Municipal Report: Robeson officials discuss property maintenance, unpaid bills

After looking for a means of collecting unpaid sewer bills, Robeson Township officials asked township Solicitor Chris Hartman to put together a draft of an ordinance that would assist the township in collecting outstanding bills.

The proposed ordinance has been put together with data drawn from other municipalities in Pennsylvania. Permits can be withheld until outstanding bills owed to the township are paid. The ordinance would help to hold people responsible for what they do in the township. The review of the rough draft of the ordinance is to get some feedback and to evaluate the benefits of such legislation.

High weeds and uncut grass in residential areas continues to be a concern. The height of the grass, whether it be six inches or more is a question. The size of what is considered a residential lot, whether it be two acres or ten acres is another question. Exactly where or how much of a residential lot’s grass should be cut? These are all questions that have to be addressed.

Chairman Roger Feeg said the board should eliminate areas that residents do not have to care for. There are instances where the right of way is not maintained.

Land used for farming, forest, woodlands and riparian buffers are excluded.

Noxious weeds have to be controlled. There must be a procedure for enforcement, said Hartman. As for enforcement, he questioned whether a fine or a lien against the property would be used.

Rick Rhode has been appointed to the position of Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator.

“We are responsible for the health and safety of people in the township,” said Feeg. “It would be better if all departments filed a report. There was no report from the Geigertown Fire Department in September. It is necessary for it to be done. We set up and support these entities.”

Detailed monthly reports from the wastewater treatment plant, the police department and the road crew have been available each month on a table at the entry to the regular township meeting.

Township Manager Tom Keim said he is working on the budget for 2014. The cost of workman’s compensation insurance continues to rise. The cost of workman’s compensation to the fire companies also increased. Keim will contact the fire companies in Robeson Township to participate in budget discussions.

For safety reasons, markers are being located along the Schuylkill River Trail so hikers can identify their location in case of an accident or emergency, said Township Engineer Gary Kraft.

The township ordinance only permits one unlicensed vehicle to be on a property. But the three vehicles at the Keller property at 174 Seyfrit Drive are causing a headache for neighbors. Lately, after an inspection, one vehicle has been found to be in disrepair, another has been cited as being valid and the third is “so-so,” said Hartman. No one has lived at the address for three years. The issue is the cars, regardless of the condition of the house. The vehicles constitute a nuisance.

Zoning Officer Joe Boulanger said the house is secure. The township will not let the issue go away after three years. It will be determined if the vehicles are registered and inspected.

Feeg asked Police Chief Mark Phillips to check the ownership and registration of the vehicles. A hearing will be scheduled.

An annual agreement has been continued with the Animal Rescue League to pick up lost and stray pets. The cost is $1,000.

Phillips said recently there were three burglaries in the southern area of Robeson Township. There were three attempted burglaries and an arrest. Those arrested in the burglaries are from Montgomery County. Some outside police departments helped to solve the problem. A stabbing was also reported recently. Criminal cases have increased in 2013, especially in the age bracket of 18 to 25. Drugs continue to be an issue.