September 16, 2020 – UNT Supervisors meeting
The meeting was held online and, once again, the sound system was terrible.
Courtesy of the Floor
I, and at least one other person, wrote letters to be read into the record. Betty Parish did not do so, simply saying that the messages had to do with the Township’s failure to adhere to the Sunshine Act. (My letter is posted at the end of this blog).
There was some discussion about a PennDOT bridge replacement on Route 248. Whatever the Supervisors decided was inaudible.
Approval to hold Trick or Treat on October 31st from 6-8PM. Participants are encouraged to wear a mask. No rain date is scheduled.
Someone requested to donate a bench to Tuskes Park. Sean Shupe said he was against ‘memorials’ in the park. A discussion about installing a water fountain with inscribed bricks was discussed.
Donna Hirst said she was monitoring the continuing problems with the gate at 4th Street. The gate had broken recently and the traffic after an Intermediate school event had been terrible.
A request for the Nazareth Football Boosters to use Tuskes Park was denied. The park is not currently available for rentals. Only the paths and playgrounds are open.
Nazareth Boro has passed or is passing an Ordinance on Feral cats and has requested UNT’s cooperation. Police Chief Cope said it can’t be enforced. Gary Asteak told a rambling story about a rabid cat that got shot, autopsied and then was featured in a website called “Justice for Sugar.” I assume UNT is not supporting whatever ordinance Nazareth is proposed.
Approval of a speed study on Schoeneck Avenue.
Approval of a 2021 Police Pension MMO.
Approval of a 2021 Non-Uniform Pension MMO.
Approval Resolution No. 20-19: non-uniform Pension Plan Amendment.
Somewhere in the township (the street name was inaudible) a lightning strike caused a house fire.
Approval to promote Patrolman to Corporal Position
Approval of a purchase of a new police vehicle
Approval of Resolution No. 20-20 Local Share Grant
Approval for the Police to hold a Halloween party in October. (Couldn’t hear the date or time).
- I posted a question in the Chat feature asking why adults weren’t allowed to attend public meetings due to safety concerns but the Police could throw a party for dozens of kindergartners. The answer, from what I could hear, had something to do with ‘choice’ and trusting the parents to make decisions.
What you wouldn’t have heard if you signed in to the meeting—my letter to the Supervisors
I have attended, or attempted to attend, several township meetings which were incomprehensible due to technical problems and did not allow the public to participate. I have communicated these complaints to the township office several times, but conditions have not improved.
The most recent example was the Budget Meeting held online on September 3rd. Forty percent of what was said at this meeting was either inaudible or incomprehensible. I attempted to notify the township manager but the Chat feature had been disabled. I used the ‘raise your hand’ function and was ignored for a full twenty minutes before I logged off in frustration.
Under PA ST 65 Pa.C.S.A. § 701 Upper Nazareth Township is REQUIRED to allow the public to attend, participate and comment. The Sunshine Act applies any time a quorum deliberates business or takes official action no matter the physical location. The township is not allowed to repeatedly thwart the intent of the Sunshine Act due to ‘technical difficulties.’
While the pandemic has imposed challenges, other governmental organizations are managing to host online meetings in which the public is able to hear what officials are saying, hear or see what other members of the public are saying and make themselves heard should they wish to make a comment or ask a question.
Upper Nazareth Township received a grant from Northampton County in the amount of $4,205 in part to pay for technology upgrades for virtual meetings. If the township is not able to host a meeting online in which the public is allowed to participate, then I request you return to holding in-person meetings and find a public venue where people can gather safely.
Becky Bartlett covers these meetings because citizens have a right to know what their government is doing—at least they do according to the Sunshine Act.