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Damascus takes on state and federal agencies

By Linda Drollinger
July 30, 2014

DAMASCUS, PA — The first order of business at the July 21 regular monthly meeting of the Damascus Township Board of Supervisors was apparent even before it was announced by operations manager Steve Adams. Acting as board chairman in Jeff Dexter’s absence, Adams said that township secretary Karyle Woods has been replaced by treasurer Delores Card, who now holds the title secretary-treasurer. A resolution amending the township personnel manual to reflect this change was introduced by Adams, seconded by Supervisor Joe Canfield, and passed unanimously by the two supervisors present. A board-appointed position, the secretary-treasurer reports to the operations manager and serves at the board’s pleasure.

Last month, the board voted unanimously to state formal opposition to the proposed amendment of the federal Clean Water Act, which seeks to broaden the definition of waters under federal jurisdiction from its current “navigable waters” to “all tributaries, streams, and feeders.” Fearing that the broadened definition would put even features like puddles on private land under federal jurisdiction, the board voted to send a letter, drafted by Dexter, to Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, DC stating its objections to the amendment. Canfield cited the need for Dexter’s final approval before the letter’s wording would be made public, refusing to read it aloud during the meeting. No copy was available prior to press time. (For background on the controversial amendment, see our June 26 story,

But that was not the only instance of the township doing battle with a larger government agency. At last month’s board meeting, Adams presented the disposition of the Hopkins Road Bridge replacement. Although the state-mandated engineering study is now complete, PennDOT has requested a one-year extension of the project. The board voted at last month’s meeting to oppose PennDOT’s request.