First Posted: 2/11/2014

Jackson Township supervisors aired concerns about refunding municipal fees to The Lands at Hillside Farms and heard residents’ complaints on the deteriorating condition of county-owned Chase Road.

The Lands at Hillside Farms on Hillside Road filed a request to refund municipal fees totaling $400 from inspections and permit requirements. Annually, the organization files for reimbursement. This years, supervisors are questioning the procedure.

“I am having a difficult time approving this for The Lands at Hillside Farms,” said Al Fox, vice chairman of Jackson Township. “We do not do this for anyone else.”

Fox added the non-profit farm receives funding from grants, the state, gaming revenue from the casino while selling products and services to the public.

Supervisor Tim Evans agreed, stating that Hillside has given nothing back to the municipality.

Township solicitor Jeffery Malik suggested refunding municipal fees but not inspection fees.

Supervisor chairman John Wilkes Jr. said the township has reimbursed municipal fees, but not inspection fees, to the fire department. Turning to the municipal attorney, he questioned if the municipality has the right to only reimburse the farm municipal fees and not inspection costs.

Malik said it is possible not to reimburse “third party inspection fees,” indicating he would be willing to look at other municipalities to see how their ordinances handle requests from non-profit organizations.

Evans and Fox agreed to table the request to gain further understanding on their options.

Also, trying to raise awareness to the poor road conditions of the heavil- traveled Chase Road, resident Ed Chesnovitch asked supervisors what is being done to improve the conditions.

He noted he knew the road is a county-owned road and, therefore, is the responsibility of the county not Jackson Township. Wilkes said a letter was sent to the county regarding the condition of the road.

The battled surface road has been made worse due to the harsh winter conditions, causing a jarring road for motorists.

Wilkes said the county engineers office has heard frequently from the supervisors on the condition of Chase Road.

In other news …

* Supervisors unanimously approved a five percent contribution to the police officers pension for 2014.

* A seven percent contribution to the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System was tabled. Fox questioned the donation, citing he thought the 7 percent was for one year to catch up. Township Secretary Denise Rittinger said she was told to keep it at 7 percent. Malik advised the supervisors to table their decision until further research is conducted to determine what the PMRS is requiring. “Normally the contribution is 5 percent,” Malik said.

* The rate scheduled for the Certificate of Occupancy has been approved for the 2014 year at $50 for residential and $250 for commercial units.

* Mike Kowanick, Tim Coffay and Leo Letoski were hired as part-time police officers on Jan. 9 with a six-month probation period.

* Harold Cain and Shawn Brown, part-time police officers, resigned as of Dec. 23, 2013.

* Wilkes noted the township website has not been updated. He said supervisors are waiting for information from PSATS. Police and zoning reports will be posted on online for residents. “We are working to make this a live program where our police chief can post important information,” Wilkes said.

The next meeting of the Jackson Township supervisors will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 3 in the municipal building.

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