September 9, 2010
The Jackson Township Supervisors held their regular meeting at 8:00 a.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 Chairman Bruce Baker with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
Board Roll Call was taken with all three Supervisors present.
Executive Sessions Held:
Chairman Baker announced, there was an Executive Session on personnel matters on Tuesday, September 7th at 7:30 pm and it lasted an hour.
Public Comments Concerning Agenda
Steve Yurasek asked, why are we laying Chief Fatula off? If you’re laying the Police Chief off, I just wondered why. Chairman Baker replied, we’re anticipating trouble balancing the Budget. Yurasek said, I appreciate you’re being honest. Solicitor Barbin said, with the Union Contract, we can’t lay off the other full-time officer without laying off all the part-timers first the way the Contract is written and he’s not covered by that provision of the Union Contract. We could either lay off several part-timers or the Chief and you get more coverage if you keep several part-timers. Yurasek replied, it was just something I was just interested to know. Baker said, we struggled last year to meet the Budget and it’s coming again. Yurasek said, I agree with you. . it gets out of hand. Supervisor Wallet said, we cut over $100,000 out of last year’s Budget when we did it to try and balance it and we’re not cutting it. You can see that. Baker said, you remind us twice a month Steve. Wallet said, we’re very in tune to it. . believe us even though you remind us, we’re very aware of it and we’re tryin to do whatever we can. Baker added, but I must stress that we will not lack in coverage but that’s the long and the short.
Dick McDowell said, along that same line, I know there was an ad on tv about the Sherif wanting to expand his duties and I know we were discussing not doing away with the local governments and having everything run by the County and how does that all fit in? Supervisor Westrick replied, the way they’re talking, they would have limited arrest powers. Their problem is that when they go out on certain incidents and they need to arrest somebody, they have to call in when they’re served with warrants or what not. McDowell said, I mean this isn’t the first step in transferring. Supervisor Wallet said, to me it seems like they’re posturing for that. Clair Michaels said, you got to realize that there’s a lot of counties in states that used to have townships and now they only have county government and the sheriff is who handles everything. Chairman Baker said, this is not our intent by no means. Wallet said, it’s coincidental. Westrick said, well . . my experience working with them, there are incidents where they’ll go out to serve a search warrant or a warrant on a bench warrant and they’ll find somebody with drugs in their pocket when they pick them up and they can’t make that arrest. They have to call the local municipality. This way, if they go out to serve a warrant in Jackson Township on a bench warrant, they find a guy with a pocket full of marijuana, they can just file a charge. McDowell said, you’re in agreement, it’s not the first steps towards County. Baker said, what we’re doing?. . .what we’re doing is coincidental. Westrick said, is that their intentions? I don’t know. Wallet said, we’re not on board with that. Clair Michaels said, I thought they gave them certain arresting powers and rights a few years ago. Solicitor Barbin said, they did, but when they did, they eliminated this other. . . .they gave them some additional. . . they gave them exactly what they asked for years ago but when they gave it to them, they limited the other stuff. . they took the other stuff off of them. Wallet added, personally I think it’s absurd that a Sheriff’s Deputy can’t arrest somebody. I think that’s completely absurd. . they’re a police officer. Barbin said, that’s elevating turf wars too. Wallet said, there they are with a government badge and car and somebody can commit a crime right in front of them and they can’t arrest them. Clair Michaels said, they got to do everything legal and they can’t do it and that’s a shame.
Motion Wallet, second Westrick to lay off Chief Robert Fatula. Vote-3 yes.
Other New Business:
Steve Yurasek said, did you see where the Fairgrounds want to zone it R-1 Residential? They’re doing the same thing we’re doin here to try to stop. . . we’re taking farm land and trying to zone it Residential to stop the gas wells and now they want to do away with the Fair and the way to do it is to zone it R-1 Residential so you can build houses that push the Fair out. Solicitor Barbin said, they own that land. There’s five veterans groups own that land jointly. It’s their choice. Yurasek said, precisely but you know yourself that pushes them off. We stopped the harness races years ago. . we stopped the car racing thing and the thing that a few people didn’t like that try to run everything up there, they did away with. There were many good evenings up there and Sundays when they had the harness racing and the car racing, you could go up there every week and enjoy the car racing. Oh. . we didn’t like the noise, we didn’t like this, we didn’t like that and now they’re gonna turn around and try to zone Residential to push the Fair out. Chairman Baker said, I don’t anything more about what’s going on up there Steve but I can assure you, I have no intent whatsoever to zone the gas wells out of here by changing Residential Districts. . .none. Yurasek said, when you talked about the Myers property and the Stephens property. . when you start zoning this stuff Residential. Baker added, you got to be realistic too though. On the other hand when you got somebody that has a quarter, a half or acre lot with a house on it, where are they? Yurasek said, maybe they are but at the same time, why should people like the Myers Farm, the Stephens Farm. . why should they all pay because one person decided to buy a half acre and build a house? I mean, you know. . you’re livin in a rural area. This is a Class 2 Township. . you’re not Geistown or Richland. Baker said, but we’re listening to everybody. . right Steve? Yurasek replied, yeah. Barbin said, the change to R-1. . you sat there at the Zoning Hearing and Mackall showed up and complained we didn’t have enough R-1 because we didn’t have enough room to develop new houses and nobody was talking about gas wells at all at that time. After, the Planning Commission started talking about expanding the R-1 so that there would be more R-1 available for building houses, then the gas companies came and then the Supervisors backed off. Yurasek said, the best thing was when you put a Mixed Zone down 271 simply because the businesses that are there, they’re there so why try to zone them out of business? Baker replied, we don’t want to and we want to encourage or give other people the opportunity to do that too.
Clair Michaels said, I have one question and I should have asked it on Fatula. Are we gonna have a Chief or not? Chairman Baker said, for the interim, no. It will be the Board of Supervisors. Clair Michaels said, ok. . that’s what I was wonderin. . you’re takin it back over then? Solicitor Barbin said, there was a prior motion a year, two years ago that a majority of the Board of Supervisors act as Police Commissioner and we did that when the Union Contract came up and the Teamsters came in. That’s when we did that I think.
Chairman Baker announced, The Board of Supervisors next scheduled meeting will be held on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 7:00 pm at the Jackson Township Municipal Building.
Motion Westrick, second Wallet to adjourn the meeting at 8:11 a.m. Vote-3 yes.
David M. Hirko, Secretary