The Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, October 11 at 6 p.m. Following a brief executive session to discuss personnel issues, during which no action was taken, they continued reviewing the 2023 budget. Township Manager Alice Rehrig reported that she will have the remaining data within the next two weeks. It was agreed that the next board meeting will again begin at 6 p.m. in order to do a final review of the budget.
After approving the previous meeting’s minutes and some bills for the general and state funds, the board heard from the recreation department. The softball tournament which was supposed to have happened on October 1 was washed out by the remnants of Hurricane Ian; no report is yet available regarding rescheduling the event. Sandra Hopkins stated the township tree lighting ceremony has been arranged for December 3. She also reported on her interactions with the Lions Club regarding the new sign at Bryfogle Park; they wanted the board to decide on a size for the sign. After some discussion, it was decided that three feet by five feet would be sufficient for the purpose, and the Lions will have their emblem added.
Hopkins confirmed the township does not have its own personal address system and proposed purchasing one to use for events, instead of borrowing. The board discussed making the purchase using the general fund, so that the system could be shared among all departments. Hopkins will gather prices and report back.
Public Works Director Frank Zamadics reported the township’s fuel pump has been having issues due to the damp mornings of recent days, which prevents them from fueling the police cars. Board member Cynthia Miller said they have applied for a grant to finance repairs.
Deere Country is holding firm on their invoices with regards to the roadside mower they had repaired, as discussed during the September 13 meeting. Zamadics provided the board with a timeline of events, including when he was called to pick up the repaired mower, it did not work. Township Solicitor David Backenstoe said this means the township should not be liable for the invoice for the secondary repairs. It was agreed the original invoice should be paid. Miller made a motion to deny the second invoice; this motion carried, with Board President Michael Jones casting the lone negative vote, citing his reluctance to have the bill sent to collections. Backenstoe said the payment for the first invoice will be accompanied by a statement the township considers the matter paid in full, adding if Deere elects to sue the township for payment, the board will fight it.
Elizabeth Amato of the zoning board reported the Uniform Construction Code board meeting with Jaindl went well; the board has been formally established, and she recommends appointing a permanent solicitor for them, as this will probably not be the last time they are needed. Backenstoe was of the opinion that the UCC board did an excellent job. The zoning board has proposed updates to ordinances regulating smaller landscaping businesses; the board will review these and vote on the details next month.
Police Chief Scott Fogel presented a list of police activity in the past month. Of the 17 car accidents investigated, he reported roughly half of them involved deer, and reminded residents to be extra careful at this time of the year. He noted that one incident involved a deer running into a police car, leaving a dent which is being inspected; the deer survived. He stated the Movie in the Park went well and they hope to do it twice a year, and also that the new cruiser car has arrived and runs beautifully. A resolution was passed authorizing the chief to upgrade and update the department’s records management system. He already has a system in mind and, if the grant for which they have applied is acquired, it will cost taxpayers nothing.
Fire Commissioner Richard Hildebrand stated repairs have begun on the fire truck, and should cost approximately $10,000. Apparatus repairs are expected to cost around $100,00 for the year. A discussion was held about the opportunity to purchase a used engine for the company; a township in Columbia County is disbanding its fire company and selling the equipment. A 2010 engine, similar to the 1998 ladder truck currently owned by Lehigh Township, is available for $150,000. It was decided to send representatives to examine the truck and report back to the board about its suitability.
Township Engineer Michael Muffley reported that paving has been completed at Indian Trail Park, and a new guardrail is coming soon. Riverview Drive Self-Storage will be making an application for a special exception. Meanwhile, the new owners of the former Archery Addictions building are waiting on PennDOT’s approval for their driveway. The Northwoods Project, an extension of Heritage Village, has submitted a plan for lot line adjustment, and is working with Backenstoe to get the language right for agreements.
The board revisited the issue of personal shooting ranges. Backenstoe again recommended using the state’s standards for how far a range must be from any dwellings – at least 150 feet for firearms, and at least 75 feet for archery. A final draft of the proposed amendments will be created for the board’s approval at the next meeting.
Trick-or-treat has been scheduled for Friday, October 28 from 6 to 8 p.m.; the rain date will be Sunday, October 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. Board member David Hess noted that candy will be handed out at the fire company during the event.
Five applications have been received for the road crew vacancy. Copies of the applications will be provided to the board members to review before any interviews are arranged. A resident of the Treichlers area has contacted the board about traffic rattling the houses, and PennDOT will be sent a request to conduct a speed study. Another resident approached the board with pictures of a dead tree owned by the township which fell on her truck, and urged them to remove the dead trees from public property before someone gets hurt.
As a final note, board member Gerald Pritchard encouraged residents to attend the Act 34 meeting regarding the Northampton school district. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on November 10 in the Northampton middle school cafeteria, 1617 Laubach Ave.
The next meeting of the board of supervisors will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 25 in the municipal building at 1069 Municipal Rd., Walnutport.