Clay listens to financial needs of organizationsAlso plans to cut ties with Humane League for animal control

By on November 2, 2011

By: JACQUELINE WATSON Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

The Clay Township board of supervisors received many financial requests at their monthly meeting as the time for a new budget approaches.

Jim Summers, program coordinator of the Ephrata Recreational Center, started off the budget-related discussion for the evening. The Rec bases their monetary request on a flat fee for each child from Clay Township who participated in the summer program. For the second year in a row, the number of Clay Township participants has increased.

"On behalf of the staff and board of directors of the rec center I would like to thank Clay Township for again participating in the Summer Municipal Recreation Program," Summers said, thanking Clay Township for its support, before listing some of the merits of the program. "We endeavor to run quality camps and quality programs."

Summers also proudly pointed out that the per child fee given to Clay Township has not been increased this year or for the past six years. The programs offered include nature camps, dance camp, volleyball camp, basketball camp and many more. The programs are free to residents from financially-participating municipalities.

Second to approach the board on financial matters was Penny Talbert, executive director for the Ephrata Public Library. The library’s funding from the state has decreased even as their circulation has increased. Talbert presented the board with a request for $3.55 per capita. She referred to this amount as a fair share for Clay residents using the library and pointed out that it is only 71 percent of the amount recommended by the state for municipal contribution. This amount would constitute a $7,400 increase over last year’s $15,000 contribution.

Talbert listed benefits of the library in her quest for funding including such things as helping flood victims fill out FEMA forms, and "emergent literacy skills training for children".

"I hope you realize the value of the library…what we do tomorrow at work affects the people who are voting and working 15 years from now," she said.

"I think you guys are doing an outstanding job, and I say that every year, Chairman Timothy Lausch responded. "I think I’ve been saying that for 20-some years…so I think it is a great asset."

Following the library’s presentation, John Martin Jr., president of the Durlach/Mount Airy Fire Company, gave an update. A cost expected in the near future is the purchase of a new truck. This truck would replace one of the fire company’s current engines which is considered to be antiquated and unsafe.

Don Moyer Jr., from the same company, said they are hard at work fundraising money for purchasing a truck.

"We are going to do absolutely everything we possibly can so everyone in the township doesn’t feel this," Moyer said.

Martin shared the plans of the fire company to turn one of the rooms in the department into a bunkroom. This plan stemmed from the fact that many nights during any type of storm, firefighters are spending the night at the station. The volunteers sleep on anything from army cots to the floor. This type of situation has become more frequent over the past few years. So far, everything for the bunkroom has been donated.

Martin also reported on the fire company’s activities during tropical storm Lee. Between Sept. 7-9, the fire company put in 360 man hours and responded to 80 calls, including water rescues and pumping out basements. Eight personal vehicles of the volunteers were used in these responses.

"The people of Clay township are extremely lucky," Martin commented, regarding the quality volunteers they have. "I’ve never worked with a bunch of dedicated people like we have over here."

Chief Steffan of the Warwick Township Police Department and planned future chief of the Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department, brought some possible future costs to the board’s attention. Steffan mentioned some minor renovations to the police department that he feels will be beneficial as regionalization moves forward. These renovations include modifying the building setup to add one more office for an operations supervisor. According to Steffan, part of the costs will be covered by grant money.

On the financial-saving side, Steffan also discussed plans to outsource animal control this year to a private contractor rather than the Humane League. This plan was developed after the Humane League had to significantly increase their fees for 2012. The new plan involves Clay Township, along with other municipalities in Lancaster County, putting animal control into the hands of a private contractor cooperating with the police. The contractor’s duties will include pick-up, while temporary housing for the animals will be provided at police facilities. Eventually animals that are not retrieved by their owners will be released to the responsibility of a state dog custody officer. This new method is expected to cut animal control costs for the participating municipalities by about 80 percent.

The board has much to discuss in finalizing the budget for 2012. With so many financial requests in just one meeting, they have tough decisions ahead of them. More CLAY, page A16

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