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Springfield to restore online access to meetings


Hear ye, hear ye! Springfield Township plans to make audio recordings of its meetings available once its revamped website is ready to go this summer.

Planning Commission and Environmental Advisory Council meetings will be on the playlist, too. Once minutes are recorded, however, the recording will be removed from the website.

“People should hear how people behave at these meetings,” said Supervisor Chairman Bill Ryker, one of four in favor of the change. “If you’re going to sit up here and pontificate, be willing to be heard by the public.”

Police Chief Michael McDonald inquired if the township had a plan on how to handle listener complaints.

“It’s going to be a problem,” acknowledged Township Manager Rich Pursell Jr. “That’s why I was completely against Zoom. If someone wants to comment, they should comment here and get the answer directly here. Not sit at home behind some TV screen.”

The township broadcast Zoom meetings well after pandemic restrictions were lifted but canceled them in September 2023, citing cost concerns and minimal online attendance. The change caused some friction, with several residents urging swift restoration of the service.

In other business, Supervisor Pete Kade pushed back against a Department of Community and Economic Development Grant (DCED) application underway to further develop the Route 309 business corridor. The township has already committed $8,000.

“We’re doing the plan now. We don’t need another study to tell us something we already know. This is just wasting taxpayer money,” Kade said.

“No, this is looking for taxpayer money,” countered his colleague, Jim Hopkins.

“No, no! We spent $8,000 and if we get the grant to get us the study we don’t need then we have to match it. That’s not making money, that’s spending money,” retorted Kade.

Ryker noted the application would give the township “some teeth” in its negotiations with neighboring Coopersburg to provide public water and sewer.

“We’re trying to make something happen, but I understand what your concern is,” he said.

Also at the meeting, the board voted to authorize architects Phillips & Donovan to commence initial design work and put out bids on the township building renovation — but not to exceed $70,000. The total cost could come to more than $200,000, though a majority of that would be covered by the township’s remaining American Rescue Plan Act money. The master plan includes a storage room, a public bathroom, a small meeting room, and a vestibule.

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