BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the
Board of Supervisors: Steve Santarsiero, Chairman
Ron Smith, Vice Chairman
Greg Caiola, Secretary/Treasurer
Grace Godshalk, Supervisor (left meeting in progress)
Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor
Others: Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager
David Truelove, Township Solicitor
Bucky Closser, Township Solicitor
James Majewski, Township Engineer
Kenneth Coluzzi, Chief of Police
Ms. Sue Herman asked that the Board send a letter to Deputy Secretary Hoffman asking for an update on the synchronization of the By-Pass lights, noting that they have not received an official update for some time. Mr. Fedorchak agreed to send a letter.
Ms. Herman stated she was also concerned about the article in the newspaper regarding dumping of material into the River. She asked that the Board of Supervisors and the Southeastern Bucks League of Municipalities do everything that they can to see that this does not happen. Mr. Santarsiero stated the Board of Supervisors has already passed a Resolution and have written a number of letters and it was discussed at a meeting of the Southeastern Bucks League of Municipalities. He stated they will continue to monitor this situation and will raise it again at the next Southeastern Bucks League of Municipalities meeting.
Ms. B. J. Rassler,
being allowed to continue. She stated the noise level is causing vibration of the homes in the neighborhood. She stated the Police Department was contacted about a Noise Ordinance, and they were advised that the noise was within limits. She stated she asked them for a copy of the Noise Ordinance on Friday, and no one in the Township knew where it was. She stated houses two streets away from the site are shaking.
Mr. Fedorchak stated he understands that one year ago the
property owner received a Grading Permit from both the Township and the Bucks
County Conservation District to fill a section of their yard. He is not sure how large the area is. He stated they did have to file an engineer’s
report, and they hired
Ms. Rassler stated she has watched them inspect this; and they get out of the car, look at the site, get back in the car, and drive away. Mr. Santarsiero asked the size of the property.
Mr. Donald Lex,
Mr. Smith stated there is an environmental issue and a quality of life issue. He stated he feels the new environmental engineer should look at this to see what is being dumped. He stated he is also concerned about the unlimited time period to do this. He stated he would like to see the Permit on this to see if they are in compliance. Mrs. Godshalk stated she would like to know the ultimate use for this. Mr. Lex stated they are going to build three houses on one and a half acres. Mr. Santarsiero stated they do need to determine if they are in compliance with the Permit and determine what the soil is to insure that it is clean fill. Mr. Santarsiero stated they will get the environmental engineer involved in this. Mr. Lex stated the Township engineer provided a letter which stated that he agreed to 11,000 yards. Mr. Smith stated they want to find out what is being put into the ground so that they do not have a more serious issue several years from now.
Ms. Rassler stated she is concerned with the proximity of this property to the Canal and with the soil being dumped from many places and what will happen if they have a major downpour. She stated she does not understand why the Permit was issued. She stated she has not been able to get anything done by working with the Township Office.
Mrs. Godshalk moved that the project be shut down until everything is determined.
The Motion died for lack of a second.
Mr. Santarsiero stated he wants to get the facts first and see what they are allowed to do under the Permit, and the Township engineer will look into this. Mr. Majewski stated he has been out to the site on several occasions. Mr. Santarsiero asked if he understands what the Permit allows, and Mr. Majewski stated he does. Mr. Majewski stated it appears they are currently complying with the Permit. He stated he went out to the site two weeks ago because there was mud on the road, and they were advised to clean this up and shore up the erosion controls to insure that no more mud is tracked out of the site. They have silt fences installed, and on several occasions Mr. Majewski’s office and the Bucks County Conservation District have made sure that they shored these up.
Mr. Majewski stated they are permitted to bring in 11,000 cubic yards. Mr. Santarsiero asked for his estimate of the amount brought in to date based on the last visit, but
Mr. Majewski did not have an estimate. Mr. Santarsiero stated they also need to get a better sense of what is currently on the property. He stated they also need to get the environmental engineer out to the site to advise what is being put on the site.
Mr. Santarsiero asked if they are required to indicate from where the fill is coming, and Mr. Fedorchak stated he has not seen the Permit so he is not sure what is required.
Mr. Santarsiero asked that they look into this. Mr. Santarsiero stated the law is now more stringent than it was in the past in terms of what is allowed to be brought in and what notice requirements are put on haulers. He stated if they are not satisfied as to what it is and from where it is coming, they will need to do tests on it. He feels they need to take these steps before any legal action is taken at this time.
Mr. Smith asked how long it would take to do the environmental tests, and Mr. Majewski stated it is not difficult to determine this quickly. Mr. Smith stated if they find what is being put in is not appropriate, they can move for injunctive relief to stop this if it threatens the health, safety, and welfare of the community.
Ms. Rassler asked why this has not been done all along. She questioned why the Township would allow this to occur and the neighbors had to come to a meeting about this. Mr. Santarsiero stated Permits are issued for various work, and the Board of Supervisors does not have knowledge of every Permit issued by the Township which is why there is a Township staff. He stated when a resident comes before them and raises issues, the Board then looks into it and they will do this.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels they should vote this evening to close it down until they find out what is happening, as it seems as if it is much more than they were granted in the Permit. Mr. Santarsiero stated they do not have all the facts as to the requirements on the Permit and what is going on at the site. He added they must act within the law.
Mr. Lex stated he has been on
Mr. Smith stated they must consider the environmental issue as well as the other items including quality of life, and they are looking at all of these issues.
Mr. Peter Pirooz,
Mr. Pirooz asked if there is a bidding process for becoming the Township engineer, and Mr. Santarsiero stated there is not a bidding process for professional services. He stated
the Board spent a considerable
amount of time interviewing the engineers prior to making the
appointments. Mr. Pirooz asked if there
were not any
Mr. Jack Matthews,
Mr. Santarsiero agreed to look into this in terms of the cost and having people available.
Mr. Peter LaChance,
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Smith seconded to approve the
Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously
carried to approve the
DISCUSSION AND MOTION ON TELEVISING TOWNSHIP MEETINGS
Mr. Rich Coluzzi, President and Design Coordinator of RJC Designs, Inc., was present.
Mr. Coluzzi stated they specialize in IT communications. He reviewed some of their clients. He stated they were asked to address communications through a community access service and to design the technology for the meeting room to allow for interface to the Comcast Cable. They have come up with preliminary designs. He stated the plan will not only provide the technology to capture what is happening at the meeting, it will also bring media display possibilities to the Township. He stated it will also eventually have Internet access which would permit them to bring up immediately something from the Internet. Mr. Coluzzi stated there will be fixed and portable cameras. Someone will be manning the portable camera which can zoom in on an easel or map being referenced. The display will be a 61” monitor and connected to this they will be able to put in digital photos, etc. All microphones will be tied into the system at the rear of the room where there will be a small control room where there will be an operator who is responsible to ensure that the camera is on the appropriate speaker. There will also be recording capabilities so that the proceedings can be archived on different formats. They hope the cameras will be as unobtrusive as possible.
Mr. Stainthorpe asked the total number of cameras proposed, and Mr. Coluzzi stated there will be two fixed and one portable. He stated the system should be manned but it can be automatic and set up with the two cameras that are fixed. The third camera does have a tripod and could be set up to focus on an easel, etc. Mr. Stainthorpe asked the typical cost for an operator, and Mr. Coluzzi stated typically you can get volunteers to operate the cameras with very little training. If they wanted to hire someone from a tech school, etc, it would be an ad hoc rate. Mr. Santarsiero stated he did discuss this with representatives of other Townships who are televising their meetings, and they indicated the average is $4,000 a year to hire someone to operate it. Mr. Fedorchak stated there are a number of local companies that provide this service. He stated he would feel this would be their first choice as they would like to have consistency and be able to provide a high-quality product to the community. He does not feel that the portable camera needs to be manned at every meeting; and if there is a special activity, the operator could come out and man that camera. Mr. Santarsiero stated he understands that the camera that would be in the front of the room would be primarily for the gallery, and the camera in the center of the room would be primarily for the front table. There would be camera mounts on either wall that the hand-held camera could be put on if desired.
Mr. Stainthorpe noted the cost estimate of $98,000 which he assumes is for the equipment and does not include lighting changes or construction of a control room, or other changes needed to be made to the room. Mr. Coluzzi stated the estimate includes the equipment installed, including a few specialty lights. The build out of the room is not included. Mr. Stainthorpe stated he does feel the lighting needs to improved and asked for suggestions. Mr. Coluzzi stated part of the quote is for some specialty lighting in the
amount of $5,000 to $8,000. He stated to bring up the entire room for broadcast television would be much higher. He stated they were focusing on the front of the room and the first rows of the audience. Mr. Santarsiero stated they could have a stationary microphone where people could come up and speak into.
Mrs. Godshalk stated the quote specifies eight microphones, and she feels they will need more than this. Mr. Coluzzi stated once approved, they will review the existing microphones and try to utilize some of the equipment. He stated they have included in the quote eight microphones for the front table and a number of wireless microphones.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated if they are planning to televise the meetings, he feels the room itself needs some refurbishing, and Mr. Coluzzi stated they could make recommendations regarding colors, etc.
Mr. Coluzzi stated the size of the display monitor should be large enough for everyone to see; and they are currently considering a 61” monitor so they will be able to see maps, etc. on a large scale. They will not be able to see fine details such as on a spread sheet.
Mr. Santarsiero stated they have also included an ELMO which is a document camera which can photograph the document and then project it onto a screen. The 61” monitor should be large enough for most of the Township Plans. Mr. Coluzzi stated there will also be a small side monitor which will be in the center of the table so the Board members can view this.
Mr. Smith asked how long it would take for the project to be implemented. Mr. Coluzzi stated typically it is a three-month process. Mr. Fedorchak stated it may be longer than this as he and Mr. Coluzzi would have to construct a bid spec package which could be done by the end of the month assuming this were approved this evening. He stated this project would have to go out to bid. He feels by late June or July they could review the bids and award the Contract to the low bidder. It would then take approximately three months from that time. Mr. Stainthorpe stated he would like to see estimates for alternatives to the bid to include refurbishing the meeting room and also looking at better lights. He feels if they are going to proceed, it should be good for ten to fifteen years. Mr. Coluzzi stated they could make improvements to the lighting as they already have the bays and they could increase the existing lighting and augment it with specialty lighting.
Mr. Santarsiero asked if they feel there should be two different bids – one for the equipment and one for building the room in the back and other renovations; and
Mr. Fedorchak stated he feels it should be done in that way.
Ms. Sue Herman asked if someone were showing a power point or DVD, would this mean those looking at it from their homes on television, would be able to see it as well; and Mr. Coluzzi stated they will.
Mr. Jack Matthews asked how long it would be for the equipment to become outdated and asked if it would be better to lease it rather than purchase it. Mr. Coluzzi stated most of the equipment, aside from the computer, has a fairly large life expectancy. He stated they would have at least one or two computers tied into the system and these are what would change most rapidly. Mr. Matthews noted the earlier discussion by the residents about the dumping, and asked if they could have brought in digital pictures which could be hooked up to the monitor, and Mr. Coluzzi stated they could.
Ms. Virginia Torbert asked if this system is in use in a
nearby Township which they could visit, and Mr. Coluzzi stated not that they
have designed. He stated the components
are similar that would be used for video teleconferencing. He stated these have been installed at many
nearby Universities. Mr. Santarsiero stated
Mr. Santarsiero stated once the system is in place, they will consider how it will be operated; and they will consider those kinds of details. He stated they can also look into how other Townships are operating.
Mr. Andy Raffle,
equipment for which they were franchised or had in the warehouse. The desire was to keep the design neutral so that anyone could give a fair and value price bid.
Mr. Peter Pirooz asked if this would be available through the Web or just Comcast.
Mr. Coluzzi stated they have not discussed this, but the system has the capability to supply a stream into the Internet if this was the desire. Mr. Pirooz asked if there is any way to measure how many people are actually viewing this to determine the effectiveness. Mr. Santarsiero stated when he ran for Supervisor, this was an issue he campaigned on; and a number of people felt this was a good idea. He stated the Township has many people who work long hours who are not able to attend evening meetings; and if they have this televised, he feels they are broadening the opportunity for people to have access. He stated a number of other Townships do this, and he has heard that people do watch. Mr. Caiola stated this is a public service. Mr. Smith stated when he and Mr. Caiola campaigned last year, it was one of their platform planks to open up the process of communication. Mr. Stainthorpe stated he agrees that they should do this. He has heard from the Supervisors in other Townships where this is done, that it makes the Supervisors more recognizable. He stated he has also been told that there are people who will want to grandstand and see themselves on TV so Public Comment takes longer. Mr. Santarsiero stated initially he feels this may be the case, but as people get used to it, this may ebb.
Mrs. Godshalk noted Mr. Coluzzi’s client list and stated there do not appear to be any Governmental clients listed. Mr. Coluzzi stated he does have some D.C. Governmental clients. Mrs. Godshalk stated it appears what they are proposing is very sophisticated and stated most of the people who are in the audience can see when they hold items up.
Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels this is incorrect, and feels when the Board is looking at Plans, it is very difficult for the audience to see what is being reviewed. He feels the video screen will open it up more for the people coming to the meeting. Mr. Coluzzi stated when they are broadcasting through TV, the people at home do not have the luxury to see the information unless someone has a camera. He stated with the digital features, they are able to broadcast the information to the screen in the room as well as to the televisions at home. He stated the charts and maps do not work television wise without having this modern technology.
Mr. Smith asked if anyone has gone to the new system and
switched back to the old system of not televising meetings. Mr. Coluzzi stated while he has not done
Municipalities, the hundreds of video teleconferencing systems they have done
for the Universities have not gone back.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels
Mr. Henry Schneider,
Township and therefore they are giving a percentage of what they take in. He stated it is not a gift, but is something that was negotiated. He stated Comcast has also been raising their rates. He stated Verizon is installing lines, and he asked if this system will be compatible with both and could it be broadcast on both systems. He stated he does not feel the Township should have only one service provider. He asked why the Township did not do what Hulmeville did and make an Agreement with Verizon.
Mr. Santarsiero stated they are participating in the Consortium in trying to negotiate a Franchise Agreement with Verizon. He stated there are a number of options open to them with respect to Verizon and streaming video; and one of them is to do what Middletown just did which is to change the Ordinance to provide a fee for using the right-of-way. He stated first they wanted to see what the Consortium comes up with which could be a benefit to the Township since they felt there would be strength in numbers. He stated they will have to come to an Agreement with Verizon with respect to running this service. He stated there are some challenges with how the streaming of video would be characterized by the Courts and the FCC and whether it would therefore be something that would be subject to a Franchise Agreement.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated they are not prohibiting Verizon from offering video service, and they have not yet wired the entire Township. He stated they would have to come to the Township and indicate they wanted to begin doing this. He stated he feels Hulmeville may have been able to do this more quickly because they are so small. Mr. Santarsiero stated there had been some problems in the past with Verizon wiring the Township as their Sub-Contractors had ripped up some of the residents’ front lawns and disrupted their Cable service. They are issuing Permits on a piecemeal basis with Verizon as they wanted to stay on top of this and keep a tight rein on their Sub-Contractors and minimize the disturbance to the residents.
Ms. Sue Herman stated she feels the DRVPC has these large screens that are close to the audience and it is a pleasure to follow along in this way and follow the conversations.
She noted some problems viewing documents at
Mr. Santarsiero stated they do not have an ELMO in
Ms. Becky Cecchine,
Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to authorize Mr. Fedorchak and Mr. Coluzzi to prepare Requests for Proposals consistent with the January 19, 2006 report received from RJC Designs; but that it be done in two parts – one on the technology side for the cameras and the other equipment, and second on the construction side for the changes in the room that would be necessary and that in crafting the RFPs, that the bidders be asked to break out, aside from the basic bid that would be responsive to the report, any other changes that would be helpful in the room to create a better product and a better environment for the meetings.
Mr. Santarsiero stated they are not in a position tonight to vote on an Agreement with Matrix. He stated he did not discuss this two weeks ago as he was sensitive to the discussions which were occurring between Matrix and Bellemead, the current owner of the site. This has now been discussed, and he does not feel there is an objection to letting the public know where things stand. He stated a Concept Plan was discussed in some detail approximately one year ago, and there was not an overwhelming opposition to the Concept Plan. What they are now discussing is a written Agreement that would spell out how the Concept Plan would get implemented and the process by which the normal land use process would take place, what payments would be made to the Township, and what protection the Township and residents would have with respect to what ultimately gets built on the site. All of these details must be in a written Agreement, and they have been negotiating this for seven to eight months. He stated they have been able to resolve every issue between Matrix, the Township, and RAM with the only outstanding issue being with respect to the current owner of the site, Bellemead, which is a subsidiary of CHUBB Insurance and is the real estate holding arm. This is the last asset that Bellemead has. The concern that both the Township and RAM have had with respect to Bellemead is that if the Township enters into an Agreement with Matrix and they go through the development process and obtain their approvals, and then fall out of the picture prior to closing on the property with Bellemead, they wanted to make sure that the property would be protected from being developed as a shopping center or with big box stores which were the primary objections of RAM and the concerns that many in the Township had about the original development Plan. They approached Bellemead and asked if they would agree that if Matrix fell out of the picture, that the property would never be developed as a shopping center or with big box stores. Bellemead would not agree to this and stated they could not agree to limit their potential marketing of the site.
Mr. Santarsiero stated they have now asked Bellemead if they would limit it to a period of two years during which time, Bellemead could market it at the current cost they would sell it to Matrix with the approvals already in place which would make it more attractive to potential developers. Bellemead has indicated they will come back to the Township with their answer, and the Township hopes they will have a response between now and the Board’s next meeting on March 15.
Mr. Santarsiero stated this issue is normally an issue considered by lawyers as they must consider possible downsides. He stated they are not going to discuss tonight what will happen if Bellemead will not agree to even a two-year restriction as this would interfere with the negotiations. He stated there are no changes in the Concept Plan that was previously discussed and this only has to do with protections that would be afforded under the scope of the written Agreement with respect to potential big box stores or shopping center development at the site.
A short recess was called at this time. The meeting was reconvened at
SEWER BOND FINANCING DISCUSSION AND APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 2113 AUTHORIZING THE TOWNSHIP’S FINANCIAL ADVISOR TO SEEK PROPOSALS FOR GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS
Mr. Gordon Walker was present. He noted the report which had been provided to the Board. He stated the Municipal Bond, twenty year, tax-exempt rates are actually slightly lower than they were one year ago although short term rates have gone up. They feel the Fed is getting near the end of their rate raising. He stated the ten year Treasury Rates are up approximately ¼%. He stated the long-term rates are what matter because the Bonds are out for twenty to thirty years and these rates are lower.
Mr. Fedorchak stated they are financing the costs for
rehabilitating the sanitary sewer line – the Canal Interceptor project. Phase I is approximately 8,000 linear feet of
sewer line with bids to be opened March 7.
The second phase will be re-lining approximately 5,800 linear feet, and
they anticipate that project will be completed sometime by the end of 2006 or
the beginning of 2007. He stated these
two phases will cost approximately $5 million.
They are also looking at upgrading the electrical system at the Black
Rock Road Pump Station as part of this financing issue. They anticipate this will cost approximately
$200,000. There is also an obligation on
Mr. Walker noted Page 1 of the Report which is the current sewer system debt service. He stated he was asked to see if they could borrow the $7 million and keep the debt service the same as it is now. In order to do this, they would have to refinance the existing debt service and stretch it out. Page 2 was noted where they show “new money” which provides for $7 million in sewer system improvements. He stated they are not asking for approval of an exact amount this evening as the numbers can change up until a few days before the bond issue. He stated there will be interest earned on the proceeds. He stated the Federal Government does regulate the number of times you can do advance refundings on prior issue; and since the 2003 issue has some prior refunding in it, they
must do some research to see if there is any way they can do it tax free. They have shown a worst case scenario and assumed that there are elements of what happened in the past which would require them, if they refund the existing debt service, to do it on a taxable basis. The interest rates will be higher but they will keep that part of the debt short. Mr. Closser stated they have to research it back to the original issue which they feel took place in 1978. Mr. Walker stated there have been numerous refundings, and they are trying to trace it back. He stated if the $7 million is what they want, and if they do the refunding in this way so that they can keep the debt service the same, they will have a bond issue of approximately $9,580,000; and this amount is shown in the report.
Mr. Walker noted the last page showing the taxable refunding piece which runs out to 2015. The left hand column shows the new money which is low in the early years. When you put the two together you get the debt service, shown in the right hand column, which is approximately the same as currently. He stated if they do not do the refunding, they would be taking the $615,000 existing debt service and having to add at a minimum the interest on the new debt so that they would be close to $1 million in debt service. They are showing a twenty-five year amortization. This would be based on an average interest rate of 4 ½%. There is a call feature if rates go down, and it would be a five year call. Mr. Walker stated the interest rates being used are slightly higher than what prevails.
Mr. Walker stated the last time they did an Internet auction, but this time he would recommend a negotiated sale. He stated they would take proposals from four to five underwriting firms and review them with the staff and the Board and come to a decision as to which would be the best one. In this way they know they will get the money on a given day. He stated they could have a sale at the Board’s second meeting in April at the earliest. He stated they do have to get the Prospectus updated. He stated they have a AA3 rating. Mr. Fedorchak stated they wanted to close before June. Mr. Walker stated if they had a sale at their second meeting in April, they could close by the end of May.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated they have to do these projects. Mr. Santarsiero stated time is of the essence because of the status of the interceptor.
Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Stainthorpe seconded to approve Resolution No. 2113 authorizing the Township’s Financial Advisor to seek proposals for General Obligation Bonds of approximately $10 million.
Ms. Helen Bosley, 546 Palmer Farm Drive, stated by proceeding in this way they are extending an existing debt out for a number of years. Mr. Walker stated the 25 years referenced is for the new money; the only thing that is being extended is the small amount of existing debt service which will be paid off in 2015 as opposed to 2010.
Mr. Walker stated this is to keep the debt service from going up to $1 million from $600,000. Ms. Bosley asked if there was a different way of approaching this such as an
interest only. Mr. Walker stated the interest only on the $7 million is $300,00 and on top of the existing $600,000, they would have a 50% increase in debt service if they do not do the refinancing. Ms. Bosley stated this is a financing that was done for pipe that is already in the ground, and the taxpayers agreed to pay for it. This is now going to be five years older when it is finally paid off. They are now putting new pipe in the ground and are going to be paying for both the new pipe and the old pipe. Mr. Walker stated any time you save money by doing some refinancing, you will pay more in the long run; however, most communities want to try to keep the impact to the users at a minimal level if they can and this was the mission he was given. Ms. Bosley stated she objects to this because they were four years away from paying off the sewers in the ground, and they are now extending this payment another five years. She stated they do not know what kind of pipe will need to be put in ten years from now. Mr. Santarsiero stated they are going to have to address what other sewer issues are out there. He stated they need to consider whether it makes sense for the Township to continue to own the sewer system or whether it would be better to sell it due to these types of issues. He stated the more immediate concern is this Bond Issue and the type of financing arrangement, and from a Budgetary standpoint they need to consider whether they will be able to absorb the additional cost which nets to be $300,000 to $400,000 a year if they do not refinance the existing debt. Ms. Bosley stated this is the cost of spending $7 million to do the job. Mr. Santarsiero stated if they decide to sell the sewer system, which has not been decided, this would be taken into consideration as to how it nets out to the Township. He stated they do have to live within constraints of a yearly Budget. Mr. Fedorchak stated the Sewer Budget cannot absorb a $400,000 loan without raising rates. He stated he feels they would have to have a minimum 15% increase if they did this the way Ms. Bosley is suggesting, and more likely it would be 20%. Ms. Bosley stated she feels this is short-sighted and is increasing the long-term costs.
Mr. Andy Raffle,
Mr. Walker stated they could adopt the Resolution to get the process moving forward without having to make a decision on the structure which could be decided on later. In this way, they can meet the April date.
Mr. Raffle asked Mr. Walker if he would suggest to a client that they extend a piece of debt like this which will cost $500,000. Mr. Walker stated this issue comes up all the time, and they must decide if they want to raise rates fifteen to twenty percent and keep the costs lower in the long run or do they want to do some minor restructuring and pay more in the long run but avoid a rate increase. He stated this is a policy decision to be made by the Board.
Mr. Walker stated they should be able to determine the differential within the next few weeks.
Mr. Zachary Rubin, 1661 Covington Road, stated he borrows money and would love to go to a five year mortgage for his home, but he has a thirty year mortgage and while this does increase the debt service, he would not be able to budget for a five or ten year term. He stated the sewer bills have been increased over the last two years, and he does not feel the Township residents would want to pay another 20% increase in their sewer bills.
Mr. Raffle stated the question is once you have taken a mortgage out and are close to paying it off, should you be stretching it out at a cost of $500,000 to the Township residents. Mr. Santarsiero stated they must consider what the residents can afford on a yearly basis. He stated the Township residents did just absorb a fairly large sewer increase, and they would have to ask them to do that again. He stated this leads to the question as to whether it is in the Township’s best interest to own the sewer system. He stated he feels they need to schedule a full and complete discussion of this matter.
Ms. Bosley asked what the process will be going forward. Mr. Closser stated the Township must borrow under the rules of the Local Government Debt Act. There will need to be an Ordinance that is advertised and available for public inspection at least three days prior to the public meeting at which the Ordinance is to be enacted. The award of the Bond to an underwriter would be made pursuant to the proposal, and there will be time for the public to review the final structure. It can be publicly discussed at meetings prior to taking official action. Mr. Santarsiero stated the official action meeting is contemplated to be the second meeting in April.
Motion carried with Mrs. Godshalk abstained.
DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS TO SNOW REMOVAL PROGRAM
Mr. Fedorchak stated the Public Works Department is
responsible for 128 miles of Township-owned roads in addition to plowing 22
miles of State-owned highways. They are
broken down into sixteen different zones, and each zone has at least one
Township driver or contractor assigned to it.
Mr. Santarsiero asked if they can be sure that the Hotline will be staffed on a consistent basis so that there are no gaps, and Mr. Fedorchak stated they can. Mr. Fedorchak stated he hopes that this will help with some of the problems they have had particularly in the northern part of the Township where they have experienced the most growth and there has not been increased staff.
Ms. Diane Mayes,
Mr. Ron Smith stated he has heard complaints from those residing in Kimble’s Field that they are usually the last area to be plowed out. He stated he assumes these changes will cover this area, and Mr. Fedorchak stated it will.
Mr. Bob Slamen,
doing a great job; but if they can make it a better system, they should do what they can in this regard. He does feel they will be able to do this with these changes.
Ms. Jackie Forenza stated she lives in Brookstone and also
Ms. Forenza stated she would like to make sure that there is a system in place that roads are being treated when there is a substantial snowfall. Mrs. Godshalk stated the treatment they use does not work under a certain temperature. Mr. Santarsiero stated they will look into this.
Ms. Virginia Torbert stated she does not feel what Mr. Fedorchak is offering will provide any resolution to the problem. She stated she understands Mr. Coyne has been ill for some time and this may have been part of the problem. She stated she does not understand how the problem of the trucks will be solved if there are trucks breaking down. She stated there is also a problem with employees being out forty hours straight or twenty-five hours straight. She stated there are contractors that they apparently cannot count on and part-time people that they are not sure are available. She does not see how anything will change for the next storm. Mr. Santarsiero stated they will be using more contractors and in different zones so that there are more people doing the work; and hopefully, the existing plows will get to their zones faster. He stated he feels trucks breaking down is a function of the weather. He feels that by providing more resources, they will be able to get more work done more quickly. Ms. Torbert stated she heard that they had 1,100 complaints. The Board and Mr. Fedorchak stated they did not feel there were this many complaints. Mr. Santarsiero stated he received three e-mails and one personal call. Ms. Torbert asked if there are trucks that need to be replaced; and
Mr. Fedorchak stated they will replace one truck, and this was included in the Budget. Ms. Torbert stated she feels they need to look at how the entire system is run. She feels they also need to look at all the contractors they are using and whether they are really available. She asked if it is acceptable to have someone working 25 to 40 hours straight. Mr. Caiola stated there are finite resources when it comes to snow removal as all the communities are dealing with the same issues and drawing on the same contractors.
Ms. Torbert asked if people are being called early enough, and Mr. Fedorchak stated they are. Ms. Torbert stated they should also insure that salt is being laid down early enough. Mr. Fedorchak stated a large contingent was called out the evening before the most recent
snowstorm started, and they laid salt throughout the community so that there was a salt base down. At everyone was called in and they did have a full complement of twenty trucks as the snow started to fall. He stated the full-time employees were called out first to do all the salting which did mean they were working twenty-five hours.
Mr. Fedorchak stated while they need a large bank of contractors and they are trying to do this, there is not a lot of people that they can draw from.
Mr. Santarsiero suggested that they take this step of creating the two new zones and try to hire more contractors; and at the same time when Mr. Coyne is back at full capacity, they can have the discussion with him about a full review of the procedures to see if there are further things they can do to make the system work better.
Mr. Slamen stated there is a finite amount of money to spend on this, and he feels
Mr. Coyne is doing a great job and no further study needs to be done.
Mrs. Godshalk left the meeting at as she was not feeling well.
APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 2114 – REORGANIZING THE ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
Mr. Santarsiero stated under the current Resolution the Environmental Advisory Council is comprised of seven members, four of which are appointed by the Board of Supervisors at large, and three of which are to be appointed by the Board on a yearly basis – one from the Board of Supervisors, one from the Planning Commission, and one from the Park & Recreation Board. He noted that since he has been on the Board they have not made these appointments from the various Boards although they have appointed Liaisons to the EAC. He stated in the past year, there has been continuing concern that they do not have enough members on the EAC to do the jobs that they want to do. He stated recently they have been having seminars and public outreach to alert the public to various environmental issues and have done an excellent job in this regard. He stated as they move forward hopefully with a new Low-Impact Development Ordinance, he feels it makes sense to expand the role of the EAC to be an oversight Board and review land use Plans as they come before the Township in a similar way that the Planning Commission does and to provide advice to the Board of Supervisors with respect to how those Plans impact the environment, particularly with how they will comply or not comply with a Low Impact Development Ordinance. Due to these issues, the Board felt it made sense to amend the current Resolution to have seven full-time at large members of the EAC and do away with the three appointments – one from Board of Supervisors, one from Park & Recreation, and one from the Planning Commission and to increase the scope of the Council’s duty to include the review of land use Plans. The Resolution proposed will do this.
Mr. Santarsiero stated at the EAC meeting in February he appeared before the members and discussed this change and suggested that this is something that they should do, and the reception was positive.
Mr. Jim Bray, Chairman of the EAC, was present and stated this Resolution was well received by the members of the EAC. He feels their Board will have an expanded role during the year, and this will give them the tools to work with. He stated they need more people on their Board and they have a number of projects they want to work on. This will enable them to move ahead more effectively. He stated he would propose that they also include the position of alternate to the seven-member Board. He stated this would help them be assured of a quorum and would also provide continuity so that if they lose a member, the alternate, with the Board’s approval, could move into that empty spot.
He noted the Zoning Hearing Board has alternates. He stated the alternate would only have voting privileges if a regular member were not present.
Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Smith seconded approval of Resolution No. 2114 reorganizing the Environmental Council with an eighth person as an Alternate and expanding the scope of their work to include Plan review.
Mr. Stainthorpe complimented the EAC on the job they have done. He stated he feels they should carefully
consider making this an approval Board before they have Ordinances in
place. He stated while there has been discussion
Mr. Santarsiero stated with respect to this Resolution, because it merely focuses on the EAC and expands its mission and because they do not yet have changes in the Ordinances that require a developer to come in and appear before the EAC, they are not changing what the developers have to do by passing this Resolution. He does not feel there should be a problem to enact the Resolution as it is written. With respect to the low
impact development, Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels there are a number of things that they should do which they are not doing which will make a difference in how undeveloped land is developed, and also how existing developments are changed over time. He stated there will be a need for a panel with environmental expertise to look at this. He stated it will take time to proceed with a low impact development Ordinance to ensure that they are covering everything.
Mr. Santarsiero asked the Solicitor if the effect of this Resolution will require a developer to go to the EAC, and Mr. Truelove stated for Plans that are in process currently, he does not feel they would be required to go before the EAC; however, anything submitted after this is approved, would be required to do so.
Mr. Smith stated they faced a problem earlier in the evening at the Westover section and they now need to send out an environmental engineer after the fact. He stated he does not feel it is a bad thing to have the EAC review the Plans submitted by the developers. He stated he does feel that they should make sure that the projects are environmentally sound. Mr. Stainthorpe stated he is not objecting to this, but feels they are premature imposing this requirement before they have the Ordinances in place. He stated when they look at the low impact Ordinance they should look into what is already in existence so that they can make informed choices. Mr. Santarsiero stated he agrees and stated he feels the solicitor, the EAC, and the engineer should meet to discuss what would go into the Ordinance and report back to the Board before they are presented with a draft Ordinance to consider. Mr. Smith stated he feels this is a good first step.
Mr. Santarsiero asked Mr. Truelove if a developer came in next month and submitted Plans, by virtue of changing the Mission Statement of the EAC, but not changing anything else in the Ordinance in terms of what a developer does or does not have to do in order to get Plan approval, would they have to go before the EAC. Mr. Truelove stated his feeling is that the Zoning Ordinance is probably worded broadly enough that it would be included for anything new although he does have to look into this further.
Mr. Santarsiero stated if they passed this as written this evening and a developer came in with a Plan and went before the EAC pursuant to this Resolution but the Board had not yet passed any independent legislation that would direct what has to happen from an environmental standpoint, would the EAC simply review the Plans and advise the Board of Supervisors on environmental issues. He noted they would still be an Advisory Board and not have any decision-making in and of themselves. Mr. Truelove agreed that the EAC could provide the input and the Board of Supervisors would then decide what to consider in the approval process as they do with information provided by the other Advisory Boards. Mr. Santarsiero stated he does not feel there are any downsides to having the developers go before the EAC to present their Plans and have them provide the Board of Supervisors with information on environmental issues.
Mr. Smith stated there is a reporting requirement currently between the EAC and the Planning Commission, and Ms. Friedman stated the liaison from the Planning Commission to the EAC does provide a report to the rest of the Planning Commission members. Mr. Smith asked if Ms. Friedman felt that the Planning Commission would feel it would be helpful to have input from the EAC on some of the decisions that the Planning Commission makes, and Ms. Friedman stated she felt it would be very helpful.
Mr. Bray stated whether there is a low impact Ordinance or not, they could still make recommendations as far as environmental issues. He stated they have good expertise on their Board and when they look at the Plans they will make valid observations and list their concerns and pass these onto the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Smith stated he would like to see the EAC make recommendations and comments to the Planning Commission as well, and Mr. Bray agreed.
Mr. Santarsiero stated he does not feel it would be necessary to have the solicitor or environmental engineer at the EAC meetings. He stated if they had questions, they could contact the professionals on an as-needed basis and in this way they could avoid the extra expense. Ms. Friedman stated these issues could be brought up at the Planning Commission.
Ms. Bosley asked what will happen with the Supervisor, Planning Commission and Park & Recreation positions which were previously part of the EAC. Mr. Santarsiero stated there were liaisons in the past but under the current Ordinance, the Board of Supervisors was supposed to appoint a member of the Board, the Planning Commission, and the Park & Recreation Board as a member to the EAC for a one-year term. He stated they have not done this in the past few years. They are therefore getting rid of those three spots and adding three at-large spots. Ms. Bosley stated she feels it would be nice to have that provision in there if they need it despite the fact that it was not done recently.
Ms. Friedman stated people from each of those Boards have been attending, but they were considered liaisons. Mr. Santarsiero stated this Resolution does not preclude that from happening in the future.
Motion carried unanimously.
GRANTING OF EXTENSIONS FOR CLOVER TRACT, LOTUS TRACT, AND PATTERSON FARM MINOR SUBDIVISION
Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to grant the following extensions:
Tract, Big Oak - Extension to
Farm Minor Subdivision – Extension to
REQUEST BY HOMEOWNER AT
Mr. Fedorchak stated typically a request to exceed the impervious surface requirement would go before the Zoning Hearing Board; but in this case, the Condition is attached to the actual plan. Mr. Tim Ciccimaro, the builder, was present and stated the Township
permits 22.1% and the lot is 18%. Mr. Truelove stated it is approved for a specific square footage. Mr. Majewski stated at the time of Land Development Approval, they made the detention basins sized for that amount of impervious surface and with this increase in impervious surface, additional stormwater management facilities would be necessary.
Mr. Ciccimaro asked if he would have any objection to building a lot seepage bed for the roof drains, and he agreed that this would not be a problem. Mr. Majewski stated this will handle the additional run off that would be generated by the addition. Mr. Truelove stated 4,360 square feet it permitted for the lot. They are currently at 4,330 square feet and will be going to 4,381.5 square feet if this is approved.
Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the relief contingent on construction of a re-charge system acceptable to the Township engineer.
DISCUSSION AND MOTION ON PATTERSON FARM LEASE
Mr. Fedorchak stated at the last meeting, the Board awarded the farm lease for the Patterson Tract to Charlann Farms and this afternoon, Mr. Stewart provided a check to the Township in the amount of $13,568 and signed the Lease. With respect to the Vargo Tract, the Board had awarded this to Tanner Bros. but felt they may not want this as they were not awarded the Patterson Tract. He did receive a letter from Leonard Tanner indicating that this is the case, and they are withdrawing their bid. Mr. Fedorchak stated he is unable to find anyone interested in farming the Vargo Tract. Mr. Santarsiero asked if Charlann would be interested, and Mr. Fedorchak stated they initially indicated they were not but advised him they would think about it.
Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to rescind the acceptance of the lease for the Vargo Tract based upon the letter received from
Mr. Tanner dated
Mr. Stainthorpe suggested that they contact Sterling Farms as they are farming a lot of the Farmland Preservation land. Mr. Fedorchak stated there may be complicating factors because of the activity at Memorial Park.
Mr. Santarsiero stated they are looking to go to four editions of the Newsletter a year, and the next one which would be a post-card mailing would be in April. He will have more information on this at the next meeting.
Mr. Smith stated the Regional Traffic Task Force is not
meeting until the end of May; however, he noted Ms. Herman has been standing up
Mr. Caiola stated the Park & Recreation Board had their
Annual Report on the Five Mile Woods with a great deal of discussion on the
deer population which will be discussed later this year. Mr. Bray also discussed the Native Plant
Ordinance at that meeting. YMS
representatives were present with information on a proposal for a turf field
they would like to put in place and it was recommended that they come before
the Board of Supervisors at an Agenda session.
Mr. Smith stated YMS would like to install this artificial turf field at
Transfer of Police Vehicle
Chief Coluzzi asked that the Board agree to the transfer of a 1999 police vehicle with 115,000 miles to the District Court Constables for use by them in the transportation of prisoners. He stated the vehicle was going to be put up for auction and would probably net under $1,000. He feels the savings by having the Constables expedite prisoners would in turn save the Police Department money in terms of man hours and staffing waiting for Court appearances, etc.
Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the transfer of the 1999 police vehicle to the District Court Constables.
Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to
re-appoint Norma Wood and Janet Smith to the Elm Lowne Committee, and Michelle Stambaugh and Rae Pinchuk to the Historical Commission.
Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to
re-appoint Joe Weiss to the Cable TV Advisory Board, and Andrea Scherer and Nancy Gaston-Festa to the Historic Architectural Review Board.
Mr. Caiola stated they have had a number of interviews and some additional interviews to be conducted and by next meeting they will probably make additional appointments.
There being no further business, Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Santarsiero seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at
Greg Caiola, Secretary