At the November 17 meeting of the Milford Township supervisors, supervisor Gary Clark – prompted by his desire to make enough budget cuts to reduce taxes while still keeping the township running – proposed reducing the meetings from twice a month to just one monthly meeting. This suggestion received opposition from the two other supervisors.
One suggestion was to have one meeting and one workshop. Clark pointed out that this would still require an expense, defeating the purpose of the reduction. He said that almost every other municipality has already gone to one meeting a month. According to Pennsylvania’s “Second Class Township Code”, Section 603, townships are only required to “meet for the transaction of business at least once each month at a time and place determined by the board of supervisors.”
Also discussed at the last meeting was the actual proposed budget. Treasurer and secretary Viola Canouse said that the 2015 budget, as proposed, is about $10,000 less than the 2014 budget. In 2013, the proposed budget of $425,404.36 was actually $412,022.66. In 2014 the proposed budget was $446,385 and is estimated to finish off at $435,328.37. The proposed 2015 budget, if adopted, would be $436,563.
During this week’s budget meeting cultural activities portion of the charitable groups which have asked for annual donations was brought into question. Don Quick admitted he was remiss in getting the organizations who are interested in receiving donations to come to a meeting prior to the first meeting in November. As of this week’s budget discussions, none of the groups had done so. During discussions, Quick wanted to make it clear to the public that “no money is spent without approval by the supervisors and no money will be spent without approval by the supervisors.”
Clark also asked that a higher than 3% raise be considered for township employees. Quick said he believes that there should be no raise in salaries for full time employees for 2015. As for the part time wages, he says he would like to know where else you can find a part time job that would pay $15.45 an hour.
Quick and Clark bantered back and forth over the issue of wages and raises. Quick wanted to make the point that skilled laborers such as snow plow drivers should be paid well, whereas unskilled laborers such as those who cut brush along the roadways should not be paid as much. As Quick made his points, Clark eventually agreed with him concerning this type of tiered pay schedule.
“Having said that,” Quick concluded. “I am still opposed to 3% raises.”
A concern among the supervisors was that the Highway section (430.10) should be labeled Highway Labor, and that there was some confusion about whether or not this included Snow Wages (432.10) and Snow Overtime (432.11). Canouse admitted that she made some mistakes and would investigate the numbers and readjust per her discoveries.
“There are some revisions to be done,” said Quick. “It will be available before the next meeting.”
The budget will be voted on at the next meeting, to be held Monday December 15. The tiered salary schedule and monthly meeting schedules will be discussed during the reorganization meetings after the first of the year. The public is welcome to comment at this second December meeting prior to the actual vote on the 2015 budget, which will occur at this meeting.
The supervisors discussed various groups they have on the list for donations in 2015. A report was received from Milford Fire Department with information on how the 2014 donation was spent in order to be considered for the 2015 list. Canouse spoke in favor of giving to G.A.I.T. once again this year, as the township has dropped a few charities “over the years.”
Jim Farr of Farr Engineering Services in Matamoras, PA wants to be considered for township engineering. He is known to the township as he has previously done work as part of the McGooey, Hauser and Edsall team.
A letter was received from Dingman Township over the disposition of lands proposed to be taken over by the National Parks Service (NPS). The municipality is looking for support from other townships and boroughs in the efforts to stop the NPS from acquiring lands. A motion was passed in the support “in principal” of Dingmans to stop the park service from acquiring more lands – and thus taking these lands off of the tax rolls. The supervisors will also be sending a letter to superintendent John Donahue – and other local elected officials – to maintain the status quo on traffic through the park lands.
Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (PIRMA) contract discussed by solicitor Tony Magnotta. He says that nothing of significance has changed. “This is our insurance in the event of claims made against the township,” he explained. A motion was made and passed to renew the contract.
In other township business, Supervisor Gary Williams was re-appointed as the township’s representative to the Road Task Force. Also, it was noted that one of the one of the municipalities trucks was having maintenance performed at Ray’s Auto in Milford. And the report from Robert DiLorenzo, the Sewage Enforcement / Zoning officer that there were two zoning permits and one sewage permit issued.
The next meeting of the Milford Township supervisors will be December 15 at 7PM in the township administration building on Routes 6 & 209.
Charles B Reynolds is an author, songwriter and freelance journalist. * Disclaimer – No monetary gain or other considerations were received from any entity, organization, or businesses mentioned in this article. He has been a journalist on Examiner covering politics, music and art since 2007.