent in better ways. He stated the Board should have an audit trail for the funds.
Joe Shamonsky – wanted to know if he could have a copy of the slip from the landfill where the house debris was taken. Mr. Shamonsky feels the Board is responsible for that building and there should be paperwork on exactly what was taken to the landfill. Attorney Yurchak stated the Board has fulfilled all legal requirements. Supervisor Leibensperger noted that the contractor, Grand Prix Excavator, will provide anyone with more information on this matter through their attorney. Mr. Shamonsky wanted to know if anyone checked with DEP. Attorney Yurchak stated the Board was responsible to hire the contractor and he is responsible to obtain all the necessary permits. Attorney Yurchak stated that he and the Supervisors have verified the debris was dumped at a landfill. Yurchak stated the contractor is responsible for any type of liability because of the hold harmless agreement signed by the Board and the contractor.
Jeannine Motroni – asked Supervisor Leibensperger to clarify for her which meeting it was that she was taking pictures of the office staff and the Board. Leibensperger stated that it was either the February or March meeting where Ms. Motroni took a picture of the three Supervisors using her cell phone. Leibensperger stated that is why Ms. Conville has a new office now so checks and other internal documents are not visible to the public.
Cathey Schimpf – wanted to know what was included with the ratification of the Meadow Avenue Project. Chairman Simchak stated the project listed includes the sanitary sewer lines and engineering fees. Ms. Schimpf asked if the storm water project is being put off indefinitely. Simchak stated it will be done in phases because of the costs involved. Leibensperger noted that the Board hopes to bring back the five member Environmental Advisory Board that was enacted in 1980 to help with some of the issues in the township. Leibensperger also thanked the fire company for helping out with the dye test on Saturday.
Marion Lazur – wanted the Board to expand on the resolution to payback the sewer funds, including the calculation of the interest. Ms. Lazur asked Leibensperger the outcome of the research he did with the personal property with a value of $ 5,000.00 in the Fortunato property. Ms. Lazur claims she had no knowledge of the contents of the house. Leibensperger read the list of items in the house, which included mattresses, beds, dressers, chairs, clothing, an old refrigerator, freezer, rugs, and odds and ends. The contents of the house were disposed of by the road department because everything in the basement was wet and moldy. The dollar value of $5,000.00 for the contents of the house was worked out between the owner and our solicitor at the time, Attorney Semanchick. There were no pictures taken of the contents of the house. Ms. Lazur had some questions on the petty cash policy that was going to be adopted this evening. Leibensperger read the petty cash policy for the police department. Ms. Lazur asked how often a report would be done and about the reimbursement of funds. Simchak stated a yearly report would be done. Corporal Frederick explained the monies are reimbursed through the county taskforce.
George Pinkey – stated the flags at the township building were at full staff all day on Memorial Day and shouldn’t have been. Mr. Pinkey volunteered to make sure the flags are flown properly and the Board agreed to this and thanked him for his efforts.
Steve Behun – voiced his concerns about the Kahler Hill Road project in particular the stones on the road and the shoulders of the road. Mr. Behun stated that drivers are driving off the road and the shoulders are going to get worse. Leibensperger stated the contract was completed according to the specifications and in the fall the road crew will put more stone for the shoulders. Simchak suggested purchasing delineators for now. Gilbert expressed his opinion that we paid an engineering firm $100,000.00 to put a road in with shoulders. They were supposed to make sure that the road work was done correctly and if there is an accident the township will be liable. Mr. Pinkey suggested that the type of stone used should have been different. He said to use the broom and take the stones off the road. Mr. Behun did not approve of the way the road crew cleans the drains. He stated they throw the debris above the hill and the dirt washes back down the next time it rains. Mr. Behun also feels the township should have a gas card with a limit on it for the police department. Then, they can purchase gas at the cheapest location and save the township some money. Simchak stated that question was answered at last month’s meeting and the gas cards have a monthly fee attached to them. Mr. Behun also wanted to know where the zoning reports are listed on the agenda. Simchak stated all reports are placed on file for public review. Ms. Conville stated that under municipal reports are included the zoning report, road department report and the engineering report, if no one is present to give the report.
Charlie Shamonsky – stated there is a tree that needs to be cut back coming out of the Turkey Hill toward Lincoln Drive because it is obstructing the view. Mr. Shamonsky also asked how much money the township receives from the Hometown auction. Leibensperger stated that Mr. Dunn pays the township five thousand dollars a year and an agreement was drawn up by previous administrations.
Mr. Boyer –wanted to know if Mr. Dunn has been paying the yearly fee of $5,000.00 since the start of the agreement with the township. Leibensperger stated that when he was an auditor, there were three years that Mr. Dunn did not pay the money. Liens were filed against Mr. Dunn for that time frame, but a judge declared they were not done properly. Attorney Yurchak stated that the liens were null and voided. Past Supervisor Lazur stated that Mr. & Mrs. Dunn did sign the agreement, but he came to the Board on two different occasions and wanted it changed and they didn’t change it and they had to have a lien put on. Ms. Lazur felt that you could still go under the signed agreement to force the payment of funds. Ms. Lazur believes Attorney Domalakes drew up the agreement. Attorney Yurchak will review the file and report back for the next meeting.
George Gerhard – also inquired about where the debris from the Fortunato property was dumped and does cradle to grave apply to municipalities. Mr. Gerhard stated cradle to grave means that the owner is ultimately responsible in the end. Mr. Gerhard stated that if legal action is brought against the township, the taxpayers will ultimately be responsible. Attorney Yurchak stated that the township has the extra protection with the hold harmless agreement.
Lori Lewis – wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors requesting the existing burning ordinance for the township be revised. This ordinance was adopted in 1991 and has not been updated. Ms. Lewis stated the smoke from her neighbor’s fire pit comes into her home and affects her children. Ms. Lewis’s daughter has asthma. Ms. Lewis submitted a copy of Tamaqua’s ordinance, which was updated last year because of the pits. Leibensperger stated that he did read her report and feels the ordinance we have in place is fine for now as long as our fire departments in Quakake and Hometown have no problems with it because they are the experts. Hometown Fire Chief Barry Messerschmidt stated that the fire pits are no different than a charcoal grill and he is not sure what kind of ordinance could be put into place. Leibensperger told Ms. Lewis that if she has a problem with a burning issue, she should contact the police department. If she has a problem with a neighbor, you have to go thru the civil court because this Board does not get involved neighbor disputes. Simchak told Ms. Lewis that our Solicitor would review the ordinance. Ms. Lewis was concerned about the parking situation when the Meadow Avenue project begins. Simchak noted that only sanitary sewers were being done. Leibensperger stated that the only place the cars are parked now is on Mariner.
American Water Services Report
TJ read his report for the month. Supervisor Leibensperger questioned Mr. Tiejaro on the pump needed for Chamay Court and also about the preventive maintenance for all pump stations. Leibensperger also stated the last auto dialer for Tide Park was never hooked up. Gilbert stated the issue at Tide was about the costs of running the line. John Tiejaro recommends going cellular and noted the main issue involved to dig would be obtaining the necessary easements. Leibensperger asked Gilbert to follow thru on this project because he voted on this over a year ago. Gilbert asked Ms. Conville to go thru the minutes and find any information relating to the auto dialers because all three Supervisors at that time voted for the auto dialers. Attorney Yurchak intervened and said the Board should ask TJ for his recommendation for next month’s meeting, forget about what happened last year and just move forward. Simchak told TJ to get that hooked up as soon as possible. A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to accept American Water Services report. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. Simchak and Leibensperger voted for the motion and Gilbert voted no. The motion carried.
Vice-Chairman Gilbert asked TJ about the charge of seventy-five cents per mile on TK Electrical’s bill. TJ explained that it is better to pay the mileage rate than the hourly rate the electrician will charge us for the time it takes him to get here. A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to grant the requests made for the power pump for Chamay Court and for the preventive maintenance. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Police Department Report
Corporal Frederick announced that the township would hold its first Crime Watch group meeting on Wednesday, July 7th at 6 pm at the municipal building. All residents are welcome and encouraged to attend.
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to accept the police department’s report. Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried. Simchak thanked Corporal Frederick for his efforts to bring about the kick off meeting for the Crime Watch and is hoping people will volunteer their service.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to approve the meeting minutes from April 26, 2010 and May 18, 2010. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Ms. Conville 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 for May 31, 2010. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Approval of Current Township and Sewer Bills for June, 2010
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to approve all township and sewer bills for June, 2010. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. Simchak and Leibensperger voted for the motion and Gilbert voted no, carried. Under the question, Gilbert wanted to go on record as voting no for the computer system because he feels it should of went out for bid. He feels it is over the $10,000.00 mark and there are plenty of computer companies out there. He does not want to be held liable for it if something comes up down the road. Gilbert wanted to know which Supervisors gave approval for Alfred Benesch and Company to write a letter to Bill McMullen of Arro Engineering stating the storm-water management program is being reviewed. Both Simchak and Leibensperger noted that Benesch has found some discrepancies in the completion report. All information must be obtained according to Arro’s contract before the final bill is paid. Gilbert also wanted to know when we would start alternating the purchase of gas between the two local vendors. Simchak stated that we will start switching in September. Gilbert asked when the repairs would begin on Old Hauto Road. Leibensperger stated the road crew will start to patch Old Hauto Road within the next few weeks.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to accept and place on file all municipal reports. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to put all correspondence on file for public review. Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Attorney Yurchak mentioned that on February 5th and again on March 30th, 2010, two members of the Board of Supervisors, himself, our township representative to the ESP, Cathey Schimpf, and our zoning officer, Bill McMullen, met in executive session with Marion Lazur and Thomas B. Lazur, their attorney and their zoning expert at their request in an effort to resolve a challenge to the Zoning Ordinance. No votes were taken nor were any decisions made by the Supervisors. Attorney Yurchak apologized for not announcing this sooner. A motion was made by Vice-Chairman Gilbert to accept the solicitor’s report. Supervisor Leibensperger seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to adopt Resolution 2010-14 to pay back the remaining balance owed to the Hometown Sewer Investment Fund of $54,803.00 plus 3 % interest yearly with quarterly payments to begin the fiscal year of January 2011 and end December 2012. This amount satisfies the withdrawal of funds made on February 8, 2007. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Under the question, Gilbert wanted to know where we were getting the money. Ms. Conville stated it would be put into the budget for the next two years. Marion Lazur asked if an amortization schedule would be drawn up and when the re-payment of funds would begin. It was stated a schedule will be done and payments will begin the end of the first quarter of March 2011. Ms. Conville polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to ratify the agreement with Alfred Benesch and Company to proceed with the scope of work for the Meadow Avenue Project. (Total engineering cost estimate $49,500) Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. Simchak and Leibensperger voted yes to the motion, and Gilbert voted no. Motion carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to adopt the Police Department Petty Cash Policy. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger to accept the stewardship program for the Ryan Memorial Park. Chairman Simchak seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. Simchak and Leibensperger voted for the motion, and Gilbert voted no. Motion carried.
A motion was made by Supervisor Leibensperger for the fire police to assist at the Six County Fireman’s Convention Parade on June 26, 8 a.m. in the McAdoo Borough. Vice-Chairman Gilbert seconded the motion. Ms. Conville polled the Board. All members voted in favor of the motion, carried.
Chairman Simchak adjourned the meeting at 7:30 o’clock pm.