Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors

Minutes of January 12, 2011

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on January 12, 2011 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Robert Ciervo, Vice Chairman Matthew Benchener, Secretary/Treasurer Jerry Schenkman and Philip Calabro and Michael Gallagher, members. Also present were: Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.

Call to Order: Chairman Robert Ciervo called the regular meeting to order at 7:30 PM with a moment of silence and an invocation by Cantor Mark Elson of Congregation Shir Ami. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Public Comment: Resident Keith Schmidt said that he had attended a previous meeting at which he had been assured that the Township Manager would arrange a meeting to discuss some issues he is having with the Township. He has not yet been contacted by the Manager.

Mr. Czajkowski assured Mr. Schmidt that he would arrange for the meeting by Friday.

Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports

Minutes: Mr. Schenkman moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of December 22,, 2010. Mr. Benchener seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

The recording secretary noted that in the minutes of the meeting of December 29, 2010, page 2, paragraph 3 should read, “… will have a reserve at year end of $1.1 million.”

Mr. Gallagher moved to approve the minutes of the special meeting December 29, 2010, as corrected. Mr. Benchener seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Gallagher moved to approve the minutes of the organization meeting of January 3, 2011. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Bills: Mr. Schenkman moved to approve payment of bills totaling $346,819.04. Benchener seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Gallagher asked about a security camera for the EMS Department.

Mr. Czajkowski said that the department has been having problems with people accessing the offices after hours from inside the fire house. This will help with security for the EMS offices.

The motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $290,117.25. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Reports of Officials

Solicitor: Mr. Garton reported that at the suggestion of Township staff and the Police Department, he has drafted an ordinance prohibiting parking on the Newtown Bypass adjacent to the skate park. The Board should consider authorizing advertisement of the ordinance.

Dr. Ciervo asked whether PennDOT already prohibits parking on the Bypass.

Police Chief Henry Pasqualini said that parking is not specifically prohibited. Posting of signs would help with the parking issue. Because this portion of roadway is adjacent to the skate park, it has been used for parking by skate park users.

Mr. Schenkman noted that the draft ordinance only mentions parking. He asked if stopping for loading and unloading of passengers should have been included in the ordinance and in any subsequent signage.

Chief Pasqualini said that this would be a good idea. There is no fence surrounding the skate park, so users can be dropped off or picked up from the road.

The Board members agreed that the ordinance should also include a prohibition against stopping or discharging of passengers.

Mr. Garton said that the Board could act to authorize the draft this evening. He would then insert language to address the suggested changes.

Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize advertisement of an ordinance, as amended, to prohibiting parking, stopping and loading and unloading of passengers on the Newtown Bypass. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Gallagher said that some time ago the Board had discussed the prohibition against parking in culs-de-sac in Newtown Crossing. He asked the Manager to follow up with appropriate signage.

Police Report: Chief Pasqualini reported that the Department had 1413 calls for service in the past month, including one unfounded bomb threat, 11 fraud investigations and 22 domestic violence calls. There were 50 calls reporting suspicious circumstances. The Chief urged residents to continue to report anything unusual around their homes.

Mr. Gallagher noted that there were 18 struck deer and 3 hunter complaints. He asked whether these complaints were against the Eccologix hunters.

Chief Pasqualini said that the calls were from residents who heard shots fired. Eccologix is using bow hunting.

Dr. Ciervo said that he had reported a motorist needing help. Lieutenant Forsyth responded promptly and effectively. He thanked the Department for their outstanding efforts in the community.

Manager’s Report: Mr. Czajkowski reported that the base for the wind generator has been installed. The generator can be installed thirty days after the base concrete has been poured.

Mr. Czajkowski reported that he has collected information on energy providers since the deregulation of PECO. PSATS has gotten a quote from On Demand Energy for a one year contract rate and two year contract rate. He will prepare a comparison for the next meeting, but it appears that the prices are lower through PSATS.

Public Comment: Resident Jay Sensibaugh said that as he was leaving Newtown Crossing on the morning of January 4, 2011, he saw one of our police officers, who had responded to a traffic accident, working diligently to clear debris from the roadway. He asked that this officer, whose name he did not know, be commended for his efforts, with a note added to his file.

Mr. Sensibaugh said that the budget recently passed has a ½ mill cut in public service funding. He asked whether that budget includes the $650,000 debt service payment and the contracted increases in employee salaries and benefits.

Mr. Czajkowski said that the budget does contain the debt service but does not include the employee increases.

Mr. Sensibaugh asked about snow removal contracts.

Mr. Czajkowski said that snow removal is a separate item in the budget which can be used for contractors if needed. There are no specific snow removal contracts.

Mr. Sensibaugh said that a legal budget should include all known costs. The budget which was passed did not include the contractual obligations to employees. This budget was not made available to the public prior to adoption. Dick Weaver, a former Republican Board Chairman had asked the Board to re-instate the separate Park and Recreation millage and Debt Service millage, which would have amounted to a $47 tax increase. He asked that the budget be re-opened to include all known expenses.

Dr. Ciervo said that the budget included what the Board expects will be concessions from the unions. Talks continue and the Board is optimistic that some compromise will be reached which could include changes to the employees health insurance.

Mr. Garton explained that the budget can only be re-opened after a municipal election.

New Business : Mr. Schenkman asked that the Township issue its payment to the Jointure as soon as possible. He is Jointure treasurer and is aware that the funds are needed.

Dr. Ciervo said that he noticed difficulties with the microphones at a recent Zoning Hearing Board meeting.

Mr. Czajkowski said that this problem has been addressed.

Mr. Calabro said that a resident has noticed that the meetings are not being rebroadcast on Verizon.

Mr. Czajkowski said that he would investigate this.

Mr. Gallagher noted that the meetings are now also available on line through the Township Web site.

Dr. Ciervo said that the Board had met in executive session to discuss matters of personnel and litigation.

The meeting adjourned at 8:10 PM.


Respectfully Submitted:
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary



Joseph S. Czajkowski, Township Manager

Robert Ciervo, Chairman

Matthew Benchener, Vice-Chairman

Jerry Schenkman, Secretary/Treasurer

Philip Calabro, Member

Michael Gallagher, Member