New Ligonier Township supervisors forgo salaries
Two new supervisors in Ligonier Township kept their campaign promise of saving taxpayers money, electing to forgo their salaries.
According to the Second Class Township Code, the rate of compensation for supervisors in a municipality of Ligonier's size is $2,500 a year.
At its reorganization meeting on Monday, the board voted in favor of Paul Knupp and Scott Matson's requests to waive their supervisor stipends for 2014, saving taxpayers $5,000. Both supervisors stated they want to see what state the township's finances are in by the end of the year instead of taking the stipend.
“I just want to see how we land our feet, how we stand at the end of 2014,” said Knupp.
“I'd like to go through this year spending the least amount of money as possible,” said Matson.
Supervisor Tim Komar will continue collecting a stipend as he has done for his 8 years as supervisor. Komar and Knupp voted in favor of Komar's supervisor stipend being paid quarterly for 2014, limited in amount to the rate stipulated by the Second Class Township Code. Matson abstained from voting.
“I'm not ‘hogging the trough' so to speak, but I'm really more comfortable (with the budget) than what I was in October,” said Komar.
Knupp and Komar voted in favor of appointing Komar as roadmaster for District 1 and 2. Matson abstained. Komar's roadmaster salary, which was approximately $53,000 last year, will be set by the township auditors at the elected auditors meeting. He is not paid overtime.
The board tabled the suspension of collecting street light taxes for 2014, a tax established many years ago that the supervisors waived approximately five years ago due to complaints from residents, according to Komar.
“The way it was assessed, any property within a certain distance paid for the street light,” Komar said.
The supervisors waived it after finding out a lot of property owners could not even see the street light for which they were paying taxes, he said. The current supervisors plan to revisit it because it showed up as a negative amount when the budget was created for 2014.
In other business, the board appointed Greensburg-based attorney Scott Avolio as the new solicitor of Ligonier township.
Avolio will be paid a monthly retainer of $500 for three meetings — two with supervisors and one with the planning commission — plus phone calls from township officials. Beyond that, the solicitor will be paid an hourly rate of $110.
The board appointed attorney Mark Hamilton to serve as special legal counsel at a rate of $115 per hour. Komar said Hamilton will serve as counsel in any “matters of conflict” in which Avolio has been involved previously, such as Foxley Farm, where he represents owners Maggie and PJ Nied.
The board appointed resident Bruce Robinson as secretary-treasurer at a rate of zero dollars per hour. Matson, who was appointed vice chairman, made the motion. Knupp, who was appointed chairman, seconded it. Komar dissented.
Robinson is president of the Ligonier Valley School Board, member of the Brighter Future Political Action Committee, president of the Ligonier Rotary Club and member of the Ligonier Volunteer Hose Co. No. 1.
Robinson said he chose to serve as secretary-treasurer without pay.
“I want to see (the supervisors) move forward and get a township manager in place, and that will cost money,” he said. “It's important that they hire a township manager to run the affairs of the township.”
Barbara Hollick was appointed assistant secretary-treasurer and open records officer at $13 per hour.
Komar and Knupp voted in favor of reappointing Matrunics as police chief and Eric Eslary as lieutenant, each at pay increase of two percent. Matson voted against both motions.
Komar said Matrunics currently earns $22.04 an hour, and Eslary earns approximately $19.10 an hour. He said both Matrunics and Eslary had taken a two-year pay freeze in 2012, and the increase is based on the police contract for 2014. With the increase, Matrunics will earn about $22.48 an hour, and Eslary will earn about $19.48 an hour.
John Beaufort was appointed to the municipal authority, and Robert Smithley to the planning commission for five-year terms.
Knupp and Matson voted in favor of appointing Rick Penrod to the zoning hearing board for a three-year term. Komar abstained due to Penrod being his brother-in-law. The board agreed to compensate planning commission and zoning hearing board members at $30 per meeting.
The board also tabled appointing a zoning officer, as current zoning officer Shelly Kaltenbaugh's probationary period does not end until March.
The board also appointed:
• Charles Madden, code enforcement officer
• Komar and Albert Shadron, chief administrative officers of the non-uniformed pension plan
• Wade Thomas, chairman of the vacancy board
• John Rhoades, chairman of the agricultural security program
• Kim Thomas, representative for the Act 32 Westmoreland County Wage Tax Committee
• Paul Fry, alternate representative for the Act 32 Westmoreland County Wage Tax Committee
The board will hold its monthly work session on the Thursday prior to the second Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. Its regular monthly meetings will again be held the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.
Following the reorganization, supervisors held a special meeting to vote on a two-lot subdivision requested by residents Scott E. and Michelle E. Knupp. The board approved it unanimously.
The supervisors will hold their regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.