During their meeting on Tuesday, September 12, the Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors began examining the 2024 budget. Future expected expenditures include repairs and parts for township vehicles, computers and other equipment for the police department, and a revised development plan for the township parks. There was also a discussion regarding the capital plan and possible additional grants which, if awarded, can help to cover some of the needed items. The budget discussion was then tabled until the September 26 meeting, and it was decided that the meeting would begin an hour early, at 6 p.m., to allow sufficient time for continued discussion on the budget. 

A representative was present for the land development project at 4209 Lehigh Dr. An extension was requested due to delayed drawings from the engineers. The board approved an extension until November 30.

A representative was also present for two projects being done by Timothy Pitts. The minor subdivision plan will break a piece of property into two lots. The land development project had a planning module ready for adoption. The board approved the plan and the adoption of the module. 

Township Engineer Michael Muffley spoke about the Hills at Greenock project. They were seeking the release of their escrow, transitioning to an 18-month maintenance period, and the board agreed to the release of the bond except for what is required for their maintenance agreement.

Frank Zamadics with the Public Works Department said that the paving project for South Cottonwood [was] expected to begin Monday, September 18. The yard waste center is currently receiving a large amount of materials which they are not able to accept, such as ornamental grass, so new gates are very much needed. Township Manager Alice Rehrig assured him that they are only waiting on the final contract before they are installed, and the layout plan can be drafted in the meantime. The gates will be installed by the same contractor who is doing the new maintenance building. It was decided that the yard waste center will be closed from Feb. 1 to April 1, 2024.

Police Chief Scott Fogel is reviewing three candidates for the department, and expects to be able to present them to the board at the first meeting in October. All three have experience and interviewed well. He read a letter of resignation from Officer Peterson Myrthil, and spoke about a recent troubling incident that occurred on social media prior to the resignation being tendered. Chief Fogel said his door is always open to the officers if they need to speak with him about any problems. Vice-chairman Miller agreed that what took place on social media was very inappropriate and made the police department look bad. Board member Gerald Pritchard urged residents to ask themselves, before posting commentary online, whether their words will make things better or worse. 

“Bring your issues to a board meeting,” he said, “and we will hear you.” This was followed by a lengthy discussion regarding Officer Myrthil’s resignation, which was accepted, and the board promised to review the situation during their executive session.

The maintenance building project continues on schedule and the roof is expected to be in place by December. Payments were approved to Billitier Electric, Livengood Excavators, Shannon A. Smith, Inc., and Vision Mechanical for work completed thus far. Four bids have been received for the project to revise zoning and Saldo ordinances; the lowest bid came from Urban Research and Development. They will work with the ad hoc committee once a month for 11 months to make the revisions, have the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission approve them, and provide information to the public. Board member Philip Gogel abstained from voting due to his own projects, but the others all voted to accept the bid and move forward.

A draft of the comprehensive plan has been received. Township Solicitor David Backenstoe recommended holding one more public hearing, before a regular board meeting to expedite matters. The hearing will be advertised for 6 p.m. on October 24.

The township has received the first reimbursement from the statewide gaming grant; Township Manager Rehrig reported that she is still waiting for final approval on some of her other submissions. Another round of gaming grants will be starting soon, and the board members will consider the options. Rehrig was meanwhile given approval to move forward with seeking bids for a fuel storage system.

Backenstoe reported that the zoning meeting concerning the potential medical marijuana facility took place as scheduled on August 24 and ran for over six hours. He commended the zoning board members for their patience; he and engineer Muffley were both likewise commended by the board members for their excellent work. Ultimately, the board voted to deny the application for the dispensary, although they did approve the plan for a fast food restaurant. The applicant may appeal this decision.

It was mentioned that the cash bingo at the fire company will take place on September 22 as advertised, with doors opening at 5 p.m. and the games beginning at 6 p.m. The fire company is also selling Yeti tumblers inscribed with the words “I support the Lehigh Township Fire Department.” These are $40 each and can be ordered online. With public comments concluded, the board members went into their executive session to discuss the police officer resignation and other personnel matters.

The next Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 26 at 6 p.m. in the municipal building, 1069 Municipal Rd., Walnutport. 


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