In an effort to control the ever-growing feral cat population in its municipality, the Lower Mount Bethel Township Board of Supervisors Monday night discussed hiring an animal control officer to get a handle on the situation.

Supervisor Kathy Davis stated, "We have a major cat problem in this township," and advised discussion and investigation among the supervisors.

She relayed a recent story concerning a township resident who spent over $3,000 of her own money to rescue approximately 30 abandoned felines from a foreclosed local property.

It was also discovered some of cats were unsterilized, which would eventually only add to a rise in the local feral cat population.

The Board discussed at length a number of variables and expenses associated with implementing an animal control officer/program including whether the individual would become a township employee or serve as an independent contractor.

Additionally, the supervisors considered insurance liability, transportation, veterinarian, and shelter expenses.

The Supervisors agreed to investigate the matter in much greater detail and placed it on their December meeting agenda.

In other business, the Board reviewed a multiple page landscaping plan forwarded by the township's planning commission from ConAgra Foods of Martin's Creek.

According to Supervisor Susan Disidore , the landscaping plan reviewed Monday night is in conjunction with a complete land development plan as part of ConAgra's expansion plan to its plant located on Route 611.

The Supervisors' reaction to the landscaping was one of approval for the large number of eight to 14-foot tall evergreen trees to be planted to help shield local resident from rail car noise, diesel exhaust odors, and dust particles.

"It's a big issue for the residents," said Supervisor Howard Klein, referring to residents' complaints of the dust, noise, and diesel odors.

The Board will hear a full overview of the entire project at its next meeting on December 9.

The Township Planning Commission, however, has not yet offered its conditional approval on the matter.