West Cocalico board reorganizes: New member, new chair at table

By on January 6, 2016

 

A new name was added to the West Cocalico Township board of supervisors, but the face is familiar to the public and officials alike.

Ray Burns took the oath of office Monday morning, Jan. 4, just minutes before the annual reorganization meeting began at the township building. The oath was administered by Magisterial District Justice Nancy G. Hamill and witnessed by Burns’ wife Dawn.

“I’m honored to be here,” said the new supervisor, a retired East Cocalico Township police officer.

Photo by Donna Reed The reconfigured West Cocalico Township Board of Supervisors (from left) are James J. Stoner, Ray Burns, and Terry Scheetz.

Photo by Donna Reed
The reconfigured West Cocalico Township Board of Supervisors (from left) are James J. Stoner, Ray Burns, and Terry Scheetz.

Burns was welcomed by his colleagues, James J. Stoner and Terry Scheetz, both veteran supervisors. The trio’s first official action was to elect a slate of officers from among themselves. All votes were unanimous.

Stoner is the new supervisor chair, assuming the lead role long held by now retired Jacque Smith. Burns is vice chair and Scheetz remains in his role as secretary/treasurer.

The reconfigured board, at Burns’ request, also discussed a change in meeting times.

Though retired, Burns holds down several part-time jobs and asked his colleagues about changing the regular third Tuesday morning meeting to an evening meeting to accommodate his work schedule.

“I’ll definitely fulfill my commitment to the board (by attending morning meetings), but this will eliminate some work opportunities,” he said.

The supervisors spent about 15 minutes debating the change. Concerns arose over second-shift workers who would not continue to have the chance to attend the township meetings, the inconvenience for professionals from architects to lawyers who occasionally are on hand regarding land use plans, to the additional costs that would be incurred for township personnel who will receive overtime pay for attending evening meetings.

Township Manager Carolyn Hildebrand noted some second-class townships only have one meeting per month.

“We one of the few municipalities that have two,” said Stoner.

In the end, though, the board voted unanimously to change all meetings to a 7 p.m. start time. The meetings will be held the first Thursday and third Tuesday of each month. Formal advertising of the meetings will occur on the township Web site and in LNP classified pages.

The board also took care of some annual housekeeping duties aligned with reorganization, chief among them reaffirming:

Hildebrand as township manager and zoning officer;

Tom Showalter as roadmaster;

Larry B. Maier as solicitor;

Rettew Associates as township engineer;

Allen Madeira as primary sewage enforcement officer along with three alternates;

Associated Building Inspections Inc. as building code official;

Dennis Schmeck as emergency management coordinator.

The resignation of Shelbie Shupp, assistant township secretary, was noted. The supervisors agreed that Hildebrand should advertise the open position.

The supervisors heard the concerns of a trio of Wollups Hill Road residents regarding a dog kennel operated by Daniel and Mary Stoltzfus at 685 Wollups Hill Road.

The women contend the barking of the canines there, of which they believe may be up to 100 total, as well as runoff from dog waste impact the quality of life in the neighborhood.

They also contended they were treated disrespectfully at a recent session of the township zoming hearing board where the matter was briefly discussed but then continued.

Hildebrand and Stoner said the kennel has temporary zoning approval and has been found to meet conditions set by the state for kennels. However, both said, testimony from the residents should be entertained at a coming meeting of the zoning hearing board. They advised the residents to retain an attorney. The trio responded that they have legal representation.

The supervisors and Hildebrand said the transition to coverage of the township by the Ephrata Police Department, effective Jan. 1, has proceeded well. Discussions have been ongoing about coordinating with East Cocalico Police on carryover investigations as well as court actions on open cases.

Burns and Stoner noted the upcoming Cocalico Regional Leaders meeting on Jan. 29 where outstanding matters on police coverage may be addressed in the wake of West Cocalico and Adamstown contracting the Ephrata Police.

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