The Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, April 25 at 7 p.m.
Township Manager Alice Rehrig reported she spoke with Jim Milot regarding the issues with the close out of the final HOPs associated with the Cherryville intersection. When the township applied for the permit for their work in the intersection, PennDOT told Jim Milot to hold the applications for Amey’s Garage, Turkey Hill, and Cherryville Pizza until everything was complete. Now that all the work was complete and the applications were submitted, PennDOT wouldn’t accept them because there was a change in ownership and the new owners needed to be the ones submitting the application. Jim Milot has obtained signatures from Amey’s and Turkey Hill. Both of these applications have been submitted. Amey’s has already been approved and closed out. It is expected that Turkey Hill’s should be approved and closed shortly. Jim Milot is still waiting on a signature from Cherryville Pizza.
The maintenance building project went out to bid the Thursday prior to the meeting, and some contractors have already expressed an interest. Anyone who would submit a bid must first register with the website Pennbid. Bids are due by May 18, and a recommendation will be presented to the board during the second May meeting.
The amended zoning ordinance was presented as being ready for a motion for adoption. Board member Philip Gogel explained, in response to an audience query, that the improved definitions in the revised ordinance will make things easier for local small landscaping and contractor businesses; not only will they have greater clarification, but they will be able to keep some of their equipment on their private property without receiving a citation for it. The amended ordinance was unanimously approved for adoption.
Police Chief Scott Fogel had submitted a memo to the board, stating that he was having difficulty getting multiple quotes for a new police cruiser. He requested permission to pursue the one that he was able to find, rather than continue to try and get other quotes, to avoid the risk of the grant expiring. It was noted that both the cruiser being replaced and the one Fogel was requesting permission to purchase are Dodge Chargers, and that model will no longer be manufactured after 2023; to purchase a different model would require new equipment, and thus be more expensive, whereas purchasing this cruiser would allow the existing equipment to be transferred from the old car to the new one. The car in question will cost $39,233, roughly half of which will be covered by the grant money. After some discussion, the board voted to grant Fogel’s request.
Rehrig has talked to four different agents about insurance proposals for the township, only one of whom responded with a quote. The policy cost will increase roughly 5%, which is considerably lower than the average increase, and will be done through Selective Insurance. This was approved by the board. Rehrig was also authorized to submit an application and business plan for RACP funding for the township, and to continue with her submissions with GroNorCo for the security project.
A successful candidate was found for the vacant office position, and an offer will be extended to that individual.
Rehrig reported that financial reports through March 31 show that township revenue is approximately as expected, however police department overtime is running higher than projected and must be discussed with the chief. A few other areas are also running slightly higher than expected and the board will examine these situations.
Rehrig and Miller attended a convention for two days regarding local government. Miller is preparing a report for one of the May meetings to talk about what they learned.
As the floor was opened for public comment, members of the zoning board raised a complaint about a letter received by their solicitor, Neil Ettinger. The matter was heavily debated, with both sides finally agreeing to schedule a meeting with board members, the zoning board, Ettinger, and Township Solicitor David Backenstoe.
Another resident complained that the street sweeper has been blowing stones into her yard and damaging roads during the winter. She urged the board members to read the email she sent, with photographs attached, and asked them to direct township workers to be more considerate.
The board then adjourned for an executive session to discuss personnel matters.
The next supervisors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 9 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building, located at 1069 Municipal Rd., Walnutport.