The Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, March 28 beginning with candidate introductions. Members of the board seeking reelection in 2023 introduced themselves and spoke about what they have accomplished during their terms to date, as well as what they hope to accomplish if elected for another term. Those in the audience who are running for positions on the Northampton School Board were also invited to make themselves and their platforms known.
The work at the Cherryville intersection is completed, and PennDOT has provided the closeout for the work done by the contractor. The contractor must provide a few small items before payment can be rendered. The board approved the payment pending receipt of these remaining items, and Township Manager Alice Rehrig will have the check cut once everything has been received, thus closing out the grant.
The township has received an additional $1 million grant for the maintenance building project from state gaming funds; this brings the total amount of grant money for the project to $3.5 million. The revised architectural plans will be presented to the board for review at the April 8 meeting. Once approved, the process of gathering bids will begin.
The resolution drafted by board members Cynthia Miller and David Hess, concerning a process for appointment to boards and commissions, has been fine-tuned by Township Solicitor David Backenstoe and was presented for review by the rest of the board. After a brief discussion, it was approved and will be implemented going forward. The board also reviewed a resolution drafted by Police Chief Scott Fogel, outlining which police records are to be destroyed; this too was approved.
Bella Vista Estates brought a request to the board to reevaluate the street lighting district of the development. It was explained that the development was built in two phases, and street lights had to be installed for the first phase. The second phase is not part of the street lighting district, and the board was asked to change this so that the entire development would be part of the district and all residents would have to pay the necessary fee for the street lights. A discussion ensued, in which board member Philip Gogel pointed out that those who bought their homes in the second phase did so with the understanding that they would not be charged for street lights, and the proposed alteration would charge them with a fee for which they were not necessarily prepared. Board President Michael Jones pointed out that no matter what action they took, someone would be displeased, but added that he agreed with Gogel. Gogel suggested sending the request back to Bella Vista, and instructing them to ask the residents if they are willing to take on this additional expense. Board member Gerald Pritchard felt the situation should be left as is. The board decided to take no action at present.
As the floor was opened up for public comment, a resident commended the fire company and fire commissioner Richard Hildebrand for the excellence of their sportsmen’s night fundraiser on March 25. The sentiment was echoed by all in attendance; Hildebrand offered his thanks, and then apologized to anyone who had been at the event and smelled anything amiss. A prankster got into the fire hall and dropped stink bombs in the building. Apart from this, the event was a success, and he expected the funds raised to pay for the company’s electricity for the rest of the year.
Board member Gogel advised any residents who have experienced unduly high electric bills from PPL in recent months to contact the offices of elected officials Zack Mako and Nick Miller. They have a dedicated hotline for the matter, and residents are asked to urge them to put pressure on the utility commission to look into the debacle.
The board members then left the room to conduct an executive session concerning a personnel matter. Because they expected to be making a decision that would be announced publicly, the meeting was not adjourned. After deliberating for 45 minutes, the board members returned with the news that an individual identified as “employee number 209” would be suspended for one day due to violation of the code of conduct. Chief Fogel will schedule the day of suspension so that police department operations will not be disrupted by it.
The next meeting of the board of supervisors is scheduled for Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building at 1069 Municipal Rd., Walnutport.