Changes proposed in local zoning
A proposal to amend Wysox Township's zoning ordinance so that it complies with Act 13 is now before the township supervisors, the township solicitor said at the supervisors' most recent meeting.
Under Act 13, "no municipality can impose a zoning ordinance that is more restrictive on the gas industry than Act 13," Wysox Township Solicitor Jonahtan Foster Sr. explained.
Under Act 13, a municipality loses drilling-fee revenue if its ordinances are found to violate the Act.
Act 13 requires that drilling, waste pits and pipelines be allowed in every zoning district, including residential districts, as long as certain buffers are observed, according to The Associated Press.
The Commonwealth Court had struck down Act 13's restrictions on zoning ordinances, but the matter was then appealed by the Corbett administration to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which has yet to hand down its ruling.
A public hearing on the proposed changes to Wysox Township's zoning ordinance will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11 in the township's municipal building on Hillside Drive.
At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Wysox Township supervisors are scheduled to vote on the amendments to the zoning ordinance.
At their most recent meeting, the Wysox Township supervisors also formally voted to create a recycling center in the township.
Residents of any municipality, as well as area businesses and non-profit organizations, will be able to bring their recyclables on the fourth Saturday of every month to the recycling center, which will be located at the township's municipal building on Hillside Drive, just off of state Route 187, said Kurt Lafy, township secretary.
"I think people will use it (the recycling center)," even though there is an existing municipal recycling operation in Asylum Township as well as a recently launched recycling operation in Standing Stone Township, said Jon Kulick, chairman of the Wysox Township supervisors.
At Wysox Township's recycling center, citizens will drop off recyclables into large containers that will be supplied by the Northern Tier Solid Waste Authority (NTSWA). The recyclables collected at the center will be sold to NTSWA.
The recycling center will be free of charge to the people who use it, Lafy said.
The township has been in touch with a local Cub Scout troop that is interested in manning the center, Lafy said. The supervisors have said in the past that they are looking for an outside group to man the center, and that the group would receive the proceeds from the sale of the recyclables to NTSWA.
There are other aspects of the recycling center that still need to be worked out, such as the types of recyclables that would be accepted at the center, and its exact hours of its operation, Lafy said.
Municipal recycling operations typically collect things like newspapers, magazines and plastic bottles.
At the meeting, a local resident asked why the township's savings accounts had grown so large in recent years.
Lafy said a major reason for the increase is that the township's revenue from the local earned income tax more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. Lafy explained after the meeting that, under a recently enacted state law, many out-of-state workers who work in the area - mainly workers in the gas industry - now must pay the township's earned income tax.
Other reasons cited for the increase include increased revenue from the realty transfer tax, the enactment of the impact fee on gas drilling, and the fact that Chesapeake Energy Corp. has done maintenance work on local roads that the township would have had to pay for.
Bill Them, chairman of the township zoning board, said he has looked into the township's finances and found that the township's savings accounts had grown by $1.1 million from 2010 to 2012.
Wysox Township officials said that the township is still waiting for its audit to be completed by certified public accountant Francis X. Melly of Wyalusing, and that the audit was due in March.
But Sandy Campbell, a secretary for Melly, said that Melly is still waiting for information from Wysox Township in order to complete the audit.
She said that some of the material that the township had supplied was not usable for the audit, and that the township has not yet replaced it with usable information.
The township supervisors are now trying to find three township residents who wish to be appointed to paid Wysox Township auditor positions, the supervisors said. The three appointed auditors will also need to stand for election in a municipal election.
Currently, all of the township auditor positions are vacant.
The township also recently installed four video cameras outside the township building, which will provide security for the facility and its grounds, Lafy said on Thursday. A fifth camera has been installed inside the building, in the township office, he said.
The cameras can be monitored in real time from the office, and the video footage from the cameras can also be reviewed for up to 12 days after it is taken, Lafy said.
The township paid Teledair Communications & Security, Inc. $4,195 to furnish and install the cameras and their associated equipment, Lafy said.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org