Board of Supervisors
Minutes of January 8, 2014
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Michael Gallagher, Vice Chairman Ryan Gallagher, and Philip Calabro and Jennifer Dix, members. Also in attendance were: Kurt Ferguson, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.
Call to Order : Chairman Gallagher called the meeting to order with a moment of silence followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
NBA Featured Business, 3 rd Fed Bank
NBA President Mick Petrucci introduced Kent Lufkin, CEO of 3 rd Fed Bank, a longstanding member of the NBA, which has 260 Newtown member businesses and sponsors activities and events throughout the year, including a charity golf outing, holiday parade, Easter Egg hunt, Welcome Day, Antique and Classic Car Show and acts as co-sponsor of 1 st Fourth and 1 st Night celebrations.
Mr. Lufkin thanked the Board for inviting 3 rd Fed Bank to the meeting. 3 rd Fed is a community bank with 18 branches in the greater Philadelphia area and New Jersey, headquartered in Newtown for over 90 years. 3 rd Fed participates actively in NBA activities and is very proud of its sponsorship.
Mr. M. Gallagher thanked Mr. Lufkin for his support of NBA, and for his involvement with the Newtown Business Commons Association as its co-president.
Resident Mr. Mooney, no first name given, read from a directed verdict on a case he brought against the Township and Police Department charging that excessive force was used against his son by police during a 911 response. Mr. Mooney said that the directed verdict was in favor of Newtown Township, only, and not in favor of the individual officers involved in this case. He reminded the Board that Police Chief Pasqualini had stated at an earlier meeting that the case had been entirely adjudicated, which he believed is not a true statement. He again asked the Supervisors to take up this matter and investigate it further. He objected to use of taxpayer money to defend the officers in court.
Mr. Garton explained that the Township carries insurance and the insurance carrier pays attorney fees in matters such as this. He agreed that what Mr. Mooney read indicates that the judge did not dismiss the entire case and that Mr. Mooney’s son has the right to pursue this. He asked for the docket number and names of the parties so that he could research this further for the Supervisors.
Mr. Mooney said that he felt much was left out of the police reports and Mr. Garton would not get a clear understanding of the events.
Mr. Garton again assured Mr. Mooney that if he would provide the case name and docket number tomorrow, he would research this on behalf of the Supervisors.
DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies, 671 Newtown Yardley Road, Conditional Use: Mr. Garton opened a hearing for a conditional use for DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies, use E-5, eating place. He explained to the Board that the conditional use is a permitted use in the OLI zoning district and the application has been duly advertised for this evening, however the applicant will require certain Zoning Hearing Board relief. The Zoning Hearing Board has not yet heard the application, so tonight’s hearing cannot move forward. The Board should ascertain whether anyone wishes party status to the application and then continue it until after the next Zoning Hearing Board meeting.
Mr. Garton asked if anyone present wished party status. There was no response.
Mr. Calabro moved to continue the conditional use hearing for DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies to February 26, 2014. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
JMZO Amendment correcting inconsistencies in the lists of permitted uses in the zoning districts: Mr. Garton explained that the Jointure is seeking authorization to advertise this amendment for adoption, however our Planning Commission has not yet recommended adoption. He learned at a staff meeting that the Commission continues to have some concerns about the amendment.
The recording secretary confirmed that the Code Enforcement Officer and the Planning Commission solicitor are preparing a review for the Commission. The Commission will next meet on January 21, 2014.
Mr. R. Gallagher suggested tabling this item until the first meeting in February to allow the Planning Commission sufficient time to review the amendment.
Mr. Calabro moved to table authorization to advertise the JMZO Amendment correcting inconsistencies in the use tables in the Ordinance to February 12, 2014. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Police Chief Henry Pasqualini reported that the Department had responded to 1177 calls in the last month, including 2 robberies, one drug related and one bank robbery, and a large number of telephone scams. He warned residents to beware of callers seeking personal information. There were four unattended deaths, two of them young people with heroin overdoses. He reminded residents that heroin can be very dangerous because it is plentiful and cheap. He has a meeting scheduled with PennDOT to discuss ongoing truck problems on Durham and Eagle Roads.
Mr. Ferguson reported that in December he had submitted updated projected sewer needs for the next 3-5 years to Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority. This connection management plan has been accepted and forwarded to the DEP. Discussions on new sewer connections should move forward.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. R. Gallagher moved to accept the minutes of December 18, 2013. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 3-0-1, with Mrs. Dix abstaining.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that he did not have enough time to review the minutes from the Organization meeting and asked that consideration be tabled.
Mr. M. Gallagher moved to table the minutes of January 6, 2014. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Bills: Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve payment of bills totaling $337,891.11. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $379,558.94. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Resident John D’Aprile noted that the reorganization draft minutes were available at the meeting and he noticed that most motions had 3-2 votes. He was disappointed that the votes were along party lines and he had hoped to see some effort to work together, especially on appointments of volunteers to committees, boards and commissions. He said that he understood that the firms appointed as consultants had certain political affiliations, but noted that at one time the Township had some difficulties with a firm which had been convicted of crimes.
Mr. Calabro said that Mr. D’Aprile was misinformed in his accusations. At one time a New Jersey franchise of an engineering firm had been indicted, but not convicted. The Township had employed a Pennsylvania franchise. He suggested that if Mr. D’Aprile is dissatisfied with the actions of the current Board he should run for office himself and learn that this is a difficult job requiring a good deal of compromise.
Mr. Mooney said that he is pleased with the diversity on the Board, as at one time only Republicans held any offices in the entire county.
Mr. Mooney again asserted that the police officers in his son’s case were never exonerated of any wrongdoing and the reports were incomplete. His son is not willing to pursue this matter further but he is eager to see that the officers in question are made to give more complete accountings of the events. He urged Mr. Ferguson to review the transcripts from court and compare them to the police reports for the discrepancies.
Mr. M. Gallagher asked Mr. Ferguson not to address Mr. Mooney at this time but to allow Mr. Garton to research the matter further and offer his advice.
Mr. M. Gallagher announced that the Board had met for executive session on personnel matters and would remain after the meeting to continue the discussion.The meeting adjourned at 8:15 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary