Checking, frustration…A mixed bag of business marks East Cocalico supervisors meeting

By on May 27, 2015

 

It was a mix of good feelings and frustration at the May 21 meeting of the East Cocalico Township supervisors.

Annual contributions to local emergency services and the library were awarded by the supervisors at the meeting. Recipients included the Reamstown, Stevens, and Smokestown fire companies, receiving $19,000 each; the Reamstown Ambulance Association $19,000; and the Adamstown Area Library $28,000.

Photo by Alice Hummer On hand for the annual contributions from East Cocalico supervisors on May 21st were (left to right):  Chief Chad Weaver of the Stevens Fire Company;  Chief Brian Auker of the Smokestown Fire Company; Chief Scott Achey of the Reamstown Fire Company; Supervisors Noelle Fortna, Doug Mackley, Alan Fry;  and Adamstown Area Library Director Kathy Thren.

Photo by Alice Hummer
On hand for the annual contributions from East Cocalico supervisors on May 21st were (left to right): Chief Chad Weaver of the Stevens Fire Company; Chief Brian Auker of the Smokestown Fire Company; Chief Scott Achey of the Reamstown Fire Company; Supervisors Noelle Fortna, Doug Mackley, Alan Fry; and Adamstown Area Library Director Kathy Thren.

Checks to support Reamstown Days for $1,000 and HazMat for $1,250 were announced and mailed.

But the feel-good nature of the awards was offset by public comment when frustration dominated.

Eric Stambaugh from the Carriage Hill Development talked about not having the streets dedicated and therefore not receiving snow plowing or street cleaning services from the township.

“It’s been 12 years and it’s time to get something done.” he said. “You need to take action.

“Are you going to give me a rebate on my taxes because I’m not getting all my services?”

Mark Hiester, East Cocalico Township manager, responded.

“I wish we could blacktop the roads tomorrow, but there’s a legal process we must follow,” he said.

Supervisors Alan Fry and Doug Mackley explained that a meeting with the developer, Paul F. Stitzel of Hamburg, Berks County, was held in fall 2014. It was agreed what work needed to be completed prior to street dedication and then it was too late in the fall due to cold temperatures to complete the work.

“Mr. Stitzel does want to complete the work and we hope to meet with him soon,” Hiester said.

Stambaugh said if Hiester calls him next week and tells him a time that the township is meeting with Stitzel he could “round up six people to be on speaker phone” to explain what homeowners, who were promised street completion years ago, have endured.

“Thanks for all you do,” concluded Stambaugh. “You guys do a great job with all you have to do.”

Township resident Chance Firestone expressed frustration with Adamstown and West Cocalico officials terminating participation on the police board, which proposes regionalization using the existing police force, when “it seems like most people want to keep East Cocalico Police services.”

“Is there anything you can do?” Firestone asked the East Cocalico supervisors. “Could you talk to them?”

Hiester explained that citizens can easily express themselves at municipal meetings and Supervisor Noelle Fortna said she’d welcome them back to the table if they chose to return.

“We are moving forward with Denver,” said Fortna.

Firestone expressed frustration with the fact that municipalities would give up a chance to make decisions about their local police force since service costs would be approximately the same. The service formula encompasses population and calls to service in a municipality.

“East Cocalico has probably spent close to a million dollars toward making regionalization work,” said Fortna.

“And, I, for one, cannot recommend that our taxpayers do any more,” said Mackley.

Jeff Garner, general contractor for Two Cousins Restaurant improvements, spoke of his frustration with the township.

“We held an April meeting with certain township officials” he said. “We felt we did everything we were asked to do. We used the people the township recommended. Now it looks like we may have done too much and not the right things. It seems every time we take one step forward we get two steps behind.

“Some of the questions addressed now, we asked last August. We expected to be done by June 1 and now we’re into July with another 30 days needed to deal with PennDot.”

Hiester explained that the project is dealing with HOP (Highway Occupancy Permit) issues now.

“We’re trying to schedule a meeting in the next week and the owner is out of state right now,” said Zoning Officer Tony Luongo.

In other business, supervisors:

* Awarded a contract to Vortex for $28,639.23 for new air conditioning for the south side of the first floor in the municipal building.

* Authorized no more than $100 be paid to Green Lawn to spray for weeds outside the pool fence.

* Heard Luongo report on issuing 23 permits in April, including one-single family dwelling unit. There were 13 false alarm violations. Two property owners received property maintenance violation letters. Pet Food Distributors, 561 S. Muddy Creek Road, received a permit for construction of a distribution warehouse.

* Approved the proposed Reinholds Fire Company 100th Anniversary Parade, Aug. 1, at 11 a.m.

* Authorized releasing remaining financial security for the Ness Stormwater Management Plan.

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