Union Township wants to reopen budget

The Union Township Board of Supervisors had unanimously approved on Jan. 20 for a special meeting on Jan. 23 with the intention of reopening its 2014 budget.

Municipal Assistant Belinda Lukens said Jan. 23 the meeting was canceled without a rescheduled date.

Board Chairman Donald E. Basile said Jan. 20 he wanted a new line item included that would allow the township $7,687 of funds to fight the proposed Commonwealth pipeline through the National Lands Trust.

He said the township didn’t know the township’s portion to participate until after the board approved and adopted in December the 2014 budget of $2,222,484.50.

The millage rate remains at 3.65 mills.

“I want this [line item] in the budget if the other townships pass a resolution that Union Township could participate in,” said Basile.

Local municipalities are opposing the local control exemption contained in the 2012 law that amended Pennsylvania’s Act 13 (Oil and Gas Act), which exempts municipal control of all oil and gas drilling operations.

The motion was unanimously approved to open the budget and insert that amount as a line item, allowing the township to participate if it later votes to do that.

A revised budget would include an advertised 10 day public inspection prior to another advertised special meeting by the Feb. 15 deadline for municipalities to approve and adopt revised budgets.

The board unanimously approved to allow the Environmental Advisory Committee to donate some of its recycling proceeds to the Daniel Boone School District’s Green Team for the cost of their supplies.

“I’m in favor of allowing the EAC to do this -- it’s their funds from their efforts of newspaper recycling,” said Basile.

The Green Team was formed six years ago by a High School science class that researched alternative, renewable energy sources.

They have narrowed their research to biodiesel produced from clean, green algae, which the team has “determined to be one of the most promising renewable energy sources.”

Green Team members recently presented their research results in Harrisburg to Lieutenant James Cawley and in Washington, DC at the U.S. Department of Energy.

The board is working on developing a public gatherings ordinance for private properties, parades, or other large gatherings on township property, and with the requirement to obtain a township permit.

Board members said most events have been fundraisers, such as 5K races, which require proof of insurance, a traffic plan (with or without fire police), and a promise to “clean up” afterwards.

Supervisor Nelson L. Ott, Jr., said a recent bike event resulted with painted arrows that interfered with PA One indicators.

Township Manager Carol Lewis said the Parks and Recreation Committee has been waiving permit fees.

“I don’t want to make the ordinance onerous, but I want to be sure the township is protected,” said Basile.

The board unanimously approved the preliminary plans for the Liberty Bell Motorsports Park, Route 724.

Michale Montondo, Chairman of the five-member, Union Township Municipal Authority, asked the board to remove John Salaneck, III, from the authority, based upon missing (unexcused) four out of seven recent meetings.

“John said he had medical problems on three or four times he did not attend,” said Montondo.

“The Authority was concerned due to his absences and also his seeming lack of interest at one or more meetings. I wanted to report his lack of attendance. Our feelings were that he didn’t want to be a part of it anymore -- he knew he wasn’t returning as a township supervisor, and we didn’t want to be left high and dry. Everyone has the same feeling that I have.”

Township Solicitor Frederick K. Hatt said Basile’s motion for the board to remove Salaneck -- “pursuant to the wishes of the authority” -- violated the municipal statute that permits removal after three consecutive unexcused missed meetings.

Basile rescinded his motion and the board tabled the issue for Lewis to research if there were three consecutive unexcused absences.

Montondo said also that UTMA members pledge to attend 85 percent of board meetings.

Salaneck’s term ends Dec. 31.

His term as township supervisor ended on Dec. 31, 2013.