Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a delightful holiday season. Life and schedules will be returning to normal this week as kids go back to school and visiting family members leave to go back home.
Call it an early Christmas present. Or maybe an early birthday present. Either way, the 25 members of Station 19, Upper Milford’s Western District Fire Company, are starting off the new year in style – with new firefighting gear and nine new air packs, thanks to a $118,500 federal assistance to firefighters grant received late last year.
Faced with continued questions from members of the Vera Cruz Fire Department, Upper Milford supervisors last week decided to postpone a vote on the proposed grant of $50,000 to encourage the departments to undertake more training, certification and safety measures.
The $50,000 will remain in the 2017 budget for now, but Solicitor Marc Fisher advised supervisors they will have to decide what to do with it before final passage of the budget.
I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends. Now that the Christmas season is upon us in earnest, pay attention to changes in the scheduling of meetings.
Upper Milford supervisors, for instance, held their regular meeting Dec. 1, the regularly scheduled date. But as of now, their Dec. 15 meeting is canceled. Instead the supervisors will hold a year-end meeting 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29.
Their re-organization meeting will be 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3, 2017.
In a cover letter to supervisors regarding the tentative 2017 budget, Township Manager Daniel DeLong announced his intention to retire no later than at the end of 2017. Therefore the $2.7 million budget includes a one-time line item to fund a replacement person for approximately six months, at the board’s option.
Supervisors adopted the budget, which includes no tax increase, but made no comment on DeLong’s announcement.
Several members of Upper Milford’s two fire departments attended the supervisors meeting Nov. 3 to voice concerns and questions about the grant proposal unveiled at the last supervisors meeting.
The proposal would include up to $50,000 in next year’s budget to help the two companies enhance training, provide physicals for their members, apply for grants and purchase equipment. When it was first discussed at that meeting, some fire officials were worried they would be required to provide physicals and other training for all their members.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. In addition to the all too well-publicized race for president, there are also contests for U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress on the ballot. Plus, Upper Milford residents will vote on a referendum question asking whether they support a small increase in the earned income tax to fund the acquisition of land by the township for purposes of preservation.
Upper Milford Township Supervisors are proposing a grant of up to $50,000 in next year’s budget to help the two township fire departments enhance training of personnel and purchase needed equipment.
The proposal by Supervisor Robert Sentner would provide up to $5,000 for physicals for firefighters, increase the annual training grant (currently $2,500 per station) to $5,000, provide $5,000 to match grants which the fire stations obtain from other sources and allocate $10,000 for vehicle rescue technician certification.
After a perfunctory hearing at the Oct. 6 meeting, Upper Milford supervisors added another 26 acres to the township’s agricultural security area. The land included a little over nine acres owned by Richard Malburg at 6220 Vera Cruz Road and 3.4 acres at 6060 German Road.
Also added were the following parcels owned by Judith Parker: 7.5 acres at 5482 Chestnut St. and 6.35 acres at 5546 Chestnut St.
Upper Milford supervisors at their Sept. 15 meeting insisted they are taking no official position on the open space referendum which will appear on the November ballot.
Phil Vanim, a member of the open space committee who has spoken against the measure, challenged their neutrality, contending “there was advocacy going on” at the special meetings supervisors held last spring to discuss the issue.
He contended, “If you were against it [the referendum question], you never would have put out the referendum.”
After a lengthy discussion Sept. 1 about whether there should be sidewalks along Chestnut Street adjacent to the proposed reconstruction of the railroad bridge, Upper Milford supervisors took the advice of their solicitor, Marc Fisher, and said the decision should be up to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.