November 30, 2011 —
Damascus Township supervisors approved sending a letter to all elected state officials opposing any inclusion in the House and Senate Marcellus Gas legislation of a provision that would preempt the locality’s ability to use local zoning to control some aspects of gas drilling.
It was announced that every borough, every township and the county government in Wayne County opposed such legislation.
An amendment to House Bill 1950 would allow municipalities to exercise some control of drilling through zoning. But it was not clear whether this amendment would appear in the final version of the bill after it is reconciled with the Senate version.
In another action, the board passed a 2012 budget that will not increase property taxes. The millage remains the same as last year at a total millage of 2.15 mills, including the fire districts’ millage.
The total spending plan is $1,000,660. With total income reaching $1,113,898, the budget will provide $114,880 income that can “roll over” to next year. The vote was unanimous.
The board also approved the formula for disbursements of tax dollars to local fire departments, both the “foreign” fire tax and the township fire tax. (Foreign taxes come from insurance companies from outside the state.) The foreign tax amounted to $64,317 and the township fire tax was $65,078.
Chairman Jeff Dexter announced that the cost of repairs to damaged roads caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee amounted to $597,550. “The state will reimburse us for about $200,000, but we don’t yet know what the Federal Emergency Management Agency will do for us,” Dexter said.
During the comment period at the end of the meeting, Dolores Keesler, who lost a race against Joe Canfield for township supervisor and who was removed as township representative to the Upper Delaware Council prior to the election, demanded to know the reason that caused her removal.
Canfield said that she opposed gas drilling in the township and did not represent all the citizens of the township. He added that the UDC representative serves at the pleasure of the board. Keesler objected, saying that, in her public statements, she never expressed any opposition to gas drilling. Dexter objected to this statement, reminding her of a time when, in his opinion, she opposed drilling. He would not state when this remark was made or what she said.