By Katie Collins News Eagle Reporter
PAUPACK TWP. - Since 2005, the Paupack Township has been at odds with Steven R. Simmons and Betsy J. Simmons about penalties and violations of ordinances in regards to the conditions of their property. Township Solicitor Ron Bugaj joked that Steven Simmons is, "about to turn into a pumpkin."
He explained that the township has taken Simmons to court and after a non-jury trial the township has been awarded nearly $8,000. Simmons responded by filing an appeal, which the township won. But he added that, "it’s really stupid to pay for an appeal when the guy should just settle out." Wanting to use his property, Simmons made an agreement with the township that if he didn’t make four timely payments of $2,000, he would forfeit everything. Bugaj said Simmons made a first belated payment, but he didn’t make the second payment on time. Clearly tired of the case, Bugaj said the township received some of the money but, "he’s well beyond the time frame that we gave him and quite frankly I think we’re all sick and tired of the nonsense."
Bugaj recommended that the board authorize him to go forward with further legal action that would declare default of a settlement agreement and collect the remaining cost and fees. A member of the public asked, "how many more wake-up calls does this guy need?" Supervisor Tom Oakley replied that, if he pays before the end of last week, everything would be settled. Although Simmons isn’t occupying the property, Bugaj explained that he wants to get the money so tax payers wouldn’t have to pay. The man responded that, "I think you’re giving the guy another chance for no reason."
Bids for Everly Road, Maines Road and Pennell Road were advertised in the Wayne Independent back in May. Several contractors placed bids, but Hanson Agregates Construction Service and Supply of Lake Ariel won Maines Road with a low bid of $64,253 and Pennell Road for $70,961. Lastly Leeward Construction Inc., of Honesdale won Everly Road with a bid of $192,786.
On the first of June, the township held its Spring Clean Up, which Oakley said was a success. He reported that approximately nine tons of furniture, vacuum cleaners and "all kinds of stuff," including 20 yards of metal and two truckloads of electronic items were collected. Oakley said that this cleanup had the largest turnout of people since the event started six years ago. A woman in the public thanked the board for the cleanup as it was, "wonderful, really a great job." Supervisor Bruce Chandler said people appeared pleased and the day was good for the community.
Page 2 of 3 - New alcohol and tobacco signs have been posted at the recreation park and so far it’s been working fairly well Chandler reported. Oakley said, with "limited cooperation." Chandler responded, "it’s better than it was."
For the month of May, under building and zoning there was: one house, one sun roof, two garages, three decks, six sheds, one swimming pool, one home occupation and two changes in use. The total revenue for the month of May in 2012 was $129,500, whereas this year has totaled $385,211. For June so far the township has received one house, one deck/garage, two decks, one screen porch and a shed.
The former township secretary, who spent nine and a half months in jail for stealing township money, is out of jail and now Bugaj said her pension is in the process of being addressed under the forfeiture statutes. He explained that he will be using a statute that was used in the Jerry Sandusky case, but now, "the art is to determine how it actually applies with respect to this fact situation."
The details, Bugaj said, get a little complicated because there is some restitution outstanding and other aspects to the case. But he noted that he expects "there will be a happy ending for us," before summer is over. He added that, "We are very mindful of what this situation did to the township supervisors, residents and every good person that came into this building or is affiliated with this township and we intend to see this through."
With the work that will be done with the power lines, a woman in the audience asked if the board has considered putting maps up to show where the lines will actually go through the township. Chandler said the maps are huge, but because the township has volumes of books, anyone is welcome to look at them. He said the "information is out there; it’s not easy to figure out." Once the power lines are constructed, the woman said they will be a surprise to the people who haven’t been paying attention. Chandler said two lines will be constructed and a main power line has already been taken down, but conveniently electricity hasn’t been affected. At this time, he said concrete is being poured for the new towers.
The condition of Everly Road was an ending topic at the meeting, where Oakley said the condition of the road is "absolutely horrible." Supervisor Leigh Gilbert said some patching has been done which was a "pretty good job." But a member of the public chimed in that as a motorcyclist the road is "dangerous and horrendous." Oakley said people should start making phone calls so PennDot would be bound to repair the road.
Page 3 of 3 - The man responded that the road is a safety issue and it shouldn’t be left as is. The township, Oakley said, has actually talked to representatives from PennDot regarding the road and they were told that it would be bonded. But because of the road’s condition and the traffic, Solicitor Bugaj suggested that the township should notify PennDOT and put a notice of the safety issue because if someone gets hurt they could be sued. He said that the board should send PennDOT a letter telling of the dangerous road. The board voted to send the letter.
The next Paupack Township’s meeting is scheduled for July 11th.