The Allen Township Board of Supervisors met Tuesday, November 28 with a brief agenda.
During unfinished business, the board unanimously granted a financial security and time extension request to Tim Livengood for the Stone Ridge Meadows development for the completion of Stone Ridge Loop Road through Dec. 1, 2024. The applicant expects that phase three of the residential project will be approved and secured by that time and they have provided a bond through that period of time.
The board also unanimously approved authorization to solicit bids for the sale of various township equipment through Municbid, including a 2003 CAT 430D backhoe with broom/bucket attachments, a trailer, a 1987 Case International tractor and miscellaneous liquid storage tanks and a few other items such as plows and other minor things.
Next, supervisors unanimously approved a memorandum that included minor adjustments to township personnel policy sections 3.1 – Hours of Work, which will provide Public Works employees with two paid 15-minute rest periods per shift, and 4.14 – Inclement Weather, which addresses limited work duties from home during inclement weather and is something the township was already been implementing but are just now moving forward with the formality of the process.
In other business, the board discussed possibly implementing a fire incentive program for volunteer firefighters that would provide those who qualify with a financial incentive in the form of credits against Northampton County real estate taxes. In recent months, Northampton County began implementing a program, which they call the Active Volunteer Real Estate Tax Credit Ordinance.
Not to be confused with payment for services, the credit is an incentive that is in response to the declining trends and numbers of volunteer firefighters and to encourage others to become involved as active volunteers. Another incentive discussed was the reimbursement of gas mileage for volunteers living outside the township. Additionally, the county has implemented the ordinance, but neighboring municipalities have not yet begun providing the incentive within their fire departments either, so the board must develop their own criteria to implement the credits if they end up choosing to do so.
Per the county ordinance, each individual meeting the eligibility requirements will receive a real estate tax credit in the amount of the real estate tax paid by the volunteer, not to exceed $250 each year. Therefore, the credit is based on the millage rate of the municipality where the volunteer resides and is not a fixed amount, so the maximum credit they may receive is up to $250.
Vice Chairman Gary Behler felt that this incentive would be unfair for individuals whose property may not be assessed as high as others, so some individuals would receive more than others.
Other supervisors agreed with Behler that there should be a cap on the credit amount that volunteers can receive and there was also discussion of considering a proposal for a flat rate and one for a cap, as well as the incorporation of gas mileage, so that they can assess which guidelines and criteria they prefer.
Although the ordinance only became effective within the last two months at the county level, eligible active volunteers from the 2023 tax year will be eligible for the real estate tax credit for the 2024 tax year since it is based on the previous year’s participation.
Township Manager Ilene M. Eckhart and Solicitor B. Lincoln Treadwell were given direction from the board to work on a set of guidelines for the incentive. No decision was made at this time.
In other news, the board discussed the upcoming closure of the Willowbrook Road bridge next to the Wayne A. Grube Memorial Park at 1200 Willowbrook Rd. based on the upcoming utility relocation and reconstruction of the bridge.
As a result, Willowbrook Road will be temporarily closed from Monday, December 11 through Friday, December 15 at the intersection with West Bullshead Road due to waterline utility work related to the bridge replacement project. Then, the bridge will open back up until the project begins sometime in January and will remain closed most likely through October.
Next, supervisors unanimously approved the authorization for two seasonal call-in road crew applicants for winter maintenance to be placed on standby that may be called in if the winter ends up being a very busy season for the Public Works Department.
Last, the board unanimously approved a draft offer of employment to a candidate for an equipment operator/utility position. The individual will be announced at the next township meeting.
The next Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be held Tuesday, December 12 at 6 p.m. in the Allen Township Fire Company building, located at 3530 Howertown Rd. All subsequent 2024 public township meetings will be held in the Allen Township municipal building, located at 4714 Indian Trail Rd. at 6 p.m. due to renovations at the fire station.