Lynn board discusses radios, pensions and Hartman’s closing
By SARIT LASCHINSKY
Special to The Press
At the start of the July 8 Lynn Township board meeting, New Tripoli Fire Chief Gary Kuntz reported his company had responded to 99 calls for the year.
He noted the company’s fifth annual Guns and Cash Bash was scheduled for Oct. 2. Three Polaris four-wheelers will be given away as attendance prizes.
Due to overwhelming demands, Kuntz said three series of 2,000 tickets each will be released for the event.
Furthermore, he reported delivery of the fire company’s new truck chassis would be delayed until at least January 2022 due to parts’ shortages.
Kuntz asked supervisors to again encourage the township’s public works members to get involved with the fire department.
“I feel like they are a vital resource we’re maybe not using, especially during the daytime hours when most departments are the lightest,” Kuntz said.
Regarding radio upgrades for the township’s public works crew, Kuntz said he had researched options and spoken with ECCO Communications and encouraged supervisors and Roadmaster Bruce Raber to attend a sit-down with ECCO in the near future to gather more information.
Raber said he would like to purchase six or seven radios, adding several would be mounted within the main public works vehicles while others would be kept as spares.
Kuntz provided the board with an example radio, which he said worked on LTE and would include an initial cost per radio, plus a $28 monthly fee per device.
He said if the township decided to go with UHF/VHF radios they would need to get a frequency, which Kuntz said could be “extremely difficult,” as well as a repeater, and he said a ballpark cost for this path could be around $5,000.
Later during the meeting, supervisors discussed revisions to the township’s pension plan, which Solicitor Marc Fisher said were largely housekeeping items, definition changes and clarifications.
Board Chairman Justin Smith asked whether it was customary that the pension plan immediately starts for a full-time employee on the first day, and whether the township has always “vested at 100 percent immediately from day one.”
As an example, Smith said if an employee had only worked for the township for six months and then left, “We funded 7 percent of their account and they keep it all. I’d say to you come in for six months, we train you to do something - you don’t keep the money put in there.”
Smith suggested the pension plan could be tied to start after an employee’s 90-day probationary period is completed.
He also suggested employees are 33 percent vested after one year, 66 percent after two years and 100 percent after three years.
“We’re funding it fully at 7 percent immediately, but if you leave before that - they didn’t put anything in, and we get ours back,” Smith said, adding this model would also be a good incentive to retain employees.
His fellow supervisors agreed and asked the draft pension document be adjusted to include Smith’s suggestions.
In other business, the board granted preliminary approval on a lot line adjustment plan for resident Nancy Smith.
Township engineer Chris Noll said the original subdivision was a two-acre lot but said the property owner wanted to reduce the size to a 30,000-square-foot lot, adding because the new area is less than the minimum one-acre size, it would require additional testing, a replacement area and new planning module.
Smith said, however, she decided to increase the lot size back to one acre to eliminate the problem, and the revised plan would be presented to the board at an upcoming meeting.
The board approved the inclusion of 16.686 acres along Flint Hill Road into the township’s agricultural security area in a 2-0 decision, with Smith abstaining due to having a familial relationship with the property owners.
During the park report, Smith said a township employee had suggested purchasing a grass sweeper for Ontelaunee Park.
The board granted conditional approval to purchase the machine at a cost not to exceed $450 from an appropriate Lynn Township business.
Supervisors also approved Lynn Township’s yearly contributions to several organizations with $2,838 being donated to Lynnport Fire Company and $7,162 to New Tripoli Fire Company, based on the percentage of 2020 calls.
The township also contributed $3,000 to the Northwestern Rescue Squad, $5,000 to the Northwestern Recreation Commission and an additional $500 for the Night in the Country event.
Under miscellaneous items, the board approved the appointment of Frederick Najarian to the township planning commission to fill an existing vacancy.
Additionally, Smith said the board had discussed repainting or refinishing the park’s band shell at an earlier meeting, and the board approved a $1,080 proposal from Geiger’s Painting to complete the renovation work, which Smith called a “great deal.”
Lastly, Smith also noted Hartman’s Butcher Shop had closed after four decades in business.
Board members discussed options for commemorating the local business.
Smith noted Hartman’s had won numerous awards for its meats and it would be appropriate for the township to purchase a plaque for the butcher shop to show their appreciation, “recognize their role in our community, and the fact they are going to be missed.”
His fellow board members agreed.
“It’s been a staple up at the top of that hill there for many years,” Supervisor Steve Feinour said.
The supervisors ‘meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12.