NASD School Board Vacancy – Vote May 19th (2009)

April 30th, 2009

This is a write-in candidate, you have to enter his name to vote for him.
My name is Darrell Crook, I am running a write in campaign for the soon
to be vacant School Board seat in Lower Nazareth.

I retired from Northampton Areas School District July of 2008 where I
served as Principal for 21 years and a teacher for 20 years.  I served
on the Nazareth Area School District Board for 12 years (1985-1997).

I have always been very active in the community; currently serving as a
board member on the National Canal Museum, Nazareth Area Food Bank,
Nazareth Area Citizens Committee for ESROC, Moravian Hall Square
Retirement Community, Moravian Academy, Nazareth Lions Club, and the
Southeast PA Board of Directors for Odyssey of the Mind.  I also serve
as the President of Church Council for the Nazareth Moravian Church.

In the Past I have served on the Nazareth Borough Council, the Board of
the Nazareth YMCA, Nazareth Moravian Church Board of Elders and
Christian Education Committee, Eastern District Education Committee of
the Moravian Church, Northern Province of the Moravian Church Education
Ministries and as a Board member of the Moravian Historical Society.

I believe my career in education in conjunction with my experience
collaborating  with various boards and committee’s would be useful in
solving the issues facing the Nazareth Area School District.  Please
write in Darrell Crook for the Lower Nazareth School Board seat.  You
may contact me at” dwcrook45@gmail.com with any questions.

Lower Nazareth Has a New Web Site

February 20th, 2009

Well it’s taken a few years, but Lower Nazareth Township has finally implemented their new Web Site – and it’s pretty damn nice.  Is it perfect – No, but few sites are.  One of the major capabilities missing is the site is not searchable (mine wasn’t either until recently.)

Timm Tenges and Kelly Sullivan are aware of this and it is on their To Do List.

The site is easy to navigate and they have included for download: Agendas, Meeting Minutes  and most Township forms.  Not that you are likely to need it (since almost everything is already available on line) but you can make your document requests online.

As a result, sometime in the not to distant future I will be shutting down my web site (http://lowernazareth.org) but do plan to keep the Blog (http://forum.lowernazareth.org) going.  I will keep the web site up for a while in case there is any info available that isn’t on the Twp. site.

Express Times Article

IDI Loses, Citizens Win

February 20th, 2009

Great news for everyone!

I just received a call from Renee Ferretti ,the neighborhood lawyer, who petitioned IDI’s appeal along with Lower Nazareth’s and Palmer’s Solicitors, Gary Asteak  and Chuck Bruno on November 27th. The Court of Common Pleas heard the case and Judge Kim McFadden had 90 days to return a verdict. The court upheld all but one condition  Lower Nazareth’s placed on IDI!!
IDI does not have to do another  traffic study but all other conditions would have to be met, including the big problem for IDI…time constraints! e could only hope that IDI crawls away  from this location now, considering the state of the economy,  but they do have 30 o appeal to a higher court.  I’ll keep you posted.  Email me if you are interested in viewing the decision and I’ll let it to you when I receive it on line.
Needless to say, a BIG congrats and THANK YOU  go out to Renee, Gary & Chuck and a BIG thank you again to the Lower Nazareth board for all the time & consideration they gave to all of us fighting to preserve the quality of our lives!

So far, so Good :)   See attachment for celebration information.

Ginger
(save.neighborhood@gmail.com)

Celebration Gathering

Happy New Year ’09

January 8th, 2009

Hope your Holidays were great and you’re ready to tackle a new year.

I have some work to do to transition the web site for the new year but  here’s some info to hold you over.  In December Lower Nazareth Twp. (LNT) approved a new budget with NO TAX Increase.  The January 5th, 2009 reorganization meeting was held and there were no surprises.  I will have info and documents posted on the web site as soon as possible.  (Meeting Schedule, Fee Schedule, Holidays etc…)

I have been assured by the Township Mgr. that the Lower Nazareth Township official website is almost ready to go live,  it still needs to be reviewed by the Supervisors.  One thing they have already put up (on the old site) is the new Open Records Policy as well as a form for requesting records.  I was the first to use it and let me say it is worlds ahead of the old method.  Not saying it couldn’t be improved. On a high note Timm has requested feedback on the process with aims to fine tune.

The next BOS meeting is scheduled for January 14th, 2009 at 7:30pm at the Township Hall.  I hope to have the website updated before that.

WebAdmin

BOS 11/19/2008 – Follow-up

December 4th, 2008

Well the minutes reported by the Township were accurate if somewhat incomplete (wasn’t that what I was accused of?)   Here is the text from the meeting minutes:

Read the rest of this entry »

Lower Nazareth Crime Watch

December 4th, 2008

from NOC Blog:

Lower Nazareth Crime Watch

Our next meeting is this Friday, December 5th, at 7:00 PM, Township Municipal Building, Buztown Road.

The agenda are as follows:

1. Recap our accomplishments to date.
2. Township Police Blotter
3. Membership comments.
4. Future organizational topics.

Joe Fresco at LNTcrimewatch@aol.com or 610-837-3446

Local Elections

November 20th, 2008

Excerpt copied from News Over Coffee (NOC) regarding running for local office. Go to the NOC site to see all the details.  There is also a link providing details about the informational session organized by the League of Women Voters.

*****************

If you want to see a difference in government – get involved in local government. Municipal and school board seats often go uncontested or are left vacant, yet the decisions they make have the most immediate impact on our daily lives.

Most people aren’t sure how to run for office or what they must do, fortunately it is not that difficult. Two years ago I ran a program and had about thirty-forty attend. This year the League of Women Voters is holding an event at the Community College and they asked me to alert people about it.

I noticed they are charging a fee, which I’m not particularly fond of, and while I don’t have time to run another Resident to Candidate event, I’ll try to get information up on the site so individuals can get all the relevant information.”
*******************

The above was copied from the NOC site.

BOS 11/19/2008

November 20th, 2008

Well it was somewhat of a routine meeting until the portion reserved for Managers Report (minutes will be posted after the next BOS Mtg. 12/03/2008).  The Township Manager, Mr. Tenges expressed in no uncertain terms, his sentiments  about this Blog as well as the LNT Citizens web site.  I’ll be generous and say they weren’t favorable.

I’ll wait for the meeting minutes before commenting further to see if both of our remarks are accurately and completely reflected.

As noted in earlier comments, the Draft 2009 Budget is now available for review on the LNT Citizens web site, go to the Other Documents page; as proposed there would be no tax increase.  Also available on the same page is the Auditors report of LNT’s 2007 finances.

Stay Tuned.

Updates & Comments

November 6th, 2008

At the Nov 5, 2008 Board of Supervisors meeting the topic of Contractor Licensing in the Township was addressed as noted earlier.  Township Solicitor, Mr. Gary Asteak reported that the State Legislature passed an act that in essence supersedes local ordinances dealing with contractor licensing to take effect in 2009.  As such, the anticipated Lower Nazareth Twp.  (LNT) ordinance would not yield the results desired and is not worth the effort.  

There were three items on the agenda under Managers Report.

  1. Project Time Extension Reports
  2. Draft 2009 Budget
  3. Authorization to advertise use of CPA to perform Audit.

#1 – These extensions are requested by developers & applicants when they are not ready to proceed to the next step of their projects.  In the past each and every extension was voted on and passed by the Board, a waste of public meeting time.  In a prior Board meeting authorization was granted to the Township Manager to handle these as an administrative task and provide status reports (conceptually a good measure) to the Board.  However,  the implementation is lacking.  In the past a citizen could monitor the Township Board Minutes and keep track of any given project and it’s status as time extensions were part of the Plan of Record, - NO longer.   How does this impact you, why should you care? Here’s a scenario:

Say you were following the IDI Warehouse project (the one bordering Palmer Twp. which is currently in litigation) and the developer was scheduled to present at a future Board Meeting which you planned on attending and schedule your time accordingly.   At an interim meeting the Developer files for an extension which was routinely (and justifiably) granted, and it became part of that meetings minutes.  You read the minutes and see that IDI will not be at the next meeting, they have been granted an extension to XX/XX/2008.  You modify your calendar to accommodate the change.  Now these extensions are granted administratively (a good thing) but they are not incorporated in the minutes (a bad thing.)  Unless or until someone requests a copy of the Extension Report and publishes it, there is no indication whether/if  the project you are interested in has filed for an extension and what their new timeline is. 

#2 – Now here’s some good news.  Mr. Tenges reported the draft budget does NOT include a tax increase for 2009, the tax rate for LNT will remain 4.15 mils.  The overall budget purportedly has a net increase of $42,500.  Reflected in the budget is an increase of approximately $50K for the Colonial Regional Police contract (mostly wages & benefits) and a tentative budget increase of 4% for the Nazareth Area Library as well as an increase of ~$30K for the Fire Department.  Mr. Tenges claimed reductions in other areas of the budget  allow the Township to maintain basically a flat budget.  A copy of the budget has been requested and will be posted when obtained.  The draft budget will be advertised and it is anticipated the Board will vote on it at the first meeting in December (12/03/08 @ 7:30pm).  Tim noted that the 2009 budget also makes provision for an additional person in the Road Department when he’s ready to fill it.  (Don’t know, and didn’t ask if this is the Roadmaster position at + $60k per year.  Will look for it in the budget.)

#3 – Procedural issue.  Hmm, now that I am looking at the 11/05/08 agenda, I’m not sure if LNT is advertising FOR a CPA  to do the audit (a bid) or advertising that they are going to use one.  If the latter, how will they be selected?

#3 – Here’s the bit: PA Code for 2nd Class Townships require the Twp advertise if they are using  a CPA in lieu of the Elected Board of Auditors.  LNT has been using a CPA for years and makes the appointment at the annual reorganization meeting which is open to the public.

 Okay, now I’m getting on my soapbox.  Let me preface this note with the comment I believe spending $12,178.00 for a wide format printer/copier/scanner is a good idea.  But here’s the irony in Tim’s request and logic.

Read the rest of this entry »

Contractor Licensing

October 22nd, 2008

At the upcoming Lower Nazareth Supervisors Meeting (Nov. 5th 2008) expect to hear about a new ordinance regarding contractors operating in the township. At the 09/24/08 meeting Mr. Tenges asked the supervisors to authorize Gary Asteak (Twp. Solicitor) to draft an ordinance (with penalties for noncompliance incorporated) requiring any company or individual that does business in the township to obtain a “license to do business” in the township. Tim said it’s tough keeping track of them all, especially the driveway contractors. As an afterthought Tim asked Gary to make sure it includes provisions applicable to trash & recycle haulers. If past performance is any indicator I’m sure there will be plenty of Township imposed Fees for “services” provided.

As a side benefit for citizens, it will increase your costs and increase the time it takes to get the work you contract for performed. There is no benefit to either the citizens or the contractors; its just an additional, costly bureaucratic layer interjected in our lives. The language of the proposed ordinance should be available at the next meeting, I will post a copy a couple days after the meeting.

Money Stays Local

April 24th, 2008

Township Manager Tim Tenges asked for a vote to move the Pension funds if he decides, as Pension Administrator,  that it’s the right thing to do. Mr. Murphy asked what the advantages were in moving to Philadelphia Trust – were the rates or fees lower? The answer is basically none except Timm likes these two guys. It appears that the rates and fees for Philadelphia Trust Co. are higher, but Felcheck and Spangler (spelling?) were willing to match the fee schedule at National Penn (formerly KNBT) to get the business. A motion authorizing the move of funds failed with Mr. Kucsan and Mr. Nagle voting to move the money, and Mr. Murphy and Mr. Dilsaver voting against. Mr. Johnson was absent.

Timm might be on a mission, he didn’t get his way, he might try to persuade Mr. Ricky Johnson to align with him and ask for another vote.  We’ll have to wait and see.

Lower Nazareth – Says No to Vettes and Camelot for Kids

April 10th, 2008

Under Courtesy of the Floor during the April 9th, 2008 Lower Nazareth Board of Supervisors Meeting; the Supervisors heard from the Corvette Club of Easton who were represented by Mr. Charles Gordon.

Basically the Corvette Club has been holding “Cruise Nights” for the past eleven years at Northampton Crossings without incident; with all proceeds going to Camelot for Children (a great charity.) The local retail stores see increased sales during the events and support it’s continuation according to Mr. Gordon.

Now the township staff tell them they can’t anymore. That is unless they will buy a permit, move to the Burger King parking lot, and cut the show in half. Early on Tenges comments were that they (staff) were looking for guidance from the Board on how to handle these type requests, near the end of the presentation (when it looked like the Supervisors had some sympathy for the Club) Tenges said it’s not for the Board to decide, it’s a zoning issue.

The Supervisors thanked he Corvette Club for coming and noted Camelot for Kids is a good charity (but they took no action nor made any recommendations) after Tenges’ comments.

It’s sad, that’s what it is. Rather then deal with the offenders and/or the undesirables the Twp. Staff just say no to all and try to blame that on the “rules.”

Cruise nights are great family entertainment and an American tradition – but let’s not have any of that in Lower Nazareth – hey maybe the Club would like to put up a warehouse?

More Money Matters

April 10th, 2008

During Managers Comments slot at the 04/09/08 LNT Supervisors Meeting , Tim Tenges stated he wanted to move the Townships pension assets from National Penn (formerly KNBT) to Philadelphia Trust Co. He stated he wasn’t asking the Supervisors for a decision tonight, was just giving a heads up. Felcheck and Spangler (spelling?) of Philadelphia Trust Co. gave Tenges a presentation and he said he liked it. Tenges did not provide any information about the presentation or benefits/risks to the Township of making the change. Maybe he will before the Supervisors vote on it?

Other then telling the Board he wants to move the money what information did he provide to permit any kind of intelligent decision?

IDI Approved – With Conditions

February 28th, 2008

I was unable to attend the Feb 27, 2008 LNT Board of Supervisors meeting due to prior commitments. However, based upon this mornings news articles I find myself in the unusual position of praising the Board of Supervisors for their actions.

As required (by law) the Board granted the conditional use, but not without imposing some very reasonable conditions which limit the hours of operation to 6:00am – 10:00pm; require additional barriers to sound, lights and noise; and require IDI to conduct a traffic and environmental impact study before a site plan will be approved.

Kudos also to the residents of Palmer and Lower Nazareth Townships who showed up in force at over eight meetings and hearings to voice their concerns.

Lower Nazareth Crimestoppers

February 13th, 2008

The Colonial Police have joined in implementing a Neighborhood Crime Watch organization. Volunteers are needed for specific neighborhoods. Lower Nazareth Township residents interested in joining the Neighborhood Watch program can contact Joe Fresco at LNTcrimewatch@aol.com or 610-837-3446.

The group will meet at 7 p.m. on the fourth Friday of each month at the Lower Nazareth Municipal Building, 306 Butztown Road. You can read the Organization proposal as well as download an application form here.

Roadmaster Position Unfilled

February 13th, 2008

Can’t say for sure what prompted this commendable behavior, as it has been acceptable for the last three years; but Supervisor Eric Nagle voted against appointing fellow Supervisor Patrick Murphy  to the $60,250 position of Twp. Roadmaster, stating he didn’t think it was in the best interest of the Township to have a Supervisor also on the Township payroll. Robert Kuscan also voted against the appointment although he provided no comments.

The Chairman, Mr. Dilsaver noted Lower Nazareth has some of the finest roads in the Lehigh Valley (where does he drive?) and questioned their ‘no’ votes. Neither Supervisor would change their vote, nor should they.

As I understand it, the Township Mgr. reports to and serves at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors, they also set his salary. At the Reorganization meeting for 2007, it was Supervisor Patrick Murphy (also the Roadmaster at that time) who made a motion to increase Tim Tenges salary to $80,000 ($85,000 for 2008). So who sets the Roadmasters salary? It has nothing to do with whether Pennsylvania allows 2nd Class Township Supervisors to also be on the payroll; it’s just wrong.

As a side benefit, not appointing someone to this position and having it fall under the responsibility of the Township Manager, is a good first step in bringing the township’s spending in line with it’s income.

For more on the budget gap see: LNT Votes a 1 Mill Tax Increase.

LNT Votes A 1 Mill Tax Increase

December 6th, 2007

When the Lower Nazareth Township Mgr. introduced the 2008 budget at the November 14th, 2007 Board of Supervisor meeting, he mentioned a shortfall of revenue to expense of $901,290 which could be covered by the General Fund unless there were “revenue enhancements.”  Instead the Supervisors (with the exception of Mr. Eric Nagle) recommended a “revenue enhancement” of a one mill tax increase to minimize the transfer from General Funds.  (See earlier post: Is A Tax Increase In Your Future)  The 2008 Budget was advertised in the Express Times.

At last nights meeting, the Board approved without comment or question the proposed budget.

With shortfalls of $584K and $656K in earlier years, I got to thinking, how is a township  of comparable size and make up fairing?  As it turns out, Upper Nazareth Township (pop. ~4400) makes their budget available online (http://www.uppernazarethtownship.org/) so it was easy to look for similarities.  Lower Nazareth (pop. ~5200) does not publish the budget on their web site, you are required to go to the township office to view; although I have made it available here: http://lowernazareth.org/html/other_documents.

The two townships do not categorize expenses in exactly the same manner, so I attempted to collate like data for a comparison.  View file  UNT vs. LNT Budgets for a summary comparison.  They (UNT) appear to be doing something right.

WebAdmin
Lower Nazareth Township Citizens Forum

Is There A Tax Increase In Your Future?

November 15th, 2007

At least one.  At the Nov. 14, 2007 Board of Supervisors meeting, after the Conditional use hearing on the IDI Warehouse Development,  Twp. Mgr. Tim Tenges  discussed the proposed 2008 Preliminary Budget.

Mr.Tenges stated revenues were approximately $900,000 short of anticipated revenues.  Mr. Tenges explained there were two options, ” enhance revenues” (read that tax increase) or cover the difference with existing reserves which stand at approximately $1.5M. 

Some discussion amongst the board ensued:  Mr. Dilsaver (Chairman) asked if anyone wanted to entertain increasing taxes?  Mr. Nagle replied he didn’t really want to increase taxes if we don’t have to.  Mr. Johnson stated: wouldn’t it be better to raise the taxes this year instead of next?  (Someone on the board, I didn’t catch who, mentioned that next year will be an election year)

Mr. Dilsaver said we should entertain a one mill increase bringing us to 4.125 mills.  Mr. Dilsaver then made a motion for the 2008 draft budget to include an increase in the tax rate by one mill.  This  requires the Township Solicitor to advertise the budget (will be advertised in the Express Times) so that the Board can approve the tax increase yet this year.  I am not sure if it will be at the Nov. or Dec. meeting.

Tim Tenges pointed out that a one mill increase will raise approximately $300K in revenue, the other $600K will have to come out of the reserves.

Didn’t hear much discussion on cutting costs.  Seems like this should have been at least the Second Option in the process.

The Draft Budget is available here: http://lowernazareth.org/html/other_documents.html

LNT Still Wants to Pick Up Your Garbage

November 15th, 2007

Twp. resident Noreen Reid of Oakwood Lane asked at the May 9, 2007 Supervisors Meeting when we were going to get Township managed trash pick up, because she thought it would minimize the number of trucks on the road and also be less expensive for residents. (There was a slight chuckle at this comment and she was asked if she had been reading the paper regarding other Townships that had implemented), Mr. Tenges replied he has almost completed a draft of the ordinance for presentation to the Board. One change from earlier versions, it will not be part of your Township taxes, the Township will select a vendor for you, determine the level of service, force you to use that vendor at that service level, and you will be billed direct by the vendor. Seems like a good idea.

5000 Trips A Day

September 13th, 2007

Hanoverville Rd in Lowewr Nazareth TownshipDon’t forget the three huge traffic generating warehouses Greenfield Development has pending west of Dutch Springs.  These are going to add thousands more vehicle trips per day!  They are proceeding! Some of the history and back up data is available in Archived Documents.  You might also want to read some of the old news articles to refresh your memory on this nightmare of a project.