Civil complaint dropped when man arranges sewage payments - Titusville Herald: News

Civil complaint dropped when man arranges sewage payments

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Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 5:00 am | Updated: 2:12 pm, Wed Mar 13, 2019.

OILCREEK TOWNSHIP, Venango County — One of five individuals against whom the township brought criminal complaints for failing to pay sewage bills came to Monday’s meeting of the Oilcreek Township Supervisors to request a payment plan.

Oilcreek resident Aaron Burrows requested that he be able to pay $200 a month, in addition to his current monthly bill, and the supervisors agreed to accept the plan and drop the lawsuit.

“My understanding was, if whomever comes along made payment or paid before or up to the day of the hearing, it wouldn’t go through the court,” Supervisor Greg Knupp said.

Burrows, a veteran of the Marine Corps, said that he has been unable to make the payments because he has been in costly adoption proceedings and needed to prioritize his children, but the adoption proceedings recently concluded.

Burrows brought his first payment to the meeting and said that he will continue to make the payments, even though the supervisors were willing to allow him lower payments.

“My children came before this township,” Burrows said. “I can afford, now, to do that $200 and the monthly payment. Before, you could have sued me up and down but my kids were my priority.”

Additionally, Mark Ames, another of the five individuals facing a criminal complaint, sent in $25 toward his overdue fees.

The supervisors voted to send a letter requesting Ames send in more money and meet a monthly payment plan in order to drop the civil suit against him.

“I want to suggest that we send him a letter and tell him we need a minimum of $100 a month, and give him to the end of this month, which is another two weeks, and if we don’t see it we will have to go through the same process,” Oilcreek Township Supervisor Keith Klingler said.

The other three civil complaints remain unchanged at this time.

Personnel issues

The supervisors discussed a number of personnel issues concerning the township’s two employees, Secretary/Treasurer Amy Cherry and Roadmaster Stuart Anthony.

These issues, which included the possibilities of establishing spending limits, stemming from the recent purchase of a key cabinet by Anthony; purchasing a time clock; the acquisition of a work bench in the township’s garage; and looking for another employee. The supervisors held off on making any vote regarding these concerns until they can be discussed more fully in a work session.

The possible need for another employee came from resident Bob Stewart.

“Any one man, I don’t care if (the roadmaster) is Stuart Anthony or who, he has got to have a helpmate,” Stewart said. “You can’t have all of these pieces of equipment. I was in business. I owned equipment. He has got to have a helpmate. You’re not doing justice to the taxpayer. You are never going to be able to maintain the township roads properly if you don’t. You’ve got to have another employee. You just can’t operate the way you are right now, plain and simple.”

Klingler observed that during the summer, Anthony frequently has another employee on part-time, but that they never seem to work out long-term. Although Anthony was not present at the meeting, Cherry said that several of these part time employees have left because they were able to secure better paying jobs.

One resident suggested that Anthony, who operates sewage for the township, needs to be focused solely on the roads, and that a second person should be hired to assume sewage responsibilities and work roads with Anthony. The supervisors said that they would need to work on deciding what sort of employee they might want to hire during a work session.

Knupp also suggested that the township should have a time clock. Supervisor Dwayne Whitman disagreed strongly, and said that Anthony sometimes gets emergency calls for the sewage system and that it is unnecessary to make him come back to the garage to clock in. Klingler did not weigh in but suggested that the item may be discussed more expediently in a work session as well.

Knupp also suggested that the two employees should have a spending limit, requiring all items more expensive than the set limit to be approved by the supervisors.

In the past, according to Cherry, there has been no set limit. Cherry said she and Anthony would make requests of the supervisors whenever something was particularly expensive but used their judgment, depending on how immediately pressing the need was.

Whitman said that requiring approval would tie Anthony’s hands any time he needed to buy more expensive items in an emergency situation. Knupp said that perhaps they could simply call one of the supervisors in that scenario and get approval.

The controversy came about because of a key cabinet Anthony purchased to organize keys he has in the township building.

The township paid over $200 for the key cabinet.

“It’s a lot adjustment for us when a new supervisor comes in,” Cherry said. “You have different expectations than the person before you. I have tried my best to accommodate whatever anybody needs or asks or wants, but until we know, we are just going to keep doing what we have been doing.”

Klingler suggested that anything that is out of the ordinary should be run past them.

“If he needs to buy 8 quarts of oil to change oil, but something like this (key cabinet), out of the ordinary and not an everyday thing, it needs to be run by us,” Klingler said. “Maybe one of us has an idea that will save us a little money.”

This issue was also set aside for a work session, as well as the possibility of setting regular hours for Anthony.

The date for this work session has not yet been decided.

Other news

The township is currently in talks with Cherrytree Township regarding possibly providing dust suppressant to two residents on Drake Well Road at a cost to the residents.

As they are waiting for a response from the Cherrytree Township Supervisors, nothing concrete was discussed, although Ed Dawes, a resident on that road, objected to the idea that he should have to pay extra.

Dawes said that he is a resident and a taxpayer, and that he should not have to pay additional funds to receive maintenance on his roads.

The supervisors said that Dawes and John Willey, another Drake Well Road resident, are the only two complaints they have received regarding dust control, and that they cannot afford to provide dust control to the entire township.

The township is considering paving 660 feet of Shamburg Road. Pleasantville is paving the majority of the road and is willing to provide the labor for the final 660 feet, with the expectation that Anthony will do some work in the borough as compensation.

The next meeting of the Oilcreek Township Commissioners will be on April 9, at 6:30 p.m., at the township building.

Brown can be reached, by email, at tbrown@titusvilleherald.com.

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