(Corrected article - The section about Orange & Rockland was updated 7-30-14.)
Milford Township, PA – Milford Township Supervisors, at their meeting on Monday July 21, brought up conditions of the property right next door to their administration building. Supervisor Gary Williams said that UGI (UGI Penn Natural Gas owned by UGI Utilities, Inc) has been dumping debris from construction sites onto the property.
Williams said that he tried to contact UGI about the problem but had, as of the meeting, received no response from the company.
Supervisor chairman Don Quick said they should contact the Pike County Conservation District to make them aware of the situation and request they look into it.
According to the Pike County GIS Parcel Mapping Application, the owner of the property is Dr. Saeeda Mahmud.
(Note – according to the Pike County website, the GIS maps and data are a public service but no guarantee is made as to the accuracy of the information contained, and “should not be relied upon for any purpose “other than general information.)
Sally Corrigan, executive director of the Pike County Conservation District (PCCD), said that her office had not received any correspondence from the township yet, but when they do they will investigate the situation.
In general, Corrigan said that they would look to see if the location had an active Erosion and Sediment (E&S) plan, who is doing the dumping, where the debris is coming from and whether it is clean or other fill. She said that any fill coming from a construction site would have to have some kind of E&S plan.
“There are standards,” Corrigan said. “From DEP . . . on how its supposed to be disposed of.”
Calls into Chant Realtors, whose sign show the property is listed for sale, were not returned.
Since this meeting, the PCCD has received the letter from the township and is investigating the situation.
PA DEP Hearing scheduled
Supervisor Gary Clark wanted to publicly thank the resident of Milford Township and surrounding municipalities for contacting the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) concerning the Milford Compressor station upgrade project.
The upgrade project, being proposed by Columbia Gas to upgrade their current outdated station to one about 10 times larger, is in the phase of having to be approved by the states environmental protection agency. The recent push by township officials to get the company to be sensitive to resident's desires to have the safest, quietest compressor possible. To that end, Clark has been trying to make the company use electric motors, which would have nearly no emissions and be quieter. He also is hoping the gas company can be convinced to include new recapture technology which would also significantly reduce both emissions and the need for blowdowns.
PA DEP has scheduled a hearing for August 18 at 6PM to be held in the Delaware Valley High School. Public comments are welcome. According to news reports, each person scheduled to speak will have five minutes to do so. The agency requires that anyone wishing to make a presentation must send their comments in advance, along with their request to be allowed to speak on the topic.
All requests and comments should be sent to:
Mark Wejksner, Air Quality Program Manager
2 Public Square
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701-1915
Clark says it is very important that residents within a two mile radius – in particular residents living on Fire Tower Road, Shocopee Road and School House Road – should petition to speak at the hearing. He said residents should mention electric motors in their comments and the fact that the area is dependent on the environment for its financial stability.
A call into environmental protection agency's Wilkes-Barre office revealed they had not written the press release with all the details of the hearing. A spokesman said that the release will be ready by the end of the week. To view the agency's press releases, go to their website at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/news_releases/1....
Orange & Rockland responds to criticism
Orange & Rockland (O&R), the parent company for Pike County Power and Light (PCPL), responded to recent criticism by local officials about the amount of power outages experienced from the state line all the way through Milford Borough and parts of Dingmans by holding two meetings last Thursday (7/17).
The first meeting was with public officials. Frank Peverly, Vice President of Operations for the utility company, went out for a ride with Milford Borough Bo Fean, Milford Township Supervisor Don Quick and Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg. He wanted to see first hand some of the areas in contention. While out, Peverly spotted a downed tree and some areas that needed to be worked on to avoid any new outages.
VP Frank Peverly offered to ride with Mayor Feen, Commissioner Osterberg and Chairman Quick. Only Milford Township's board chairman Don Quick went out with the VP of Operations.
The second meeting was with both officials and business owners. Several of the restaurant owners, such as Steve Metzger of Apple Valley and Denise Fretta of Fretta's, who expressed their exasperation with outages that have hit at some very inopportune times for the businesses.
The utility company said they had plans to provide a secondary line into the area, b ut that those plans were about seven years out. These included going underground along the area the company calls Pine Alley. This is the stretch of roadway between Kittatinny campgrounds and the retaining wall along Interstate 84.
As part of ongoing efforts to avoid future outages, O&R is pro-actively seeking out potential hazards and clearing them.
Moving into the 21st Century
Clark, as the township's lead on the matter, has been working diligently to upgrade the township's equipment and internet presence to ensure the municipality is prepared to continue with the advances of technology. Currently, the township maintains, via chairman Quick's oversight, a Facebook page. But some of its computers and peripheral equipment was outdated. Along with the recent purchase of new printer to replace the aging machine they once had, the township's computers have been upgraded for usability and security. Chris Graham of Confidential Bits has been working closely with the supervisors to ensure they have the best equipment and software at a reasonable price.
Now Clark is working on the municipality's internet presence. He has acquired a URL for Milford Township and is looking at bids from providers to build and maintain the new website. He is hoping to be able to provide residents with the ability to find out about what is happening in the township and the county, as well as offering a way to look up all the township's information, including – but not limited to – zoning regulations and approved minutes from meetings.
Clark says that some of the pages he has been looking at to get an idea of what the township can do and provide are the Lehman and Dingman's sites. These have a cost of anywhere from $4000 to $7000. He is working on getting a similar website up for much less, in keeping with the supervisor's desires to be fiscally responsible to residents.
A thank you for Doug Jacobs
At the start of the meeting, Clark asked former solicitor Douglas Jacobs to make the invocation. After which, the supervisors presented Jacobs with a plaque thanking him for his many uyears of service to Milford Township.
Jacobs took the opportunity to express his own appreciation and to let people know that he was not retiring from his career as a lawyer, only his from his time with the township.
“Despite what many believe from a newspaper article,” Jacobs said with a smile. “I am still practicing from my office [on Broad Street in Milford].”
Treasurer, Roadmaster, and Zoning / Sewage reports
According to treasurer Viola Canouse, since the last meeting (7/7) the township received $2891.80 in taxes, $722.75 in real estate transfer tax (representing one property) and $25.00 in sign permit fees.
Roadmaster Gary Williams reported that Moon Valley Road paving was completed and that several trouble spots due to heavy storm damage were identified. The company would be coming back by the end of the week to effect repairs.
He also said that the paving on School House Road was completed, with both shoulders being done. Mowing will be completed after the tractor, which was rented from Lattimore Construction for the work, was repaired.
The township's 2011 F750 truck is out for repairs in Butler, NJ. Both Ford and Cummins recommended the facility as they are certified to work on both the truck and the engine systems.
Resident Larry Kotar asked about the project on Moon Valley Road, questioning some of the issues. Williams said that, since it was under warranty for a year, those issues would be addressed in the coming week.
Zoning and sewage officer Robert DiLorenzo issued only one sign permit and stated that there werte no zoning or sewage issues to be brought before the board.
Milford Farms dumpster problems return
In previous meetings, complaints had been brought before the supervisors concerning the Milford Farm (formerly and popularly known as Grand Union) dumpster. New complaints have been raised by residents about the smell and condition of the dumpster, as recently as just an hour before the meeting.
DiLorenzo said that he had spoken with the owners of the grocery store and they promised to fix the problem, again.
The dumpster was picked up by Wednesday following the meeting, but there were still some issues with ground waste where the trash receptacle had sat.
Township building sign to be replaced / repaired
Clark has been looking at prices and options to repair or replace the dilapidated township building sign. He received estimates from a couple of companies for the replacement, which all the supervisors agree seem very high. To repair the sign would cost “about $550” but to replace it was estimated at around $1850. Quick said that when he worked on the sign over the winter months as a temporary fix, he found the inner board of the existing sign was rotten. He will give Clark some other vendors, who are not specifically sign companies, to investigate.
As for the electronic sign the supervisors are looking into, Clark said the cost ranges from $12,000 to $22,000. He said there are only three companies in the United States who do these signs. All the others, he points out, are from China and use chemicals in the construction that are banned in the US.
Shohola resident Greg Lotorto suggested the township look into leasing the sign, which can be much cheaper and not only save money but can be replaced as technology changes after the terms of the lease. He also said they would probably have the option of buying the sign at a reduced price at the end of the lease. This would give the township more fiscally sound options to look at.
Clark will be checking into this possibility.
The next meeting of the Milford Township supervisors will be August 4th at 7PM in the administration building on Routes 6 & 209.
Charles Reynolds is a freelance journalist, writer and songwriter. He has been reporting on national, state and local politics since 2007. No compensation other than that received for this publication was received by the writer from any entity, person or business mentioned in this news story.