TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING

MINUTES – JANUARY 2, 2007

 

 

The organizational meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 2, 2007.  Mr. Santarsiero called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.  Mr. Caiola called the role.  Mr. Santarsiero noted that no Executive Session was held this evening.

 

Those present:

 

Board of Supervisors:               Ron Smith, Chairman

                                                Greg Caiola, Vice Chairman

                                                Steve Santarsiero, Secretary/Treasurer

                                                Grace Godshalk, Supervisor

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor

 

Others:                                     Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager

                                                David Truelove, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Kenneth Coluzzi, Chief of Police

 

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

 

There was no public comment at this time.

 

 

ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN OF BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

 

The meeting was turned over to Chairman pro-tem, David Truelove, who called for nominations for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for 2007.  Mr. Santarsiero moved and Mr. Caiola seconded the nomination of Ron Smith as Chairman.  There were no further nominations.  Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Santarsiero seconded and it was unanimously carried to close nominations.  Motion to elect Ron Smith as Chairman carried unanimously.  The meeting was turned over to Mr. Smith.

 

 

REMARKS BY RON SMITH, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

 

Mr. Smith stated a year ago when he took office his agenda was to come with enthusiasm, passion, and compassion which he hopes he has demonstrated over the past year.  He stated he also wanted to see civility by the Board of Supervisors in their dealings with the public and each other.  He stated despite some differences of opinion by

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the Board members, they all worked together over the past year with each other and with the public as well.  He stated last year was the first time there was not a Republican majority on the Board.  He stated he would like the Supervisors to be judged not by Party labels, but by how they do the job. 

 

Mr. Smith reviewed many of the accomplishments made by the Board in 2006.  He stated they have fulfilled their promise regarding open government by televising the meetings and opening up appointments to various Boards and Commissions based on what they can offer the Township regardless of Party affiliation which has resulted in more participation by the Township residents.  Mr. Smith commended Mrs. Godshalk and her Committee on the Garden of Reflection which was completed last year.  Mr. Smith commended Mr. Stainthorpe on his proposal for wind energy which the Township is participating in which has made the Township a leader in this area.  He commended all Supervisors as well as Mr. Fedorchak and his staff on their ability to act fiscally responsible resulting in no tax increase for 2007.  Mr. Smith stated the Board was also  able to resolve the Matrix issue this year, and he thanked Mr. Santarsiero for taking the lead on this many years ago.  Mr. Smith noted the flooding problems which occurred in 2006 and the steps being taken by the Township and affected residents in trying to address this problem.  Mr. Smith noted the number of new Committees formed in 2006 including the Citizens Traffic Commission which is taking steps to be proactive in addressing the needs of the residents related to traffic. 

 

Mr. Smith noted a number of Ordinances passed by the Board in 2006 including a Fireworks Ordinance, the Ordinance related to times when trash can be collected, and the Low Impact Development Ordinance which will affect the Township in a positive way for many years to come.  He stated the Board will continue to work this year on an issue raised in 2006 regarding the establishment of quiet zones related to the railroads.  

Mr. Smith stated this year he learned the value of the Elm Lowne property beyond its price tag.  He stated the Elm Lowne Committee is continuing to work on this, and he commended the work they are doing.  Mr. Smith stated the Board formed a Special Events Committee and a number of events were held in 2006 which gave Lower Makefield its own identify.  He particularly noted Community Day held on Labor Day which was very successful and brought the Township residents together. 

 

Mr. Smith stated the theme for 2007 will be a continuation of what they began in 2006 and to continue to improve the quality of life in Lower Makefield Township.  He stated they will continue to work with the Disabled Persons Advisory Board, the deer management problem, and flooding issues.  He stated a number of people have expressed concern with the number of signs in the Township; and hopefully they will address this issue, particularly given the upcoming Elections.  He stated he would also like to have two to three Town Meetings this year where residents can come in to discuss their concerns. 

 

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Mr. Smith stated he also feels quality of life begins with public safety, and he feels they are understaffed with Police Officers.  He stated there is a crime problem in Bucks County which they need to face.

 

Mr. Smith stated he is very interested in Parks & Recreation which he feels improves the quality of life of the Township.  He stated he was President of YMS for a number of years and is still involved in that organization.  He stated there is a need for more recreation fields and this needs to be addressed.  He stated he would like to schedule a special meeting to have all the user organizations come in to advise the Township what they need so that their needs can be addressed.  He stated he would also like the Board to re-visit the Community Center issue.  He stated they need to remember the Senior Citizens of the Township as well.  He stated the Board has not forgotten the Seniors and he hopes to have a Community Center with a Senior wing.  Mr. Smith stated he looks forward to a great 2007. 

 

 

ELECTION OF OTHER OFFICERS

 

Mr. Smith called for nominations for Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for 2007.    Mr. Santarsiero moved and Mr. Stainthorpe seconded the nomination of Greg Caiola.  There were no further nominations, and the nominations were closed.  Motion to elect Mr. Caiola as Vice Chairman carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Smith called for nominations for Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Supervisors for 2007.  Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Stainthorpe seconded the nomination of Steve Santarsiero.  There were no further nominations, and the nominations were closed.  Motion to elect Mr. Santarsiero as Secretary/Treasurer carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Smith called for nominations for Assistant Secretary/Treasurer for 2007.

Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to elect Terry Fedorchak as Assistant Secretary/Treasurer.

 

 

APPOINTMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES AND LIAISION ASSIGNMENTS FOR 2007

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint the following representatives and liaison assignments for 2007 as noted by Mr. Smith:

 

Ron Smith – Zoning Hearing Board,  Pension, Special Events, Elm Lowne, Regional

                     Traffic Task Force

 

 

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Greg Caiola         – Citizens Budget, Economic Development, Regional Traffic

                               Task Force,  Magnet Site, Historic Architectural Review Board

 

Steve Santarsiero – Park & Recreation, Environmental Advisory Council, Citizens

                                Traffic, Pension, Southeastern Bucks League of Municipalities

 

Grace Godshalk  – Planning Commission, Historic Commission, Sewer Authority,

                               Garden of Reflection

 

Pete Stainthorpe  – Golf Committee, Farmland Preservation Corporation, Cable TV,

                                Disabled Persons Advisory Board, Emergency Management

 

 

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN OF VACANCY BOARD

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Jason Simon as Chairman of the Vacancy Board.

 

 

APPOINTMENT OF CURTIN & HEEFNER AS TOWNSHIP SOLICITOR FOR 2007

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved and Mr. Caiola seconded the appointment of Curtin & Heefner as Township Solicitor for 2007. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk asked that the rates be attached to the Minutes.  Mr. Santarsiero noted the rates cited, while a bit higher than last year, are still lower than those that were previously charged to the Township by Begley, Carlin & Mandio.

 

Motion to approve carried unanimously.

 

 

APPOINTMENT OF SCHOOR DE PALMA AS TOWNSHIP ENGINEER FOR 2007

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved and Mr. Caiola seconded to appoint Schoor DePalma as Township Engineer for 2007.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated he is conflicted about this appointment noting the letter received by the Board this week.  He stated in December Mr. Schoor was indicted by the U. S. Attorneys Office for bribery charges.  He stated they were under investigation last year when the Board  considered their appointment, and he raised the question at that time as well.  He stated while he is concerned about this particular incident, he has been very pleased with the work Schoor DePalma has done this year.  He stated Mr. Majewski is an excellent engineer.  He stated the work the firm did on the flood mitigation was also

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excellent; however, he is concerned about their ethics.  He stated the Board received a letter indicating that Mr. Schoor was indicted as an individual, and the firm itself is not under investigation; and while this is somewhat comforting, Mr. Schoor did serve as Chairman for many years.  He stated when the investigation first came up, his hope was it was a mid-level employee acting on his own; but when it comes from the Chairman, the Chairman sets the tone for the company.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated Lower Makefield has always had a very clean record.  He stated because of the quality of work Schoor DePalma has done, he will not vote against their appointment, but because of the implications of Mr. Schoor, he will abstain from the vote. 

 

Mr. Caiola stated he too is concerned that Mr. Schoor’s name is on the letterhead. 

Mr. Caiola stated he had a relationship with this firm previously when he lived in Ewing Township, and he has found them to be extremely professional.  He stated for him the “face” of Schoor DePalma is Lower Makefield’s own engineer.  He stated Mr. Schoor no longer works for Schoor DePalma.  He feels all those on the Board of Supervisors are ethical individuals; and while he does have some similar concerns, he believes the work speaks for itself and feels there is a division between what Mr. Schoor did and what the rest of the organization has done. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels they should appoint the firm on a monthly basis until there is clarification of the charges and the implications that might result on the firm.  She stated they have done this in the past, so there is precedence.

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated they did get a letter from a law firm representing Schoor DePalma which clearly states that the U.S. Attorney had concluded that the company had done nothing wrong; and it was Mr. Schoor, who has long since left the company, who was the target of the investigation, and ultimately of the indictment.  He stated he does not feel it reflects poorly on the present company or on the representation the Township has received in the last year.  Mr. Santarsiero stated Mr. Smith earlier mentioned the flooding which occurred in the Township last year which was a very traumatic event.  He stated the Township was fortunate at the time that they had Schoor DePalma on board which had the capability in-house to quickly perform the study and come up with ideas of what could be done to mitigate future potential floods.  He stated there are few Municipal engineers which have that kind of capability.  He stated had they not been their engineers, they would have to bid that service out which would have taken additional time.  He stated he feels they will continue to provide the Township excellent services and would endorse the current Motion to re-appoint them for the year 2007.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels they should change the Motion to monthly.  Mr. Smith asked if she would like to make an Amendment; however, Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels they would have to withdraw the Motion.

 

 

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Mr. Santarsiero stated Mr. Truelove indicated to him that the professionals serve at the pleasure of the Board, and they can be fired at any time. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels they would be sending a clear message to the constituents that the Board will continue to look into this matter further.  Mr. Caiola stated he is not sure how they could look into this any further than what has been indicated by the Attorney General.  Mrs. Godshalk stated they might receive some more information.

 

Ms. Helen Bosley, 546 Palmer Farm Drive, asked what Mr. Schoor was indicted for. 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated it was bribery related to the Monmouth Township Sewer Authority.  Ms. Bosley stated her concern is one of setting a tone at the top; and while this individual may not still be with the firm, she feels they need to be mindful of this type of conduct. 

 

Mr. Smith stated he feels that they will be mindful of this, and they will take into consideration Mrs. Godshalk’s concerns, but noted they have been advised that the professionals serve at the pleasure of the Board.

 

Mr. Geoffrey Goll, 5 S. Homestead, stated he has worked with Mr. Majewski; and he would recommend that he be retained as an engineer for the Township.  He stated he is, however, uncomfortable as a Township resident to know that his tax dollars are going to a company who has a founder who has been indicted.   He stated while he is no longer a member of the firm, according to the newspaper, he is still a paid consultant.  He stated the Township has become very large, and it may be time that the Township has a full-time engineer on staff, and he would recommend that they consider Mr. Majewski as that individual, and they could sub out for other services as necessary. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she fully supports Mr. Majewski, but noted he only went with

Schoor DePalma last year.  She stated even this year, they had to provide other people for certain items.  She stated if they had a Township engineer on staff, they would still have to go out and hire others. 

 

Motion as stated carried with Mrs. Godshalk opposed and Mr. Stainthorpe abstained.

 

 

APPOINTMENT OF REMINGTON, VERNICK & BEACH AS SEWER ENGINEER FOR 2007

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Remington, Vernick & Beach as Sewer Engineer for 2007.

 

 

 

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APPOINTMENT OF TRAFFIC PLANNING AND DESIGN, INC. AS TRAFFIC ENGINEERS FOR 2007

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved and Mr. Caiola seconded the appointment of Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. as Traffic Engineers for 2007.

 

Mr. Smith asked if they are currently working with the Traffic Commission, and

Mr. Santarsiero stated they are, and they also used them in 2004/05 as the Township’s consultant on the Sunrise Development.  He stated most recently Chad Dixon, the lead engineer for TPD on the bikepath issue, did an excellent job for the Township. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated all letters indicating the rates should be attached to the Minutes. 

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

APPOINTMENT OF REMINGTON, VERNICK & BEACH TO PROVIDE CONFLICT ENGINEER SERVICES IN 2007

 

Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Santarsiero seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Remington, Vernick & Beach as Conflict Engineer for 2007.

 

 

APPOINTMENT OF BIRDSALL ENGINEERING AS ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERS FOR 2007

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Birdsall Engineering as the Environmental Engineers for 2007. 

 

 

APPOINTMENT OF DELEGATE AND ALTERNATE DELEGATE TO THE ANNUAL CONVENTION OF PENNSYLVANIA TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS

 

Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Santarsiero seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Grace Godshalk as the Delegate to the Annual Convention of Pennsylvania Township Supervisors to be held April 22 to 25 2007 at the Hershey Lodge.

 

Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Santarsiero seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Pete Stainthorpe as the Alternate Delegate to the Annual Convention.

 

 

 

 

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APPROVE ESTABLISHING THE AMOUNT OF THE TREASURER’S BOND

 

Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to establish the amount of the Treasurer’s Bond at $2,000,000.

 

 

APPROVE ESTABLISHING THE AMOUNT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURER’S BOND

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to establish the amount of the Assistant Treasurer’s Bond at $2,000,000.

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of December 20, 2006 as corrected.

 

 

APPROVE PROPOSAL TO DEVELOP A DEER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

 

Mr. Fedorchak stated the Board received information from Mr. Shissler and the cost for the project would be $14,000.  He will report back by June 1.  Mr. Santarsiero stated the scope of the work includes the entire Township, not only the Five Mile Woods. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, and Mr. Caiola seconded to accept the proposal in the amount of $14,000.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated that the scope of work does indicate that they will “provide the Lower Makefield staff with a deer management plan for Five Mile Woods Preserve specifically and the Township in general.”  Mr. Santarsiero stated his understanding is that he will develop a Plan applicable to the entire Township. 

 

Ms. Virginia Torbert, 1700 Yardley-Newtown Road, stated when Mr. Conti was present at the last meeting he was going to provide information from another individual as well who had made a presentation to the Farmland Preservation Corporation.  Mr. Smith stated that individual was a hunter, and he had only one proposal to eliminate the deer which was by hunting.   He feels they will discuss that proposal along with the program provided by Mr. Shissler.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he had previously indicated that it would be good to get that individual’s information to Mr. Shissler for his consideration when he considers an overall plan.  Mr. Santarsiero stated Mr. Shissler’s goal is to create a much broader plan for the Board to consider.  Mr. Fedorchak stated they have not yet

 

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been provided with the information from Mr. Conti on the presentation made by that individual before the Farmland Preservation Corporation. 

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

APPROVE NETWORK MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT WITH DYNAMATRIX CORPORATION, INC. FOR GENERAL ADMINISTRATION AND POLICE DEPARTMENT

 

Mr. Fedorchak recommended that they enter into a one-year Agreement with Dynamatrix in the amount of $29,625.  He stated this is a local company of two individuals, one of whom lives in Lower Makefield.  He stated these functions had for the last four to five years been performed by a full-time Township employee who left approximately three to four months ago.  Mr. Fedorchak stated he saw this as an opportunity to look into how these functions are performed and to see if it would be feasible to contract out this service.  He discussed this with other local communities and IT professionals to determine what was available.  He stated Falls Township recommended Dynamatrix who has been working with them for the last two years.  Mr. Fedorchak stated he brought them on board on an ad-hoc basis over the last two to three months and has found them to be responsible, responsive, and technically competent.  He stated this cost would be less than half of what the Township was paying the full-time employee with benefits.  He stated there will be other services for which they will be charging the Township an hourly rate, but he still anticipates by year end, they could save approximately $30,000 proceeding in this fashion. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved and Mr. Caiola seconded the approval of the retention of Dynamatrix Corporation as the Network Maintenance company for General Administration and the Police Department.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated he is in favor of this as it will save the Township money, and

Mr. Fedorchak has indicated his satisfaction with their quality of work.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she understands that they will be billing the Township quarterly, and it will be broken down between the Police and General Administration so it will be billed in the Budgets for the specific areas; and Mr. Fedorchak agreed.  Mr. Caiola stated Falls Township is similar to Lower Makefield in many ways with regard to population, and he feels it made sense to go out to the other local communities to make sure that they do Municipal work.   Mr. Fedorchak stated they are also very familiar with the Alert System that the Chief relies on as well as the Chief’s mandate that there be 24/7 availability for technical support.  Dynamatrix has agreed to this, and it is included in the Contract.

Mr. Santarsiero stated the IT person did leave the Township in September, and there was a time during the fall months when the Website was not updated as quickly as it should have been and this was due to the fact that the Township was between consultants. 

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He stated with Dynamatrix on full-time, those problems will be resolved, and they will be able to update the Website and make it more user-friendly.

 

Mr. Smith asked Chief Coluzzi’s opinion, and Chief Coluzzi stated they have worked with Dynamatrix Corporation for some time and they are very competent, respond quickly, executed all the Confidentiality Agreements with the Police Department; and he is confident that they will do a good job.

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

RESIGN MATRIX MYLARS

 

Mylars were signed following the meeting.

 

 

APPOINTMENTS

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to

re-appoint Frank Draper and Rich Eisner to the Golf Committee.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated the Township commercial and office buildings have been asked to participate in the recycling program.  She stated she is the owner of a building in a Township office park, and they received a letter from the Condominium owner at the request of the Township about recycling in the office.  She stated while this is a good idea, it is very difficult to control because people who do not purchase trash removal frequently use office dumpsters.  She stated previously they had one dumpster and they now have four which is very unsightly and there is a significant amount of trash, etc. lying on the ground which has been dropped off.  She stated they must consider what can be done about this and noted the possibility of locks on the dumpsters. 

 

Mr. Smith stated he feels those coming in and dumping materials are committing a crime, and it is incumbent to report this to the Police.  He asked that the Police Department look into this to see if it is a Township-wide problem and what can be done.  Chief Coluzzi stated he feels it is a Township-wide program.  He stated they had to lock the Township dumpster because people were coming in and dumping items in the Township dumpster as well.  Mr. Smith asked that they look into this further to see if there is something that can be done to address this problem.  He stated if they are able to cite people who are doing this and bring them before the District Judge, it may help stop this problem.

 

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Mr. Smith stated he would like to see consideration given to a Township Post Office or Sub-Station.  Mr. Fedorchak stated this is a decision to be made by the Postal Department as to where they locate Post Offices.  He stated both Morrisville and Yardley Borough have Post Offices and it reflects more the fact that they were community centers before Lower Makefield evolved to the size and importance it is now.  Mr. Smith stated the demographics have changed drastically and possibly the Township solicitor could look into the Application process.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated at one point 19068 was a Zip Code for Edgewood, Pennsylvania; and he feels at one point in time there was a small Post Office in Edgewood Village.  He stated while they can look into the matter, the Postal service is looking into cutting back on the number of Post Offices since more people are using e-mail.  He stated they are also cutting back on the number of mail boxes.  Mr. Caiola stated they had a similar situation in Ewing Township where they wanted to move a Post Office into a larger location, and it was a very extensive process.  Mr. Santarsiero stated this came up in the context of Edgewood Village most recently as Mr. Troilo was looking into the possibility of a Post Office, and he feels the conclusion was that it would be very difficult if not impossible to get the Postal Service to give Lower Makefield a Post Office at that location. 

 

Mr. Fedorchak stated he went through this process twenty years ago for the last community he managed – the City of Hermitage.  He stated it was a very difficult, long process through various levels of the Postal Service in an attempt to get a Post Office for the City of Hermitage.  He stated they were not successful and it was certainly not for a lack of trying.  He stated they even met with the Postmaster General in Washington D.C. to plead their case.  He stated Hermitage was similar to Lower Makefield, and the population had shifted away from where the Post Offices were located to Hermitage.

Mr. Smith asked that he look into this matter further.

 

There being no further business, Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:55 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Steve Santarsiero, Secretary