Found money saves the day

Transparency is an issue in twp.

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

VALLEY VIEW – Just when Hegins Township Supervisors were preparing to take out a loan to cover payroll until the end of the year, something wonderful happened – $176,000 was found in their coffers that they thought was already spent.

Apparently, a coding error in the computer system caused the glitch. At least that’s what Tammy Specht from Specht and Company told Hegins Township Secretary/Treasurer Cathy Moyer. Moyer said the money was discovered two weeks before the meeting when information was being gathered to begin working on the 2018 budget.

It was Specht who caught the error and reported it to the township that the money was actually in the system and was not accounted for properly.

As Moyer presented the treasurer report at last Wednesday evening’s meeting, township resident Roger Wetzel questioned where the money appeared from and how the bank statements didn’t reflect it.

Moyer tried to explain the situation to the best of her knowledge but also stressed that she too is still learning Quickbooks, the accounting program used by the township.

Speaking of budget, the township supervisors held a budget meeting in October and they reported that no one from the public attended the budget workshop meeting.

In other business, a heated debate ensued regarding a meeting with DEP and Entech that was attended by Supervisors Gary Harner and Bruce Klouser on September 28. Supervisors Mike Begis questioned the two about transparency for the board of supervisors. He asked if it was true that they attended the meeting and if so why were the other supervisors not invited to attend? He also noted that at the regular meeting of the township on October 4 when asked if there was an Act 537 update, everyone was told there was nothing to report, but yet those two attended a meeting.

“Yes, we attended the meeting,” said Harner. “You and Brad are against it, so why would we think you would want to attended a meeting,?” asked Harner.

“It doesn’t matter whether we are in favor of something or not, we still should have been notified about the meeting and given the opportunity to attend,” said Begis. We also should have been given an update at the October 4 meeting just like the taxpaying people of this township should also be informed. It’s only common courtesy Gary. For the past two years we have been kept in the dark about a lot of things. I’m tired of the lack of transparency with this board”

This prompted Supervisor Brad Carl to make a motion that from now on when there are meetings they should be attended by the chairman who is Harner and the vice-chair, who at this point is Carl. The supervisors agreed to the motion.

During public comment, Vicky Harman, a former township supervisor, asked the board if there is going to be a tax increase for 2018. Harner answered by saying, “I’m not sure, no comment.”

Supervisor Begis erupted and said, “this is exactly what I’m talking about with transparency, Gary,” said Begis. “Tell the people the truth. I’ll tell them. Yes, at the preliminary budget meeting it was definitely looking like a tax increase was necessary.

Harner said since the $176,000 finding it may not be necessary for a tax increase. Moyer reminded him that although that money was found it would need to carry the township until the spring when tax moneys would start coming in.

“I don’t like to see people not getting along on this board,” said Sue Troup, a former Hegins Twp. Supervisor. “You have an engineer on your board and he wasn’t invited to attend a DEP meeting. That is very disturbing to me.”

Hegins Township Police Chief Beau Yarmush announced the force received a $10,000 grant from Williams, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be used for the purchase of two police radios. They also received a grant of $3,116.49 from American Police and Sheriff’s Association to be used for the purchase of tasers.

Chief Yarmush also invites the public to attend a meeting on November 29, at 6 p.m. for anyone interested in forming a community watch program.

A check in the amount of $18,496.27 was presented to Tyler Leitzel on behalf of the Hegins Valley Fire-Rescue for firemen’s relief.

L. Samuel Deegan C.P.A. was appointed as the auditing firm for 2018 at a cost of $3,600.

Moyer announced that memberships for the Tri-Valley Community Pool are available for anyone wanting to purchase a 2018 membership as a Christmas gift. A family membership is $150 while there are also student, individual and senior memberships available. If interested call Moyer at 570-682-9133 or stop in at the township office to purchase passes.

Justin Edling of the Hegins Area Ambulance Association announced to the supervisors that the ambulance is in the process of providing Advanced Life Support. He said they will also continue to offer Basic Life Support but since the call volume is increasing and the ALS unit in Tremont is no longer running, Hegins Area Ambulance is in the process of offering the service. He said Mahantongo, and Minersville provide mutual aid with Hegins Area Ambulance and they serve Hegins, Hubley, Upper Mahantongo, Lower Mahanoy and Barry Townships.

The next township meeting will be held Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Hegins Area Ambulance Building.

The next food pantry will be held November 15, beginning at 8 a.m. at the township complex, Gap Street.

 

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