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Board Rescinds Check For Ambulance Repairs

Board Rescinds Check for Ambulance Repairs
by Wayne Witkowski

Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, March 7, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township Ambulance Corps' tenuous financial situation became a little more strained for the time being when the township Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed at the start of last week's regular meeting to rescind a $4,500 payment to a Milford truck and auto repair shop for one of its ambulances.
The decision came after an executive session at the start of the evening's schedule that included some discussion with ambulance corps Lieutenant Carl Will. At the previous meeting, Will had informed the board that the ambulance corps is $33,000 behind on payments, largely because of a shortage of billable calls.
"We're rescinding payment of $4,500 to Ray's (Truck and Auto Repair) for repairs on an ambulance due to the supervisors' request to have additional information," said board Chairman John Henderson. "We generally try to help out but we cannot do that until we get that information."
The board also is examining alternatives to its strapped ambulance service that operates on a limited schedule.
"Given what's going on, the supervisors will take a look at another ambulance service to suply to Derlaware Township," Henderson said.
Henderson said he relied on ambulance service for his medical problem he had some months ago that needed transportation to the hospital and he recently got a $1,000 bill for it. He said fellow Supervisor Rick Koehler also needed ambulance service for his wife recenty.
"My drive was quick. I waited only 10 minutes," Henderson said, but addded, We've been working with Commonwealth and are still working on it for BLS (Basic Life Support) services (Commonwealth also was reported as having dropped its offer to also cover Advanced Life Support Services.). We're taking trhree steps forward and two steps back. It's not just a Delaware Township situation but also a county and state one, even nationwide."
The board also announced a bond received from the developer of the Delaware Plaza project. Farley said the bond is for more than $4 million. The project, a shopping center anchored by a Weis Markets store, is expected to break ground this spring and be completed some time next year, as announced in a recent Pike County Council of Governments meeting.
The board also tabled awarding a contract for extensive work on the entire length of Doolan Road and a stretch of Park Road from the entrance of Wild Acres to Milford Road/State Route 2001. Two bids were unsealed by township Solicitor Thomas Farley, with Leeward Construction the low bidder at $212,840.80, but the board wants the bids examined further by Farley before going to vote.
A $646,00 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Tranmsporation will go toward that project.
Repairs for the bridges at Childs Park and Log & Twig Road also were discussed in the workshop prior tro the regular meeting. Supervisors also said they will pursue filing a letter on behalf of the township and Dingman Township to PennDOT for sorely needed repair work on Route 739 between Log Tavern Road and Milford Road/State Route 2001.
The board also agreed for township engineer Boucher and James to obtain permits for replacing the fishing dock at Akenac Park. "We have every intention of moving forward on that for this spring," said township Administrator Krista Predmore.
Also at the regular meeting, the board unanimously approved a $2,365.04 workl order from Ray's Truck and Auto Repair for township truck No. 3, mainly replacing a worn clutch. It also approved $1,312.50 to purchase a replacement motor and bearing assembly for the township's municipal building heating system from John Coda & Son Supply Inc. of Sparrow Bush, N.Y.
The board approved a series of requests from Rebecca Gray of the township Recreation Committee, including purchasing supplies for the committee's Easter event next month at Akenac Park not to exceed $750. It also agreed to list two movie nights on the calendar for Akenac Park for July 27 and Aug. 10. They will be held in conjunction with movie nights to be held by Dingmann Township on July 20 and Aug. 17. Koehler, who is a member of the Rec Committee, said the two townships can share the expense, one purchasing a movie and the other the movie sequel, which Koehler said "can draw (many) people from both townships."
The committee also approved changes in the Rec Committee's meeting dates from March 12 to March 14 and from April 9 to April 11 at the township Emergency Management Building. Koehler said applicants are encouraged to fill vacancies on the committee.
Predmore said during the workshop that she is in the process of geting cost figures for a Hazardous Waste Collection Day for the township. "Nobody else does it," she said.

Supervisors Issue Statement on Ambulance Problems

Supervisors Issue Statement on Ambulance Problems

By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- The Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps has been on life support with a fragile budget and a shortage of volunteers as the Board of Supervisors is taking a firm stand on the issue.

The board issued a lengthy statement at the start of its latest meeting last week that ushered in some emotionally charged responses from many of the large gathering that came to hear about the issue.

The statement is a response to the public outcry for the supervisors to take action for a local emergency service that has shrunken drastically in its mission to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the community.

Part of the statement reads: "We have been part of a multi-municipality group seeking to have ALS (Advanced Life Support) in a reasonable way. ... We want to help move our ambulance service toward greater reliability without increasing risk of less response to our 911 calls."

The statement says the ambulance corps has faced a "continual struggle - both financially and regarding personnel" but that, when "asking a lot of questions, many remain unanswered."

"We cannot tell DTVAC what to do. As best we can -- and according to our current laws and regulations -- we want to ensure services are provided, including appropriate levels of financial and administrative help. We have money set aside in a budget. Importantly, we have the responsibility to do more than hand over money. ...

"In any decisions we make, we want to do our best for all of our residents. We hold having emergency responder services and those who work to give them in the highest regard. Our responsibility is not to issue a blank check without us insuring that our taxpayer money is going to better the situation and move things toward something that will be sustainable."

Carl Will, newly installed ambulance corps lieutenant, met with the supervisors in an executive session before they presented their prepared statement and opened a forum to discuss residents' concerns. Will pointed out that the number of volunteers who are vital to complementing paid ALS-trained professionals has dwindled to five.

Former ambulance corps captain Mary Lou Corbett who attended the meeting said beforehand that the shortage of volunteers led her to step down in the fall.

"It's tough when you get uy in the middle of the night with an emergency call coming through and no driver is available," said Corbett, who has been succeeded by Kyle Wright.

Will said in his presentation he could not present budget specifics but they would be supplied to the township by the corps soon. "It's do-able," he said after the meeting.

"We've asked the questions for seven or eight years and still need answers," said township Solicitor Thomas Farley. "Do we want to help the ambulance? Absolutely. But it also has to help itself."

Will also disputed a statement as "incorrect" given to the supervisors in late November by Wright about reduced hour schedules. He said the current service schedule includes Monday evening only, Tuesday and Wednesday during daytime and evening hours and on Thursday for 24 hours. Will said service on Friday is "on and off" and that Saturday and Sunday has only night time service. Despite the shortage of personnel, Will said that schedule he stated would be honored.

A public meeting was held at the ambulance corps building on Park Avenue on Tuesday this week to further explain and discuss specifics with ambulance corps personnel.

Township Administrator Krista Predmore explained after the supervisors meeting that the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps had a total budget of $60,950 for 2018 and a $55,000 line item contribution for 2018. There also is a $55,000 line item contribution for 2019.

Out of that 2018 funding, the ambulance corps received $11,260 in funding requested from the township. It included $9,300 for fuel for its three ambulances, which is beyond the township's $5,200 budget projection. The corps also requested and received $1,300 for workmen's compensation, $170 for cell phone service and $490 for a state of emergency reimbursement for damages suffered and services performed during severe winter storms last March.

The ambulance corps has not requested funding for ambulance repairs since the $28,805 it received in 2017 for transmission and other engine repairs.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson told the gathering, "We give them money when they justify it and not when they can't." But Henderson later said, "We see a pattern coming out with their new directors. It's a start."

The board at the meeting approved seven fundraising events that included a plant sale and a holiday wreath sale and selling lottery calendars. Another passed motion approved township workers' assistance in dropping off and picking up chairs and tables for fundraising chicken barbecue and pig roast events as well as traffic control assistance for those events.

Township Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker and resident Liz Forrest both spoke about the need for accountability for the ambulance corps. Without that, Beodeker said with emotion, "you get what you deserve."

Clare Bennett, president of the Birchwood Lakes Community Association, stressed to Will the need for reliable around-the-lock services and challenged the limited schedule.

Supervisor Jane Neufeld said she had served in the past with the ambulance corps and said, "The system is being stressed and not finding a solution quickly." But she assured residents that there is no need to express panic on social media platforms and public discourse because they will receive timely ambulance services elsewhere from emergency center dispatches if Delaware Township's ambulance corps is unavailable for a service call.

"Our residents need to understand that if you call 911 and if it's not coming up for Delaware Township (ambulance corps), Dingman Township, Hemlock Farms, Westfall can respond. They are trained to get you the help you need. ... That hasn't changed." 

 Also at the meeting, the board approved $3,500 to renew Lake Akenac lake management services with Aquatic Environment Consultants Inc. .. Electronic recycling days were approved for April 6 and Oct. 5 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. .. The board approved advertising for vacancies on the Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board and the Recreation Committee.

The board approved Predmore and Vince Flatt to attend Probably Cause Training for CDL Supervisory Personnel and CMV/CDL Records Management for March 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lehman Township Municipal Building, with a total cost of $140.

Met-Ed Preparing for Winter Storm Harper

FirstEnergy Utilities Prepare for Severe Winter Weather This Weekend


Akron, Ohio – FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) utility personnel are prepared to respond to outages caused by heavy snow, freezing rain and ice, and high winds forecast for the eastern U.S. this weekend.


Company meteorologists are monitoring Winter Storm Harper, a complex storm system that will affect FirstEnergy’s service areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. While some snow is forecast for later today, Harper’s severe weather is expected to hit the region on Saturday and Sunday. Some FirstEnergy areas could see more than 24 inches of snow, while others could experience freezing rain and significant ice accumulations along with high winds. In addition, heavy rains could cause flooding in parts of West Virginia and Maryland.


All of FirstEnergy’s electric utilities are implementing storm response plans, which include making arrangements to bring in additional line, substation and forestry personnel, and additional dispatchers and analysts at regional dispatch offices, as required, based on the severity of the weather. In addition, the company has been in contact with electrical contractors and electric industry mutual assistance organizations about the possibility of securing additional resources to assist with storm restoration efforts.
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“We are monitoring the weather conditions closely and will deploy resources to the areas that could get hit the hardest,” said Sam Belcher, senior vice president of FirstEnergy and president of FirstEnergy Utilities. “The goal of our planning efforts is to safely speed the outage restoration process and minimize any inconvenience our customers experience due to the weather.”


FirstEnergy utilities include: Jersey Central Power & Light in New Jersey; Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed), Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), Pennsylvania Power (Penn Power), and West Penn Power in Pennsylvania; Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison in Ohio; Mon Power in West Virginia; and Potomac Edison in Maryland and West Virginia.


Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the “Report Outage” link on www.firstenergycorp.com. In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their utility or their local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity. Extra caution should be exercised in areas where downed wires may be tangled in downed tree branches or other debris.
For updated information on the company’s current outages, FirstEnergy’s storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.


Customers are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of outages caused by severe winter weather:
• Keep electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablet computers fully charged to be ready for any emergencies.
• Keep a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries handy in the event a power interruption occurs. Tune to a local station for current storm information.
• Never use a portable generator inside the house or a closed garage in the event of a power outage. Ensure the proper generator is selected and installed by a qualified
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electrician. When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers. • Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
• If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
• Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
• Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when the power is out. If you have a smart phone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources.
FirstEnergy customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive weather alerts in advance of major storms, and updates on scheduled or extended power outages. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts. More information about these communications tools is available online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.


FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Delaware Twp. Steady on Personnel and Taxes

Delaware Twp.  Steady on Personnel and Taxes
by Wayne Witkowski
Pike Co. Dispatch - Thursday, January 10, 2019


DINGMANS FERRY -- There were no surprises or new appointees during a brief Delaware Township Reorganization Meeting conducted by the Board of Supervisors on Monday night.

John Henderson was appointed to his second full term as Board of Supervisors chairman as he overcame an illness to effectively complete the previous term with little lost time.

Jane Neufeld also was appointed to her second year as vice chairman and township treasurer and Rick Koehler was reappointed as township Secretary.

Krista Predmore was named to her seventh year as Township Administrator as well as assistant treasurer and Right to Know officer.

Thomas Farley remains as longtime township solicitor and Planning Board solicitor. Legal colleague Robert Bernathy is the alternate for both., Stacey Beecher was appointed township Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor and as township Building Hearing Board attorney.

Reappointments came as expected as the township continues solid financial footing -- with no tax increase over the past 11 years -- and infrastructure maintenance. Resurfacing is planned this year for Doolan Road as the major road project as well as refurbishing dirt & gravel and tar & chip roads.

Vince Flatt was reappointed as township roadmaster.

"Delaware Township is very fortunate to have not only great employees but also so many people who volunteer for township neds," Neufeld said afterward. "The appointments at this Reorganizaiton Meeting reflect the board's appreciation and respect for all of those people."

The township Treasurer's Bond was set at $2.8 million and the Assistant treasurer's bond at $100,000.

The Pike County Dispatch, New Eagle and Pocono Record were reognized as the official township newspapers.

Robin Jones was recognized by the supervisors as deputy tax collector as appointed by township tax collector Mary Lou Corbett. Jones also was appointed full-time administrative/human resources assistant and as ssecretary to the township safety committee.

Appointees to the four-year terms on the zoning hearing board include Max Brinson, Larry Walsh and Alexander Robertson. 

Steve Vitale, Jim Owens and Wayne Day were named to the township building hearing board, with Sean Helferty and Mike Moffa appointed as alternates.

Chris Kimble, Bud DeVries and Kyle Wright were named to the township safety committee.

The only minor change in appointments was George Beodeker named as full township Emergency Management coordinator. Beodeker  at last year's Reorganizaiton Meeting talked aboout retiring from the post and agreed to an interim term while a successor was sought but has since reconsidered and remains the full-time coordinator, according to the supervisors.

SFM Consulting LLC was named toiwnship residential and commercial building inspector as well as zoming/code enforcement officers.

Steven McBride again was appointed to the township vacancy board.

Neufeld, Koehler and Flatt were authorized to attend the 2019 PennsyLvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) Conference in Heshey, with Neufeld as the voting delegate. Sharon Franks was named township representative to the Pike County Council of Government.

The board again set its regular meetings for the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m., following the 6 p.m. workshop. The Safety Committee will meet the first Tuesday of the month at 8:30 a.m. and the Planning Commission will hold workshops and meetings on the first and third Tuesday or each month or as necessary, starting at 6:30 p.m. Zoming Hearing Board and Building Hearing Board meetings will be scheduled as needed.

Twp. Approves No Tax Increase For 11th Straight Year

Twp. Approves No Tax Increase For 11th Straight Year

By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township will have no tax increase for another year after the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the 2019 budget at last week's meeting. "There hasn't been an increase in my seven years here (as township administrator). In fact, there have been several decreases," said Township Administrator Krista Predmore with a smile reagrding her undertaking  with township Supervisor and Treasurer Jane Neufeld. There has not been a tax increase since 2008; however, taxes will not be decreased as they were in three recent years 2012, 2013 and 2016.

The tax rate holds at 11.68 mills, including 8.68 mills for the General Fund, 1.5 mills for the Recreation Fund and 1.5 mills for the Fire Fund. The General Fund has a listed $1,280,152.25 total income and $1,275,484.09 expenses. Any surplus will go into the township's capital reserve. Tax revenue for the Recreation Fund and Fire Tax Fund is $145,500 for each. Township contribution for the volunteer fire company is $16,085, although no funding was approved for a stipend payment to volunteer firefighters as a few other townships in Pike County are starting. Contribution for the township volunteer ambulance is $53,394.

Three budget workshops were held in the fall. "We are very happy to have the taxes unchanged," Neufeld said. 'There was a lot of opportunityto see how their (tax) money is being spent. Looking at the coming year, we believe we have provided not only for the upcoming operations but also have been able to identify more possible infrastructure work as well as unforeseen needs."

Supervisors also gave final approval for the Delaware Plaza project for Route 739, provided that six conditions are met. The approval came after project engineer Joe Hudak of Riley Associates presented updated blueprints for the hub that will be anchored by Weis Markets. Hudak was joined by John Stieh, representing developer Charles Miller; and an attorney for Weis Markets.

Delaware Township engineer Jon Tresslar was among the 25 people gathered for the meeting.

The conditions include a hefty performance bond accepted by Tresslar. The conditions also state a certificate of occupancy will not be granted for the gas pumps at a station until the state permit is provided. It also stipulates that the developer shall try to accommodate the fire department's concerns raised during the Planning Commission meeting. Those concerns were revised after the preliminary approval and after Chris Kimble was appointed township fire chief. They include, for example, outdoor lighting for behind the buildings so emergency responders could see well at night if summoned.

"We're waiting for the executed development agreement and for the performance bond, which we expect soon," Predmore said. "The plan is to start sometime in 2019 and that the project will take nine to 12 months."

The supervisors, after a brief public hearing, unanimously passed amendments to Ordinance 110 zoning and Ordinance 901 definitions by adding Non-Tower Wireless Communications Facilities to the ordinance. The conditional use regulates things such as trailers carrying wireless communications that would be stationed in the right of way. Supervisor Rick Koehler made the motion.

The change comes amid reports that the state is looking ti allow wireless companies greater access to other servicing opportunities apart from the townshiups' scrutiny. " We have taken steps to make sure that dosen't happen without thorough township regulation,"Neufeld said. Supervisors also agreed to a $39,382.25 payment to Mar-Allen Concrete Products Inc. for the Akenac Park Recreation Building's pier repair foundation project. Mar-Allen has been a lead contractor in the Pike County Courthouse Addition project.The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $7,396 to the Pike County Drug Task Force for one year only. It would go toward hiring a county detective on drug enforcement against illegal traffickers. If most townships do not contribute, Delaware Township will get its contribution back. The board accepted the resignation of Robyn Eldred from the township Planning Commission but appointed her to the township's Recreation Committee. The Recreation Committee will move its meetings into the township building for the second Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. starting Jan.10.

Township bulk disposal days for residents discarding certain large items that cannot be picked up in normal garbage disposal to take place on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. That will run from April through October.

During the workshop prior to the regular meeting, supervisors said there was no update on any response from Blue Ridge Communications regarding revisions proposed by the township for the cable franchise agreement that is up for renewal.

Supervisors said they have not yet gotten a response from the National Park Service to their request for the township to be notified when NPS will close the gates to and along Route 209 during inclement weather or an emergency so township officials can notify residents.

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