Peters hires new solicitor

Published Sep 25, 2013 at 6:31 am (Updated Sep 25, 2013 at 11:09 am)

Following the resignation of William Johnson, who served as township solicitor for 35 years, Peters Township Council voted unanimously Sept. 23 to hire attorney John Smith as its new solicitor.

Johnson has decided to scale down his law practice and spend more time as a rodeo rider.

Smith, who serves as solicitor for other municipalities including Cecil and Robinson (Washington County) townships, will begin his duties Oct. 1. There will be some overlap as Johnson’s last day is Oct. 14.

According to Michael Silvestri, township manager, Smith will be paid an hourly rate of $120.

Eight legal firms or individuals applied for the position. Council members interviewed four, including Smith of Smith Butz with offices in Southpointe, Cecil Township. Others included Megan Ott of Goehring, Rutter and Boehm; Alan Shuckrow of McKenna, Gutnick and Gefsky; and Gary Sweat of the Sweat Law Office. Other submissions were from David Montgomery, Dennis Makel, Peacock Keller and Barry, Barry and Schrempf.

In other action Sept. 23, council:

• Addressed the problem with feral cats living in Peterswood Park. Members unanimously voted to donate $1,000 to the Fluffy Jean Fund for Felines. The agency will capture the 14 to 15 wild cats prowling the park, have them spayed or neutered and relocated to the fund’s farm in Notttingham Township. According to Silvestri, the fund president lives in Peters Township.

Well-meaning residents feed the feral felines and supply cat condos for protection. Although none of the cats the township has captured has tested positive for rabies, officials fear for the safety of those visiting the park.

Other suggestions, such as the township capturing, then spaying or neutering the cats before releasing the animals back to the park, was met with resistance. Silvestri said the cats have become tamer since being fed and sheltered. The money will be donated after the cats are relocated.

• Accepted the resignation of David Vogel, who had been a member of the planning commission since 2005. Council agreed to contact residents who previously expressed an interest in serving on various committees. Vogel’s term expires January 2016.

• Awarded a proposal for workers’ compensation insurance to Municipal Risk Management for a bid of $300,675 that includes a four-year commitment. The only other bid received was from State Workers Insurance Fund for $511,671. Private insurance companies are reluctant to become involved in the workers’ compensation insurance business.

• Unanimously approved the submission of the Minimum Municipal Pension Obligation by Oct. 1 for a total of $744,618. The 2012 MMO was $707,402. Of the total amount, the state reimburses the township $365,000, which is 12 percent higher than last year, Silvestri said.

• Set 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14 for a public hearing for adoption of a budget amendment to cover expenses not included in the 2013 budget. Included in the expenses are $70,963 for the purchase at a tax upset sale Sept. 23 of the former one-room school house on Bower Hill Road that was once Bower Hill Elementary School. The township was the only bidder. Also included in extra expenses was a check for the installation of gasoline tanks at the public works garage. The cost was included in the 2012 budget but the project was not completed until January of this year.

• Approved a two-lot subdivision on Froebe Road with frontage on Meredith Drive.

• Announced the Valley Brook Road project that has closed the road since mid-May, is on schedule, but not ahead of schedule. The completion date remains July of 2014.

• Announced the Sugar Camp Road bridge project should be completed by Oct. 31. The road under the bridge will be opened sooner than the bridge that serves Arrowhead Trail.

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