West Cocalico supervisor intends to resign by end of June

By on June 7, 2017
Supervisor Ray Burn

Supervisor Ray Burn

The West Cocalico Township supervisors have only a short time to find a new board member.

At the June 1 board meeting, Supervisor Ray Burns announced he will be settling on his house in about 20 days. At that time, he said, he will resign since he will be living out of the township.

Burns joined the board of supervisors at the beginning of 2016. He is retired from the East Cocalico Police Department, which he joined in 1983.

Burns told the board he has met with township employees to advise them of the situation.

Supervisor Chairman James J. Stoner said the township will want to fill the vacated seat within 30 days of Burns’ departure. Sunshine Law requiring public deliberation, along with a revised summer schedule with only one meeting in July could make that challenging.

In comments to The Ephrata Review on June 2, township Manager Carolyn Hildebrand said the board has 30 days from a resignation to appoint a new replacement according to second class township code.

Stoner said it’s disappointing to hear that Burns will be leaving so soon.

“I was excited about you being on the board,” Stoner said. “I don’t think anyone can question the excellent job you did. I was kind of hoping you’d be around for a long time.”

Stoner asked those residents in attendance to get the word out to others, saying the township will look seriously at candidates who have been attending board meetings.

“The names have to come in soon,” Stoner said.

The township has worked quickly to fill another vacancy on the parks and recreation board. Just last month, supervisors were casting around for someone to appoint. During Thursday’s meeting, they appointed Chris Laudenslager, a design engineer at WORLD Electronics.

Another township deadline involves the Sportsman Road Bridge, which needs major work. At their meeting, the supervisors discussed moving forward to repair the bridge. Supervisors have a strategy for funding the bridge project that looks forward to other fixes on the horizon: Stoner and Burns both promoted the idea of financing the Sportsman Road Bridge repair.

Answering resident questions about previously budgeted money for the bridge, Stoner and Hildebrand explained that of $300,000, half of that money had been budgeted through a grant that was never received. Of the remaining $150,000, around $50,000 had been spent on initial engineering work for the bridge; the rest had gone to pay off the township’s community center.

The idea with financing, Stoner said, is that instead of depleting township reserves, West Cocalico can get a very low interest rate for Sportman Road Bridge, and be able to throw cash into subsequent projects to “cycle” improvements and get ahead of the curve.

“We can’t keep pushing off road projects and then wait for some miracle to happen,” Stoner said.

Stoner admitted the township does not typically finance projects, but cited recent meetings with an audit professional who told them that financing a project can be fiscally responsible in some situations.

In police news, supervisors heard a presentation by Ephrata Police Lt. Tom Shumaker, whose department covers West Cocalico Township. In May, officers saw two burglary/theft incidents, two DUIs, 15 traffic accidents, and 17 traffic citations.

Noting the high number of traffic accidents, board members asked Shumaker if ongoing pipeline construction and detouring in the northern end of the township has been a problem. Shumaker said to his knowledge, it has not been an issue.

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