Citing failure to attend Union Township Board of Supervisors meetings and thus help run the township, the board’s two other members have asked for the resignation of Supervisor John Salaneck III.
“Salaneck has missed three meetings this year,” said Supervisor Nelson L. Ott, Jr., adding, “I call for his resignation. We shouldn’t pay someone who isn’t contributing. If he doesn’t want to be here, he should step aside for someone who wants to be here.”
Board Chairman Donald E. Basile agreed saying, “And the input he provides is less than helpful. I cannot tell you why he is not here. He has been a non-contributor since September.”
Salaneck said at the board’s Oct. 15 meeting that he disagreed with Ott and Basile’s vote to borrow $800,000 through a Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank.
The borrowed money would fund an estimated $600,000 in culvert repair costs for Hallman, Harmonyville, Crusher, Center, and Sycamore roads.
The remaining $200,000 loan balance would fund paving and debt service.
“I don’t agree with the way money is being spent in this township and that is why I have stepped back from the finances in this township,” said Salaneck, adding, “You two do what you want to do.”
Basile replied to Salaneck: “We can’t re-discuss with you what’s in the budget -- it’s easy for you to say we’re going down the wrong path when we’ve had five budget meetings and you’ve been to one.”
Salaneck’s six-year term expires Dec. 31.
He has not submitted nomination petition papers to Berks County Elections for re-nomination
Election Services’ sample ballot for the Municipal Primary on May 21 indicates that L. Terry Kennedy, Dem., is the only person running for the position of township supervisor.
An Election Office official said Salaneck could still do a write-in campaign.
Ott and Basile approved sending a letter to Salaneck asking for his resignation.
“It’s a sad situation when you need to do something like that,” said Basile.
Upon Salaneck’s resignation, Basile said the board would make an appointment to fill the empty seat.
If they cannot agree on an appointment a vacancy committee would convene and start a selection process.
A court proceeding is required to remove a seated elected official from office.
The board unanimously approved on April 15 to enter into an inter-municipal cooperative agreement with the Borough of Birdsboro to participate in joint bidding on road paving projects.
Solicitor Frederick K. Hatt will work with Birdsboro officials on the agreement in order to proceed with bidding the projects in May and June.
The board also approved the Commonwealth Pipeline resolution they discussed at the board’s March meeting.
Basile said that resolution is similar to the resolutions approved in five northern Chester County municipalities and opposes the natural gas pipeline that is proposed to be installed on some private properties.
The board said the township’s best option for the 120-mile pipeline proposed by Commonwealth Pipeline from Lycoming County through Chester County would be for it to be installed along the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Eagle, and other road and utility rights of way.
Ott said Union’s resolution also indicates that the township is willing to work with the pipeline companies coming through the township, to use existing rights of way and stay out of the conservation area of Hopewell Big Woods.
“There are a lot of positives that would come out it -- but also some negatives,” said Ott.
He said after the meeting that the positives include the creation of jobs, the possibility of residents being able to tap into those natural gas lines, and an economic benefit to the municipalities.
Basile said the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is proposing new guidelines for septic systems located on properties the DEP has identified as environmentally sensitive or high quality watersheds.
The guidelines would include a new 45 point system requirement to obtain a septic system permit.
He said all of Union Township is under that guideline from Hay Creek, Six Penny Creek, Mill Creek, and French Creek‘s headwaters.
“Major impact of what you can do with your land,” said Basile. “If all our ground is in this designation, our lots are going to cost $10,000 to $20,000 more because of the septic system that must be put in.”
“We’re trying to get them to modify their guidelines to allow for less costly solution -- if you live near a creek you may not get the points needed for a system -- a very cost prohibitive approach.”
He said the additional cost puts Union Township at a disadvantage for development, particularly compared to a neighboring municipality that doesn’t have land designated as environmentally sensitive or with high quality watersheds.
“DEP is attempting to reduce the amount of nitrates that get into streams,” said Basile. “DEP wants a response from affected people. Why just environmentally sensitive and high quality water courses? The guidelines they’re using should be applied throughout.”
Basile said the township’s planning commission is sending a letter to DEP opposing the new guidelines.