ADAMS TWP — Adams Township is entering a new era, according to newly elected supervisor Chairman Russell Ford.
Ford announced at Monday night's meeting the township has taken and continues to take steps toward transparency and improved communication.
“We've been talking over the last couple of weeks about making some subtle changes to certain things,” Ford said. “We have some shuffling around that's going on on the board.”
Ford specifically welcomed newly elected Supervisor Clay Morrow. Morrow was a member of the township parks and recreation board. He replaces former supervisor Thomas Franceschina, who retired in December.
“(I'm) looking forward to the next six years,” Morrow said. “Continuing to move the township forward as it has been in the past.”
Ford, who has been a supervisor for 10 years, told residents public works director John Hock has been invited to attend the first supervisor meeting of each month.
“To not only give his report,” Ford said, “but to answer any type of concerns … in regards to roads.”
Hock has been part of the maintenance department for 17 years. Ford said while he wouldn't guarantee Hock would be at every first monthly meeting, he did want to make room for Hock to talk with residents.
Township manager Gary Peaco supported Ford's announcement that the township is trying to become more accessible to residents.
“The goal is to create a lot more transparency,” Peaco said. “We're trying to do as much as we can to try to get information out to the public.
Peaco said Adams Township is trying to increase its online presence by maintaining an active, updated website.
Ford told residents the board wants to establish clear objectives for the township. This involves public input. Supervisors, according to Ford, have worked hard to “tear apart bureaucracy” in recent years.
“Sometimes we listen to the public and we only hear one side of the story,” Ford said. “We want to make sure we're getting all sides of the story.”
Ford invited department heads, supervisors and residents to identify “top objectives” for 2020. Ford hopes to compile a list of goals to discuss at the next meeting.
Resident Jeff McCormick sought to voice his concerns about the township's new slope ordinance. Approval of the ordinance was tabled in December after Adams officials determined some aspects needed to be clarified.
McCormick asked supervisors to specifically discuss the ordinance with the planning commission.
“I'm hoping you guys will agree to speak to that,” McCormick said.
Ford said he talked to commission chairman Martin McKinney about issues with communication.
“There is a major disconnect between the planning commission and the board,” Ford said. “We're not faulting either. We're actually faulting the process.”
Ford told McCormick he hopes to set up two or three meetings during the year with the planning commission to discuss issues such as the slope ordinance.
Resident Tim Stack asked about the possibility of developing a survey to be distributed to residents.
“To really find out how the people who live here now feel about the developments and anything else that's of interest to the township,” Stack said.
Ford said he isn't opposed to Stack's idea. However, he indicated more information needs to be gathered before proceeding.
Ford encouraged residents to contact the township or supervisors directly with their thoughts about the future of Adams.
“In the 10 years I've been here, I've seen mountains moved,” Ford said. “We want the public to be actually heard.”