Salisbury CFO apologizes – Times News Online

Salisbury Township Finance Director Paul Ziegenfus has taken responsibility and apologized for the erroneous tax bills sent by the Township to residents.

“I just wanted to publicly apologize for what happened. I am ultimately responsible,” Ziegenfus said at the April 14 board of commissioners meeting.

“I can assure you that this mistake will not happen again,” Ziegenfus said.

“We know what happened. We know how to fix it. This is unacceptable,” Ziegenfus said.

“Thank goodness he was caught and we got the correction quickly,” Ziegenfus said.

“It was a mistake on the part of the municipality. It was not the fault of the tax collector,’ said Salisbury Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich.

“I have responded to several people regarding tax bills,” Township Commissioner Alok Patnaik said.

“The corrected invoices have already been mailed and are printed on blue paper with the words ‘Enclosed you will find your revised and corrected Salisbury Township estate invoice for 2022. Please disregard the invoice previously sent by email printed on the back of the sender to distinguish them from original and incorrect tax bills,” Bonaskiewich said in an April 11 email response to a question from a reporter for The Press.

Salisbury Township administration announced in letters to residents and on the township’s website that there was an error in the 2022 property tax bill.

The tax bill incorrectly stated that the tax rate was 2.57 mills. The corrected tax bills show that the tax rate is 2.92 mills.

“Unfortunately, the oversight occurred when only the general fund portion of the total tax mile (2.57 thousand) was included in the original billing in error, rather than the total mileage of 2.92 million (which includes also the shares of the fire fund and the library),” Bonaskiewich said in the email to The Press.

The website notice regarding the tax bill was updated on April 11.

An April 5 letter to residents and a statement on the township’s website had said:

“It has come to our attention that the 2022 property tax bills for the township have been sent to residents with the incorrect tax mileage rate.

“For anyone who has paid to date, we will communicate further instructions.

“If your tax is being paid by your mortgage escrow, we will send a revised invoice to your mortgage company.

“The township apologizes for this oversight and any inconvenience it has created.

“If you have any questions, please contact the tax office at 610-871-0252 or the township office at 610-797-4000.”

During the public comment portion of the April 14 meeting, two residents expressed their opposition to Franko Farm Park as a possible site for a Township Police Department firearms range.

“I moved here to get out of town and have some quiet fun,” said Marilyn Wolfe, noting that she’s been a township resident for 5 years. “I live less than a mile from Franko Park,” Wolfe said.

“I don’t know how a shooting range fits into Franko,” Wolfe said. “I hope the municipality will find a solution to support the police and prevent this plan.”

“Is an interior range an option?” asked Township resident Roger Schultz.

Salisbury Township Police Chief Kevin Soberick said an indoor shooting range could cost $2million.

“There are a few places we are exploring. This [Franko] is just one of them,” Soberick said.

Referring to Unami Fish & Game Associates, 75 Chestnut Hill Road, where township police use the range, Soiberick said, “They’re very generous, but there are just some things that just don’t fit.”

Soberick said police must qualify for firearms use twice a year.

“It would be mostly business hours, in groups of four or five,” Soberick said.

“My other concern is that you have baseball diamonds there. [Franko] and people are having picnics,” Schultz said.

“There would be a notice when the training is going on,” Soberick said.

“There aren’t many other places in the township,” Soberick said.

“There’s nothing here that we’re trying to be secret about. We are planning,” Soberick said.

“It’s twice a year with another lineup,” Soberick said.

At the end of the public comment portion, Wolfe told a reporter from The Press that a petition opposing the placement of a township police firing range in Franko Farm Park was being circulated and signed by the neighbors.

Township officials have confirmed that the Township of Salisbury Consulting Engineering Company is developing plans for a Salisbury Township Police Department firing range at Franko Farm Park.

The plans are preliminary, Salisbury township officials said at the March 24 council of commissioners meeting when three people, including two township residents and a Bethlehem resident, questioned officials about a scope of practice of the township police in Franko.

Township officials said if a proposal for a police firing range in Franko Farm Park is devised, it would have to be presented for consideration by the township’s zoning hearing board and planning commission.

Township officials said at the March 24 meeting that Franko Farm Park is one of the locations under consideration for a police firearms training range.

A new township police department firing range was first mentioned in public meetings in the fall and winter of 2021 during township 2022 budget discussions.

“We are in the design phase right now. Keystone is drawing up plans,” Bonaskiewich told a reporter for The Press ahead of the March 24 commissioners’ meeting.

“When we have the plans, we will present them to a workshop to discuss with the commissioners and the public,” Bonaskiewich said.

“The project would be the same as any development,” Salisbury Township Consulting Engineer David J. Tettemer of Keystone Consulting Engineers told a reporter for The Press ahead of the March 24 commissioners’ meeting.

“It would be reviewed by zoners, planners and commissioners,” Tettemer said.

“We have just drawn up the plans. It’s very preliminary,” Tettemer said.

A gun range facility is required for the township’s annual police practice and certification, Soberick told a reporter for The Press ahead of the March 24 commissioners’ meeting.

The next scheduled meeting of the Salisbury Township Council of Commissioners is at 7 p.m. on May 12.

The next scheduled meeting of the Salisbury Township Planning Commission is April 27 at 7 p.m.