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Twp Loses Round the Clock Ambulance Service

Twp Loses Round the Clock Ambulance Service
By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township will no longer have around-the-clock ambulance services available within the township.

That bombshell news was delivered by Kyle Wright, head of Delaware Valley Emergency Services Inc. of Milford, to the township Board of Supervisors in an executive session lasting nearly an hour that delayed the start of the regular meeting last week.

"It's started already," said a resident attending the regular meeting of the cut hours after the supervisors and Solicitor Tom Farley relayed the news to the public.

"It's not going to be 24/7," said Farley of the services, and pointed out only two days a week will have around-the-clock coverage: Tuesday and Thursday. "Apparently, this has been going on for (the past) two weeks."

There is no longer any coverage on Mondays and Saturdays. There is daytime coverage only on Wednesday and daytime coverage only on every other Friday and Sunday. Farley pointed out there would be night coverage only on Tuesday and Thursday.

"What are we supposed to do when there is an emergency and we have no services available," asked resident Ron Hough.

Farley said the times when there is no township ambulance service, residents are advised to call 911 and an ambulance will be dispatched from another regional service such as Bushkill Emergency Corps or EMS Services in Milford.

A shortage of volunteer manpower for the Delaware Township Ambulance Corps is the core issue. The ambulance corps provides Basic Life Support services and Delaware Valley Emergency Services, which signed a private contract with the ambulance corps, provides life-threatening  Advanced Life Support services. Members of the gathering at the general meeting pointed out that the ambulance corps is down to one volunteer, and that person is certified as a paramedic.

Township Administrator Krista Predmore said after the regular meeting it was not established which days would have either or both ALS and BLS services.

Mary Lou Corbett, head of the volunteer ambulance corps who regularly attends Board of Supervisors meetings, was not in attendance. Corbett could not be reached afterward for comment.

Nancy Janiec. of the township Fire Police said she understands that Corbett and another individual are the only two members of the volunteer ambulance corps still serving on the Board of Directors and said there are rumors that Corbett is stepping down.

Members of the gathering at the meeting said that volunteers have left over the past two years since the volunteer ambulance corps signed a private contract with DVES, which pays its employees to provide technically trained ALS service for life-threatening situations, such as heart attack, stroke or drug overdose. DVES also provides some BLS coverage.

"Dedicated volunteers for the ambulance corps have been dwindling for a long time," said township Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker. "We need to talk to people who used to volunteer and ask them what can motivate them to re-volunteer on the BLS side."

Supervisors said local governments are looking to subsidize workers rather than rely on volunteers as a solution.

"We have a problem we were alerted to tonight and we're working to resolve it," said Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson firmly later in the discussion.

Also at the regular meeting, Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin gave a detailed presentation in which he is asking municipalities to collect a $1 fee per resident to go into a separate account toward funding a new county detective who would focus on crimes involving narcotics. He said the money -- approximately $100,000 -- would go toward salary, benefits, purchase of equipment that would include firearms, along with training and operating expenses. "That person would be augmented by our (other) county detectives," Tonkin said.

Tonkin said he has spoken to other municipalities and three expressed interest. He said the position would come in response to a rise in crimes from heroin trafficking, much of it brought in from Paterson, New Jersey.

"What happens if you don't come up with the money (needed), maybe half of it," Henderson asked.

"I'm encouraged by the response but if it does not come to the level needed, we'd have to return the money and come back to it next year," Tonkin answered.

Resident Steve McBride asked, if it is that important, why the county commissioners can't levy their own tax. "This is not the way to do it. Lertting the commissioners off the hook is not the way to do it," McBride said.

Farley, who also is solicitor for Pike County, said in a heated exchange with McBride that the commissioners have been actively involved in the issue.

"The burden of government officials is not to go on the old ways but to find new, innovative ways to try to accomplish this," Tonkin responded.

Henderson said he has talked with the county and that it is looking at its funding as well.

"Are you looking to establish this (position) as a career path," Beodeker asked Tonkin, who said it could be someone with experience such as a member of the county detective's office or a retired police officer.

Budget has no tax increase

The township announced it will have a budget meeting on Dec. 5 and will vote on the 2019 General Budget during the Dec. 19 regular meeting. The proposed 2019 General Budget has no tax increase. It projects a total income of $1,259,152.25 and total expenses of $1,257,564.09. That projected surplus would go into the General Reserve Fund, said Supervisor Jane Neufeld. The budget draft is available for public scrutiny at the municipal building.

There has not been a tax increase since 2008; however, taxes will not be decreased as they were in three recent years -- the 2012, 2013 and 2016 fiscal years.

The total millage rate remains at 11.68, which is comprised of an 8.68 township millage, a 1.5 millage rate for the township volunteer fire department, and 1.5 mills for the township Parks and Recreation Fund.

The Parks and Rec Fund is projected at a $159,172.10 in expenses for 2019. The Fire Tax Fund is $145,600.

The board agreed to replace its elected auditors with a certified public accounting firm.

The board will hold its Non-Tower Wireless Communication Facilities Ordinance Amendments Public Hearing during the Dec. 19 meeting at 7:15 p.m.

Also at the regular meeting, Liz Forrest was appointed as the township representative to the Pike County Solid Waste Advisory Committee. ... The board agreed to waive permit fes for a Habitat for Humanity of Pike County pertaining to the home at 195 Mountain Top Drive in Pocono Mountain Lake Estates in Dingmans Ferry.

Henderson announced that, in a declared emergency, the township has set up with four regional radio stations for information updates: Pocono 96.7, Country 107.7, WYNY 106.9 and Wall Radio out of Middletown New York at 340 AM. ... Delaware Township's Christmas at Akenac Park takes place 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 8.

The Board of Supervisors will have its reorganization meeting 7 p.m.on Jan. 7 and the township Planning Commission will have its reorganization meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 15. Township Auditors have scheduled their reorganization meeting for 6 p.m. on Jan. 8. 

Doolan, Park Roads to Get Major Upgrades

The Pike County Dispatch
By Wayne Witkowski


DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township affirmed its commitment for an $896,000 upgrade of two of its most traveled local roads -- Doolan Road and Park Road -- in the upcoming months.

The township's Board of Supervisors, at their regular meeting last week, agreed unanimously to adopt a resolution requesting a multimodal transportation grant from the Department of Transportation. The board a few months ago passed an ordinance establishing a locally enforced speed limit of 35 mph, with posted signage, for both roads. In the past, both roads fell under Pennsylvania Department of Transportation standards, which allowed for faster speed limits. State police would enforce the newer speed limits. Local roads not governed by township ordinance fall under PennDOT speed limit guidelines.

"Those roads are about to fall in disrepair," Supervisor Jane Neufeld said afterward, saying that the heavier truck traffic in recent years that included gravel deliveries has taken its toll. She said spending the money now would avoid greater expenses later.

Neufeld said the township engineering estimates call for $662,0000 for Doolan Road and $234,000 for Park Road for rebuilding, refurbishing the shoulders and upgrading water runoff.

Neufeld explained that the request will go toward numerous grants and they usually pay a percentage of the cost after the township funds the entire work up front.

The board also agreed to postpone for at least a month amendments to ordinances 901 and 110 to include non-tower wireless facilities. The board had said in previous meetings that there had been concerns statewide about wireless technology companies putting mobile equipment into right-of-way areas and also affixing additional cell receptors to utility poles.

Also, per the township engineer's recommendation, the board agreed to play Dutchman Contracting LLC  its final payment of $28,395.000 for the construction of the salt shed because it had received final permitting approvals.

The board, after discussion during the workshop prior to the regular meeting, agreed to a Wilson Hill Road Winter Maintenance Agreement with PennDOT for $2,826.

Supervisors also brought up the Delaware Plaza project as Planning Board member Ron Hough expressed concern that he would be away for the Thanksgiving holiday and unable to attend a Planning Board meeting on Tuesday this week when permit issues could be decided. Robert Bernathy, township Alternate Solicitor who sat in for absent Solicitor Thomas Farley, assured Hough that nothing would be finalized, especially since Hough pointed out that comment from the county on the project's land development application likely will not come in time for Tuesday's Planning Board meeting.

"This could take two or three (more) meetings because there's not enough information for approval (of the application by the board) for it to be moved forward to the supervisors," Bernathy said. "There could be reasons for it to go back to the drafting table."

With the 90-day application period nearing expiration, Bernathy said it is "customary for extensions to be given by the township for the application."

Also at the regular meeting, the board accepted resignations of two more township Recreation Board members --Jason Ganly and Melissa Llewellyn -- to reduce the board to two members. Township Supervisor Rick Koehler agreed to be appointed by the board to fill one of those vacancies for the time being so the board will have enough members for a quorum. Hough asked during the meeting's public comment period why there had been so many resignations, whether there were personality differences, and Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson said it was because more duties were expected from the Recreation Board than some members had anticipated.  He and Neufeld praised all board members' efforts, including those who had resigned, because they came on board at the end of the summer when the Recreation Board is at its busiest all year.

"As soon as the Christmas events are done, they'll have an opportunity to look at events and not be under the gun and have more of an opportunity to move forward," Henderson said. "They've done miraculous things," Neufeld said, referring to the tight schedule.

The board during the meeting also approved the request by Recreation Board member Rebecca Gray for $360 to purchase items from Oriental Trading toward the Christmas at Akenac Park annual event. It runs from 4--8 p.m. on Dec. 8.

Township fire company Chief Chris Kimble was approved by the board as a full-time public works employee for the township at a rate of $17.25 per hour, plus benefits.

The board also agreed to pay township interim Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker his annual $1,000 stipend and also to pay $1,500 to additionally equip the emergency management trailer and $800 for yearly office supplies for emergency management.

During public comment, Delaware Township Fire Company captain Michael Cairns, who oversees firefighter training, thanked the township for use of the condemned log cabins before the were demolished for "complicated training" drills. "It was an amazing opportunity to run through the  best training we could possibly provide for our firefighters," Cairns said.

The township fire company and ambulance corps were approved to jointly hold their annual Hazardous Materials Awareness Class 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the municipal building.

Henderson announced that the township's fire company will hold its 15th annual Holiday Fire Safety Run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 1. The fire company's fleet of trucks will ride through the township and make various stops with Santa Claus aboard one of the trucks to spread holiday cheer, instead of responding to an emergency as usual, and remind the public about the danger of fire and its added risks during the holiday season. Fire trucks with sirens and flashing lights will make festive stops at clubhouses of private communities Birchwood Lakes (noon), Marcel Lakes (12:50 p.m.), Pocono Mountain Lake Forest Clubhouse (1:15 p.m.) and Wild Acres (1:50 p.m.) as well as the Village at Delaware Ridge (11 a.m.), Arnold's Country Market (11:15 a.m.), Flair Home Center parking lot (11:30 a.m.) and Pocono Mountain Lake Estates sections 5 and 6 along Mountaintop Drive (2:30 p.m.). The journey includes stops at Juniper Terrace (1:30 p.m.) and a final stop at Emery Road/Chestmut Ridge Road (3 p.m.).

Henderson also pointed out that the Smart Recovery Group meets Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the township's Emergency Management Building at 116 Wilson Hill Road.

Goose Poopin’ Won’t Boogie Until Next Year

Goose Poopin’ Won’t Boogie Until Next Year
By Wayne Witkowski
Thursday, October 4, 2018 – Pike County Dispatch


DINGMANS FERRY –The goose poop dilemma at Akenac Park and the Wilson Hill Road ball fields might be resolved, but not until next year.

Delaware Township supervisors at last week’s meeting unanimously agreed to pay the Tri-State Geese Police company in Milford $400 a month to get rid of the honkers during the fair weather months of 2019.    They’ll also pay $100 per nest for the removal of goose eggs. 

Supervisors at previous meetings tossed around ideas with residents from allowing people to come into the park with their dogs on leashes to drive the geese away, to setting up a dog mannequin.  But their conclusion is that geese are too savvy for those ideas to succeed in warding them off for long enough before they return.

That’s when township Administrator Krista Predmore, who said she herself had some bad firsthand experiences with geese and their sometimes aggressive behavior and droppings, found the Geese Police in her research and said they’ve been successful keeping geese away from Delaware Valley School District properties.

With the frustration experienced by residents and visitors at Akenac Park and the ball fields, the board confidently approved the contract and doesn’t expect a peep of criticism.

Also at the meeting, the board agreed to send a letter to owner Ray Hull of Dingmans Shooting Range on Route 739, saying he could lower the customer age limit to 10 years as long as his range meets federal and state regulations.  During the workshop before the meeting the board discussed that they heard from Hull on the issue and said the township has no authority to stop the range from lowering the minimum age to 10, but higher authorities can prohibit if it it is out of compliance.

The saga of the cabins at Akenac Park continues.  Six of the cabins were scheduled to be removed from the park this fall but the board decided to remove only the four log cabins and to leave the other tow that have standard plank walls for next year.  The Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company was scheduled to perform training exercises on three of them but the board tabled a decision on how they will be removed.

They were visited at the last meeting by Bucks County entrepreneurs Lisa and Jeremy Bowman, who went to Akenac Park to examine the cabins earlier that day but have not offered a price to remove them.  Predmore said they needed to respond by last weekend when the fire company performs its drills because the township already received bids to remove the cabins from other companies, with Donald Jablonski Jr.’s company from Bushkill offering the lowest price of $10,000 to cart out all four log cabins.

Also approved was for the board and the township Emergency Management, led by interim Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker, to hold an information session regarding the Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) update at 1pm October 11th at the township building.

The township accepted the resignation of Melanie Palma from the Recreation Committee, the second resignation from the recently constituted five-member board.

“You just started it (the Rec Committee) and things were going pretty good and the bottom falls out,” said Ron Hough during the public comment.  “A lot of people volunteer and then they find out what’s involved,” responded Board of Supervisors Chairman Joh Henderson, who led the way to revive the board.  “I agree,” Hough answered.

Supervisors announced that one letter of interest was received for an interim term to fill the unexpired seat on the township’s Planning Commission.

Township offices will be closed four days at Christmas this year.  The board approved closing township offices Monday, Dec. 24, in observance of Christmas Eve but followed Supervisor Jane Neufeld’s recommendation to add into the approval that it would not happen every year, but only this year rather than open the building one day after the weekend before Christmas.

Coming off its first budget workshop meeting on Sept. 19, the board has two more set for Oct. 17 and 31, both at 6pm… the township’s annul Trunk or Treat will be held Sunday, Oct. 27 from 2-4pm at Akenac Park.  Anyone who wants to bring a trunk with goodies can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The board announced that Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was scheduled to pave the intersection of State Route 2001/Milford Road and Route 739 at the end of last week and to pave Milford Road between Silver Lake Road and Johnny Bee Road starting Tuesday.

SUPERVISORS NEED WILSON HILL ROAD KEPT OPEN DURING REPAIRS

SUPERVISORS NEED WILSON HILL ROAD KEPT OPEN DURING REPAIRS
BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 – PIKE COUNTY DISPATCH

DINGMANS FERRY – PennDOT might close Wilson Hill Road completely for two years for extensive repairs, but he township supervisors have taken a stand against closing it.  The supervisors are notifying PennDOT that they are opposed to that option.  Another option involves turning the road into a one-way thoroughfare so work can be done to correct the dangerous, deteriorating conditions, particularly on the lower Deep Hollow part of the hilly, curved road.  A third option calls for a temporary traffic light that will alternate the traffic from each direction onto one lane while work is done on the other.

The road is a popular connector for commuters looking to get to Route 209 and the Dingmans Bridge for jobs in New Jersey.  Many shoppers take it to get to Milford or south to Monroe County.  Closing that road would leave already busy Route 739 as the only crosstown route to link major north/south roadways.  “We want to keep it open for safety and secondary access for emergency responders,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson.

The township learned of those options in a communication from state Rep. Rosemary Brown’s office and decided to act after lengthy discussion during their workshop session.  They unanimously passed a motion during the regular meeting to forward a letter of their objection and another letter jointly drafted by township interim Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker and volunteer Fire Chief Chris Kimble articulating their objections that they submitted to the township.  Both letters will go to Brown, PennDOT engineer George Roberts and Mike Mrozinski of the Pike County Planning Commission.

“There are 7,000 people living in the township.  I’d like to see 3,000 people write letters to Rosemary Brown, George Roberts, the county planning commission and county offices,” Beodeker said.

“If they close this road, it’s the worst thing you could ever do,” Ron Hough told the supervisors during the workshop.  “We’ll do everything to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Henderson said.

In the letter, Beodeker and Kimble favored the temporary traffic light idea that would allow the fire department to change the light and traffic flow for an emergency response along that road.  Part of the road straddles National Park service territory.

Supervisor Jane Neufeld said the township should continue pressing for a meeting after PennDOT refused to attend a previous meeting because the decision come from a higher level of command.  Henderson voiced a comment similar to the letter that said, “It is our belief that if the road is closed for a period of up to two years, a significant possibility exists that the closure will become permanent due to a variety of permitting and jurisdictional issues that are ever present when dealing with the requirements of the National Park Service and agencies of the Commonwealth that deal with funding for rural area road projects.”

Using Route 739 as a connector would take significantly longer.  The letter indicates that fire apparatus gets down Wilson Hill Road better and faster than Route 739.  “If PennDOT will close Wilson Hill Road, will they talk about repairing Chestnut Ridge Road?”  asked resident Kim Greene.  “If there is an emergency on that side of town, there aren’t a lot of options.” 

Resident Karen Hagan asked who would pay for the temporary traffic light if it is used and was told by the supervisors it would be provided by the state.  She also talked about starting a petition and Henderson said it could hurt or help the cause or have no effect at all or could rub someone from PennDOT the wrong way.

Recreation Parks Board Created

Also at the meeting, the board approved amended Ordinance 2012-14 on creating a township recreation parks board.  It came right after a public hearing that drew only one question asking the board to elaborate on the changes.  The supervisors said a key change establishes that the recreation committee is not in charge of facilities and raising funds.  Those duties rest with the supervisors.

The board, which already had appointed the first set of five committee members, moved during the meeting to advertise for letters of interest for another vacant seat.  The board also moved to allow the rec and parks board to create a Facebook page, but Supervisor Rick Koehler said the township also should have a role in it.

Entrepreneurs Lisa and Jeremy Bowman from Bucks County appeared before the board asking to allow them to take three condemned log cabins.  They had just arrived at the meeting from Akenac Park where they went to inspect six cabins condemned for removal, which includes using them for firefighter training and said they planned to comeback alter in the week to identify which cabins they wanted.

Township Administrator Krista Predmore said that obliging the couple would eliminate the cost of carting away the razed buildings and said a decision allowing them to do it would have to be made soon.  “The log cabins are the ones we’re interested in,” Lisa Bowman said.  “We’re asking for time.  We’re moving on this as quickly as we can.  We’re having one company come in to look at it.”  Township Roadmaster Vince Flatt said the township fire department already scheduled the first three cabins for drills on Sept. 30 and then singular ones on Oct. 21 and Nov. 21.

They invited the Bowman’s to come to their budget workshop on Wednesday this week to further discuss the matter.

Ordinance Changes Lay Groundwork For Medical Marijuana Operations

Ordinance Changes Lay Groundwork For Medical Marijuana Operations
By Wayne WItkowski
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, August 30, 2018

DINGMANS FERRY – At its regular meeting last week, the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors opened the door for new business in the future by passing ordinance amendments allowing for a medical marijuana facility.

As for other new business prospects, supervisors did not have a specific update on the proposed Delaware Plaza project on Route 739, but project engineer Joseph Hudak of Kiley & Associates said for the groundbreaking “You might be looking at something for early next year.”

As for medical marijuana facilities, Delaware Township joins Lehman and Westfall Townships that have approved similar ordinances amendments.

After a brief public hearing in which Delaware Township Solicitor Thomas Farley highlighted details of the ordinances changes, there was no public comment or discussion, and the board unanimously approved the changes immediately afterward.

The changes to Ordinance 901 add definitions involving medical marijuana.  Lengthy specifics on business requirements for growing and processing medical marijuana went into Ordinance 110.

Medical marijuana was first sold in the state in February, two years after it was legalized.

Under ordinance amendment 110.17 a medical marijuana grower/processor may only grow the crop in an indoor, enclosed and secure building and garage, which includes electronic locking, electronic surveillance and other features required by the Department of Health.  It prohibits certain locations for growing it such as a trailer, mobile home and recreation vehicle.  Any marijuana remnants must be properly disposed.

The amendment states that a medical marijuana dispensary also must be in an indoor, enclosed and secure building operating between 8am and 8pm, and must be legally registered with the state and hold a valid permit from the DOH.  The dispensary must not exceed 3,000 square feet, including 500 square feet for storage and an indoor customer waiting area of at least 25 percent of the floor area.

It cannot have a drive-through service or outdoor seating or vending machines.

The entire facility must be at least 1,000 feet from the nearest residential district and from the nearest school, playground, child care facility or day care center, park, place of worship, library or camp.  There must be three parking spots per 100 square feet of all public areas and outside lighting in compliance with zoning requirements.

Definitions under Ordinance 901 not only specify medical marijuana but terms such as caregiver, certified medical use, grower/processor, a medical marijuana organization or facility and a medical marijuana delivery vehicle office, which garages vehicles.

WEIS MARKETS AS ANCHOR STORE

As for the latest on the Delaware Plaza project, Hudak said, “It is ongoing.  We have the permits.  We are in communication with Weis Markets as the anchor store and in my last conversation with Weis, they’re finalizing details of what the inside would look like.”

The Weis Markets store would measure 63,000 square feet, and another 7,800 square feet is planned for a bank, a coffee and doughnut shop and a fast-food restaurant, said Hudak.

Also at the meeting, the board agreed to move $71,442 from the township Pension Fund into the General Fund.

It said two fo the six condemned cabins at Akenac Park would be used as a training exercise on Oct. 30 by the township’s volunteer fire department for firefighting drills.  Another will be used in October and a fourth one in November for firefighting drills.  The other two cabins will be demolished separately without fire department drills.  The township has yet to receive a bid from any company to care away what’s left and will advertise for bids again.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson relayed information from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation about its plans to service local roads, particularly repaving badly damaged State Route 2001/Milford Road from Silver Lake Road to the Lehman Township construction site by the winter.  During the workshop before the regular meeting, the board also discussed PennDOT’s recommendation in its Wilson Hill Road Dam Inspection Report for the township to remove some trees and shrubs and cut back branches.

“Its small trees,” specified township road master Vince Flatt.  “These are suggestions, not violations.”

The board agreed to advertise again for candidates to submit letters of interest to fill a vacancy on the township planning commission.  No letters have been submitted yet.  The commission meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month.

The board unanimously passed a motion to set aside the workshops for budget sessions before regular meetings on Sept. 19 and Oct. 17 and 31.  Supervisor Jane Neufeld said there is nothing yet to report on the budget at this early stage.  It also agreed to change the December meetings dates to the 5th and 19th, instead of the 12th and 26th because of the holidays… The board approved a $200 fee for township personnel to attend the annual Convention of Township Officials of Pike County on Oct. 5 at the Best Western at Hunt’s Landing in Westfall.  It starts with speakers from the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, followed by legislative representatives and discussions from townships.

It also moved to invite new Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent Sula Jacobs to meet with the township supervisors.

The board announced the fifth annual Senior Citizens Expo to be held 9am to 1pm on Sept. 14 at the Dingmans Township Fire Hall of 680 Log Tavern Road.

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