TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

MINUTES – NOVEMBER 21, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on November 21, 2005.  Chairman Stainthorpe called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. noting that the Board had been meeting in Executive Session since 7:00 p.m. to discuss Zoning and legal matters and to interview candidates for Township Boards.

 

Those present:

 

Board of Supervisors:               Pete Stainthorpe, Chairman

                                                Scott Fegley, Vice Chairman

                                                Grace Godshalk, Secretary/Treasurer

                                                Frank Fazzalore, Supervisor

                                                Steve Santarsiero, Supervisor

 

Others:                                     Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager

                                                Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Kenneth Coluzzi, Chief of Police

 

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

 

There was no public comment at this time.

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mr. Fegley seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of November 7, 2005 as corrected.

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved and Mr. Fazzalore seconded to approve the Minutes of the October 25, 2005 Budget Work Session as written.  Motion carried with Mr. Fegley abstaining.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Mrs. Godshalk announced that Lower Makefield Township and the Garden of Reflection have been awarded a Grant of $750,000 from Transportation, Treasury, and HUD.  She thanked Mike Fitzpatrick who fought for them to obtain the Grant.   She added that more information will be provided at the next meeting

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APPROVAL OF NOVEMBER 7, 2005 AND NOVEMBER 21, 2005 WARRANT LISTS AND OCTOBER, 2005 PAYROLL

 

Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Santarsiero seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the November 7, 2005 and November 21, 2005 Warrant Lists and October, 2005 Payroll as attached to the Minutes.

 

 

AWARD BID FOR MIRROR LAKE ROAD BASIN BANK STABILIZATION

 

Mr. Majewski stated this is the project across the street from the Patterson Farm.  This will stabilize the embankment and bikepath.

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mr. Fegley seconded and it was unanimously carried to award the bid for Mirror Lake Road Basin Bank Stabilization to S & H Landscaping in the amount of $23,823.00.

 

 

DISCUSSION AND MOTION ON PARK & RECREATION BOARD’S RECOMMENDATION TO BEGIN DEVELOPMENT OF THE SNIPES TRACT FOR SOCCER

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated at the last Park & Recreation Board meeting, the Board recommended that they move forward with developing the Snipes Tract for soccer fields.  This would cost approximately $1.2 million.  This amount has not been included in this year’s Budget.  He stated it is a flat parcel and would be relatively easy to engineer and they could include this in the engineering fee they pay PCS and begin the engineering of the fields and it would not require that any money be borrowed or increase their Budgets in any way.  He stated he would prefer to hold off on borrowing money until next year.

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated while he recognizes that they need this, they continue to ignore 18% of the Township residents who need a Senior Citizen Center.  He stated the Seniors have paid their way for many years are and are outcasts.  He would recommend that they borrow $4 million next year and do the Senior Center and the soccer fields.  He stated they need to take care of the whole population and not just one segment.  He stated he feels the Seniors need a place to go and need to be active.  He stated coming to the Township Building is not conducive to the projects that they would like to do.  He is concerned that one of the richest communities in the area does not have a Senior Center. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated he agrees and next year, they will have to consider the total recreation needs of the Township. 

 

 

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Mrs. Godshalk stated she does not feel it should be turned back onto the Board of Supervisors as people voted two times against this. She stated she has requested that they provide another Referendum with a scaled-down Senior Citizen Center only that they could put on the ballot.  She stated they were given a mandate by the people and she does not feel they can go forward with such a project.

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated he does not feel it is proper to have to vote for a Senior Center when they allocate funds for other things without a vote.

 

Mr. Fegley stated he would not be in favor of proceeding with $1.5 million for construction of a Park.  He stated traditionally they have set aside $300,000 to $400,000 a year for recreation projects.  He stated the Senior Citizen Center was a different kind of project, and he feels one of the problems was it became too grandiose.  He stated he had proposed that they go out with a Referendum for a stand-alone Senior Citizen Center that could be added onto in the future, he feels this may have passed.  He stated his one disagreement with the Seniors was that they wanted the building to be only for the Seniors.  He recognizes that there is still a need for such a Center.  He stated he is also aware that there is a Church in the community that is looking for new space and has approached him about the possibility of trading their current facility for nine to ten acres of Township property.  This would give the Township a building that is already constructed that could serve the needs of the Seniors and others.

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels that they should look into this in the future if this is a possibility.  He stated he is committed to trying to build a Community Center which could also be used by the Seniors.  He stated there are a number of recreation activities which could be held indoors which all could benefit from.  He stated they should consider this in the future.  He stated with regard to the Snipes property, his problem with this coming in at this time during the end of the Budget review process was that they did not have an opportunity to consider it when they were working on the Budget.  He is in favor of ultimately providing more fields for the recreation leagues, but it was not something they could fit in this year.  He would be in favor of proceeding with the engineering as it would not incur any additional costs and this would put them in a position to proceed with the fields when funds are available.  He stated they also need to look carefully at the need for other recreation facilities in the Township and pursue this on a step by step basis.

 

Mr. Santarsiero moved and Mr. Fegley seconded to move forward with engineering on the Snipes Tract.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she has serious concerns with the design proposed.  She stated she is concerned with the ring road which could present a safety problem similar to the problem at Macclesfield Park.  She feels there should be two entrances and two parking lots. 

 

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Mr. Fedorchak stated in addition to authorizing the engineering, he would also ask the Board to allow them to begin the Land Development process.   Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels this would also answer some of Mrs. Godshalk’s concerns.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she is against the Plan as presented.  Mr. Garton stated they would begin with a Sketch Plan.  Mr. Fazzalore stated he feels this will result in additional engineering costs.

Mr. Fedorchak stated they will be taking it out of the engineering services line item in Park & Rec Board.  Mr. Fazzalore stated they have already included some money for engineering beyond their normal retention fee, and Mr. Fedorchak agreed.

 

Mrs. Godshalk asked who will design the Plan.  She stated she feels it should go back to the Park Board with her concerns noted before they spend any money on engineering.

Mr. Majewski stated the Plan has gone through the Park Board and was reviewed on several occasions.  It first went through a Sub-Committee that included representatives from YMS, Elm Lowne, Ms. Liney, and the Police Department who reviewed safety for the interior of the site and the access.  The Plans were then revised and the Plan went before the Park & Recreation Board and was discussed with a number of residents who also voiced concerns.  They modified the Plan again and arrived at the lay out which is being shown this evening which did go to the Park & Recreation Board and was recommended to the Board of Supervisors.  Mr. Majewski stated he feels this proposed lay out is safer than some other Parks since once you park in the parking lot almost all of the activities are located within the parked area so you do not have to cross a road again.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she disagrees as this is only on one half of the road and the other half has to cross traffic.  She stated this is similar to the situation at Macclesfield which she feels is dangerous. 

 

Mr. Fegley stated the Park & Recreation Board is not the proper Board to engineer the Plan and submit it.  He stated if this is a Sketch Plan, he does not have a problem proceeding as they would be taking the Sketch Plan to the Planning Commission and going through the regular Land Development Process.  He feels the Plan should come back to the Board of Supervisors from the Planning Commission.  He added that he is also concerned with the impervious surface.  He asked if they could have separate parking lots and still have the required number of parking spaces without having so much additional impervious surface.  He would like to see a comparison on the impervious surface on this Plan versus a Plan with separate parking lots. 

 

Mr. Fazzalore asked about the number of fields proposed, and Mr. Majewski stated there would be two large fields, two mid-size fields, and five smaller fields.

 

Mr. Smith stated he was at the Park & Recreation Board meeting and this Sketch Plan was well received and recommended unanimously by the Park & Recreation Board.  He stated there were also representatives from YMS as well as some neighbors who had voiced some concerns.  He stated they did discuss the circle road and they felt this

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proposal was a better plan than what is at Macclesfield where there are fields on both sides.  In this Sketch Plan, the fields are within the circle and not on both sides which makes it less of a safety hazard than at Macclesfield.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated from one side of the road, you have to cross a road.  Mr. Smith stated this is not the same as Macclesfield since there are fields on both sides of the road for a majority of the Park. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe noted the Motion on the Table and asked if they wish to withdraw or restate the current Motion.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels the Motion is to authorize the engineer to move forward with the engineering as part of the Land Development process within the ordinary course of going before the Planning Commission and so forth.

Mrs. Godshalk stated the letter received refers to the Plan as drawn.  It was noted the letter is not part of the Motion.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels they should indicate new soccer fields should be designed.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated this is part of the Land Development process.  Mrs. Godshalk disagreed. 

 

Mr. Jim Tolbert, 884 Slate Hill, stated he recalled the Board of Supervisors advising the Park & Recreation Board that they were to submit a Master Plan of where they wanted to go in the community; and he asked if this has happened.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated there is a Master Plan and these fields were always designated for soccer.   

 

Mr. Garton stated the Motion is to authorize the engineer to proceed through the Land Development Process with respect to the design of the Snipes Tract for soccer fields knowing that that process includes processing a Sketch Plan for the required Township agencies including the Board of Supervisors.  Mr. Santarsiero moved and Mr. Fegley seconded to change the Motion to that as stated by Mr. Garton.    Motion carried with

Mr. Fazzalore, Mr. Fegley, Mr. Santarsiero, and Mr. Stainthorpe in favor and

Mrs. Godshalk stating she is only voting in favor if they see a different Plan being engineered.  She stated she is for moving ahead with a design.  Mr. Stainthorpe asked if this is a yes vote and she stated it is a yes vote but she wants to add a comment.  She stated her comment is noted as she has stated throughout the discussion.

 

 

INTRODUCTION OF 2006 PRELIMINARY BUDGET, MOTION TO ADOPT PRELIMINARY BUDGET AND AUTHORIZE ADVERTISEMENT

 

Mr. Fedorchak stated they are proposing a 2006 Real Estate Property Tax Rate of 12.87 mills which amounts to a 1.8 mill tax increase over 2005 levels. He stated the General Fund is proposed to increase 1 mill going from 6 to 7 mills.  Fire Protection has an increase of .15 mills going from .5 to .65 mills for 2006.  Hydrant Tax remains the same at .29.  Parks and Rec will remain the same at 1.28.  Open Space Debt Service goes from 1.63 mills to 2.03 mills which is an increase of .4 mills.  General Debt Service will go

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from 1.12 mills to 1.37 mills which is an increase of .25 mills.  The Ambulance/Rescue Tax will remain at a quarter of a mill.  The 2005 total was 11.07 mills and will go to 12.87 mills which is an increase of 1.8 mills. 

 

Mr. Fedorchak noted the General Fund for 2006 where they have included hiring two new Police Officers.  They also reflect salary increases of 3.75% for Police and 3.5% for all other employees.  He stated in next year’s Budget, they will have the complete restructuring of the health care program for all employees which will result in increases in deductibles and co-pays.  This will achieve an across-the-board savings of approximately $100,000 annually just for the General Fund.  Mr. Fedorchak stated there is a 60% increase in vehicle and heating fuel costs included in the General Fund.

 

Mr. Fedorchak stated in Park & Rec they included one additional Park Maintenance employee to handling bringing Memorial Park on line as well as other addititional recreation venues.  They have included $237,000 to light Field H which is a 90’ baseball field and Field F which is a multi-purpose field at Macclesfield Park to maximize limited Township resources and help relieve overcrowding throughout the system.  They are also proposing to widen the existing lane to three lanes at Macclesfield Park to provide safer exiting onto River Road and to improve traffic flow.  This will cost approximately $45,000.  The lighting project will be financed through the Capital Reserve Fund and the new exit will come from Street Escrows.  He noted the Pool Budget and stated the new flume slides have proved to be successful and they feel the addition of those slides has brought in significant revenues for this year and they anticipate the same for 2006.  As a result there are no changes proposed for the Pool Membership Fees.

 

Mr. Fedorchak noted Capital Projects specifically the 9-11 Memorial/Garden of Reflection construction contract which has been awarded.  They anticipate completion of the project sometime in June of 2006.  He noted the announcement made by

Mrs. Godshalk regarding the Federal Grant which will cover all costs between the Grant and the fundraising efforts.  He stated they also anticipate the completion of the Lindenhurst Road Traffic Calming Project Phase 1 by the summer of 2006. 

 

Mr. Fedorchak noted the Sewer system and stated the Canal Interceptor repair/ rehabilitation project will begin the construction phase sometime in the spring of 2006 and includes replacement of 8,000 linear feet of 40 year old sewer line with new sewers and 5,800 liner feet will be relined.  Mr. Fedorchak stated they anticipate work will begin in April and expect to issue a new bond sometime in the spring of 2006 to cover those costs and other capital improvements that have been recommended by the Sewer Authority.  They propose that there be no increase in sewer rental fees for 2006.

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated there is an increase in the Leaf Pick-Up from $25 to $30.  He stated in the negotiations with the Cable Company, they are also raising the fee from 3% to 5%, and this will equal a tax to the users.  Mr. Fazzalore stated the Rock Run dam project is

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moving along and possibly the State will release the funds next year.  He stated there is a substantial amount of sewer work that needs to be done if this takes place. Mr. Fedorchak stated when they look at the Bond Issue for the Sewer Fund in April, possibly they could add enough to cover whatever costs are associated with relocation of the line in the Derbyshire area if the Board of Supervisors is interested in moving forward with that project.  Mr. Fazzalore stated under the old system this is a 7.3 mill increase – not a 1.8 mill increase.  He stated the valuations were increased by 4.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Board of Supervisors met in three Budget Workshops.  He stated 1 mill equals $40 in additional taxes so a 1.8 mill increase will equal approximately $70 to $75.  He stated the Board has worked hard to keep this as minimal as possible.  He noted a number of items are not within their control including the Police salaries which are negotiated.  He stated Mr. Fedorchak has done a good job with regard to the health care costs. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated initially they were looking at a 3.75 mill increase and over the three meetings and with Mr. Fedorchak and the various Departments help, they were able to cut this down to 1.8 mills.  He feels they have cut wherever they could. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated they wanted to make sure they were providing the level of service people in Lower Makefield expect.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated this is only a Preliminary Budget and perhaps there are ways to consider it further.  She noted the Financial Activity Report for October specifically the Transfer Taxes which bring in revenue to the Township. 

 

Mr. Zachary Rubin, 1661 Covington Road, stated Verizon is putting in fiber optics and next year they will have television available.  He asked if there are anticipatory revenues they can contemplate in the Budget when Verizon offers cable television.  Mr. Fedorchak stated the only cable based revenue item he included in the 2006 Budget is what they anticipate from Comcast.  He stated Lower Makefield has joined a consortium of Bucks County communities who have hired an attorney, and they are in the process of negotiating a Franchise Agreement with Verizon.  He has not included anything for this at this time.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated the anticipation would be if you have Comcast and switch to Verizon, it would not be a revenue gain, as you would just be collecting the tax through Verizon instead of Comcast assuming they were both equivalent. 

 

Mr. Bob Slamen, 50 Bedford Place, stated while he feels the Board worked hard on the Budget, he is concerned that this represents a15% increase.  He feels they should continue to look at the Budget. 

 

 

 

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Ms. Virginia Torbert asked for more detail on the health insurance noted by

Mr. Fedorchak and the savings he has indicated of $100,000.  Mr. Fedorchak stated the Township is moving to a different Personal Choice program which will result in the employees paying more up front.  They also anticipate that they will be able to announce a new Contract with the Police.  The Board of Supervisors’ number one priority was to re-structure the health care program.  He noted this has not been finalized, but they are optimistic.  They also are in the middle of a four-year Contract with the Public Works employees and they have recently come to them and in exchange for extending a few years on the Labor Agreement, they will go with the new hospitalization program.  A few details still need to be worked out but it appears that both Unions have stepped forward and agreed to the restructuring.  More details will be released when they are able to get final Memoranda of Understanding within the next few weeks.

 

Mr. Slamen stated he does not feel that they should be spending $2 million on fifty to one hundred Seniors for a new Senior Center and feels they should put a new Senior Center out to a Referendum before they proceed with anything.  He stated he does not feel they are shortchanging the Seniors.  He stated he also does not feel they should televise the meetings and feels this would waste $100,000.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he is hopeful that the costs will come out of the Comcast negotiations and the capital costs to the Township will be minimal if any.  He stated the operating costs are approximately $4,000 annually.  He stated he feels there is support in the Township to televise the meetings as there are people who are not able to get out to meetings because of their long commutes.  He feels there is interest and this is a way to insure that people are better apprised as to what is happening in the Township. 

 

Ms. Dana Weyrick, 729 Stewart’s Way, asked how they made the determination that they need additional Police Officers.  She stated she never sees any Police on the street. 

Chief Coluzzi stated they need to account for people who are going to be leaving due to retirements, and they need to keep the staff up to a certain level.  He stated they have thirty-two Police Officers, all of whom are not out on the street.  He noted there are five Detectives and there is also Command Staff.  He stated some Officers are plain-clothes Officers.  He stated they do not have enough Officers working each shift to cover the amount of territory they need to cover in the Township. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated because they do not have enough Officers, they have had higher over-time costs.  He stated there have been a number of crimes taking place in the area of the Kohl’s Shopping Center.  He stated he does not feel the number of Officers is out of line for a Township of Lower Makefield’s size. 

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated a Police Officer will be coming back next year and they will then have thirty-three.  He stated while the Chief has indicated that there will be some retirements, he feels that they will be replaced.  He stated he feels there are too many Police Officers on the staff.  Chief Coluzzi stated they do not have too many Police

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Officers.  He stated they will have two retirements and the two additional Officers they are anticipating hiring will not be realized until 2007.  He stated they do not have enough Officers on the Street on a twelve-hour shift.

 

Ms. Weyrick stated when you reach dispatch, they are not from Doylestown, and they do not know what area you are talking about.   Chief Coluzzi stated this is the most efficient way to dispatch Police Officers.  He stated they have a CAD system and monitor every household in Bucks County and do know what is going on.  He stated their response time on the average is five to eight minutes.

 

Mr. Greg Caiola asked how many Police Officers are in Yardley Borough, and Chief Coluzzi stated he feels they have a Chief and one full-time Officer.  Mr. Caiola stated this seems comparable to Lower Makefield based on population.  Chief Coluzzi stated during the day if you consider the shopping center, the population of Lower Makefield goes up significantly.  Mr. Caiola asked if there is a State standard, and Chief Coluzzi stated there are standards for different regions, some of which are one per thousand and others are

1.5 per thousand depending on the area, commercial versus residential, and the type of crime you are experiencing. 

 

Mr. Fegley moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to adopt the Preliminary Budget and authorize advertisement.

 

 

APPROVAL OF EXTENSION – MINEHART SUBDIVISION

 

Mr. Fazzalore moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to grant an Extension of time to Minehart Subdivision Preliminary Plan to 3/30/06.

 

 

GRANT CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS FOR A TEMPORARY SIGN AT 1679 EDGEWOOD ROAD (HEACOCK CO-TENANT HOUSE REPLICATION/RESTORATION)

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated this is for the restoration of the building that has been removed in Edgewood Village.  She stated GMAC will be restoring it on the footprint.  This Certificate of Appropriateness is for a temporary sign.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated this has been recommended by HARB.

 

Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Santarsiero seconded and it was unanimously carried to grant the Certificate of Appropriateness for a temporary sign at 1679 Edgewood Road (Heacock Co-Tenant House). 

 

 

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ZONING HEARING BOARD

 

It was agreed to leave the following matters to the discretion of the Zoning Hearing Board:

 

Steelway Cellar Doors for Mr. & Mrs. Hassel, 1268 Wilshire Drive – Variance request to construct an entrance to their basement which will encroach into a special setback from Dolington Road.

 

Jacklin, 1221 Landmark Road, request for relief from the requirement to place a fence around a hot tub.

 

Patrick  & Kim Anne Brennan, 1311 North Delaware Avenue, who are Appealing the determination of the Zoning Officer with regard to a proposed driveway extending into

a sewer easement.

 

 

SUPERVISORS REPORTS

 

Mr. Stainthorpe noted the Board received the first draft of the Township Newsletter which he asked the Supervisors to review and make any comments to Ms. Langtry as soon as possible.

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated this Budget includes over a half million dollar contribution to the Pension Fund; and when you hire additional people, this requires additional contributions to the Pension Fund. 

 

 

APPOINTMENTS

 

Mr. Fazzalore moved, Mr. Santarsiero seconded and it was unanimously carried to

re-appoint Patricia Bunn to the Park & Recreation Board.

 

Mr. Fegley moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to re-appoint Lisa Huchler-Smith and Liz Harbison to the Disabled Persons Advisory Board.

 

There being no further business, Mr. Fegley moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 p.m.

 

                                                            Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

                                                            Grace Godshalk, Secretary