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Township Sets Nonresident Fees for Park Use

Township Sets Nonresident Fees for Park Use
By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -         For some people visiting Akenac Park, it’ll cost you.

And the farther you travel to get there, the more it will cost.

Park policies were finalized and approved by the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors at their latest meeting, and deciding fees dominated the conversation.

As in the past, those who live in the township and Pike County in general can enter or free. Pennsylvania residents living outside of the county will pay $5 each. It’s $1 less than the original proposal of $6 per person. But if you visit from out of state, it’ll cost each person $20.

Some at the meeting felt it would enforce the idea that the park is dedicated to the surrounding community. Out-of-state residents who are guests of a Pike County resident can be admitted for free if the local resident is at the front gate to show them in. Proof of residency is required.

The original draft of park regulations read that out-of-state residents who are not a guest of a Pike County resident would not be admitted at all.

After discussion, the board rejected a $5 fee for anyone entering the new playground opened last December.

“I’m not crazy about that idea,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Scheetz said of that fee proposal.

“I have to represent Delaware Township taxpayers, and if someone uses the facility, someone has to pay for it to be maintained, either the taxpayers or park visitors,” township supervisor John Henderson said. “we’re not trying to make money but to take charges (for maintenance) off the taxpayers of Delaware Township.”

The board agreed to research data on who uses the park and who uses the playground in its first full season.

Boat rentals at the lake will continue to cost $5, and no one can bring a boat into the park.

Wording was strengthened from “will not be tolerated” to “is prohibited” for anyone harassing wildlife, harassing other visitors and defacing or removing park property.

During the workshop, board members and residents discussed fees for Akenac Park recreation and the kitchen rental policy.

It said the township charges a $400 fee for five hours and $80 for each additional hour for a township employee to work as a safe serve attendant operating the stove. The discussion centered on advertising for and training someone who is not a township employee to work per diem on weekends at the kitchen stove.

Board members said that rate would cost those using the park a lot less than the $80 hourly fee paying a township employee overtime on the weekend to be there.

The park is open during the summer season 8am to 7pm every day except Tuesday, when it is closed.

EMPLOYEE USE OF TOWN TRUCK

Another agenda issue that got a lot of discussion involved whether township Assistant Roadmaster Ed Hammond could use the township truck from June through September. The agenda item was discussed during a workshop at a previous meeting and some residents apparently came to the meeting to talk about it.

Roadmaster Charley Kroener uses the township truck during the winter months.

The board acknowledged that if Hammond uses the truck, it eliminates reimbursing mileage if he was called to fix something at Akenac park or the township building. Federal rates pay $.50 per driven mile. If he were using only his personal car, he would have to go to the site and might even have to drive back to the municipal complex to get the township truck if it was needed.

After township supervisors Ron Hough and Scheetz appeared to approve, Henderson questioned how often Hammond might be called upon. Some residents said Henderson’s objection and the lengthy discussion “is personal” and “What’s the big deal (to use the township truck)?”

At that point, Hammond said, “Forget about it. I just won’t answer the phone (to respond to a repair issue).”

Scheetz responded by changing his vote to a “no” vote for Hammond to use the township truck and instead moved to reimburse Hammond for his driving mileage of his personal vehicle. Henderson said he wanted it researched how many times Hammond gets called back to work on a repair issue during the summer months.

When township residents pressed Scheetz on his changing his vote, Scheetz answered, “He (Hammond) said, “ Forget it.’”

But Scheetz said that Hammond has been a commendable township employee and said Hammond’s remark about not answering his phone was taken “facetiously” by Scheetz.

The board also approved a 201 vote, with Henderson dissenting, the showing of the latest Power Rangers movie on free movie night at Akenac park on July 15. The motion included paying Swank Motion Pictures Inc $453 for copyright to show the movie. Henderson objected to the cost but township administrator Krista Predmore said it is a standard charge when showing a movie outdoors in public and that the township has a $900 recreation fund for the summer.

The board in the regular meeting approved use of Akenac Park by GAIT Therapeutic Riding center in Milford from 11am to 4pm on August 27th to present and celebrate the acquisition of a new therapy horse. Therapeutic riding instructor, Deborah Albrecht came to the workshop before the general meeting to find out what her organization need to do and what’s available, including refrigeration for food.

She was told 50 chairs and some tables are available. She was told a constable is needed for security as well as parking attendants, which are supplied by the fire department. Township fire chief Joe Beodeker said fees to pay attendants would be waived in good will; “from one nonprofit to another.”

Henderson said at the meeting he spoke with Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John Donahue regarding a gate being installed by the National Park Service at the end of Chestnut Ridge Road and was told the gate is only set up for safety and would only be closed to deny access when weather conditions or a natural emergency restrict driving on the crossroad route 209.

The Township moved to advertise for an August 2nd budget workshop from 7-9pm…the Township also agreed upon purchasing a new truck in August and to donate a pickup truck it’s replacing to the township fire company.

Family Gets Conditional OK to Subdivide Silver Lake Parcel

Family Gets Conditional OK to Subdivide Silver Lake Parcel
Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, June 1, 2017 – pg. 5
by Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY – Delaware Township Board of Supervisors gave conditional approval to an application for subdividing a 13.5 acre property in Silver Lake Estates owned by the Crowell family during last week’s meeting.

The board voted approval 2-0, with board Chairman Jeff Scheetz absent. It came after a nearly hour long hearing of testimony from attorney Timothy McManus of Stroudsburg, representing applicants for the subdivision, and challenging questions from Milford attorney Eric Hamill, representing neighboring homeowners who attending.

McManus was accompanied by property owner Nicholas Crowell, who resides in New Orleans with his wife, along with their daughter, who lives in New York, and engineer Sarah Bue Morris, who presented the plan blueprints.

Crowell is one of three brothers, along with Geoffrey, who lives in Philadelphia and visits a cabin on the property occasionally, and Christopher, who lives out of state. The family purchased the property as a getaway retreat during the 1970s.

“This has been a three-year process,” Crowell said after the approval. “All three of us are in our 70s. We will be gone sometime and we want to be sure this is set up as an inheritance for our family.”

The plan would divide the property into three lots, a pair of three-acre lots and one that would be 6.9 acres and include the cabin. Township requirements allow for only one home on each of the other two three-acre lots, with the cabin as the residence on the other lot.

Nearly all of the hearing centered around the condition of an approximately 800-foot stretch of Nyce Road, which is about a mile long and runs through the lakefront private community. Because it is a private road, residents maintain it, and the Crowell family needs to bring that part of the road fronting their property to township standards, mainly to accommodate emergency vehicles.

The agreement calls for lowering one side of the road and widening it before it is covered with a tar and chip surface. No other road could be built for the Crowell property.

“It’s all about the health, safety and welfare of residents,” said Delaware Township Planning Commission Chairman Len Glamann near the end of the hearing. “If something is not done about the road, it could cost somebody their life.”

To that end, the approval includes a development agreement, providing a road bond escrow for 110 percent of the actual cost that will be refunded to the Crowells at the completion of the work, a performance bond to be executed and a developer’s agreement for relocation of a 10 by 12 foot shed on the edge of one Crowell property line farther within the Crowell properties.

“We already have a contractor ready,” Crowell said of the road work.

A state Dept. of Environmental Protection study also calls for a 650 foot buffer around a bald eagle’s nest.

“We did extensive research and did not have proof of a bald eagle’s nest,” McManus said. “Removal of that (finding) involves information that takes time.”

But residents joining Hamill at the meeting were concerned about what it means for the length of road in front of their properties. One concern was answered whether the subdivision would allow for multiple housing on each lot. Supervisors clarified that issue.

“For my part of the road, will I be required to keep it up to township standards,” asked Emily McFarlane, one of the property owners represented by Hamill during the hearing.

“Not at this time,” said township Solicitor Thomas Farley of the apparent leading concern of the homeowners, but said that homeowners are responsible for the part of the private road fronting their properties.

Farley deflected questions by Hamill and alter by another resident of the implications this would hold for further development in the community.

“We’re only concerned with this application,” Mr. Farley said. “They would have to be approved and conditions would have to be met.”

It also was established at the meeting that if residents of a private community do not approve of the way a road is maintained by a neighbor or that there is inadequate snow removal in that stretch of road that they can seek legal court action with a mandatory injunction for that party to maintain the road.

IN OTHER MEETING MATTERS

The board approved road refurbishing and line painting for Chestnut Ridge Road to be advertised for bid, with a contract awarded at the June 28 meeting. The work, which would be in compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation specifications, would be paid with the township’s state liquid fuels fund.

The board approved purchasing a replacement for a 6-foot sickle bar mower with hydraulic fold from Kremansky Equipment LLC for $4,000…Board members also approved $500 for the Delaware Township Library Association in response to its request for its annual subsidy. Supervisor John Henderson, board vice chairman who had chaired last week’s meeting, pointed out that the money already had been set aside in the current budget.

It also approved use of municipal ballfield for American Legion home games on seven dates in late May through June…It tabled approval to show a “Power Rangers” movie free to the public at Akenac Park on July 15 when Henderson questioned the $453 fee to rent it. Township Administrator Krista Predmore said the cost is for copyright to show it at a public park. The board would examine other possible movies.

During the workshop before the meeting, the supervisors discussed the Akenac Park playground’s Gravity Rail that has been taken out of service as a safety precaution because of problems with children riding it.

The rail, with a chair attached, is supposed to move young rides forward by momentum but it was pointed out that parents have to help push it along and may not want to do that. Henderson asked if the township can ask for a refund for that item and Predmore said her inquiry with the company has not been answered on that matter. “They told us they can fix it but we were not told what it is, so we’re in limbo,” said Farley.

Supervisors also discussed Akenac Park policies with a handout to the public, which includes a suggested $6 admission per person to Pennsylvania residents beyond Pike County and that out-of-state residents must be a guest of a Pike resident to be admitted. Henderson asked whether the fee should be lowered from $6 to $5 to make it manageable for the gatekeeper. He also questioned whether individual fees should be charged for use of certain amenities, such as a playground fee. Fees of $2 or $5 per resident were discussed.

Some residents said that there is enough burden with taxes and other expenses to ask residents to pay repeatedly during return visits to the park.

Henderson pointed out that the park may add other amenities in the future such as tennis courts that would need funding to help maintain them.

Delaware Township Considers Financial Incentive For Firefighters

Delaware Township Considers Financial Incentive For Firefighters
By Dakota Hendricks

Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, May 4, 2017

DINGMANS FERRY – The Board of Supervisors are looking to potentially create a program to assist volunteer firefighters in some capacity.

At this time there is no definitive course of action the township wishes to take; however, they are considering a property tax break or some small monetary incentive. The Supervisors have some concerns about the implementation of such a plan and how it would function. They expressed concerns that proposing a fixed monetary amount could be misinterpreted as disrespectful towards the volunteers.

Township officials said that over time, responding to calls has become difficult as the scope of the fire department has expanded. The amount of time required to train for different situations has also increased dramatically to approximately 160 hours for full certification. George Boedeker, a prominent volunteer fireman and President of the Delaware Volunteer Fire Company, spoke to the supervisors not in an official capacity but as a volunteer with 42 years’ experience. He stated that he did not think firefighters would consider monetary assistance insulting but that there might be other avenues the township could explore. He went on to explain that if the township wanted to gain volunteers then a monetary incentive might not motivate people to join and that motivating volunteers is the kind of issue a Fire Commission could explore.

Delaware township is looking for a college student majoring in emergency service, engineering or public administration to participate in a part-time emergency management and planning internship for the summer. The position involves working with the Township Emergency Management Coordinator or Township Administrator, assisting the development of hazard mitigation plans and emergency preparations in the township and administrative support.

The internship will run from June 5 through Aug.11 and consist of a flexible schedule is 12 hours a week at $10 an hour. Submit a letter of interest, resume and three professional refences to the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors at 116 Wilson Hill Road, Dingmans Ferry PA 18328 by May 10, marked Attention (Attn:) Emergency Management.

Rich Koehler has been appointed as auditor for the remainder of Cody Smith’s term after Smith’s departure. Koehler plans on running for the position after the end of this term. The Board is working on the Akenac Park Rec Hall rental agreement but has not settled on definitive terms that could include variable fees dependent on usage and supervision of on-site equipment.

Twelve boys from Boy Scout Troop 174, led by Scoutmaster Bill Enrico and Asst. Scoutmaster Don Hayes, attended the township meeting to complete a portion of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge. The merit badge encourages Scouts to interact with the local levels of government and understand some of the responsibilities of being a resident.

Two More Appointed To Expanded Planning Commission

Two More Appointed To Expanded Planning Commission
By Wayne Witkowski

Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, March 30, 2017

DINGMANS FERRY- LoriAnn Hines and Robyn Eldred were appointed in unanimous votes taken by Delaware Township supervisors to four-year terms for the township’s planning Commission during last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The decision not only expanded the commission from five to seven members but also saved the township money.

Township supervisors at a recent workshop and board meeting directed township Solicitor Thomas Farley to research the township ordinances to find out whether the Planning Commission was mandated for seven members or the five that had served in recent years. The positions are voluntary with no pay involved. Farley found that township Ordinance 601 calls for a seven-person Planning Commission and, if the township were to stay with five members, it would need to amend the ordinance.

That would require a public hearing with the recording costs for a court stenographer and the expense of advertising for the hearing in advance in local media, said supervisor John Henderson during the workshop that took place before the meeting.

 The discussion began at the previous meeting when two vacant seats on the five-seat commission were filled by William Errico for one year and Tom Ryan for a tow year term. Ryan retired as supervisor in early January but had expressed interest in continuing to serve the township in a different role.

The supervisors pointed out that in October a vacant position on the commission was advertised. It got no response at that time, but when Ryan sent in a letter of interest that was reported, four other residents at last week’s meeting asked why the board could not be expanded to two more members as stated in the ordinance.

“If citizens want to serve, why turn your back on them.” Said Steve McBride during the workshop discussion. Jane Neufeld said she felt it’s a good time to raise the membership to wider representation.

Ron Hough, who has been serving as vice chairman on the Planning Commission and was appointed interim supervisor for Ryan’s seat, spoke firmly in favor of five members, saying that number is sufficient.

Hines voiced her position for a seven-member commission and serving a four-year term.

“I’m not going anywhere. You’re saying you don’t want my time,” said Hines, owner of the Forklift Café, as Eldred was seated next to her. “You’re going to need more people as time goes on, if one person passes away or one person moves. I want to see this area grow as needed and a-seven-member commission is needed for that.

 “If doing nothing is an option with seven, what’s the down side?”

The discussion was concluded as it ran into the start of the regularly scheduled meeting.

At the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of township Auditor Cody Smith, who is moving to another state. Letters of interest are being accepted.

It unanimously accepted the fiscal year 2016 audit performed by William Owens, CPA, and agreed to publish and advertise the township’s Concise Financial Statement prepared on the modified cash basis by Owens for fiscal year 2016.

He board tabled a decision on the updated Delaware Township Employee manual on recommendation by Henderson. The update includes more specific background checks for anyone driving trucks for municipal purposes.

The supervisors also discussed at the workshop the Traffic Control Development Agreement for a traffic light for the proposed retail center on Route 739. Dingman Township also is installing a light on the part of the hub that is within its boundaries. The board said it is the final step to breaking ground for final step to breaking ground for the center. “We’re very close now.” Said Farley.

LITTLE LEAGUE EXPENSES DISCUSSED

Also at the workshop, officers from the Dingmans-Delaware Little Leagues using the four fields at the municipal complex met with the supervisors to discuss the Little League’s need for support from the other leagues as well as the township.

Mile Masucci, vice president of the Matthew Oehlmann Memorial Softball League that plays in the spring and summer, said his league would supply bases. Maria Dickerson, president of the Fall Co-Ed Softball League, and Sharon Stevens, present of the Women’s Softball League that plays in June through August, also offered their support.

Salvatore Penetta, president of the Little League, who was joined by his wife, Amy, the league treasurer, and Darla McAuliffe, the secretary and player agent, said the league has to be compliant with stringent standards set by sponsorships, player registrations and concession sales.

Panetta was joined by the other league asking the township to help by paying for the clay used in the infields required under Little League standards.

Because the fields are covered by snow, Penetta said he did not know how much clay is needed to refurbish the infields for this season, which begins tentatively on April 15, but it could call for three tri-axle sump truck loads at a cost of $3,300. Two tri-axles, of about 30 tons, were needed last year, he said.      

“I assume we’ll need at least one tri-axle for this year,” he said.

Township Administrator Krista Predmore recommended that the parties submit to the township a letter of expenses for the fields and what help is needed from the township.

“We’re be happy to accept that,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Scheetz, who said the matter would be put on the agenda for the next meeting on April 5. “The issue for me right now is a strong sense (among the parties using the fields) for cooperation. I’m hearing here a great willingness for the adult leagues to help out.”

“I’m disappointed there was no decision from the township today but I hope they do follow through to benefit all of the leagues,” said Dickerson afterward.“If we all pitch in, we could make the fields as good as they can be,” Stevens said.The board also approved at its meeting usage of the township hall by the Dingmans Ferry-Delaware Township Historical Society (6-11 p.m. third Thursday of March through November), Delaware Township Republican Club (7p.m. April 28), C. Weber for a baby shower 910 A.M. TO 5 P.M., May 6) and Old Marcel Lakes private community for its annual meeting (8a.m. to 1 p.m., July 8).

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and an Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled at Akenac Park 10a.m. to noon on April 8. Dingmans Ferry Lions club will serve pancakes and sausages and breakfast beverages for free.Township’s Volunteer Ambulance Corps will hold its annual Easter Plant & Bake Sale from noon to 7p.m. on April 14 and 10 a.m. to 4p.m. the following day.The Dingmans Ferry Lions Club Fish Fry takes place 5:30-7;30 p.m. on Friday for $13 each to eat in or take out. Children ages 7 to 12 pay half price.

Scouts Thank Township

Members of Boy Scout Troop174 of Dingmans Ferry presented a certificate of appreciation to the Delaware Township supervisors who allowed them to use Akenac Park for a Klondike Derby on Feb. 4 and 5. The derby gives scouts the experience of camping outdoors in the winter. The scouts also offered to put down a new coat of polyurethane on the wooden floor of the main hall at the park in appreciation as part of their community service. From left are supervisor John Henderson, scout Jason Budd, 16, and Matt Budd, 15, and supervisors Jeff Scheetz and Ron Hough. Jason,16, is a junior, and Matt,15, is a freshman at Delaware Valley High School.

              

Planning Board Up to Full Strength, Might Get Even Bigger

Planning Board Up to Full Strength, Might Get Even Bigger
By Chris Jones

Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, March 16, 2017

DINGMANS FERRY – Delaware Township Supervisors filled two vacancies on the Planning Commission last Wednesday, bringing it up to full strength at five members, but there was some discussion about whether the Commission should have just five ore even seven members.

Meanwhile the supervisors appointed William Errico to fill out a one-year term on the Planning Commission and former Supervisor Tom Ryan to fill the vacant two-year term.

Supervisors Jeff Scheetz, John Henderson and Ron Hough all voted for Errico, but Scheetz and Hough voted to appoint Ryan while Henderson voted “no.”

Alluding to Ryan’s having a second in Florida, Henderson said he had been on the Planning commission long enough to know that a member couldn’t follow land plots when he needs to attend a meeting by telephone.

“You need to look at the information in front of you,” Henderson said before casting his vote.

Later during public comment, Dawn Bukaj, herself a former Planning Commission member, asked Hough and Scheetz why they voted for Ryan when there were other candidates for the seat.

“The chairman of the Planning Commission stood up at this meeting and said he [Ryan] was not a good candidate because he can’t be at all the meeting,” Bukaj said.

She then asked why Scheetz and Hough voted for Ryan.

“Because of his experience on the Board of Supervisors and thus with the Planning Commission and his 45 years’ experience in this particular field,” Scheetz said. Ryan is a building trades contractor.

Township Solicitor Tom Farley said there was a provision for removing a Planning commission member: missing four consecutive meeting without cause.

Farley later explained that there was a conflict between the Planning Commission bylaws and the township ordinance governing the Commission, with the bylaws calling for five members and the ordinance for seven.

The township had drafted an ordinance to reduce the number to give members from seven, but here was some discussion that seven might be better because other candidates had expressed interest and seven would provide more “bodies.”

Any change to the ordinance would have to go to a public hearing at a later date.

IN OTHER MATTERS

Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker announced that the Township EMA would begin recruiting volunteers next month. As many as 15 to 20 volunteers are needed, he said. In May and June they will provide two introductory level training programs required by FEMA of all individuals with emergency or disaster response responsibilities.

Beodeker, who also is president of the Delaware Township Fire Department, said that the DTVFD had signed a contract for spring 2018 delivery of a new tanker-pumper costing $282,300. Through township and department funding the cost has been paid upfront and nothing will be owed on the fire engine, he said.

Little League President Salvatore Panetta said the League pays thousands to keep up the ballfield at the township complex on Wilson Hill Road but other leagues play on the same field but they don’t pay much for it.

“Everyone benefits but we pay the bills,” Panetta said.

Supervisors asked for a meeting with the Little League and softball leagues to determine who uses the field and how much is paid for what maintenance.

There was also discussion about the feasibility of a wheelchair wing at the new playground in Akenac Park. Such a swing could cost as much as $25,000 and would require a full-time supervisor.

The playground cost $20,000 less than what was budgeted so there is a balance for other improvements.

Jane Neufeld suggested that since it is a brand new playground about to enter its first season of use, people should wait and see what other needs develop such as providing shade over the playground area, fencing and matting under the swings.

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