Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania

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09-25-2017 - Board of Supervisors Minutes

MINUTES OF MEETING

MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

 

At 7:00 p.m.  Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera called to order an executive session.  In attendance were Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch, Supervisors Michael J. Fox, Jeffrey W. McDonnell and Richard E. Miniscalco. Also in attendance were Township Manager Lawrence Gregan, Township Solicitor Frank R. Bartle, Esquire, Assistant to the Township Manager Stacy Crandell and Township Engineers Russell Dunleavy and James Dougherty.

Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera called the action meeting to order at 8:00 p.m.  In attendance were Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch, Supervisors Michael J. Fox, Jeffrey W. McDonnell and Richard E. Miniscalco.  Also in attendance were Township Solicitor Frank R. Bartle, Esquire, Township Manager Lawrence Gregan, Police Chief Scott Bendig, Director of Finance Ami Tarburton, Director of Administration and Human Resources Ann Shade, Assistant to the Township Manager Stacy Crandell, Director of Planning Bruce Shoupe, Director of Public Works Kevin Costello, Director of Recreation and Community Center Floyd Shaffer, Director of Information Technology Richard Grier, Public Information Coordinator Kelsey Whalen and Recording Secretary Deborah Rivas.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera called for public comment from the audience, requesting that any comments be non-Cutler Development related, as that issue would be discussed shortly.  There was no public comment on any other subject.  

Solicitor Frank R. Bartle, Esquire announced that the Board had met in an Executive Session prior to this meeting to discuss one matter of potential litigation, which is the Cutler Development matter.  The Board also met in Executive Session on Friday, September 22, 2017 at the Cutler Development sight.  The meeting began at 9:15 a.m. at the Enclave Development on Enclave Boulevard to discuss options for the completion of site improvements.  The executive session then continued at the Township building immediately thereafter around 10:00 a.m. and lasted for approximately one and a half hours.  Mr. Bartle stated that these matters are legitimate subjects of executive session pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Law.

Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera apologized for holding up the rest of the meeting, but she wanted to address the David Cutler matter and what the Board has decided to do based on all of the promises that have not been kept by Mr. Cutler. She advised that the Board of Supervisors is prepared to approve the resolutions necessary to pull the letters of credit that they can and will do this evening.  In addition, the Board will also issue a 60-day cure notice which is legally what is required for the Montgomery Knoll and Montgomery Reserve developments.  This cure notice will allow the Board to pull those letters of credit if missing/incomplete/incorrect public improvements secured by the letters of credit are not corrected within 60 days.  Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera also stated that while the Board was onsite with the Township Engineers last Friday where it was established that the conditions onsite are unsafe and that an emergency status exists that some of the work be completed immediately.  She further advised that the Township is going to do its best to get the project finished this year, but due to weather related and bid contract issues, it may not be possible to complete everything this year.  At a minimum, emergency work will be done to fix the potholes and make corrections to the roads so that a plow will be able to get safely through the neighborhoods this winter.  Supervisor Michael Fox stated that the residents who were present were welcomed to make comments, and he wanted them to know the full breath of what the Board has tried to do on behalf of the residents in these developments.  Supervisor Fox stated that the Board understands the conditions and knows the frustrations that the residents are experiencing, and hopes that the residents can appreciate that the Board has done everything within its capabilities to address the concerns that are there. 

Township Solicitor Frank Bartle announced that the Board will consider three resolutions.  The first resolution authorizes and directs the Township Solicitor to pursue all legal and equitable remedies against the Cutler Group Incorporated for failure to complete all public improvements to the Montgomery Walk and Montgomery Pointe developments.  The second resolution authorizes and directs the Township Solicitor to issues a 60-day cure notice and, if needed, pursue all legal and equitable remedies against the Cutler Group Incorporated for failure to complete all public improvements to the Montgomery Knoll development phases 1A and 1B.  The final resolution authorizes and directs the Township Solicitor to issue a 60-day cure notice and, if needed, pursue all legal and equitable remedies against the Cutler Group Incorporated for failure to complete all public improvements to the Montgomery Preserve development, phase one and phase two.  Township Solicitor Frank Bartle reported that essentially, the Board feels that it has three obligations effectively in this order: 1) make the project safe; 2) finish it; and 3) have Mr. Cutler pay the Township what is owed.  Mr. Bartle also stated that after these resolutions are passed, a representative of the Cutler Group organization has asked to meet with Township Manager Lawrence J. Gregan and Mr. Bartle, and some members of the Board of Supervisors may want to attend this meeting.  The Township will hear what the representative from the Cutler Group has to say, but nothing will be done, according to the Board’s direction given, that will in any way impair to make it safe, finish it and pay the Township what is owed. 

Under public comment, Jeff McGrath of 122 Wilder Way, Montgomery Pointe, inquired about the escrow money and that it was discussed previously that there was not enough money in escrow to complete the work.  Mr. McGrath wanted to know where the extra money comes from and if legal expenses are also taken from escrow?  Township Solicitor Frank Bartle responded that normal expenses for engineering and legal review would come out of the escrow account, however, any litigation matter costs do not.  The Township does feel that it has enough money to cover the work, contingent on bidding contracts for things that are not considered emergency matters.  Mr. McGrath also inquired if the Township was worried about the Cutler name changing to Hudson Palmer Homes?  Township Solicitor Frank Bartle indicated that the Township has taken note of that, but it should have nothing to do with the issues that the Township has with respect to the Cutler agreements, which are in the name of Cutler Group Incorporated. The security that we have is also in the name of Cutler Group Incorporated.  Lastly, Mr. McGrath asked if it was possible for him and Dave Craven to meet with Township Manager Lawrence J. Gregan and a Board member or two to go down the laundry list of things so that the residents are not under the assumption that certain things are going to be completed if they are not.  It was agreed that a meeting would be scheduled. 

Resolutions #1, #2 and #3 as noted above, made by Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera, seconded by Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch and adopted unanimously, authorized the Township Solicitor to 1) pursue all legal and equitable remedies against the Cutler Group Incorporated for failure to complete all public improvements to the Montgomery Walk and Montgomery Pointe developments; 2) directed the Township Solicitor to issue a 60-day cure notice and, if needed, pursue all legal and equitable remedies against the Cutler Group Incorporated for failure to complete all public improvements to the Montgomery Knoll development phases 1A and 1B; and 3) directed the Township Solicitor to issue a 60-day cure notice and pursue all legal and equitable remedies against the Cutler Group Incorporated for failure to complete all public improvements to the Montgomery Preserve development, phase one and phase two.

Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 11, 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting, and Supervisor Michael J. Fox seconded the motion.  The minutes of the meeting were unanimously approved as submitted.

Chief of Police J. Scott Bendig reported that on August 24, 2017, Office James Matlack retired from the Montgomery Township Police Department after 30 years of service to our community.  Officer Matlack began his career with the Montgomery Township Police Department as a patrol officer on August 5, 1988.  Officer Matlack served in various roles during his tenure including field training officer, Special Operations Unit officer, DARE Instructor, and a member of the county’s Major Incident Response Team.  However, Officer Matlack is best known, in our community for his service as our Crime Prevention/Community Policing Officer, a position he has held since 1990.  During his 30 year career, Officer Matlack has received numerous departmental commendations for his actions as an officer as well as numerous letters of appreciation from township residents, civic groups, children, and neighboring law enforcement agencies.  Officer Matlack has shown exemplary dedication and professionalism in his service to the residents, businesses and coworkers of our community.  Officer Matlack’s dedication and compassion will be sorely missed.  Laura Smith, Chief of Staff from Pennsylvania State Representative Todd Stephens’ office, presented Citations from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as well as the Pennsylvania Senate to Officer Matlack.  Montgomery County Chief Detective Sam Gallen also presented Officer Matlack with a Commendation from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.  Resolution #4 made by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Robert J. Birch and adopted unanimously, recognized Officer James Matlack and expressed deep gratitude to him for his dedication and faithful service to the Montgomery Township Police Department and Montgomery Township community.

Chief of Police J. Scott Bendig also reported that at the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers Association on September 20, 2017, Montgomery Township Officer Robert Johnson was recognized as the Crime Prevention Officer of the Year.  The Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers’ Association is a non-profit organization of crime prevention specialists from within Pennsylvania formed in 1978 to promote and maintain public awareness of sound crime prevention methods and practices through its membership.  This award was presented to Officer Johnson in recognition of his exceptional dedication, professionalism, and enthusiasm for crime prevention as well as his positive impact on the quality of life for our citizens.  Resolution #5 made by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, seconded by Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch and adopted unanimously, recognized and commended Officer Robert Johnson as the 2017 Crime Prevention Officer of the Year by the Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers’ Association.

Chief of Police J. Scott Bendig reported that the Police Department was recently awarded $36,994.43 in funds seized under the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program.  This program is a nationwide law enforcement initiative that removes the tools of crime from criminal organizations, deprives wrongdoers of the proceeds of their crimes, recovers property that may be used to compensate victims, and deters crime.  Use of these funds are designated solely for use by law enforcement agencies for law enforcement purposes only.  The Police Department is requesting to utilize these funds to purchase an additional license plate reader (LPR).  This unit, mounted on a patrol vehicle, provides automated detection of license plates.  The LPR system consists of a high-speed camera to convert data from electronic images of vehicle license plates into a readable format, and then compare the information against databases of license plates to include stolen vehicles, wanted persons, and vehicle violations.  The department has received a quote from ELSAG, an authorized vendor under the Co-Stars Cooperative Purchase Program to provide the requested equipment at a total cost of $13,105.00.  Resolution #6 made by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, seconded by Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch and adopted unanimously, awarded the contract for the purchase of a license plate reader from ELSAG at a total cost of $13,105.00.

Township Manager Lawrence J. Gregan reported that the national observance of Fire Prevention Week 2017 will be held October 8th through October 14th.  This year’s theme is “Every Second Counts – Plan Two Ways Out”.  There will be a fire safety education display at the Township building from October 8th through October 14th.  On Monday, October 16th, the Department will be hosting an open house at Wegmans Supermarket from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Members of the Department will be displaying the apparatus and distributing public education materials.  During the month of October, the Department of Fire Services will be conducting fire drills, fire safety inspections and fire prevention talks at all schools, day care centers, health care facilities and hotels.  Resolution #7 made by Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch, seconded by Supervisor Michael J. Fox and adopted unanimously, recognized October 8th through October 14th 2017 as Fire Prevention Week.

Township Manager Lawrence J. Gregan reported that Firefighter Robert Hedden currently holds three certifications in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and recently submitted an application for renewal of those certifications for a new three year cycle (2017-2020).  Firefighter Hedden is requesting approval to take courses to satisfy required Continuing Education credits.  The courses are being offered through the Center for Government Services at Rutgers University on behalf of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.  The courses are offered free of charge.  The course titles are “ICC Commercial Cooking Systems”, “Statutory Duties” and “Inspector Workshop”.  Resolution #8, made by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, seconded by Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch and adopted unanimously, authorized the out-of-state training for Firefighter Robert Hedden.

Director of Finance Ami Tarburton reported that Act 205, Section 304 requires that the Chief Administrative Officer for Montgomery Township submit the Minimum Municipal Obligation (MMO) for the upcoming budget year to the Board on or before the last business day in September.  The MMO is the calculated funding obligation to the Township's Police and Non-Uniform Employee Pension Plans.  Resolution #9 made by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, seconded by Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch and adopted unanimously, accepted the 2018 MMO for the Montgomery Township Police Pension Fund in the amount of $822,818 and the 2018 MMO for the Montgomery Township Non-Uniform Employee Pension Fund in the amount of $296,615.

Director of Planning and Zoning Bruce Shoupe reported that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive forest insect from Asia responsible for the deaths of millions of ash trees throughout the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada.  Surveys were conducted in the Township parks which identified nearly 750 ash trees in the parks alone that could potentially be affected by this infestation.  The Township, with the assistance of Curt Eshleman, has begun to identify high risk trees on Township properties along property lines, trails, roads and sidewalks for removal.  Currently 200 +/- trees have been identified to be removed within the Spring Valley Park area.  The tree removal project requires a formal bid process.  The work under this contract includes the furnishing of all labor, materials and equipment necessary and incidental for the felling of trees to within 12 inches or less of ground level.  Additional requirements and procedures are outlined within the bid documents. Resolution #10 made by Vice Chairman Robert J. Birch, seconded by Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, authorized the Township Manager to advertise for bids for the Ash Tree Removal Project in Spring Valley Park. Bids are to be received by 10:00 a.m. on October 23, 2017 and shall be considered for award at the November 13, 2017 Board meeting.

Resolution #11 made by Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera, seconded by Supervisor Michael J. Fox and adopted unanimously, authorized a construction escrow release in the amount of $39,568.04 and the start of the maintenance period as recommend by the Township Engineer for LDS 681 – 1390 Welsh Road, Nappen and Associates.

Resolution #12 made by Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera, seconded by Supervisor Michael J. Fox and adopted unanimously, approved the request of Bharatiya Temple to waive the $100.00 special event permit fee for the Ravan Effigy burning to be held on September 30, 2017.

A motion to approve the payment of bills was made by Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera, seconded by Supervisor Michael J. Fox, and adopted unanimously, approving the payment of bills as submitted.

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.