Damascus projects and continued success

Silver lining found in COVID funding

By Z. A. KOHLOA
Posted 1/6/21

DAMASCUS. PA — On December 21, 2020, the Damascus Board of Supervisors meeting began with heads bowed for a moment of silence to honor the passing of Bob Dexter, Bill Gager and John …

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Damascus projects and continued success

Silver lining found in COVID funding

Posted

DAMASCUS. PA — On December 21, 2020, the Damascus Board of Supervisors meeting began with heads bowed for a moment of silence to honor the passing of Bob Dexter, Bill Gager and John “Jack” Joyce. Dexter was a former planning commissioner, volunteer of the ambulance corporation and fire department, and a member of the recycling commission. Gager was a former township supervisor and a member of the fire department. Joyce was a founding member of the Equinunk Fire Department and a major asset to the community. To honor Dexter, Gager and Joyce, a plaque with their names will be placed on a memorial park bench outside the Damascus Township building.

As the board meeting progressed, a motion to pass the 2021 proposed budget was made. In November, the 2020 Damascus Board of Supervisors proposed budget was available for public inspection. The budget lists real estate at $595,000, machinery tax at $176,500, fire tax at $106,500, occupational tax at $5,150, real estate transfer tax at $85,000 and road improvement tax at $107,100. The total revenue and expenditures is $1,593,385. Anyone can contact the Damascus Board of Supervisors for more information about the 2021 budget. At the final board meeting for 2020, administrative supervisor Steve Adams, vice chairman Dan Rutledge and chairman Joseph Canfield adopted and approved the Damascus Board of Supervisors 2021 Budget with a 3-0 vote.

Rutledge gave the report for parks and recreation, regarding its application for another Local Share Account (LSA) grant, but the outcome remains unknown until the spring. This would be for a Phase 2 project. The supervisors are waiting for the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources to finalize the approval for Phase 1 before they put it out for a bid. Rutledge said it was taking a lot longer than it should to get a response regarding the approval for the grant. They are looking to use the grants to help fund park and recreation improvements. Letters of support for the LSA grant were sent to PA Sen. Lisa Baker, state Rep. Michael Peifer and Craig Rickard at the Wayne County Planning Department. For immediate action, the board is looking to get the skating rink at the township pavilion useable again.

In old business, the Damascus Food Pantry project addition plans were received and discussed, and inspection requirements were met as required by the building code. In turn, bids were put out. A bid by M.J. Chojnicki, architect, PC for $3,800 was accepted by the board. Adams said the Damascus Food Pantry has some money and they got a grant from the Upper Delaware Council to add to the funds for the addition to the pantry.

Canfield and Adams further explained that the Damascus Food Pantry supports an average of 40 families a month. Due to the pandemic, the food pantry was supporting families about twice a month throughout the summer. The food pantry has since gone back to handing out food only once a month.  

Canfield informed everyone that if they wanted to make a donation to the addition for the food pantry, they are more than welcome to do so. 

Greg Swartz of Willow Wisp Organic Farm said he would love, in any way, to support the project for the addition to the food pantry. Swartz called himself a vegetable grower who was proud to provide vegetables to Wayne County and Damascus food pantries this past year. 

Swartz said, “With COVID happening, a lot of other vegetable farmers in the Wayne County area this year got involved with being able to provide product for the food pantries. It’s been pretty neat that [Wayne County farmers] have been able to... help the people that needed it.” 

Adams closed the final 2020 Damascus Board meeting with an appreciation for all that the board accomplished in the past 12 months. Adams said, “We’ve had a good year this year. We keep getting these grants to help us keep going and we have made major improvements on several roads with the help of the board and good money management in all areas.” 

Adams expressed that it was the board’s goal to accomplish much more in the next couple of years with the roads and with parks and recreation. “There is some blessing to this whole COVID thing.” Adams said, “One thing was, we were able to get Boyds Mill Road paved. We spent a lot of money, making minor repairs to Boyds Mill Road to bring it to a point where we were able to have the funding to pave the entire road. That was a big deal. We are hoping to do even more throughout the township in the next few years. If we keep going the way we have been, we will be successful.”

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