MILROY - About 60 Armagh Township residents gathered at the Milroy Fire Co. Monday evening to discuss what they see as a problem of township overspending.
Amy Seachrist, a concerned citizen of Armagh Township, started a group called Concerned Citizens of Armagh Township. The idea of the group is for township residents to come together to discuss issues she believes should be of great concern to people who live in the township.
"There is a lot of spending going on, with very little credibility," Seachrist said. "I want the residents to know the facts and we, as residents, have the right to know what is happening."
Those in attendance at the meeting believe two of the township supervisors, Chairman Glen Boyer and Vice Chairman Michael Reed, are overspending funds in the township accounts. Supervisor Gregg Bitner was in attendance at the citizens meeting and said he believes the citizens are on track with their concerns.
"I believe there is overspending in the township," Bitner said. "Between the $200,000 school and the police force, the spending is out of control."
Seachrist said the residents were not consulted when the Armagh Township School was purchased by the board. Boyer said the school was purchased with the intent to use it as a new location for the township offices, police force, and as a new senior center. Seachrist said she believes that the plans presented at meetings for the use of the school do not make sense.
"The school cost around $200,000 to buy, but there has been no sensible idea for how it will make money," she said. "One of the ideas was to use it as another venue for a wedding in the area, but then that will take away business from the fire hall. What good would that do us?"
Seachrist continued saying the current buildings used by the township offices, police force, and senior center would then be put up for sale. According to Seachrist, the township already has buyers for them, without placing them up for bidding.
"I believe there is no transparency with Boyer and Reed," Seachrist said. "I believe they do what they want, when they want to do it."
Seachrist said she believes with the lack of transparency Boyer and Reed are hiding something from residents. After those in attendance were, in Seachrist's words, "caught up on the situation," the conversation turned to what residents need to do now.
"We need to start acting," she said. "We have three informal petitions started but they (Boyer and Reed) do not have to do anything with them, but at least they know we care."
One of the petitions is designed to show the supervisors how many residents do not want the school, and how many believe the school should be sold. Many of the residents at the meeting said they school should be sold and the money used to upgrade the existing structures, because it would be less expensive.
Boyer said if more than half of the residents of Armagh Township sign the petition about the school, then the board would look into the concerns of the citizens. The other two petitions are to address the removal of Boyer and Reed from their supervisor positions. Seachrist said because the petitions are informal, the supervisors do not have to do anything with them, but again she said at least they know residents are unhappy.
Seachrist provided copies of what she claims are summarized bank statements to The Sentinel. According to these documents the township spent $68,052.14, leaving only $3,452.49 in the general account at the end of 2013. Boyer said in 2013, there were some unexpected bills that came because of a need for lawyers regarding the township's separation from the Mifflin County Regional Police Department.
"When we decided to start our own police force again, that caused bills that were unexpected when the budget was planned," Boyer said. "We now have the money coming that will help to supplement what was used extra from the last year, but we can now rebuild rather than spend because those bills will not occur this year."
Boyer also said that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and not everyone will be pleased with everything the township does.
At the end of the meeting Seachrist encouraged everyone to attend the next supervisors meeting, which is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. June 2 at the township office in Milroy.
"If they do what I think they will, they are about to become very transparent," Seachrist said of the supervisors. "We cannot fall for what they are going to tell us. I have some more things up my sleeve that will come to light soon."
When asked what those items were, Seachrist said she was not going to disclose that information at this time, but said it will continue to shed light onto the situation. Seachrist said having residents attend the meetings will put pressure on the supervisors.
"Please attend the meetings and ask questions," Seachrist said. "The question may not get answered but at least they will have been asked."