Northampton Press

Friday, January 24, 2020

Scavello pays visit to Lehigh supervisors

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 by Elsa Kerschner in Local News

State Sen. Mario Scavello, R-40th, visited the Lehigh Township supervisors’ meeting Nov. 10 to answer constituents’ questions.

He said he expected the state budget to be finished in three weeks.

“This is where it happens on the local level,” Scavello said, referring to township government.

Supervisor Darryl Snover asked him not to vote for an increased sales tax.

He did not say if he would vote yes or no, but he said an elimination of the property tax was being worked on.

“If pensions aren’t worked on, there will be little help for the schools,” he said.

The pension fund will go from $2.56 billion to $5 or $6 billion in five years. He said for new hires, pensions should go to 401(k) plans.

The pensions being discussed include both school and government personnel.

Scavello was asked why pensions were in such bad shape. He answered that in the 1990s, interest was high enough that balances were doing well and people became complacent.

A hearing was held for adopting a transportation capital improvements plan and one for establishing traffic impact fees. Several months ago, the traffic impact committee had been resurrected after it thought it had completed its work. Four intersections need improvements: Route 248 and Walnut Drive, Route 248 and Blue Mountain Drive, Cherryville Road and Blue Mountain Drive and Route 248 and Mountain View Drive.

Due to changes in requirements by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, costs have gone up since the impact committee was first formed. The intersections needing improvement remain the same. Solicitor David Backenstoe said developers can be required to pay for impacts to a community such as fire and police departments.

The resolutions were adopted and impact fees will be set.

Northwoods subdivision received approval of an extension of time to Feb. 28. A resident said he was worried about drainage. Snover asked if there were any new drainage regulations. There are, he was told, but the ones the plan has to abide by are what was in effect when the plan was submitted.

Amendments to zoning to create a planned resort residential development zone were discussed. The subdivision amendment gives more authority to the planners and supervisors. The major changes deal mostly with landscaping and stormwater regulations. When sent back to the planning commission, additional changes were suggested but none of them are major.

Engineer Phil Malitsch said a weight restriction study is being done, and an ordinance will go to the planners.

The next step in the maintenance building plan is to get costs, which will be between $1.4 and $2.1 million. Site work is estimated at $2.5 million.

A bridge on Teel Road that is to be vacated is a concern because people will continue to use it even though it will not be safe without maintenance. Possible changes are signage and removal of the bridge or part of the bridge. Snover said it should not be the property owners’ problem. Collapsing it into the stream would create a blockage and cause flooding. Frank Zamadics will be asked to look at ways to close it.

If the township gets a highway occupancy permit for the fourth leg of the intersection at Cherryville Road, it should come under the state traffic signal plan. Hanover will work on getting approval, and a Department of Community and Economic Development multi-modal grant will be applied for.

The police budget is planning for a full complement of 11 officers for 2016.

Police Chief Scott Fogel said the kennel has been delivered and is usable. In three months, more than the required $10,000 was donated.

Fogel said 8,198 miles were traveled in October as 832 calls were logged. There were 16 accidents, and 84 traffic violations were issued. One person was arrested for fleeing the police. They pulled over six trucks, with only one violation.

A draft of an emergency operations plan has to be submitted to the county by Jan. 1.