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Hilltown Township, Bucks County, PA
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Board of Supervisors
Monday, March 12 2018

HILLTOWN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

REGULARY SCHEDULED MEETING

MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2018

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Hilltown Township Board of Supervisors was called to order by Chairman John B. McIlhinney at 7:02 PM and opened with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also in attendance were Vice-Chairman Kenneth Bennington, Supervisor James Groff, Township Manager Lorraine Leslie, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, and Chief of Police Christopher Engelhart.

1. ANNOUNCEMENTS: Chairman McIlhinney stated there was an executive session prior to the meeting to discuss potential litigation.

2. PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEMS ONLY: None.

3. CONSENT AGENDA:

a) Minutes of the February 26, 2018 BOS Meeting

b) Financial Report – February 28, 2018

c) Bills List – March 13, 2018

Motion was made by Supervisor Bennington, seconded by Supervisor Groff and carried unanimously to accept and approve items a) thru c) on the Consent Agenda. There was no public comment.

4. UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

a) Use of the Meeting Room Resolution No. 2018-012 – Chairman McIlhinney stated Resolution #2018-012 for the use of the meeting room was tabled at the last meeting. Motion was made by Supervisor Groff and seconded by Chairman McIlhinney to approve Resolution No. 2018-012 for the Use of the Meeting Room.

Public Comment:

1. Kathy Lawler – 154 Dorchester Drive, requested a copy of the resolution.

2. Kathy MaCaulay - S. Perkasie Road, reiterated her history of securing the meeting room for the Hilltown Area Democratic Committee. Chairman McIlhinney stated they have to set a policy because there is not one in place. He continued to state they remodeled the room last year and nobody was allowed to use it. In the process of updating their forms came the discussion about a policy for the meeting room usage. Ms. MaCaulay stated it appears to be very biased, she is a victim of it, and so is their group.

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3. Bill Stahl – 1511 Hilltown Pike, stated he represents the Historical Society of Hilltown Township. He has already secured March 28th and is trying to get three other dates set for the year. He continued to state he hopes the Board can make a decision this evening.

4. Mickey DiPasquo – 615 Telegraph Road, read an article in regards to a Supreme Court ruling of the Good News Club vs. Milford Central Schools (99-2036). The group was allowed to use the building as to not violate the free speech clause of the 1st Amendment. She continued to state this directly pertains to the Democratic Party and the board is basically discriminating against one group and one group only. Ms. DiPasquo continued to discuss an email that she wrote regarding the issue. She continued to state by the Board’s actions, they are punishing the Hilltown Democrats and that they should work together. Supervisor Bennington stated, to him, this is all or nothing, and it is not fair to penalize one group or another. As much as he would like to keep hate groups out of the building, he cannot support the motion.

5. Jim Hoffman – 217 Chandler Way, stated he would like to approach this from a community standpoint and asked to be allowed to use the meeting room for any of the civic minded groups, whether they are republicans, democrats, independents, etc. It is from an economic standpoint that they are not getting the utilization out of their capital facility.

6. Kathy Lawler – 154 Dorchester Drive, stated, if all political parties are allowed, then there is no conflict of interest. She continued to state her homeowner’s association is part of the Township and they pay taxes for the Township. The democrats are people who want to better the community, be part of the community, and also pay taxes.

7. Anthony DiPasquo – 615 Telegraph Road, stated they do not object to other people using the room and ask that everyone be given an equal opportunity to use the room.

Supervisor Groff questioned Supervisor Bennington on his comment "all or nothing". Supervisor Bennington responded every party should be allowed to use the building; homeowner’s associations, civic associations, democratic parties, republican parties, including the Nazi party. Supervisor Groff clarified that everybody should be able to use the building or no one at all be allowed to use the building. Supervisor Bennington stated he cannot support the resolution. Chairman McIlhinney stated he can support the resolution just as it is written and stated that a political party is not a civic association. Solicitor Harris stated he does not think a political party is a civic association.

8. Kathy MaCaulay – 303 S. Perkasie Road, stated there is no other building in their area that their party can meet. Chairman McIlhinney asked if they met at the church. Kathy MaCaulay stated they have to pay to meet at the church. All of the other churches, if they were republican, they would be able to meet at. Chairman McIlhinney asked if they were the same churches that she, last year, tried to get the Board of Elections to not let the voting booths in those churches. Kathy MaCaulay stated she didn’t want to have every voting booth in a church in the Township.

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Chairman McIlhinney stated Ms. MaCaulay told him she wanted to vote in the schools and schools would not let her vote there. Kathy MaCaulay stated that is incorrect. She went to the Board of Elections because she received a letter from them as the chairperson of their committee. She was trying to find a facility because they asked her if she had any ideas. She stated every voting place in the community, except for this one, is at a church. They have to walk in front of alters in some churches and she does not believe that voting should be that way. The church that voting was moved from was a bad place to have it because it was not handicapped accessible. She was against having voting at another church. They moved it to Blooming Glen Mennonite Church which is a very nice place and they have set it up very nice. But it is very difficult to go all the way around, for a handicapped person, and go up an elevator, and go all the way back down. Chairman McIlhinney stated she was complaining because all of the voting places were in churches except for the Township building and she did not like that. Kathy MaCaulay stated every one of the election places in the Township at a church is very prejudiced and not handicapped accessible. She stated she does not like voting places being in churches; she believes in separation of church and state. She never had voting places in churches before living here. She stated this is all because he felt things didn’t go his way as good as they should have in November. They have organized, and had such a showing of democrats, that it scared him.

Supervisor Groff stated he feels that a meeting room should remain politically neutral. He does not hold anything against anyone personally and respects their opinions. He continued to state he does not believe that a meeting room should be anything other than politically neutral and that is why he will second the motion.

The motion for the approval of Resolution No. 2018-012 for the Use of the Meeting Room passed 2-1 with Supervisor Bennington opposing. There was no public comment.

5. NEW BUSINESS: None.

6. SUPERVISOR’S COMMENTS: Supervisor Bennington questioned Chief of Police, Chris Engelhart, on the intersection at Route 152 and Hilltown Pike. There is a stop sign from Route 309 and a yield sign coming off of Hilltown Pike to Route 152. Nobody stops at the stop sign. They expect people at the yield sign to stop and he almost was in an accident there. That is one of the worst intersections as nobody either stops or yields there. Chief Engelhart stated someone who has already started in that intersection from the stop sign has the right of way. Supervisor Bennington requested an officer to sit at that intersection one day because it is a very nasty intersection.

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7. PUBLIC COMMENT: Wally Rosenthal, 530 Rosey Lane, asked if the meeting room question could be put as a referendum. Solicitor Harris stated there is a limited number of questions for a referendum in order to be placed on a ballot, and, in Pennsylvania, it is not an option. Chairman McIlhinney reiterated it is simply a policy measure.

8. PRESS CONFERENCE: None.

9. ADJOURNMENT: Upon motion by Supervisor Groff, seconded by Supervisor Bennington and carried unanimously, the March 12, 2018 Hilltown Township Board of Supervisors meeting was adjourned at 7:40 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Lorraine E. Leslie

Township Manager

(*NOTE: These minutes were transcribed from notes and recordings and should not be considered official until approved by the Board of Supervisors at a public meeting).

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Hilltown Township
13 West Creamery Road, P.O. Box 260, Hilltown, PA 18927

Phone: 215-453-6000
Fax: 215-453-1024
Email: info@hilltown.org

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