East Penn Press

Monday, June 1, 2020

LOWER MILFORD TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 by JAKE MELUSKEY Special to The Press in Local News

Meeting brings executive sessions

The Lower Milford Township Supervisors’ workshop meeting Feb. 6 was full of tension and numerous executive sessions throughout the night. In a meeting to hear public comments and go over a small amount of township items, the meeting spanned over two hours, primarily debating township roles and vendor relations.

To begin the meeting, Doug Frederick, representing the Rizzuto Brothers, Inc., approached the supervisors with a plan to purchase and subdivide a piece of land owned by an elderly gentleman in Lower Milford Township. Rizzuto Brothers, Inc. wants to purchase the property to build 24 adjacent twin homes. The homes will be connected to the municipal sewer and will occupy approximately 32 acres of the township resident’s former property.

Supervisor Ellen Koplin responded the township supervisors only recently got the application and would still need time to look it over. She expected there would be an answer by the next supervisors meeting.

Sal Rizzuto was in attendance and voiced his concern over continuation of the project if there were going to be major zoning penalties. The supervisors understood his concern and reiterated they will try and have this situation resolved shortly for him.

Supervisor Chair John Quigley then announced a complaint over a policy falsely used to end business with CPA Carl Detweiler, who works for Molinari Oswald LLC. He said a township employee, who had requested extra accounting help, was told to tell Detweiler to leave upon arrival as his service would be a conflict of interest. The conflict of interest is that Detweiler’s uncle is Ron Detweiler, who works as a tow driver for the township.

However, there is no policy existing stating business can’t be done with relatives of employees for Lower Milford Township. Koplin interjected during Quigley’s statement to say this non-policy will be addressed later in the meeting.

“I have that on my list. I think we are going to be addressing that under administrative,” Koplin said.

“Administrative? … Well that was not discussed, so I wasn’t aware of it,” Quigley said.

“Well I just prepared it this afternoon…,” Koplin said.

“No problem, I understand.. I haven’t had a chance to review it, but these last minute changes are always a surprise…,” Quigley responded.

The issue was eventually resolved by the end of the night, though no motion was made. It was decided if a treasurer or other employee needs accounting help, several accounting firms would be approached for quotes.

The first of three executive sessions was called during the discussion of the newly appointed treasurer/bookkeeper as suggested by the township solicitor Mark Cappuccio. During the first executive session, a gentleman sitting in the back of the township boardroom handed out a green flyer to the residents in attendance.

The green flyer detailed concerns about the newly appointed treasurer/bookkeeper and two of the Lower Milford supervisors. The flyer was signed by Concerned Lower Milford Township Residents.

After the first executive session, the supervisors turned to the responsibilities of township employees. However, when it was time to discuss personnel information, a second executive session was called.

Before the break, Quigley talked about the bond payment for the new treasurer. He said he didn’t understand why the cost was 3 1/2 times the budgeted amount of $750.

After the second executive session concluded, the supervisors decided the township employees would put together their own lists of tasks and responsibilities. Then, they would compare the lists with the job descriptions on file. This way, they could fully audit who was truly responsible for what and find out if certain tasks could be streamlined or outsourced to save costs for the township.

This list will be reviewed at the next supervisors’ workshop meeting, 6:30 p.m. April 2 at the Lower Milford Township building.

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s letter on the overlay district will be responded to in accordance with the Southwestern Regional Lehigh Valley Plan. The LVPC was concerned the overlay district would be open to any type of development, which could leave the township at risk. Cappuccio said the overlay would cover what is allowed in the regional plan. It was said this answer should relieve the concerns from the LVPC.

Quigley was quick to respond he hadn’t seen the letter yet and he was abstaining from the vote, as he needed to review before making a decision. Supervisor Donna Wright is on the LVPC and could not vote on this matter. So, this decision will be made at the next regular supervisors meeting.

In other news, the Schultz Bridge final plans were approved by the supervisors and the planning commission. However, there was no discussion of a timeline.

The next supervisors’ regular meeting will be held 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20. The meetings are held at the Lower Milford Township building, 7607 Chestnut Hill Church Road, Coopersburg.