GALENA — The Harlem Township Board of Trustees spent its first meetings of 2022 getting organized for what promises to be busy year ahead.
Carl Richison was named trustee chair, and Dave Jackson was named vice chair at the organizational meeting on Jan. 3. Last year’s chair was Jerry Paul, who remains trustee. The trustees meet at 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month. Meetings are open to the public and available via Zoom.
A township Records Commission was created, consisting of Fiscal Officer Lisa Hursey and Richison. The First Commonwealth Bank of Sunbury is the township depository, the meeting minutes said.
Valerie Hamill was reappointed as administrative assistant, Sherrie Steele was reappointed as zoning secretary, and Matt Kurz was appointed as township zoning inspector. Kurz was also reappointed as the township’s Delaware County Regional Planning Commission representative. The zoning secretary was instructed to provide a copy of Harlem’s zoning resolution at local libraries and county buildings. Zoning certificate and application fees were set.
Mike Kabler was reappointed chair of the Zoning Commission, with members Bruce Hamill (alternate), Brittany Hoperich (alternate), Virginia Lewis, Robin Lobenstein, Joni Manson and Thomas Nied. The Board of Zoning Appeals consists of Keith Campbell, William Gallagher, Jason Gloeckner, Raelene Meadows and James Steelesmith (who moves into Richison’s vacant position). The Township Review Team for zoning matters consists of the zoning inspector, any member of the Zoning Commission and any member of the Board of Zoning Appeals. There were 104 zoning permits issued in 2021, and 107 permits issued in 2020.
Christopher Caito was reappointed as fire chief. There were 597 fire/EMS runs in 2021. A non-running tanker was declared a surplus vehicle for disposal.
Township staff and the firefighters were given 3% cost-of-living raises. Maintenance staff hours were designated as 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays with a half-hour lunch. A new tractor ditch mower upgrade was discussed by Bart Walker. Mileage was approved at 58.5 cents a mile. Road work requests were submitted, and a gravel and hauling contract was approved. Scott Schmidt was reappointed as cemetery sexton. Gravesite fees were set.
The township owns 9.4 acres of farmland, and the crop rental contract is $190 per acre. Township facility use fees remain unchanged at $100 residents or $150 non-residents per day. Township notices will be placed in The Delaware Gazette.
Forming a new Strategic Planning Committee given the growth of Harlem was discussed, but no action was taken.
At the next meeting on Jan. 19, Kendra Borror, a longtime resident, was hired to fill the open vacancy position of part-time administrative assistant.
“Over the past month in the Harlem Township zoning department, we have had some activity with potential developers calling/emailing about potential development in the township limits,” the meeting minutes said, with “quite a few inquiries regarding splitting land and the possibility of rezoning land to split in the future. Overall actual applications have been quiet, but it seems that more eyes are focusing on our area as a target area for development.”
Park trees will be replaced up to $400, and bleacher renovations using aluminum planks were approved. The projects list for 2022 reads, “Driveways into Barnhard Cemetery to lay out burial sites, restroom remodel at park, Grange Hall concrete pad at entrance door and water bib, concrete plant demolition. Station lighting upgrade to LEDs. Track & Parking lot needs sealed.”
The Delaware County Engineer’s Office provided a reduced price of $209,700 for annual road improvements to portions of Bevelheimer, Green Cook and Trenton roads.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.