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Township allows subdivision extension

Leon Liggitt requested an extension on a minor subdivision at the Dec. 23 Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors meeting.

He told the board he has been experiencing various issues with the engineers and their completing the necessary work.

The board granted his request for an extension until June 30.

In other business, the ordinance reducing the membership on the recreation board passed. Five members are needed to fill the board because there were difficulties finding seven people.

Also during the meeting, the 2015 budget that amounts to $4,020,282 was adopted as advertised. Real estate and local taxes are the largest sources of revenue and personnel is the single largest expenditure.

Supervisor Cindy Miller asked why it was necessary to raise taxes considering costs for workman's compensation decreased.

Supervisor Darryl Snover said when the budget was advertised the board was not aware of the lower costs.

Township Manager Alice Rehrig noted the extra amount has not been reallocated to date. There is a difference of $47,000 between the original quote and new quotes. Only two bids were received that would include the fire company.

Supervisor Sandy Hopkins asked how much was in the building fund. Rehrig said $305,000 was initially included with $65,000 added later.

Miller stressed the budget does not include cuts in services.

Snover said the capital improvements plan helped in drafting the budget.

Fifty percent of the budget is reserved for police. The board said it will be considering options in the future such as regionalization of the police force.

Supervisor Keith Hantz noted the donation to the fire company was increased by $50,000.

The board also approved Susquehanna Municipal Trust as the township's new workman's compensation insurance carrier.

Solicitor David Backenstoe said as a trust there might be supplemental costs but there have been no increases for at least the last five years.

Moore Township, which uses Susquehanna Municipal Trust, has experienced excellent customer service with the trust and saved thousands of dollars. An ordinance was drafted and will be voted on at this month's meeting.

The open carry law for weapons was on the agenda as well. The township is considering drafting a new ordinance because of the prospect of legal suits due to the township's ordinance conflicting with state law. Weapons may not be discharged in a village center. A copy of an ordinance was provided from Bethlehem.

The board instructed the township to cover up parts of regulations on park signs that read "no weapons."

Miller attended a transportation meeting. She said there is $3.3 billion available for the next 20 years. Projects have to be provided by the Jan. 26 meeting.

Miller said if no projects are presented the township will be passed over. Bridges and the intersection in Cherryville were offered as suggestions. Five minutes will be allowed to present a project at the county meeting.

The tax has been reactivated on the monastery that is for sale. Unless it returns to religious use, the township will receive some money after the sale.