July 22, 2004

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

Board Roll Call was taken with all three Supervisors present.

Public Comments Concerning Agenda Items:

Baker, second Stephens to approve the minutes of June 24, 2004 and July 7, 2004 meetings. Vote-3 yes.

Township Financial Report:







$     83,944.04

$ 113,095.74

$    120,348.87

$        76,690.91


$ 1,471,680.77

$   63,627.17

$    110,377.89

$    1,424,930.05


$    132,464.06

$        92.54

$       4,610.74

$      127,945.86


$     34,194.63

$    2,399.12

$       6,094.07

$        30,499.68

Baker, second Bracken to approve the bills for the period of June 25, 2004 through July 22, 2004. Vote-3 yes

General Fund

Highway Aid Fund

Senior Center Fund

$  120,348.87

$        4,610.74

$      6,094.07

Township Police Report:
The May & June, 2004 Police Report submitted by Police Chief Bob Fatula was presented. The figures were as follows: 911 Calls dispatched to Police were 662. Reportable Incidents were 45 broken down as follows: Criminal Mischief-7, DUI (Driving While Under the Influence)-7, Theft-7, Harassment-6, Disorderly Conduct-4, Public Drunkenness-4, Assault-3, Child Abuse-1, Drugs-1, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors-1, Fleeing from Police-1, Intimidating a Witness-1, Resisting Arrest-1 and Terroristic Threats-1. Non-Traffic Citations Issued-7. Traffic Citations Issued-129. Accidents Handled-18. Criminal Charges Filed were 18 broken down as follows: DUI (Driving While Under the Influence)-7, Disorderly Conduct-4, Public Drunkenness-3, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors-1, Fleeing from Police-1, Intimidating a Witness-1 and Resisting Arrest-1.

There were two notes received on the Jackson Township Heritage Festival. The first one was from the Cambria County Commissioners extending congratulations on the Heritage Days and thanking the Township for including the Cambria County Bicentennial as part of the festivities. They said they enjoyed their visit and that everyone involved should be proud of their community and the hard work that was put into the Celebration’s organization. The second note was from Township residents, Bob and Sally Albright which expressed how much their family enjoyed the Heritage Festival which offered a wonderful variety of entertainment, activities and food all in a "family friendly" environment. They went on to say it’s hard to believe this was the first year for the festival being that everything seemed to run so smoothly. They concluded by saying that this was a tribute to careful planning and they expressed their thanks for the support and effort that went into the festival that gave everyone such a great weekend.

Old Business:

New Business:
Stephens, second Baker to approve subdivision (side lot addition) of Myron & Mary Leonard. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Baker, second Stephens to approve one year extension of Winter Maintenance Agreement for Benshoff Hill Road with PennDOT. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Stephens, second Baker to authorize participation in the PA Capital City "Piggyback Program" to purchase qualifying items on the Automotive and Equipment Contract. Vote-3 yes.

Chairman Bracken asked for a motion to approve memberships for Recreation Commission members in the Pennsylvania Recreation & Parks Society at a cost of $215.00. Stephens explained that the words "not to exceed" should be added to the motion and that way we would only pay for the current members of the Commission being that there is 1 vacancy not filled. Motion Stephens, second Baker to approve memberships for Recreation Commission Members in the Pennsylvania Recreation & Parks Society at a cost not to exceed $215.00. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Stephens, second Baker to authorize Tim Davis of the Recreation Commission to attend a Playground Safety & Design Workshop sponsored by the Pennsylvania Recreation & Park Society in State College, PA at a cost of $69.00 plus mileage expense. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Baker, second Stephens on transferring $89,057.15 from the Capital Reserve Fund to the General Fund - $79,423.00 to Tri-County Motors for 2005 International 4X4 Truck, $6,978.89 for July Insurance Installment, $1,911.00 to Fi-Hoff Concrete for culverts for road projects and $744.26 to reimburse the Jackson Township Fire Company for items purchased from Scanlon Electric to upgrade panel box used at the Jackson Township Fire Hall Building. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Baker, second Stephens on approving the time sheets from June 20, 2004 through July 3, 2004 and July 4, 2004 through July 17, 2004. Vote-3 yes.

Other New Business:
Supervisor Stephens
said we are currently contributing $15,000 a year to the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company. Motion Stephens to make a contribution to the Fire Company on a yearly basis in the amount of % of the landfill tipping fees in January of each year based on the amount that the Township receives from the previous calendar year. He said that this would increase approximately of a percent and that we’re taking in approximately 50 to 60 thousand dollars a month. He added that this would increase the amount of money to the Volunteer Fire Company by $25,000 to $35,000 a year or about double the current amount. In most areas, the fire company’s needs usually correspond to what the police needs are. He added that since the police needs in our Township exceed $100,000 per year, it’s only fair that we contribute to the Fire Company approximately $25,000 to $35,000 per year. Stephens said that this way if more revenue comes in they would get an increase and if revenue went down they would get a decrease if it were based on a percentage. He said that this would fair and equitable and we need to help them out. Supervisor  Bruce Baker seconded the motion in order to discuss this matter further. The motion was opened up to public comment. Betty Lou Shoup asked if we were currently paying 1 mill of taxes that goes to the Fire Company. Chairman Dave Bracken said it was rescue and Manager Dave Hirko added it was percent. Shoup then said that as the revenue of the landfill goes up or down, the Fire Company could not depend on it whereas with the tax, they know exactly how much money you’re going to give them. Stephens said they would know that they would get approximately $30,000 a year which would double what they are currently getting and that with the amount of increase utilized in your budget, it’s only fair that they could count on that amount. He added that if at some point and time in the future it would decrease and get down to the $15,000 level that the Board could address that problem. Solicitor Bill Barbin pointed out that $30,000 would be approximately 5% of the tipping fees and not %. Shoup asked if this would be in place of the tax money they are now getting. Stephens responded that the only thing this would replace is the $15,000 that we’re contributing now. Shoup asked if the tax money being paid on property now towards Rescue would be eliminated. Barbin said that you would have to wait until next year to take that off and in the next budget, take off the mill tax. Shoup said that if that were done, it would take another year to get that mill tax reinstated if necessary. Barbin said that the proposal would only involve General Fund money and not tax money. He added that the Township pays $15,000 a year in contributions and over the course of a year, the extra things paid for would add up to about $15,000. Don Knopsnyder said that we should take the tax money back from the Fire Company and put them in the Budget as a "line item" and would suggest an annual contribution of $50,000 because according to Mr. Emerson it cost $400,000 a year to run the Fire Company and that’s a substantial amount of money for them to raise. Bracken said the Fire Company would end up losing because if we gave them the $15,000. He then said if they come in here on an "as needed basis" which amounted to approximately$190,000 last year it would be more than $50,000 as a "line item" and then if they needed more than that, what would we do. Knopsnyder added that special or "one time" specific projects could still be funded. After discussion amongst the Board, Stephens rescinded his motion so that more fact finding and investigation could be done on this matter. Motion Baker, second Stephens to table the matter until next month. The motion was opened up to public comment. Tim  Davis said he would hate to see the elimination of the taxes. He added that there is a Rescue Tax and a Hydrant Tax now and they help to support the Fire Department although Mr. Steven’s theory isn’t a bad idea either. He added that his concern is that when you watch around the County, there’s a lot of areas running into a lot of trouble getting volunteers and perhaps three years from now you may be short on volunteers and have to pay people. He said if you reinvest now and lock in so much money, you can ask that they have to justify some of those expenses. He added that last year they got a new truck at a cost of $190,000 and have the equipment and tools they need and may not walk in for another 3 or 4 years for new equipment but the way things are changing so fast that somewhere down the road we may have to consider a partially paid Department. He said perhaps you should leave it as is for now and further discuss the issue including finding out what the Fire Department’s feelings are. Stephens re-emphasized that his concern was just giving them more money than they were getting in their annual contribution from the Township. Will Michaels said it may be more difficult for the Fire Company to raise money once these slot machines get in being the bingo was a big source of money that they depend on and if you don’t have the people there playing bingo and they’re at the slot machines, the extra money has to come from somewhere. Barbin said everybody agrees we have to do something to encourage the Fire Company and particularly to keep members and that we save a lot of money having volunteers. Michaels said if they have to go out there and really work you may start losing them. Bracken said that being in the Fire Company since 1956 he could say that bingo is just a very small part of what it takes to operate the Fire Company. He added that those guys work year round with gun raffles, archery raffles, jewelry raffles, turkey raffles and on and on. He also added that he is the Assistant Treasurer of the Fire Company. A vote was then taken to table the motion. Vote-3 yes.

Public Comments:
teve Yurasek
commented on the State Building Code. He said he didn’t know if everyone was aware that the Governor signed to rescind part of the Building Code and that now for general home repairs, you do not need a permit. He said that what’s so odd about this is that Mr. Stephens tried to tell them at a meeting in Ebensburg when we were all at the school that they were going to rescind part of this and instead of them showing him some respect they made wise cracks and remarks. He said that when the Building Code was proposed it was first page news but whenever the Senate and House approved to rescind part of the code, it was on the fifth page. He asked why wasn’t it first page news when it was rescinded because you were hurting the old people who were repairing their house. He said maybe some of you don’t have to get together to help mom or dad put a roof on the house or fix the porch but a lot of people have to and they can’t afford it.

Will Michaels said the remark that was in the paper on the Home Builders Association who keeps crying safety was a bunch of bull. He said their biggest thing was that it’s all about control and that’s the only thing about control that gives them the money. He added that as far as safety goes, there’s probably a lot of other things that could be done which would be a lot easier and he has no respect for the Home Builders.

Tim Davis said that while Mr. Stephens addressed the Fire Department, one of his concerns is Police Protection. He said by looking at the police reports you have to be aware that we have crime in the Township but it’s a known fact that when your highways expand, crime will also increase. He said that while now we don’t have any motel chains or transients, we will have those when that four lane highway comes through if you talk to police departments along completed four lane sections of Route 22. He added that the Supervisors should begin to put "x" amount of dollars into the budget for 24 hour police protection and add additional funding for equipment for an adequate police department. He said that when the highway is finished in about 3 years you’re gonna see change and there will be more crime. He then talked about the Building Code and said there is good and bad in it but there are a lot of buildings that are fire traps with fronts put on that are false and when fire gets inside and you don’t know it, the people inside are trapped. He said there are pros and cons to everything and you have to look at the good as well as the bad.

Supervisor Bob Stephens said that prior to July 15, 2004 the State Legislature passed Amendment Proposals to change the State Building Code and sent these proposals to Governor Rendell. On July 15, 2004, Governor Rendell signed these changes and they became law on July 15th. The most prominent change that will effect the citizens and I quote "Excludes all residential alterations under Section 104 if there are no structural or egress changes". This is a significant change among others that will effect you and your existing homes and this change came about primarily because citizens complained to their State Representatives and some elected officials including conscientious Supervisors who responded to the will of the people we were elected to represent. He added that thanks to all of you who made your wishes known, together we can make a difference.

An announcement was made that the next Supervisors Meeting will be held on Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 7:00 pm at the Jackson Township Municipal Building.

Baker, second Stephens to adjourn the meeting at 7:30 pm. Vote-3 yes.

Respectfully submitted,
David M. Hirko, Secretary