April 29, 2010

The Jackson Township Supervisors held their regular meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the Jackson Township Municipal Building. Members present were Supervisors Bruce Baker, John Wallet and Mark Westrick along with Secretary-Treasurer / Manager Dave Hirko and Solicitor Bill Barbin. The meeting was called to order by Bruce Baker, Chairman with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

Board Roll Call was taken with all three Supervisors present.

Executive Sessions:

Public Comments Concerning Agenda Items:
Steve Yurasek said, I only have one comment. . you're spending this money like this. . .I know you all get mad every time I say it, but what are you going to do about the maintenance. . . where are you going to get the money for the maintenance of these ballfields? Are you going to hire personnel now to take care of the ballfields? It's gonna go from people doin it on their own. . it's going to go into hiring somebody to take care of the lights, take care of the toilets and all this other stuff. Where are you gonna get all this money? Chairman Baker replied, the Road Crew has been mowing the ballfields and taking care of them. Yurasek replied, right now but on down the road, you'll be putting people on. . . .first you put them on and they're just temporary and next thing you know, you're givin them benefits. . .give them this, give them that and the Township has another liability. Supervisor Wallet said, well I don't think we have any intention of doing that, speaking for myself. Baker added, it's working well so far and ETJ maintains the building and the lights. . .they'll take care of that stuff.

Eugene Kist said, on insurance, it has you paying $4,000 some dollars. When you pay insurance from a municipality, you're paying insurance from liability. . .am I correct? This liability. . .I had a case in Conemaugh Township and Mr. Barbin is also the Solicitor there. . I won a case. . .it's around $400. . they said the Township isn't liable. This has been goin on for years. How can it be that the Township is not liable for something that happened? If I hit somebody in one of these cars out here, I'm liable. Now. . I'm paying Township insurance. . .I'm also paying to cover myself from liability and paying insurance to the State and yet the State Legislation passed a law that Townships aren't liable for the damage they cause. I think this is totally ridiculous. Mr. Barbin was in this case. . he knows it. Solicitor Barbin said, you should talk to your State legislator. Kist asked, is the Township liable? Barbin answered, for most things no. Kist asked, does that sound right to you gentlemen? Chairman Baker replied, you have to carry a certain amount of insurance. Kist said, I pay insurance when I damage something. Whose riding free on all this is the insurance companies. Barbin said, this isn't really about Jackson Township. You need to have some degree of insurance. . how much is the question. Kist said, I also own property in this Township and I'm being penalized. You are salute and pledge allegiance to that flag. . .justice and liberty for everybody. Dan Till of Hunt Road said, about 12 years go I had an accident in East Taylor Township where their snowplow threw a brick at my vehicle. . it was their fault. I put a claim in and she said the Township has municipal immunity. I asked how do I get my truck fixed and she said, you have to go through your own insurance company. I called them up. . .it's interesting . . because I only had liability on my vehicle and the Township paid. If you just have liability, the Township would pay but if you had full coverage, then you have to pay. Barbin added, and the Townships are responsible for motor vehicle accidents. A motor vehicle accident is not supposed to be immune and insurance companies may tell you they are. A Township is immune from any lawsuit except for six things and of the six things is a motor vehicle accident. Till said, my insurance agent told me even though it would go through my insurance it wouldn't be a charged accident.

Will Michaels said, on this sutter & Associates here, I can remember 4 or so years ago they were supposed to do a little contract or something and a hundred thousand . .a couple hundred thousand later we're still paying how much money every month. . when is this gonna stop? These guys. . I think they're making up things just to make money on them.

Wallet, second Westrick, to approve the minutes of the Board of Supervisors Meetings held on March 25, 2010 and April 8, 2010. Vote-3 yes.

Township Financial Report:







$   75,057.04

$ 140,065.85

$       85,736.25

$  129,386.64


$  724,089.08

$   15,560.17

$       18,641.32

$  721,007.93


$  223,551.30

$         27.67

$         1,847.15

$  221,731.82


$   33,179.62

$    2,696.44

$         3,597.20

$   32,278.86


$   62,616.32

$         12.01

$                .00

$   62,628.33

Westrick, second Wallet to approve the bills for the period of March 26, 2010 through April 29, 2010. Vote-3 yes.

General Fund

Highway Aid Fund

Senior Center Fund

$     85,736.25

$       1,847.15

$      3,597.20

Township Police Report
The March, 2010 Police Report submitted by Police Chief Bob Fatula was presented. The figures for March were as follows: 911 Calls dispatched to Police: 295 Reportable Part I Crimes: 5 broken down as follows: Larceny-3 and Burglaries-2. Reportable Part II Crimes: 17 broken down as follows: Disorderly Conduct-2, DUI (Driving While Under the Influence)-2, Vandalism-2, Drunkenness-1, Fraud-1, Receiving Stolen Property-1 and all others-8.
Calls Resulting in Cases: 18, Total Arrestees: 10, Total Suspects: 1, Total Victims: 14, DUI Arrests: 2, Traffic Citations: 21, Non-Traffic Citations: 9, Total Warnings: 1


Old Business:

New Business:
Terry Shook
, from Barnes Saly & Company, Certified Public Accountants presented the 2009 Township Audit. Terry said, we've done the audits for Jackson Township for a good number of years now and this is a summary of our 2009 Audit Report. The Audit fieldwork was completed March 2, 2010. Audit report was completed by March 23rd and submitted it just in time to meet the deadline at the end of March. The Audit report expressed a clean opinion on the financial statements. That means the numbers you see in the report for the end of 2009 are fairly presented fairly in all general accepted accounting principles and we encountered no problems doing the Audit. We did not identify any unusual transactions and we had no disagreements with management on accounting or auditing matters at all. It's about as clean as we can get here. . management cooperated fully with everything we tried to do and everything we asked for. The graphs here show some of the highlights of 2009. . .revenue sources and expenses and where they came from. There's also a little bit of revenue history for the past three years and a summary of expenses. Another graph breaks down where taxes came from and another chart that shows taxes received over the last four years. I have two comments on the Audit. . we uncovered a cash account that wasn't included last year of about $60,000. . it was separate cash maintained in a separate account. Last year we actually didn't include that in our report and we pulled that in this year. If you look at the financial statements it's a prior period adjustment. Manage Hirko added, it wasn't in Quickbooks. . it was in a separate checking account. Shook said, yes and we included it this year. . there's no reason to be alarmed or anything like that. The only other comment we had is to be a little more timely on the deposits and there was a delay of a couple days and our recommendation is to as soon as possible, get it to the bank. It's nothing to be alarmed about. . just something we observed and that's really all I have.

Motion Wallet, second Westrick to approve Resolution 03-10 which designates David M. Hirko as Agent for the filing of reimbursement forms to PEMA for February 5 & 6, 2010 winter storm expenses. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Wallet, second Westrick to accept the resignation of Tim Davis as a member of the Jackson Township Recreation Commission. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Westrick, second Wallet to approve Capital Reserve Fund bill list for the period of March 26, 2010 through April 29, 2010 and transfer $ 18,641.32 from the Capital Reserve Fund to the General Fund. Vote-3 yes.

CAPITAL RESERVE FUND BILL LIST (03/26/09 - 04/29/10)


Purchase Detail


Luther P. Miller

Fuel & Heating Oil

$    6,530.57

Richard Sutter & Associates

Phase II Planning (Cen. Cam. Coalition)
Business Park Project

$    4,075.00
$    2,175.00

Naugle Insurance Agency

May Installment

$    4,247.75

Middle Department Inspection Agency

Mitchell Park Project Building Permit

$    1,613.00


$ 18,641.32

Motion Wallet, second Westrick on approving the time sheets from March 21, 2010 through April 3, 2010 and April 4, 2010 through April 17, 2010. Vote-3 yes.

Other New Business:

Public Comments:
Steve Yurasek said, when we had that Planning Commission Meeting here they brought out a thing about rezoning the Township. Everybody that was here disagreed in taking part in that on lots they could have drilled on because it's residential but it was a great improvement on the Mixed Use land going up 271 where there's so many small businesses and stuff in between the houses which makes sense but why would you take farmland over on Benshoff Hill and just so they couldn't do a gas well make it residential. Chairman Baker said, first of all, that's not why it was done. . secondly, those edits that were recommended at that Planning Commission Meeting have been made. . that map's not completed but those edits have been made. Yurasek continued, in other words, all those people that was against that zoning. . that didn't mean nothin? Solicitor Barbin said, no. . that's no what he means. . a lot of that land has been moved back to Agriculture. Yurasek said, you know. . just like the Stevens property. . it's been farmland all those years. . what's the purpose of changing? Baker said, there again, some people asked to have that done. Yurasek said, but nobody's ask to be changin these. Baker said, bottom line is the Planning Commission. . they do a good job at what they do and noone's perfect and that was a draft and they took those comments from everybody sitting here and they're makin those edits to the map. That was a Public Meeting for public comment. . that's what it's for. Yurasek said, just like that oil terminal property across from the school. . now you can never build schools. . you can never build houses on that land but by making it a Mixed Use there is a possibility of gettin something in there that would bring revenue. Barbin said, absolutely. . Commercial. Dan Till said, at the last Planning Commission. . you said the edits were made. . .will there be another meeting? Baker replied, in May. . it's the third Monday if they have that ready. Barbin said, at this point, the meeting will have to be advertised. When they're ready to go ahead with the zoning another time, they have to advertise that. Till replied, so that will be advertised and then we can come and comment and see the new maps. Eugene Kist said, Mr. Baker. .you said there were individuals who asked for this. . am I being ignorant or something. . who were the individuals. . I'd like to know that. Barbin said, I heard Mr. Mackell make a speech at the last Zoning Hearing that the one thing wrong with the Zoning Ordinance was there was too much Agriculture and not enough Residential and we should be building houses. You heard it Steve. . you were there. Yurasek said, this is what's here. . you can wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up the quickest. . . . like it or not. . this is what's here, so you gotta work with what you got. . not try to make something it isn't. Baker added, and there are clearly residential properties in the Ag District. Pike Road up here is Agricultural. . that's nothing but Residential . . it's that simple. . but there are a lot of properties that are like that and you know the reason it was changed and you . . . Yurasek said, I benefitted by you changing it because I wanted my whole piece of ground Industrial. Baker said, but the point is, nobody's trying to pull anything on anybody. It's not because of gas wells. . it's simply the Planning Commission doing the map with the parcel specific mapping and no matter how many times you go over it, you're going to find more and more comments and that's what we did last Monday. Yurasek said, the mining company over there in the hollow is sending things out to check wells so I know they're going to drive towards Vinco. . they're probably going to drive over towards the shaft for the simple reason they spent a couple million dollars to put that shaft in. They're not gonna let it go to waste. Baker replied, nothing could be further from the truth. Taking a property from Ag and moving it to Residential will not increase your property taxes. It will not double your property taxes . . it can't happen. The only way you can raise property taxes is Local, County and School and that has to be done through raising your millage. Yurasek said, when this zoning developed, I went up to the County and I said to them. . I have a big map. . when you zoned down there by the ARCO in bits and pieces and they said that was always since 1932 been zoned Industrial because it was used as oil terminals, the entire plot would have to be. Barbin replied, in '32 it wasn't zoned Steve. You're talking two different things. The County assesses, the Township zones. . they don't relate to each other. Yurasek asked, and they will not change that? Barbin replied, no. . they only assess based on what they see you actually have. It has nothing to do with Township zoning. Yurasek said, they told me that that land because it was used as oil terminals can never be anything else. You can never build houses, you can never build schools. . .it don't matter how much dirt you haul away or what you do. . it will always be Industrial. Barbin said, you are referring to a deed restriction. Jeff Ellenberger said, I've been talking to the Dept. of Ag, the County Courthouse, everything and anything over 10 acres they consider Agriculture. If you change that parcel to Residential your taxes are not going to go up unless you subdivide and then they will change everything. Barbin said, yes. . then they're separate pieces but that's your choice. . . you're ability to decide. Baker continued, that's the ability some would like to have too. Dick McDowell asked, is this zoning change going to affect the options to drill? Baker replied, no. . it has nothing to do with that. Till said, the dividing of properties . . .say I want to give my kids a block off the farm. . if I'm zoned Agriculture it has to be one acre off the farm. . if it's zoned Residential, it can be 1/4 acre. Barbin said, that's correct. . that's the big difference. Till asked, that is affected by sewage and water too? Barbin replied, yes. . .you couldn't make to 1/4 acre if you had on lot septic because you'll never get a sewage permit. Clair Michaels asked, anybody who's zoned Agriculture and was changed to Residential where can they go to maybe have their property changed back to Agriculture. Baker asked, is that a request you're making Clair? Michaels replied, no. . I'm only. . . Baker said, it's public comment, just like the Planning Commission had the Meeting for that. Michaels said, you mean the third Monday of next month? Baker said, that's when they meet. . ok. . because I feel that there was other people who wasn't there at that meeting that would like to have theirs changed or how they gonna do that?. . . notify everybody and ask them if they want to or not? they should have a way to do this. Barbin asked, you're talking about changing existing Residential to Ag? Michaels said, no. . the Agricultures they switched to Residential. Barbin said, you mean the ones that are Agriculture. . .85% of the Township is Agriculture right now. Michaels said, I know that. Yurasek said, this isn't a First Class Township, we're a Second Class Township. . a rural area. Michaels said, but I feel there are people who want to stay Agriculture. Barbin said, they should come to the Planning Commission. Michaels added, but something should be put in the paper so that they know. Ellenberger said, you can appeal that to the Township, the county has nothing to do with that but they can appeal it and you guys can make the decision as to whether it can be changed back or not. Baker said, and it has not been changed so there's nothing to change back. Till said, like Clair said, there's some people out there that don't even know their land was changed by zoning. . is there a time then that they could appeal that. Maybe they're on vacation or they can't attend the Meeting and it would get changed from Ag to Residential, is there a time period they could appeal that? Barbin replied, technical 30 days. There's several kinds of appeals you can do with zoning. If you're talking about a change in the Ordinance, you have 30 days from the date it was final but every landowner has a right at anytime to say this Ordinance unfairly characterizes my property. It's called a Curative Amendment. The property owner has a choice to take it directly to the Supervisors or to the Zoning Hearing Board and can say this affects my property and doesn't serve a good purpose and that can happen anytime. You won't always win and if the Supervisors turn you down or the Zoning Hearing Board turns you down, you can take it to Court. Yurasek said, maybe you could have a little map in the office so people could see what's being changed. Baker said, we did last time. Yurasek said, you had some at the Public Meeting and I had one but other people didn't and I passed mine around. Not everybody gets a newspaper. Baker said, maybe we could get a bigger version of it.

Eugene Kist said, at the last meeting I brought up about raw sewage. Mr. Barbin sent me a letter on it. Solicitor Barbin said, I sent the County a letter on it and copied you. Kist said, I have some people working on my property. Here's what they wrote while they're working on the building. They found toilet tissues, raw sewage running and said the stench was terrible and they're giving me the devil. That's what they wrote on the back of Mr. Barbin's envelope. This is terrible. Barbin said I sent a letter and on the pictures. . the junk. . no offense. . is it on their property or your property? Kist replied, that's on my property. Barbin asked, the water heater and that? Kist replied, yes. . . on this sewage the stench is terrible. Barbin asked, so the water heater laying on the ground right there is yours? Kist replied, yes. . that's my water heater. . I took it out. Kist said, these gentlemen working out there on this building. . . Rich Wray said, after Bill's letter got to Larry Custer and asked for a recommendation and I said to put Lumadue on notice and Larry set the time frame. Lumadue is to correct all items, Mr. Harrasty's concerns, Eugene's concerns. . he was to mobilize by tomorrow. If he doesn't Larry is going to take action and other means to correct this. Barbin said, so that's fixing the pipe to get the smell from one end of your property to another. Kist said, but essentially the smell is still there. This is coming directly from a septic tank and right down the road and also affects my neighbor over here, Mr. Harasty. . it goes right over into his spring. Michael Harasty said, I'd like to make a few comments on that too. This has been going on for over 10 years . . before Eugene put the pipe in where Eugene's driveway is, that stuff was out there 8 feet wide because there's a little depression in the driveway. The whole bank in front of Eugene's property was so soaked with sewage, whenever PennDOT came down and did that highway, they hauled truckloads of it out God knows where and got rid of it. PennDOT wouldn't do anything about it. I reported this to you guys I don't know how many times. . nothing was done about it. The best thing that happened was Gene puttin that pipe in there to divert the stuff down past our homes. You don't know what's it's like to go out there and have a Memorial Day picnic and have 8 feet of shit running down the road. It's been going on but now if you're down there, the stuff is flowing down the road. . right now. . and they had the thing pumped out about 3 or 4 days ago. I also have test results form my spring which is well over 100 feet away on the opposite side. My spring has been polluted for years and years and I can't drink the water. Barbin said, any ecoli in the water is bad. Janet Harasty said, we have to carry or buy our water. .there's no fresh water to drink. Michael Harasty said, their sewage water was running out on to the highway and PennDOT didn't even push it off the road. . they brought graders down and the ice was thick and they just threw a bunch of calcium on the road. Next thing you know the water is burning your skin from the calcium in the water. If the calcium is there and coming down through the ground, surely the rest of the stuff is too. Another thing I want to make a point of to Mr. Wray here in particular. Why would you put that pipeline down there. . I didn't see any discussion where it was going to go. I told him then and there if they put it down that side of the road, they're going to go right through that cess pool which is exactly what happened. I'm sure all you people know what a French drain is. . you throw crushed stone in there and the stuff flows with it. What if they put my water line in there and Eugene's water line in there and all that crushed stone around it, that sewage has a real nice leech bed to go right down and follow right into our homes. Now what's to keep that stuff to keep from gettin into our water? I'm not going to pay a tap in fee and a monthly bill and everything else to have sewage into my house. . .I got it for free now. Baker asked, even if he don't mobilize tomorrow, how long till Larry goes after him to get something done? Wray said, he hasn't given us a time frame or coordinated that with us. Baker said, we need to kick this up a notch. . what's our options? Wray said, Larry still possess the project. . .just so you know Bill, no substantial completion certificate has been issued. These types of issues going on here with restoration, Mr. Kist. . .we won't endorse a certificate. The Project remains in the ownership of the contractor. Kist said, gentlemen, that's the same as running your water line right up through your commode up over to the sink. . it's the same thing. Would you like that? Would any of you gentlemen like to have that? Barbin said, inadequate sewage is no different than the Amish and there have been a couple of other cases and you get the person thrown out of the house and you padlock the house until they do something. The other places they've done that never even had septic tanks but this is bad. .this is extreme. Kist said, the Amish put septic tanks in and aren't allowed to use them just because some people have political connections and get away with it. Barbin replied, political connections have nothing to do with it and you know it. The Amish don't put in septic tanks. . they have outhouses but they dump it out in area closest to their property lines. Kist said, if I'd go out here on the sidewalk right now and urinate on your hood, what would you do? Baker said, get a police officer to arrest you. Kist said, this is the same thing but they don't do it on the walk and do it in the ditch. Barbin said, you could go to Court and have those people locked out of their house. Baker asked, the Sewage Agency would? Barbin replied, but they're our Sewage Agency. You could push for that but you basically lock them out of their house. On grounds like that only an experimental system would work and they cost twenty-five to thirty thousand dollars. Kist said, the Amish built a brand new home and they're not even allowed in it. Barbin said, they occupied it for awhile. Michael Harasty said there have been 8 to 12 people living in that house and when they moved in there their whole front yard was a swamp from this sewage which was where their Leech bed was and it was constantly coming up through their whole front yard. One day when they had it dug up it's no longer going in the yard but right out on to the street. Yurasek asked, if this is a bonded job, what is the problem? Barbin replied, the pipe that Eugene put in, they carried it away but when you're talking about the sewage and the Leech Bed. .you could fix the pipe but all those other problems are still going to exist. Yurasek said, I crushed some pipe right there in Conemaugh Borough with all that Terra Cotta and I'm responsible and not gonna get paid. Barbin said, this is the same thing. . .the contractor got caught doing some things and took off. Will Michaels asked, what about gettin that sewage comin up from Vintondale. . .1200 feet or something? Wray replied, Multi-Linx is under contract with Larry Custer to complete the Feasibility Study and once that is completed, Larry will comment on the finding and see if it's acceptable with the budget. Kist said, in some mail I got. . correspondence. . it's gonna take this three years. Manager Hirko said, on that particular area, I believe Larry said that would be the first one and it would take care of that problem area and he thought that could be done in spring of next year. Kist said, but that's a long time to put up with the problem. There's vehicles come out in it and children walk through it on a Central Cambria school bus every day. You talk about diseases. . .I back into it. . I carry it into the property down there. . I bet I carried it into this building right here. Barbin asked, will fixing your pipe be good enough until next spring? Janet Harasty replied, no. . . our spring is still polluted and we can't use water. Clair Michaels asked, what about expanding the pipe down below it? Baker replied, you're just passing the problem downhill to the next property. Kist said, I want this taken care of. . .you pledge allegiance to that flag. Michael Harasty said, Eugene's pipe does it's job but up where the septic system is it needs fixed there too. Supervisor Westrick said, I'd rather stop it completely than push the problem down the hill further. Barbin said, a Judge will go through every option they have before padlocking someone's home. I'll go to the Sewage Enforcement Office and we'll start the Action. It will take some time but it never gets done if you don't get started. Janet Harasty said, it's embarrassing when family members come to visit and say how can you stand this, it stinks.

Eugene Kist said, you guys are spending money to put a new water line between Conemaugh and the City. . am I correct? Jackson Township and East Taylor are going into that new line. Solicitor Barbin asked, what new line? Kist replied, the new sewer line. Now I going to Pegasus Authority. . .they're running this line for 15 million dollars half way up Green Hill. They're putting it on a side of a hill for Conemaugh Township where they say every house over there is worth $250,000 and they're not worth that. They're half way up the hill. Barbin replied, you're talking about another municipality. Kist said, it's affecting me in Jackson Township because I'm going to be paying for the sewage going into the City so I'll be paying two ways. Barbin says, the Jackson-East Taylor Authority Line taps in below East Conemaugh Borough. Kist said, you're also penalizing Jackson Township and people like me.

Doug McKinley said, my next door neighbor. . .it's deplorable. . they don't live there and the water's shut off. It's a real mess. . .the house is a mess. . they got garbage laying all over the place. Animals are getting into it . . grass is about 2 feet deep. Richard Walker is his name who owns this property. I would really appreciate your help looking into this and clean that place up. He comes and goes and hasn't lived there for the last years and brings his garbage up, drops it off and leaves.

Jeff Ellenberger asked, I was wondering what was delaying the variance for my property? Solicitor Barbin replied, they just filed it on Tuesday. Ellenberger said, the other thing, we got a lot of people complaining about the gas wells. I've been checking names of those opposed and a lot of these people complaining have no mineral rights to begin with, don't have more than an acre of ground with a house but they're members of an elite group. You need to do a little research because if you look at how many leases were leased in Jackson Township you cover 70% of the people in Jackson Township and you are hear to speak for the people and most of these people aren't aware what's going on. All you have to do is a little bit of background, a little bit of checking when it comes down to something like this. Barbin said, everybody has a right to say their opinion whether they have one acre or a hundred acres. Ellenberger said, I agree but people are complaining about things that are not true.

Chairman Baker
announced, The Board of Supervisors next regularly scheduled meetings will be held on Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 8:00 AM and Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm at the Jackson Township Municipal Building. The Jackson Township Community Rod & Gun Club along with the Jackson Township Recreation Commission will be hosting the 5th Annual Fishing Derby at Woodland Park Campground on Saturday, May 8, 2010 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Primary Election Day will be held on Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Be sure to get out and vote in this important election. The Jackson Township Senior Center will be hosting a Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 31, 2010 at 11:00 am at Veterans Park to honor all veterans past and present. Please come out and show your support for our Vets.

Westrick, second Wallet to adjourn the meeting at 7:50 pm. Vote-3 yes.

Respectfully submitted,
David M. Hirko, Secretary