January 30, 2003

The Jackson Township Supervisors held their regular meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the municipal building. Members present were David Bracken, Bob Stephens, Bruce Baker, Dave Hirko and Solicitor Bill Barbin. The meeting was called to order by David Bracken, Chairman, with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

Public Comments:
Steve Yurasek stated that he had submitted a request and maps to the Township to have the Gulf Property he purchased rezoned commercial along the front and industrial on the back. He said presently on the 45 acre property, there are three separate zones and he wished to have it rezoned similar to his other adjoining property. He also asked if anything was decided as far as testing the ground at Leidy Park. Supervisor Bracken said that he thought the Supervisors were going to stand on the Phase I Study completed by the Cambria County Conservation District. Mr. Yurasek asked if he thought the Township was opening itself up for liability if any problems occurred down the road. Supervisor Bracken said he would bring the new Solicitor up-to-date on the concern and discuss it further.

Eugene Kist asked what the Township would do on the non-conforming properties. Supervisor Bracken said we would have to discuss this with the Zoning Officer. Mr. Kist also asked if the new Solicitor could also check into a possible conflict of interest when Supervisor Baker was appointed into office. Supervisor Bracken said that the former Solicitor, George Gvozdich answered that question. Mr. Kist also said that the new Solicitor, William Barbin was on record as saying he was not in favor of any coal burning plants in the Township. Mr. Kist didn’t feel this was proper being that there were many coal miners in the area.

Joe Baxter, Chairman of the Jackson Twp. Recreation Board stated that the Cambria County Conversation District had professional, educated people do the Phase I Study at Leidy Park. He said that Mr. Yurasek proposed that Nordic Labs do a study. From his understanding Nordic would do a similar study that was already done by the Conservation District and only do soil samples if it was determined necessary after doing a "walk through". Mr. Baxter felt there was no need to pursue this further. He said that the area of possible contamination Mr. Yurasek was referring to was in a paved area near the former mine shaft and not in Leidy Park.

Ed Westrick stated that Mr. Yurasek was willing to pay to have core samples taken at Leidy Field and suggested Joe Baxter have the core samples taken for the safety of the children. Mr. Westrick also asked what procedure was used to hire the new Solicitor at the January Reorganization Meeting. He also asked what the rate of pay was for the new Solicitor. Supervisor Bracken said the figures are available at the Township Office.

Eugene Kist asked how he could get on the agenda.

Betty Lou Shoup asked if the Township received any revenue from the recycling bins located at the Jackson Township Senior Center. Manager Hirko stated that the County provided the bins as a service to the people and that there really wasn’t any large revenue derived from that service.

Clair Michaels asked Joe Baxter if the County Conservation District would issue a specific statement that they would be responsible if something happened down the road at Leidy Park. Mr. Michaels also asked how the reopening of the old Bethlehem Mine was coming. Supervisor Bracken said they were doing preliminary work at the site. Manager Hirko added that they were applying for their permits.

Al Slippy of the Recreation Board suggested that if additional work was to be done at Leidy Park that the Conservation District should preform the work being they did the Phase I Study and that any cost be paid for by the Township.

Guy Ellenberger stated he presented issues to the Board back in August on permit fees being charged. He questioned permit # 54 issued to Pike Grace Brethren Church and the 50% discount issued to the church. He stated that Supervisor Baker made the statement that the permit was correct. Mr. Ellenberger pointed out that in October a refund check was issued to the church for $82.50 and he would like to know what the refund was for if the permit charge was correct and who authorized the refund. He also said that several residents were overcharged on their permits but only four were issued refunds and asked what the process was for determining refunds. He went on to question permit # 89 that was withdrawn and noted that the money was refunded. He stated that the permit paid was $21.00 yet the refund was only $16.00 and he wanted to know why the entire amount wasn’t refunded. He also asked what was going to be done about the fee schedule and said that there were still some errors being made. He suggested simplifying the schedule to make it better. Supervisor Baker asked Mr. Ellenberger to submit his questions so they could be answered. Supervisor Bracken went on to say that the question about the Church Permit will get a response.

Will Michaels said that with the zoning, the cost factor of the attorneys have risen six times and in 2001 to 2002 the legal fees doubled. He said Ordinance # 118 needs to go.

Will Michaels Jr. asked if the Supervisors have given any additional consideration to providing road and police reports at public meetings. Supervisor Baker said a 2002 summary report is being done and will be printed in a newsletter in the next few days. Mr. Michaels then asked Supervisor Baker what he would need to provide for him to vote against the Zoning Ordinance. Supervisor Baker said he didn’t need anything as he supports the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Michaels stated the majority of people don’t. Supervisor Baker responded that it was a matter of opinion.

Supervisor Robert Stephens complemented Secretary Dave Hirko on doing a commendable job on providing more extensive information in the minutes than they were used to and expressed his thanks.

Motion Stephens, second Baker to approve the minutes of the meeting held on January 6th, 2003. Vote-3 yes.

Township Financial Report:








GENERAL $ 80,366.69 $ 18,880.39 $ 54,126.09 $ 45,120.99
CAPITAL RESERVE $ 982,278.80 $ 51,642.72 $ 0 $ 1,033,921.52
STATE HIGHWAY AID $ 44,893.37 $ 0 $ 8,912.54 $ 35,980.83
SR. CENTER FUND $ 40,443.65 $ 2,375.00 $ 2,489.11 $ 40,329.54

Sergeant James Bock, Station Commander from the Ebensburg State Police Barracks attended to address any questions the residents of Jackson Township may have. Issues discussed included staffing, Route 22, seat belts and making right and left turns at traffic lights. He also mentioned that the State Police have a website and could be found by typing in the key word "Pennsylvania State Police" and added that any questions could also be asked by calling them at 471-6500.

Supervisor Bracken read the proposed new Open Records Policy for Jackson Township. Supervisor Stephens stated that he felt that .25 per copy was excessive and on the average, the cost of copies in most municipalities was .10 per copy. Supervisor Baker suggested that the advice of Solicitor Barbin be given. Solicitor Barbin stated that Act 100 (2002) says that you should not charge more than copies can be made for in a municipality and that the State Township Association recommends .10 per copy. Motion Stephens, second Bracken to adopt the new Open Records Policy with the copy cost being reduced to .10 per copy. Vote-3 yes.

Discussed Police Plan Resolution 01-03 which would expedite when the State would start reimbursement after a 3 year period. Motion Baker, second Stephens to adopt Police Pension Plan Resolution 01-03 amending Police Pension Resolution 01-02 to be retro-active to January 1, 2002. Vote-3 yes.

Discussed the sale of the 1990 Chevrolet Caprice owned by the Township. Supervisor Baker said someone inquired about purchasing the car. Baker suggested that an ad be placed to invite people interested to submit offers. Motion Baker, second Stephens to run an ad in the Nanty Glo Journal advertising that we have a car for sale. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Stephens, second Bracken to approve a request for the members of the Jackson Township Planning Commission to attend a seminar on the Municipal Planning Code. Vote-Stephens & Bracken-yes, Baker abstained.

Supervisor Baker expressed interest in discussing residential variances. Baker then said that he was in favor of eliminating the fee for filing a request for a variance for residential only. Stephens suggested having a minimal fee to discourage excess filing of variances. Baker said during 2002 there were only two and he didn’t anticipate a problem. A question was raised as to whether this could be discriminatory. Solicitor Barbin said it was perfectly legal to create categories on the Zoning Fee Schedule. Motion Baker, second Bracken to eliminate the fee for all residential variances. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Baker, second Bracken to transfer $22,188.07 from the Capitol Reserve Fund; $15,000.00 for the 2003 budgeted contribution to the Jackson Twp. Volunteer Fire Company, $3,567.90 for overtime charges for winter maintenance work, $1,047.74 for plow edges, $975.00 for Township garage roof engineering work, $517.43 for envelopes and stamps for Paulette Baker, Tax Collector and $1,080.00 for legal expenses resulting from a zoning lawsuit. Vote-Baker & Bracken-yes, Stephens abstained due to pending litigation.

Motion Baker, second Bracken to approve the bills from December 20th, 2002 to January 30, 2003 - General Fund - $ 70,279.76; Senior Center Fund - $ 2,489.11; Highway Aid Fund - $ 8,912.54. Vote-Baker & Bracken-yes, Stephens abstained due to pending litigation.

Motion Stephens, second Baker to approve the time sheets for December 22nd, 2002 to January 4th, 2003 and for January 5th to January 18th, 2003. Vote-3 yes.

Supervisor Stephens had several comments at the end of the meeting. He spoke on using the Roberts Rules of Order and he believed they were to be used at the meetings. He also stated that he asked to be on the agenda 5 times out of the last 6 months. He felt that Bill Barbin being Solicitor was a conflict due to his association with the Rager Mountain Conservancy. Solicitor Barbin felt it was no conflict and encouraged Stephens to write to the ethics commission.

Stephens also expressed concern over any new water and sewage projects and associated costs. He talked about the Lorain Ballfield and suggested that any monies received from selective timbering be used exclusively for Lorain. Stephens then spoke about the deteriorating conditions of some cemetaries in the Township and suggested that the Township help clean them up. Stephens also spoke on increased landfill revenues and proposed reducing the Earned Income Tax.

Motion Baker, second Bracken to adjourn the meeting at 8:24 p.m. Vote-3 yes.

Respectfully submitted,
David M. Hirko, Secretary