December 19, 2002

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 and Dave Hirko. The meeting was called to order by David Bracken, Chairman, with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

Public Comments:
Delores Kimbel expressed her appreciation for the online newsletter and progress reports to keep the citizens of Jackson Township informed. She asked how many people were signed up to receive the online newsletter. Manager Dave Hirko said there was about 27 people so far.

Steve Yurasek asked if the Supervisors decided to do any further testing at Leidy Field. Supervisor Bracken said they were going to go with the first test done.

Clair Michaels asked if the Supervisors weren’t going to go with a deeper soil test on Leidy Field. Supervisor Bracken said a test was already done and there was no need for it. Mr. Michaels said that was only a "walk over" and they couldn’t really tell if there was anything in there. Mr. Michaels also asked if the timbering Township property was only at Mitchell Field or was it for all over the Township. Supervisor Bracken said it would be for all over the Township and that the money would be used for recreation.

Will Michaels Jr. asked if the Supervisors would read the letter listed under correspondence from Solicitor George Gvozdich Jr. or would the Supervisors consider re-opening public comment at that time. The Supervisors agreed to re-open public comment after the letter was read.

Clair Michaels asked if core samples would be taken at Leidy Field. Supervisor Bracken said it wasn’t necessary. Mr. Michaels said the study done doesn’t show what is six inches under the ground but is only a look at the surface and felt it should be sampled if it wasn’t that expensive. Mr. Steve Yurasek stated he offered to pay for the laboratory testing. Supervisor Bracken said he didn’t feel the Township could do that. Mr. Yurasek stated he recalled Solicitor Gvozdich went so far as to talk to Nordic Labs about the possibility of doing additional testing. Supervisor Baker said Nordic only proposed doing a Phase I Study which was already done by the Cambria County Conservation District. Supervisor Baker said it would only involve a hand scoop taken from the surface and not a core sample. Supervisor Stephens stated that he recalled Solicitor Gvozdich saying that a private individual couldn’t pay for the re-testing due to liability concerns unless Nordic Labs would be willing to sign a release form. Supervisor Stephens stated he would be in favor of that. Supervisor Baker stated another issue mentioned by Solicitor Gvozdich was that if a private individual paid for the testing, they would be entitled to receive the results before the Township Supervisors would.

Motion Baker, second Bracken to approve the minutes of meetings on November 21st. Vote - Baker & Bracken-yes, Stephens-abstained due to pending litigation.

Township Reports:
General Fund - 12/1/02 - $ 84,935.40; Receipts of $ 18,388.31; Disbursements of $ 36,413.16; Balance 12/19/02 - $ 66,910.55

Capital Reserve Fund - 12/1/02 - $ 928,961.54; Receipts - $ 50,903.01; Disbursements - $ 0.00; Balance 12/19/02 - $ 979,864.55

Letter of resignation from Part-Time Police Officer Christ Lytle who received a full time position with another police department.

Motion Stephens, second Baker to accept the resignation of Officer Lytle. Vote-3 yes.

Letter of resignation from Part-Time Police Officer Tabatha Mulvehill stating scheduling problems.

Motion Baker, second Stephens to accept the resignation of Officer Mulvehill. Vote-3 yes.

Letter from Solicitor George Gvozdich stating he was resigning from the position of Solicitor effective immediately.

Supervisor Bracken stated that he would reopen the meeting to public comments on this letter.

Will Michaels Jr. stated that he appreciated re-opening the public comments being that a resolution states that public comments will be held after the correspondence is read. Mr. Michaels asked why there was nothing on the agenda about advertising for a new Solicitor. Supervisor Bracken stated that it was not necessary to advertise for a Solicitor and that the Supervisors would have to appoint a new Solicitor at the Reorganization Meeting scheduled for January 6, 2003.

Supervisor Baker suggested that we should choose a new solicitor wisely. He went on to say that in 1999 legal fees were $5500.00, in 2000 they were $14,479.00, in 2001 they were $15,987.00 and in 2002 thru November 14th they totaled $33,408.00. If you would add the prior three years, it would total about $35,000.00 which is an average of about $12,000 per year or $999.00 per month. For 2002 the cost per month is $3181.00 or $105.00 per day.

Supervisor Stephens stated that the Supervisors should consider a Solicitor who is outside of Cambria County. He stated that we were paying Gvozdich $125.00 per hour and East Wheatfield Twp. was paying their Solicitor $75.00 per hour. He said we should seek a solicitor from Somerset, Indiana, Bedford or Blair County. He stated that the Solicitors in Cambria County charge more than other counties. Supervisor Baker said it was more important to get a Solicitor who was well schooled in municipal law and zoning. Supervisor Baker said an attorney may charge a cheaper rate per hour but if he has to research everything, it could cost more. Supervisor Bracken said you can’t go on price alone because it was more important that someone be selected who would take care of the Township and look after it’s interests. Supervisor Stephens stated that a Solicitor from outside the county wouldn’t have an ax to grind. Supervisor Stephens commented that attorneys in Cambria County receive pressure from "upstairs". He went on to say it’s important to get someone outside the County and would strongly recommend that Manager Dave Hirko send out letters to surrounding Townships and asking them what they pay their solicitor.

Discussed Proposed Resolution 02-08 adopting the 2003 Budget - General Fund-$737,840.00, State Fund-$175,000.00, Fire Hydrant Fund-$10,000.00, Rescue Fund-$9,000.00, Capital Reserve Fund-$1,319,000.00, Senior Center Fund-$75,800.00; Total of All Funds-$2,326,640.00. Motion Baker, second Stephens to adopt Resolution 02-08 for the 2003 Township Budget. Vote-3 yes.

Discussed Proposed Resolution 02-09 setting the Tax Structure for 2003. Supervisor Baker stated that with the extra revenue coming in from the Landfill he was in favor of giving something back to the people. Supervisor Baker stated he would be in favor of lowering the Real Estate Tax by 1 mill from the current 8 mills to 7 mills. Supervisor Stephens cautioned that the lost revenue was not figured into the Budget. Manager Hirko mentioned that the Budget is merely a guide. Supervisor Stephens said someone may take this to court. Motion Baker, second Bracken to set the Fire Hydrant Tax at 1 mill, ˝ mill for Rescue Service, ˝ Earned Income Tax, $5.00 Per Capita Tax, $5.00 Occupational Privilege Tax and Real Estate Tax dropped to 7 mills. Vote-Baker & Bracken-yes, Stephens-No.

Received a letter from the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company asking the Supervisors to approve them submitting a request to host the Cambria County Fireman’s Convention in 2005. Supervisor Stephens asked if it would cost the Township any money. Manager Hirko said it may require some extra support from the Township Police and Road Crew and that at this year’s Convention there were no major problems. Supervisor Baker said the 2002 Convention was a huge financial success for the Fire Company. Motion Baker, second Stephens to grant approval to the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company to submit a request to host the Cambria County Fireman’s Convention in 2005. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Baker, second Stephens to authorize the advertisement for bids on the roof replacement for the Township Garage Building. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Stephens, second Baker to authorize the advertisement of the Reorganization Meeting for Monday, January 6, 2003. Vote-3 yes.

Discussed a request from the Jackson Township Zoning Hearing Board requesting that they be given 3 full memberships and 2 affiliate memberships from PSATS. Manager Hirko told the Board that a full membership was $100.00 per individual and an affiliate membership was $35.00. He went on to say a full membership would entitle them to receive the Township News Magazine monthly as well as contact PSATS for legal advice, etc. Motion Stephens that we grant 1 full membership and two affiliate memberships. Motion died from lack of a second. Supervisor Baker said the Zoning Hearing Board may meet next year on an "as needed" basis and it would be difficult for them to share a magazine. Motion Baker, second Bracken to grant the memberships as requested by the Zoning Hearing Board. Vote-Baker & Bracken-yes, Stephens-no.

Discussed the need of a street light on Old Nanty Glo Road. Supervisor Baker said Township resident Bob Albright complained that where Old Nanty Glo Road joins Route 271, a street light should be installed to address safety concerns at that intersection. Supervisor Baker said he was in touch with First Energy and that no cost would be incurred for installation of the light and the Township would only have the cost of the monthly electric bill. Supervisor Baker asked Mr. Albright to present a petition of those in favor of the light and any who may be against having the light installed. There were 14 names in favor of the light and none opposed. Supervisor Baker also checked with Ron Fetzer of PennDOT who said the light would not involve them. Mr. Albright stated the light would not only benefit the residents of Old Nanty Glo Road but anyone traveling in or out of Nanty Glo on Route 271. Motion Baker, second Stephens to have a street light installed at the intersection of Old Nanty Glo Road and Route 271. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Stephens, second Baker on hiring Part-Time Policeman Shane Strobel. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Baker, second Stephens on hiring Part-Time Policeman Denise Sabo. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Stephens, second Baker on hiring Part-Time Policeman Chad Cessna. Vote-3 yes.

Supervisor Bracken said he would like to discuss the select timbering of land on Lorain Road where those cleaning up the boney pile wanted to use that land as a staging area. Supervisor Bracken said he was hopeful that they may be able to help the Township develop a proposed park in exchange for using the land as a staging area. Supervisor Baker said a motion was made last year to timber the property and that he would like to get something started by having a forester look at the property and get some money in place to help develop the park at Lorain. Supervisor Stephens stated any monies taken from the land at that site should be used solely for Lorain in order to get the maximum amount of grant money. Recreation Commission Chairman Joe Baxter stated that the recreation commission has been responsible over the last five years and has used the available monies wisely to help develop Leidy and Mitchell Parks and they would do the same with the proposed Lorain Park. Motion Baker, second Stephens to proceed with having a forester look at the land for select timbering. Vote-3 yes.

The Supervisors went into Executive Session at 8:05 to discuss litigation matters. They returned at 8:20.

Motion Baker, second Bracken to approve the bills from November 22nd, 2002 to December 19th, 2002 - General Fund - $ 52,186.87; Senior Center Fund - $ 2,314.16; Highway Aid Fund - $ 7,161.05. Vote-Bracken & Baker-yes, Stephens-abstained due to pending litigation.

Motion Stephens, second Baker to approve the time sheets for November 10th to November 23rd and November 24th to December 7th, 2002. Vote-3 yes.

Motion Baker, second Stephens to adjourn the meeting at 8:21 p.m. Vote-3 yes.

Respectfully submitted,
David M. Hirko, Secretary