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Twp. Opposes Tolling On Route 209

Twp. Opposes Tolling On Route 209
By Wayne Witkowski
The Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, November 14, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township Board of Supervisors is sending a letter to the National Park Service opposing a toll on all vehicles traveling along Route 209 through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
That toll proposal, which is under study by the NPS as part of a Visitor Use Management Plan draft, would include all vehicles driven by residents of the township and neighboring municipalities who need to drive along the roadway.
That decision to draft the letter, passed unanimously by the board at last week's bi-monthly meeting, comes on the heels of a copy of a letter received by the township from Lehman Township, which expressed similar objections. It was discussed during the workshop that preceded the regular meeting.
The issue has gotten the attention of many Pike County municipalities, particularly after one of the National Park Service public input meetings held recently at the Lehman Township Volunteer Fire Company's firehouse on Evergreen Drive.
Also discussed during the workshop was amending township codes to include short-term rentals. Supervisors agreed to forward the matter to the township Planning Commission. The topic also has been discussed at length in meetings in Lehman Township, which plans on amending its ordinance at its regular meeting next month where more than 200 homes offer short-term rentals, many of them in private communities.
The ordinance amendment in Delaware Township would specify housing and occupancy guidelines for permitting. and may cover exterior restrictions as well.

No timeline was specified toward adopting the amendment.
The amendment in both townships also intends to curb problems in communities stemming from "party house" rentals.
Supervisors also unanimously approved two funding proposals, one for $3,577.86 for Emergency Management minor capital purchases and another for renewal of a TruGreen contract for the township athletic fields at a cost of $5,210.09, which includes lawn service, vegetation control, grub curative and lime application.
The board also approved Chris Kimble and Roadmaster Vincent Flatt of the township Public Works Department to attend the states's Local Assistance Technical Program (LTAP) Active Transportation training on Dec. 6 and to attend LTAP Introduction to Traffic Studies training on Dec. 18.
Supervisors discussed and approved Blue Ridge Tree Service quote of $2,900 to remove four trees at Akenac Park that pose a safety hazard, with 10 percent profits donated to the Delaware Township Recreation Commission.
Supervisors unanimously agreed to renew the Aetna dental policy for December with approval of United Concordia, effective January 2020 for township employees, and to renew Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance policy at a no increase for 2020 for township employees.
The resignation of Shane Williams from Delaware Township Public Works, effective Nov, 20, was accepted by the supervisors, who agreed to advertise for a full-time Public Works CDL driver.
Supervisors unanimously moved to authorize township Solicitor Thomas Farley to handle litigation involving the property at 106 Westwood Drive. The property owner was denied a variance by the township Zoning Hearing Board and the township has moved forward with litigation.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson reminded residents at the meeting of a detour for motorists looking to use Brisco Mountain Road at the intersection of Milford Road/State Route 2001 because of repairs on the road. He also said that the next Reality Tour is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Thursday at the Milford Bible Church at 110 Foxccroft Drive in Milford. The program shows the effects of drug abuse on the victims and their families, including fatalities, and re-enacts scenes from a hospital emergency room and morgue. Advance registration is required at $5 per person.
He said Smart Recovery Group for victims of drug abuse continues meeting on Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Delaware Township Emergency Management building on 116 Wilson Hill Road.
Henderson said that Holy Trinity Food Pantry is collecting quick meal items, such as pasta, pasta sauce, egg noodles, canned tomatoes, soup, beef stew and canned meats, on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. The township recently approved a donation for the pantry's Thanksgiving food drive for needy families.
During the public comment period, supervisors responded to residents' inquiries, saying there are no new developments regarding the financially troubled Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps. They also said that groundbreaking and set-up work for construction of the Delaware Plaza shopping center anchored by a Weis Markets store is moving along.
Because of the Thanksgiving break, the supervisors have moved their two November meetings a week earlier, with the second one scheduled for Nov. 20.

Bids Awarded For Doolan, Park Road Projects

Bids Awarded For Doolan, Park Road Projects
The Pike County Dispatch
Thursday, November 1, 2019

By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township continues moving forward with approved motions for road improvement projects during last week's Board of Supervisors meeting.
The board agreed unanimously to pay low bidder Wayco Inc. $290,332.08 to complete work on Doolan Road and $188,506.21 to conclude workon Park Road. Each project was passed in separate motions, with 10 percent set aside to hold in each pending punch list completions.
During the workshop that preceded the meeting, the board moved to apply for a $700,000 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Multimodal Transportation Fund grant for Myck Road resurfacing and drainage work and for yellow and white line painting. Township Administrator Krista Predmore alerted the board during the workshop that the figures need to be revised with engineering fees that are not included in the original figure.
"We have all the documents needed. We just have to move forward with the application," Premore said during discussion at the workshop. Predmore said the figures requested will be blocked out until final costs are determined with engineering fees included.
Submitting the application to PennDOT was approved unanimously in a resolution presented during the regular meeting.
The board also approved a final payment of $3,750 to Davidheis Construction Services for the Akenac Park demolition project. Only one cabin remains in the park.
Also approved was $1,175.00 for Northeast Communications to install radios on the township Public Works dump truck, skid steer and backhoe and $500 retroactively approved for the purchase of candy from Walmart for the township Recreation Committee's annual Trunk or Treat event last Saturday at Akenac Park. Roadmaster Vince Flatt also was granted permission to use township truck No. 1 during the winter season after regular business hours beginning Nov. 1.
The township approved the municipal hall request by Choosing Integrity from 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Nov. 16 to cordinate support to Pike County. Choosing Integrity provides help for recovery and for support services to victims of addiction and substance abuse.
Supervisors approved Tree of Life preschool for its annual decorating of the township's holiday tree on Dec. 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ... Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson announced that Holy Trinity Food Pantry is collecting canned soups at its pantry and at the township building on weekday mornings. ... Another budget workshop will be held 6 p.m. on Wednesday this week.

Supervisors React To News Of Safe Haven Closing

Supervisors React To News Of Safe Haven Closing

By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township's Board of Supervisors at its bi-monthly meeting last week passed a number of procedural motions, including one involving the municipal building's re-roofing project.
The board decided, after ongoing discussion at recent meetings about two options, to pay contractor H&P Construction doing the roof job $12,887 toward a continuous snow guard on the roof, rather than a staggered snow guard that some township employees had said may help reduce problems from ice buildup.
Also approved was $650 to renew a preventative maintenance traffic signal agreement with Kucharick Construction, Inc., plus cost of materials. That signal work is on Route 739, which has gotten added importance these days as groundbreaking and preliminary work has begun for the Delaware Plaza project, anchored by a Weis Markets store that reportedly will employ about 150 people.
Some unspoken, interesting information of the meeting was left in a handout for the public attending the meeting. It was an announcement made earlier in the day by Safe Haven, which is closing at the end of the month after nearly 30 years of service to Pike County victims of domestic and sexual abuse and transitioning its services to Victims' Intervention Program, which has been making major strides of serving the county as well.
"We have to see how this plays out. Safe Haven has had its ups and downs," said Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson after the meeting.
Supervisor Jane Neufeld recognized the organization's service to residents of the county but said "like lots of organizations, it has had its ups an downs." She took note of the two organizations' "competitive services" but said she hopes all good services for victims of domestic violence and abuse will continue.
The release hailed Safe Haven's many achievements, including convening the first meeting of the county's Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence in 2011 and its hosting the Tri-State Conference on Human Trafficking in 2014, a training for criminal justice agents and other involved professionals. The release pointed out that in 2016 Safe Haven opened the county's first Children's Advocacy Center, providing sensitive investigations into child abuse cases that minimize trauma experienced by the victimized child and provides the integrity of justice.
It also took credit for the Paint Pike Purple campaign that put purple ribbons up throughout Milford and a candlelight vigil to honor victims and survivors of abuse. Safe Haven established that there are men, as well as women, who are victims of abuse.
But the supervisors have had a spotty relationship with Safe Haven with some tension at times in ongoing efforts to support the nonprofit. 
During recent annual appeals to Delaware Township's supervisors for a donation, supervisors argued repeatedly in meetings that they were not getting necessary financial data supplied by many other organizations to get approval for donations.
They said that, in order to make a donation, they needed to measure the impact of the organization on Delaware Township residents, asking how many residents actually received services from Safe Haven, which provides counseling and short-term shelter for victims.
Former Safe Haven Executive Director Tamara Chant, at a meeting two years ago, had brought in some new board members to one meeting, including a new financial officer, to indicate that the organization was revamping its troubled finances. Current Safe Haven Executive Director Christina Byrne and former director Chant had both informed supervisors when asked in meetings over recent years that they had difficulty providing those numbers out of respect for the victims' privacy. Some residents objected to giving a donation without seeing those numbers.
With those obstacles, the board did not always approve funding. With that experience and an increase in funding requests from nonprofits that could not always supply needed information, the board last year amended the township code to reflect the requirement that any nonprofit requesting a donation needs to provide financial information and date to show the extent that agency serves township residents.
Safe Haven's release reads, "We would like to thank the survivors. The brave souls who took a stand against the abuse. The individuals who showed us the true meaning of strength. The women who empowered others to speak up. The men who refused to accept the female victim stereotype. The people who gave hope and inspiration to others in similar situations. YOU are true advocates and heroes."
In other meeting news, Supervisor Neufeld was appointed as a liaison with the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company to communicate any news and needs by the fire company to the township's Board of Supervisors.
Township fire company President Ed Hammond, in the company's quarterly report, said it was a very active three months, with 81 fire calls and 45 emergency calls for things such as road accidents that called for an unusually high 1,662 volunteer hours. Thirty percent of the calls were for fires, 24 percent for motor vehicle mishaps and 22 percent were false alarms.
The company received three first place awards and two second place awards as part of the Sussex County Fireman's Association Inspection Day Parade, including Best Overall Out of County Fire Company. It also won first place for Best Appearing Company and Best Hose Laying Team and a second place for Best Appearing Color Guard.
The board unanimously approved renewing the State Workers Insurance Fund policy for the township's fire company workers compensation for Nov. 30 this year to Nov. 30, 2020 for $20,059 to be paid in 11 monthly payments.
Township Administrator Krista Predmore said there was a 5 percent discount pending and the insurance fund already was reduced by a $3,000 credit because the township has a Safety Committee that meets monthly that includes one representative from the fire company, one from the township's Volunteer Ambulance Corps, one from the township Public Works Department and a township official.
The fire company also was approved for a $33,384.13 third-quarter tax distribution unanimously by the board of supervisors.
Henderson commended the "excellent" service the fire company has provided for the township.
A budget workshop on Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. will include meeting and reviewing data with the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Company that has expressed concern over some of its financial difficulties at prior board meetings.

Predmore said during the workshop prior to the regular meeting that Delta Dental increased the township employees' dental coverage by 3.75 percent at $7,729. Supervisor posed that dental insurance perhaps can be covered for a lower rate as part of a bundle with other insurance coverages.

Meeting Time-Out for 9/11 Tribute

Meeting TIme-Out for 9/11 Tribute
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, September 19, 2019


DINGMANS FERRY -- What was expected to be a brief, routine agenda for the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors at its bi-monthly meeting last week included a solemn, emotional observance of the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when commercial airlines were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Supervisors, at the conclusion of their workshop that routinely proceeds the regular meeting, left the room and headed to the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company for the hourlong ceremony before returning to complete their normal business.
It's only the third time that the Board of Supervisors meeting occurred on the same day as the 9/11 tribute.
Supervisors and all of the public at the board meeting headed down Wilson Hill Road to the firehouse nearby where State Rep. Rosemary Brown, R-89, who spoke to the gathering, and Pike County Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Osterberg joined 16 members of the fire department that included fire company President Ed Hammond, Assistant Chief Michael Cairns and Lieutenant Mike Moffa, and many residents.
"This is where I want to be today, with our firefighters and emergency responders," said Brown. "They are amazing people."
"This is the largest gathering over the past five years," said former Delaware Township fire chief George Beodeker. "They say wounds heal as time goes by but we will never forget."
Fire Chief Sean Hughes laid a commemorative wreath at the commemorative garden that had been set up by the fire company year ago after the 9/11 attack. The wreath honored the 344 firefighters who perished in rescue efforts that day.
"There were 2,977 people who died in the (two) towers that day but about 30,0000 were rescued," said Cairns, who set up much of the commemorative event.
"The mission was to save as many lives as possible," said Hughes. "We lost a lot, but we saved a lot."
Fire chaplain Ted Persall gave a heartfelt prayer. Hughes's wife, Stacey, and daughter, Kayla, gave emotional speeches, with his daughter, choked up with tears as she ended her emotional speech.
A video and musical score also was presented as some people sniffed through tears.
Beodeker talked about the difference between a legend and leaving a legacy, which he feels members of any fire department are tasked to do for other firefighters.
"That is our legacy, an amazing legacy," Beodeker said.
Cairns said that every year he selects learning about one firefighter who perished at Ground Zero to learn more about that person and he selected for this year a chief from Brooklyn, as he recounted his many achievements and acts of bravery and his final day of service.
When they returned for their regular meeting, the supervisors, after lengthy discussion during the workshop with a representative from Medico Industries, unanimously approved a five-year lease with an option to buy an $87,000 backhoe. The lease calls for $1,249.57 monthly payments.
The backhoe originally cost $159,174.12 but was reduced by a $46,160.49 CoStar discount, a $3,013.63 Medico incentive and a $23,000 trade-in of a John Deere model owned by the township.
The board approved, under New Business, an agreement with Marshall Consulting IT services at a rate of $100 an hour. It also approved Worker's Compensation coverage with Municipal Risk Management for $14,575.15.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson announced that Wayco will begin paving Doolan Road and Park Road beginning Sept. 23.
Work consists of grading shoulders, building aggregate shoulders, providing superpave scratch, levelling and wearing courses and line striping for the 1.7-mile length of Doolan Road and for Park Road from Milford Road/State Route 2001 to Silver Lake Road. The funding will come from a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF) grant.

The board approved the township's Public Works Department to level and roll two gravel parking areas adjacent to the main driveway of he Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company at a date and time convenient to the fire company's operating schedule.
Supervisors released $105 from the General Fund for township employee Lori McCrory to attend the Lehigh Valley Government Academy Subdivision Course from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 3, 10 and 17, with mileage reimbursement. They also approved $150 for Beodeker and Hammond to attend the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors Fall Exercise Forum at Montgomery County on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with reimbursements for hotel and mileage.
The board approved a request by Dingmans Ferry-Delaware Township Historical Society to move its executive board meetings to the municipal hall on the first Thursday at 10 a.m. of each month when Akenac Park is closed for the winter season. It also agreed to allow the historical society to enclose the screened in porch on the building at Akenac Park and to utilize the shed on Conner's Lane in the park for storage.
Supervisors also amended municipal hall use request for private community Pocono Mountain Lake Estates' sections 5, 6 and 7 from Sept. 21 to Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Henderson reminded the gathering that the township's Annual Harvest Festival takes place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 28 and the Pocono Buddy Walk and Family Fun Day takes place the following day from noon to 3 p.m., both at Akenac Park.
Supervisors during the workshop agreed to set up an informal meeting with the Bushkill Emergency Corps after the corps reached out to the township.

Last Cabins At Akenac To Be Razed

Last Cabins At Akenac To Be Razed
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, September 5, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY -- Months of discussion and debate at many Delaware Township Board of Supervisors meetings about the fate of eight cabins at Akenac Park will be concluded by November when the final three are razed and removed.
The board, at its regular bi-monthly meeting last week, approved the $7,500 low bid of Davidheiser Construction Services to do the demolition and removal work between Oct. 2 and 30. It will be done in conjunction with the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company, which will do some training exercises on the three cabins before they are taken down, much like what the fire company did with the other five before they were removed in the the fall last year. The supervisors approved the training at a previous
meeting.

The work will be done after the Harvestfest held at the park on Sept. 28, so visitors will not be at risk.

The board also approved $92,3556 to low bidder H&P Construction Inc. to replace the township municipal building roof.

Meanwhile, the municipal garage roof coating project is being put on hold for a new round of bidding because there were only two bids unsealed -- one for a company that is strictly a supplier of materials for roofing and the other from KLA Roofing Construction LLC that the supervisors rejected as too high at $59,577.
"We'll see what happens with the new bids. The cost may wind up so high that we might as well spend a little more to have the municipal garage roof replaced rather than coasted," township Administrator Krista Predmore said afterward. It was a sentiment also expressed by township engineer Jon Tresslar in a communication to the township.
Tresslar also pointed out that H&P Construction is submitting an alternate bid for the municipal roof replacement to include snow guards. They are listed under two costs, one at $12,887 that wrap around the building just above the eve and the other for $5,316 that would be staggered around two rows above the eve.
"Since the roof replacement project was awarded on Aug. 18, a notice to proceed will be issued to the contractor on Aug. 30 and the substantial completion deadline is Oct. 31," Predmore said.
Also at the meeting, the board unanimously approved the township's Public Works to pave the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps entrance to Park Road for $1,000, which will come out of the budget line item for the township ambulance service.
It also approved budget workshop dates of Sept. 18, Oct. 2 and 30 and the revised dates of Nov. 6 and 20. A final workshop on Dec. 11 is expected to end with a budget ratification vote.
The board also approved the $200 fee for township officials to participate in the annual Convention of Township Officials of Pike County that will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Best Western Inn at Hunt's Landing.
It also approved the request of the Pocono Environmental Education Center to use the township quarry on Oct. 26 and 27 and Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon for a college geology class. The supervisors had said at previous meetings while discussing the idea that PEEC should be advised to alert the participants to be alert to any truck traffic when leaving their cars in the parking area to go on the quarry.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson reminded the gathering that the 2019 Senior Citizens Expo will take place 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Dingmans Fire Department. State representatives Rosemary Brown and Mike Peifer again head the organizing of the event that will have many vendors on hand to speak about resources available to seniors.
Supervisors also discussed Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Myck Road Report of Findings. "It's an excellent report," said Henderson, but he pointed out that the recommendations lead to a high price tag.
Also discussed during the workshop was the Log & Twig Road bridge repairs. Supervisor Jane Neufeld said that Tresslar indicated the work was "not extremely urgent. "

Supervisors shared the feeling the work can wait until next year. "There's not a lot of repairs. It's a low budget project," Henderson said.
Supervisors said during Public Comment, when asked, that Samaritan EMS had contacted the township by email because it is
considering servicing Pike County with Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support services. The Pike Planning Commission had reported in a meeting early last week that Samaritan had contacted municipalities around the county but did not specify which ones.

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