BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MINUTES – MARCH 7, 2007
A Town Meeting was held by the Board of Supervisors of the
Board of Supervisors: Ron Smith, Chairman
Steve Santarsiero, Secretary
Grace Godshalk, Supervisor
Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor
Others: Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager
David Truelove, Township Solicitor
James Majewski, Township Engineer
Kenneth Coluzzi, Chief of Police
Absent: Greg Caiola, Vice Chairman Board of Supervisors
OPEN FORUM LED BY CHAIRMAN SMITH
Mr. Smith stated they are trying a different format in lieu of the regular Board of Supervisors meetings. He stated this will be a Town Meeting which will be an open forum. Mr. Smith welcomed State Representative David Steil who was present this evening.
Mr. Smith stated there have been discussions in the community
Mr. John Behergen stated he has been a resident for over forty years and did not realize that it was a dry Township. He stated he does not feel it should be changed.
Mr. Norm Shakett stated there is already a liquor store in the food store in the Township, and they serve liquor at the Golf Course. He stated the only reason to open up the Township would be to allow the restaurants to serve alcohol. He stated he feels opening this up would make the restaurants more profitable which he feels would be a positive for the Township. He does not feel there would be any negative effects. He stated he does not feel there would be any bars in the Township.
Mr. Behergen asked how they could prevent bars from coming into the Township.
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 2 of 19
Mr. Zachary Rubin stated he feels the law should be changed. He stated he feels the restaurants should have the opportunity to bring in additional revenue. He stated the Blue Laws were repealed, and he feels these other archaic laws should also be repealed.
Mr. Behergen stated he has never heard anyone indicate they wished the Township were wet.
Mr. Patrick Frain asked if there is any data on an increase in drunk driving as a result of the Golf Course serving alcohol. Chief Coluzzi stated the Golf Course is not open late hours, and there are not people there drinking all night. He stated there are enforcement issues when there are establishments serving alcohol, but he does not feel it is anything that would get out of control.
Mr. Gary Cruzan stated if there is to be a change, he feels everyone in the Township should be able to vote on it, and the majority would rule. It was noted that this would be required by law.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated the only way the Township could be made wet would be by another Referendum, and it must be placed on the ballot with signatures. He stated he personally feels since there is no material benefit to the Township in the form of additional taxes, etc. if there is a move to make the Township wet, the restaurant owners who would benefit from this should get behind this and try to get it on the ballot. He stated if there is not a desire amongst the restaurant owners to do this, he would feel they should remain as they are.
Mrs. Godshalk stated if this were approved, the liquor licenses would be dispensed according to population; and there could be over twenty liquor licenses in the Township. She stated these could be distributed to bars as opposed to solely restaurants. She stated the Township would not get any money, and she feels there would be policing expenses.
She stated there are restaurants in the Township where you can bring your own wine, and she feels many people prefer this because it makes it less expensive.
Mr. Cruzan stated there are only approximately seven restaurants in the Township, and he does not feel they should change their way of life for seven restaurants.
Mr. Santarsiero stated as a Township resident, he would not
mind seeing restaurants having the opportunity to serve alcohol. He stated this is permitted in Yardley
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 3 of 19
to serve alcohol. He stated this would result in ratables as well as making it a more viable development. He stated each voter in the Township would have an equal voice in this matter if it were put on a Referendum.
Mrs. Godshalk stated if this does get on the ballot, there should be meetings on this since in addition to the amount of liquor licenses, they would get because of the population, she has heard that some Townships get a resort clause which permits even more licenses.
Mr. Smith stated the Township Solicitor has advised that a petition would have to be in Doylestown by next week in order to get it on this year’s ballot, and they would need approximately 2,000 signatures. If the matter is not on this year’s ballot, it could not be put on a ballot for two years.
One woman asked about the bubble for the swimming pool
adding she feels this should be something that should be put on a Referendum as
she feels everyone should have a say in this as she feels very few people would
benefit from this. She also stated she
is not sure that the Township is aware of the programs
Ms. Donna Liney, Park & Recreation Director, stated this
is a good suggestion and the Township does revisit this from time to time. She stated one of the critical pieces for
indoor programming is to have an indoor facility and currently the indoor
facilities are limited in
The woman stated she has lived in
Mr. Santarsiero stated with respect to her question about the pool bubble, when this was originally brought to the Board of Supervisors approximately one year ago, they were
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 4 of 19
shown preliminary costs of approximately $500,000. The Board of Supervisors felt they should
proceed with a feasibility study. He
stated the Pool does make money each year.
He stated the costs came back and were estimated to be over $2 million;
and that being the case, and given the fact that there are other Park & Rec
needs in the Township, the Board of Supervisors felt that this was not a
priority. Mr. Stainthorpe stated the
Township already has a fabulous facility at the Pool, and he would not be in
support of anything that would jeopardize it. Mrs. Godshalk stated from the
beginning, she felt the bubble was unnecessary.
She stated the
Mrs. Godshalk noted with respect to the woman’s comments
about other activities, that the Township has offered art programs such as Art
in the Park which was very successful.
She stated they also have the
Mr. Michael Upton thanked Mr. Smith for hosting this forum. He stated when the Board is dealing with significant decisions, he feels it is always a wise choice to go the route of Referendum. He stated he sees more of a movement toward more public involvement in the Township. He stated items such as a bubble or the sale of the sewer system should be put to a Referendum. Mr. Smith asked where the line should be drawn between going with a Referendum and allowing the elected officials to make decisions. Mr. Upton stated while this is difficult, he feels it is somewhat incumbent on the Supervisors to determine when it would make sense to put the matter out to a Referendum. Mr. Smith stated he does feel that when you elect officials, you should have enough faith in them to make the right decisions. He stated they would need a majority of the Board to approve anything. He stated he does feel there are some items which should go out to a Referendum, although he also feels that sometimes a Referendum is an excuse for elected officials who are afraid to make a decision which may impact their ability to get
Mr. Stainthorpe stated in
Mr. Cruzan stated he totally disagrees with this especially when it goes outside the normal business.
Ms. Judy Curley stated with regard to the comments regarding activities in the Township, the Township and the County must work together. She stated people are asking for
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 5 of 19
everything but do not want to pay a lot for it. She stated she feels people should volunteer more. She also noted the programs at the Five Mile Woods. She stated she feels the residents should work with Park & Rec as well and work to get a place for the Seniors to meet.
Mr. Steil was asked his opinion of Referendums. Mr. Steil stated he is not a big supporter of Referendums and feels they should be restricted to issues of taxes; and if you feel you need to impose an increase in the tax rate to accomplish a particular Municipal purpose, this would be a proper reason to have a Referendum. He stated this is particularly true if you are going to borrow money; because if you are going to borrow money and it is Electoral Debt that is on an approved Referendum, it does not count against your bonding limit.
Mr. Kevin Kull stated he agrees that matters impacting taxes should be put to a Referendum, but stated other decisions that are made can have a downstream impact on resident expenses as well. He stated he feels when major expenditures are considered such as the Golf Course or the sale of the sewer system, the taxpayers should be asked their opinion. Mr. Smith stated on certain issues there could be a Referendum that could pit one segment of the population against another segment which could cause nothing but ill will. Mr. Kull stated if the majority of the people want to have something and only a small number express their opinion in that, they would still have had the opportunity to have made their feelings known. He stated people do not have the time to come to Township meetings and constantly lobby the Supervisors.
Mrs. Godshalk stated sometimes with land use matters there
is not time for a Referendum. She stated
the property where the Golf Course is now located had been up for sale for many
years. She stated when the Township
approached the family to purchase it, they could not agree to an offer and communications
broke down. She stated at that time
developers were looking at it, and the Township felt they had to act quickly
which they did. She stated the Township
did condemn the land, but the property owners were assured of a fair market
price through appraisals and later through a Jury of View. She stated the Township later found out that
a large builder was looking at the property, and they wanted to construct 800
homes on the tract. She stated this
would have created tremendous strains on the
Mr. Santarsiero stated the Golf Course has turned out to be an excellent facility for the Township; but as a citizen, he has a problem with the Township condemning someone’s land for a Golf Course. He stated he does recognize the importance of preserving open space. He does not feel they would have been able to construct 800 homes on that tract.
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He stated since this has now taken place, it is in everyone’s interest to make sure that the Golf Course succeeds.
A woman asked if the Board of Supervisors could look into
what standards there could be for a Referendum.
Mr. Santarsiero stated this is a matter of State law and
He stated if they are going to have a Referendum, there should be Township meetings about the issue. Mr. Cruzan stated the fact that they are non-binding is irrelevant since if a majority of the people feel one way, he feels the Board of Supervisors would be ill served to go in another direction. He stated he feels they should be binding morally on the Supervisors. He stated when the Supervisors stray from their normal business, he feels they should involve everyone.
Mr. Sam Conti stated with regard to the profitability of the Golf Course for the first two years, the Golf Course did not absorb the amount of interest that it should have absorbed. He stated for the coming year $1 million is being charged as interest and debt. He stated the number of rounds is at the maximum of 41,000, and the profitability in the Plan for next year is only $324. Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Golf Course at this point is set up to pay the debt. He stated they put close to $1 million aside the first two years since they did not have to pay the full interest recognizing that they would have to do so this year. He stated their plan is that they will cover all the expenses and that a break-even is fine in the short run. He stated it will only get better. He stated they modeled the Course on Five Ponds in Warminster which has been there for fifteen to twenty years; and once they paid down their bonds, they were able to fund their entire Park & Recreation program.
Mr. Barry Wood asked if the Dalgewicz lawsuit has been settled, and Mr. Stainthorpe stated it has not.
Mr. David Schoneman stated he is the parent of two
One gentleman stated he understands the third part of the proposed Re-Districting Plan is for Makefield to be renovated. He asked if the Board of Supervisors has been advised of the expansion of the School, and if the Board has taken a position. He stated if the
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 7 of 19
third part of the Re-Districting Plan does not go through, he feels the rest of the Plan will fall apart.
Mr. Santarsiero stated the Township has not been advised in
depth of this. He stated no Plans have
been brought to the Board’s attention. He
stated with respect to the issue of impervious surface, if the Plans were
presented, this would be something the Board would have to analyze. He stated from what he has read in the
newspaper, he feels the School District has not done the kind of thing the
Township is doing tonight which is getting input from the people. He stated he feels they need to do a better
job of getting public input and need to have a full study done with public
input. He stated over the last few years,
the Township has tried to include the public more in their decisions and make Government
more open and transparent. He feels the
Mr. Smith stated he and Mrs. Godshalk were part of a Task Force twelve years ago on Year-Round School. He stated eventually the Task Force recommended that Year-Round School be rejected. He stated approximately ten years ago his daughter was
Re-Districted from Edgewood to
He asked what Task Forces have they done on the issues raised this evening.
Ms. Nancy Doyle stated the
Re-Districting at a morning PTO meeting at
Mrs. Godshalk stated when people purchase their home, most
people look at the Schools where their children will attend. She stated she does not feel the School Board
should take it lightly when they Re-District.
She suggested that they try to get as many people involved as
possible. She stated she did feel that
Year-Round School could have worked as they had seen it working very well in
Ms. Stacy Murray stated she has a problem with the term “spot” Re-Districting. She stated Phase III of the Plan has not been discussed or revealed to anyone and it hinges
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 8 of 19
upon Township approval to do the construction. She stated she understands that the
proposal is to have the Administration in the basement, and classrooms where
the Administration had been. Mr. Smith
asked what would happen if the Township did not approve their Plan. Ms. Murray stated it is her understanding
that there is a serious mold problem in the basement. She stated she feels if this is not a viable
option, they will they have to move children out of Makefield to Edgewood, and
they may then have to move more
Ms. Virginia Torbert stated she has heard it is not feasible
Mr. Smith stated it appears that they are only speaking to small groups at a time and not allowing there to be unification of a cohesive group. Ms. Doyle agreed.
One gentleman stated he believes there was a meeting with Dr. Long and it was indicated that given the number of students which will be moved per grade, which was ten to eleven, across six grades, they are not going to eliminate any sections from the School. The only way to eliminate sections, would be to combine some of the classes. He stated the way this will affect the rest of the community is that the class sizes will be going up instead of down. He added that at the Monday night meeting at Eleanor Roosevelt,
Dr. Long announced that they are going to have to move teachers as well.
Mr. Matt Maloney stated he feels most of the other Lower Makefield Schools are near capacity and over time they may need to make a lot of infrastructure changes to the Schools and this will effect everyone in the form of taxes.
Ms. Doyle asked if the Board of Supervisors would have a
recommendation on where the
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 9 of 19
they may prejudice the process and not be able to vote in the future which is not something the residents would want.
One gentleman asked if the Board of Supervisors can look at the impact a new development would have on the Schools and ask the developer to subsidize improvements to the Schools similar to the way they do with road improvements.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he does not feel this is legal in
Mr. Schoneman stated the School Board and Administration appears to be slightly less than agreeable to creating a District Advisory Council. He stated comments were made about how big it was last time and how hard it was to control.
Mr. Smith asked what they would like the Supervisors to
do. Ms. Doyle stated tomorrow night’s
meeting is the Agenda meeting at Fallsington and this will determine whether
they put this matter up to a vote next week at their meeting so it is important
for all residents of the
Mr. Smith stated it appears this is a District-wide issue
and not only an
Mr. Upton stated they are hearing a lot of very concerned
parents, and he asked whether the Board of Supervisors has an opinion on the
process of interaction with the School Board.
Mr. Santarsiero stated it sounds as if there has not been sufficient
public input, and he feels the argument that needs to be made tomorrow night
and at the March 15 meeting is that there needs to be an open process with a
Task Force. He stated it needs to be done
in the way that gets input from all the residents in the
Ms. Doyle asked if they have a representative from each
School and form a Committee to keep the communications open between the parents
and the School Board would the Board of Supervisors support this. Mr. Smith stated there is an organization
called Keep Students First which was started by Suzanne Matarese after the
strike. He stated they are involved in
all issues which effect the children in the
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 10 of 19
Mr. Steil stated he could provide Ms. Materese’s e-mail and phone number. He stated Keep Students First is at the core of pulling parents together and asking for a public process.
Mr. Smith stated there has been discussion about the
potential sale of the sewer system which is currently out for study. Mr. Cruzan stated he is very concerned about
the probable sale of the sewer system.
He stated a consultant has been obtained to determine the value of the
system. He stated the consultant is the
same one that recommended the sale of the
Mr. Cruzan stated in the Solicitor’s Handbook it states “Act 537 makes the Municipality ultimately liable to insure proper sewage disposal.” He stated he is aware that other Municipalities have sold their sewer systems; however, the legality of this has apparently not been tested in the Courts. He stated yesterday he spoke with a law firm that specializes in Municipal Authority Law, and they agreed that these sales generally result in loss of control and an increase in fees.
Mr. Cruzan stated he was contacted by a former member of the Lower Makefield Sewer Authority who had served on the Authority for thirteen years, and he indicated that over the years revenue from the sewer system was used to balance the Budget to avoid tax increases. Mr. Cruzan stated in the newspaper it indicated the Township would have to raise taxes if the system were not sold. He stated selling the system is a “stealth tax increase” that puts the burden of raising rates on another entity. He stated no investor will buy the system and keep the rates the same. He stated no entity would have the same interest as does the Township. He stated the reason the Board of Supervisors was elected is to provide sewer, water, roads, fire and police protection, and recreational facilities; and by selling the system, they are changing their responsibility.
Mr. Cruzan stated he feels they must have a Referendum if they are going to sell the sewer system. Mr. Cruzan stated he is very upset about the potential sale of the system as well as the sale of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, New Jersey Turnpike, etc. and other Turnpikes across the County which are now owned by companies from other Countries.
Mr. Smith stated the news article was discussing the possible sale of the system, and
Mr. Smith had indicated that he was going to keep an open mind about this until they see the study. He stated part of the genesis of this issue was when the Sewer Authority and
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 11 of 19
the Sewer Administrator came to the Board of Supervisors and advised that they should sell the system. Mr. Smith stated last week they had a special Park & Recreation meeting and those present made various requests of the Board which would require significant additional funds. Mr. Smith stated Mr. Stainthorpe had previously stated that he felt that before they did anything with the sewer system, they should have at least two public meetings to discuss the matter.
Mr. Cruzan stated he does not feel the consultant is going to come back and recommend not selling the system. He also questions why the Sewer Authority would recommend the sale of the system. He stated the individual he spoke to indicated for years the monies from the Sewer Authority were used for Parks & Recreation, and other facilities in the Township. Mr. Cruzan stated he understands there are a lot of repairs to be done to the sewer system and feels those monies should have been reserved for the repairs.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he cannot indicate specifically how the money was spent, but noted they are independently audited every year; and he feels what has been suggested would be highly irregular and probably illegal. Mr. Cruzan stated the individual who gave him this information is willing to come forward. Mrs. Godshalk stated there is a separate audit of the Sewer Authority which is very thorough. She does not feel any sewer money was used for running Park & Rec. Mr. Fedorchak stated he has been directly involved in preparing the Sewer Fund Budget for fourteen years, and he can assure everyone that the Sewer Fund monies have not been applied to Park & Rec type of uses nor toward anything other than Sewer-related expenses. Mr. Cruzan stated the person stated very clearly that the money went through the General Fund to avoid tax increases.
Mr. Santarsiero stated with regard to the sale of the sewer
system, they do have a consultant who has been hired to perform a study, and he
feels the Supervisors should wait until they get the report from the
consultant. He stated Mr. Cruzan has
discussed a potential increase in sewer rates if the system is sold and this
would be one point to consider; but noted the other part of the issue is that
this is an aging system that has experienced some catastrophic failures in the
last few years which has necessitated the Township most recently floating a $7 million
bond to help pay for a major construction project. He stated it also appears that these kinds
of situations are going to continue in the future. He stated for the last few years, the sewer
system has been losing money. He stated
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 12 of 19
Mr. Henry Hoffmeister stated he has an idea who has provided this information to
Mr. Cruzan; but added if the money had been used for the
purposes which have been expressed, it would have been illegal, and the
Authority could have been fired. He
stated prior to 1992 the Township did pay a substantial rental fee to the Sewer
Authority as the owners of the system, and this was distributed among funds
which were set up for the Authority under their Trustee. He stated those monies were not used to
offset any kind of expenses of
Mr. Hoffmeister stated he has been in favor of investigating the sale of the system for some time. He stated with everything the Township residents want to have done, it is the only saleable commodity the Township has. He stated there is no ulterior motive other than the benefit of the Township residents.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she is concerned that Mr. Hoffmeister is referring to the sewer system as a commodity which would allow them to do what they want to do as she feels this will mean that the money being brought in through the sewer sale will be put out to “pet projects.” She stated the Township does not have a treatment facility and they pay someone else to do a major part of this job. She stated the reason they had a large increase was because over seven years they had no increase. She stated it would have been easier for the residents to have a smaller increase every year. She stated there was a problem with the collapse into which they had to put several million dollars; and had they had some other public corporation running this, she questions if the work would have been done as expeditiously as it was done. She stated the Township Government is established to be in charge of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the community; and she feels it should stay this way.
Mr. Santarsiero stated the County has purchased sewer systems from other Townships.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he is on the County Sewer Board and while they have purchased systems from other Townships, they have not done so since he has been on the Board although it has been done in recent years. Mr. Santarsiero asked if he feels the County is responsive to issues in Townships where there is a failure of a sewer system.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he must answer carefully and has been
advised by the Solicitor that he has to recuse himself from some of this. He stated there is no guarantee who they
would sell it to, but he feels
He noted it could, however, be sold to a private
entity. Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels
much of Mr. Cruzan’s concerns are related to the potential that the system
would be sold to a private company; and Mr. Santarsiero stated he agrees that
the sale of public assets used by the public to a private company is not a good
thing. He stated if they were to sell
and they sold it to the County, which would be his strong preference, they
would have the
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 13 of 19
will advise them of the benefits and pitfalls of selling the system. He stated one of the issues they will want addressed is the responsiveness of the various entities.
Mr. Santarsiero stated while he feels it is premature to discuss revenue from the sewer sale and what would be done with that revenue, but he does not feel capital projects such as additional fields, a community center, etc. which would benefit all residents of the Township should not be considered as “pet projects.”
Mrs. Godshalk stated the local taxes are the lowest taxes paid by the residents and is also the Government which is closest to the people and she feels people are willing to pay more for fields, etc. She stated she feels if anything is sold, it should be invested and only a certain amount for the interest should be used. She asked what would happen if another Country came in and offered more than anyone else. Mr. Smith stated he feels they should wait for the study before making any decision.
Mr. Smith stated he has been contacted by some residents who have indicated that they do not have public sewers; and they are concerned that if the system is sold, their ability to get public sewers from another entity will be less; and he is concerned about this.
Mr. Cruzan stated they should learn from the sale of the PA
Water Company. He stated when that
happened, he feels they were promised the rates would be stable. He stated it has been sold several times, and
he feels it is now owned by a German company.
He stated even if
Mr. Santarsiero stated he does not feel this would be a “stealth tax increase” as this is assuming that there would not be any increases in the rates if they did not sell it.
Mr. Cruzan stated while he agrees, based on economics, he feels it would be a higher increase if someone other than the Township owned it. Mr. Santarsiero stated they must also consider the cost going forward and the costs to maintain the system if the Township continues to own it.
Mr. John Behergen stated he has seen the articles in the Courier
Times and the comments made regarding the tax situation. He stated he is outranged about the rumors of the pending sale of the sewer system,
and he feels the sewer rates will double and possibly triple. He stated he is served by the Municipal Water
Authority of Morrisville, and he has never paid more than $40 a quarter. He stated he has had discussions with a
friend who lives on
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 14 of 19
Township will be subject to exorbitant bills. He stated he cannot imagine taxes going up the same amount that private enterprise would charge since they are looking to make a profit.
Ms. Sue Herman asked what part
Mr. Smith stated he is one of two Supervisor liaisons to the
Regional Traffic Task Force headed by Representative Steil. He stated while he attends to protect the interests
of the Township, he also serves as a member of a regional group and needs to be
concerned about regional issues as well.
He stated he looks for issues of common interest among the various
Townships, and he feels one of the goals of the Task Force is to find common ground. He stated he also wants to make sure the
Mrs. Godshalk stated the Traffic Task Force has been around
for many years since she initiated it in 1987 when it was known as the Inter-Township
Task Force. She stated they found that
one of the adjoining Townships that was developing a lot of commercial and
highway area development was not asking their developers for road improvement
costs and were only looking to bring in additional people who would be paying
taxes. She reviewed the history of the
discussion of a Northern By-Pass and the impact it could have on farmland and
Township roads. She stated a number of
people put in a lot of time on this Task Force; and while discussion is good,
she is not sure what is getting accomplished.
She stated through Mr. Steil’s help, they have gotten traffic calming on
Mr. Steil stated if there is an issue that requires regional cooperation, traffic is the one. He stated unless the collective group of Municipalities that is involved in the Regional Traffic Planning Task Force reach concurrence on how to direct the traffic, they will continue to do what they are doing now which is every Municipality will look to serving their own interests and traffic will flow the way that community feels is best which may not be the right way for the next community. He stated it must be a regional issue and they must find common ground among the Supervisors of the Municipalities involved in the group. He stated they are spending $400,000 on a traffic study to try to come up with the best ideas they can and ultimately it will need approval by all the Boards.
Mr. Santarsiero stated he agrees that regional solutions are key not only on traffic but on development issues as well. He stated the Township has created a Citizens Traffic Commission which is designed to address traffic problems within the Township. Later this month, they will embark on a series of public hearings where people from the Township are going to be asked to come in and give the Commission input as to the traffic problems in their areas. He stated the Commission is made up of seven
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 15 of 19
Commissioners representing seven different regions in the Township. They will eventually come up with a prioritized list to be brought to the Board of Supervisors for funding and to get some of this work done. He hopes that as many residents in the Township as possible will participate.
Ms. Torbert stated the Commission has been working for the
past year on these issues. They are now
ready to have a series of Hearings in which they would like the public to come
in and provide input on what they consider the traffic problems to be anywhere
in the Township. She stated the first
Hearing is on March 19 at 7:30 p.m. for Zones 3, 4, and 5. She stated a map showing the Zones is on the
Township Website. She stated the second Hearing will be on April 16 for Zones 6
and 7, and last Hearing will be May 21 for Zones 1 and 2. She stated they have also been getting
information from the Township engineer, Mr. Coyne, and Chief Coluzzi. She stated she and the other people in the
Township have been attending the Regional Traffic Task Force meetings and the
Ms. Judy Curley stated while traffic problems persist, two
years ago she did approach the Board regarding a section of
Ms. Herman thanked Mr. Santarsiero for the vision of the Citizens Traffic Commission and the Board of Supervisors for voting to start the Commission. She stated the Commission has been meeting since July, 2006; and citizens have been attending their meetings. She thanked the Township for authorizing the traffic engineer to be at the meetings which allows them to be more effective and the citizens to have their issues addressed in a timely basis.
Mr. Steil stated next to property taxes, traffic is the issue for which he receives the most inquiries. He stated on a weekly basis they get ten to twelve calls about traffic.
Mr. Majewski stated with regard to the traffic calming for
Mr. Barry Wood stated he recognizes that the Board of Supervisors is under a lot of pressure, and there is a need for funds. He feels the way to get money is to increase taxes or to sell the sewer system. He stated if they are going to consider selling the sewer system, they should recognize that it is a public utility owned by the people of the Township; and the people have a right to vote on what is done with it.
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 16 of 19
Mr. Wood noted the most recent Township Newsletter received in February which listed Mr. Santarsiero as the Chairman, despite Mr. Smith having been Elected Chairman in January. Mr. Wood stated he feels the content of the Newsletter was a review of
Mr. Santarsiero’s Chairmanship for 2006 and is concerned
that this is being used as a campaign tool in Mr. Santarsiero’s quest to be
Mr. Santarsiero stated with respect to the Newsletter he is not going to honor Mr. Wood’s comment other than to state that in September Ms. Langtry, who had done an excellent job with the Newsletter for years, left the Township’s employ. He stated this was a loss for the Township as the Newsletter had received awards over the years. Mr. Fedorchak embarked on a search for a replacement and eventually in December, Ms. Connie Gruen was hired and has done a tremendous job. He stated at the end of every year, they do a year-end issue and they were unable to get this out until February. He stated the issue is entitled a “Year-End Issue,” and at the top he is listed as the 2006 Chairman of the Board. He has gotten feedback from citizens who indicated they found it very informative seeing what has gone on in the Township.
Mr. Wood stated he is also concerned about flood control. He stated they recently had a meeting of RAFT, and they have had some concerns particularly with the heavy rains last weekend when there was a flood threat. He stated they will run this risk again in the spring. He stated he is aware of some of the measures which have been taken but stated nothing has been done to prevent flooding. He stated they debated with him as to why they could not get the Governor to release the $2.5 million which he brought up in July. He stated if the funds had been received earlier and the work had been done, possibly they would not have the threat along the Canal. He stated this has effected properties, and he noted the number of properties for sale in the area. He stated the engineering study came out and they indicated they were going to ask FEMA for $22 to $24 million.
Mr. Smith stated there were representatives of FEMA and PEMA at the recent RAFT meeting, and they indicated that they did not know anything about this situation.
Mr. Majewski stated Mr. Coyne has arranged to have emergency
funds allocated to have the swampy area adjacent to the Canal cleaned of
debris. They have cleaned the area
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 17 of 19
installation. He stated in the event of a flood, they do have a plan in place to block these off temporarily in the interim with sand bags and/or plywood so that water cannot back up into the neighborhoods.
Mr. Wood stated the FEMA representative indicated he did not
know anything about the Township’s request.
Mr. Fedorchak stated the Township has already submitted three different Grant
Applications to PEMA which is the agency that performs the initial reviews, and
possibly the FEMA representative that was present at the RAFT meeting was not
involved in the evaluation process. Mr.
Fedorchak stated one of the Grant Applications involves acquisition of two
residences. He stated nine residents
have asked for funds for home elevations.
Mr. Fedorchak stated the third component has to do with some structural
remediation. One element of this would
be a flood wall in the area of
Mr. Wood stated there is a sense of urgency on this.
Mr. Smith stated a gentlemen at the RAFT meeting indicated that when he purchased his home he asked the Realtor if he was in the floodplain, and the Realtor indicated he was not. The homeowner then found out that he was in the floodplain when he applied for insurance as the maps had been re-drawn. Mr. Smith stated apparently the Realtor was relying on an out of date map. Mr. Majewski stated the map was re-drawn in 1999, and it placed properties into the floodplain which had previously not been considered to be in the floodplain. Mr. Wood stated he has been in his home for 48 years, and he did not know he was in the floodplain. He stated in his 45th year, he found out while applying for a home equity loan, that he was in the floodplain. He stated no one from the Township notified those living in the floodplain of this change. Mr. Smith asked if Mr. Wood would agree that the last ten years he has lived in his home have been the worst with respect to floods, and Mr. Wood agreed.
Mr. Steil stated the $2.5 million was placed in the Capital Project Budget several years ago for Canal projects and was on the approved list for approximately four years. He stated they had not been successful in getting it released; but he did get a number of assurances last year that it would get released. He stated he, Mr. Santarsiero, and
Mr. Truelove did meet with the Governor in December; and he did agree to release the money. Mr. Steil stated last year he was so sure that the money would be released that he asked DCNR to begin the Permitting and engineering work on the Canal so that the project could go forward. They have done this and this work is almost finished so that they will be able to go forward with the projects this year. He stated the project will include replacement of the Black Rock culvert to include widening so that the Canal water can flow through and not back up and flood the neighborhoods and dredging of the Canal. He stated it will also include one of two other projects. He stated they need to repair or replace the aqueduct in Yardley as it is in danger of collapse, and they also need to make repairs at Lock 5.
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 18 of 19
Mr. Steil stated the Flood Mitigation Task Force was formed
by the Governors of the four States last fall, and he was appointed from
Mr. Smith stated last year when they had the floods, a
number of Government representatives were present. He asked how realistic it is that they will
get the funds to alleviate the flood problems.
Mr. Steil stated he can only speak for the State of
Mr. Wood asked if anyone is coordinating the entire project. Mr. Steil stated the DRBC is responsible for implementation of all the recommendations along the River. He stated the Canal project is under the control of the Department of Conservation Natural Resources, and the $2.5 million which has been released goes to them. They are already doing the engineering and Permitting and will be responsible for the project. Mr. Steil stated the Canal re-construction work will be contracted for by DCNR through the Department of General Services.
Mr. Coyne stated there is State money available for work on the Canal, and he has taken advantage of this. He stated it will not solve all the problems, but it will help the situation. He added he met with Mr. Steil many years ago on the Canal situation which has caused him concern for many years.
Mr. Bill Jones,
March 7, 2007 Board of Supervisors – page 19 of 19
is hearing from FEMA that because there have been three
quick floods, they are considering elevating the 100 year floodplain. He stated if this is done, many more people
will be in the floodplain who were not previously. Mr. Jones stated at the RAFT
meeting last Wednesday there was a PECO representative present; and he
commended Yardley Borough and
Mr. Smith thanked Representative Steil for attending this
evening’s meeting. Mr. Steil thanked Mr.
Smith for inviting him to the meeting.
He added that he will be hosting a Town Meeting on April 19 at the
Ms. Torbert thanked Mr. Smith for coming up with the idea of this evening’s Town Meeting.
Mr. Smith thanked those who came out and stated he would like to have this a few times a year.
Mr. Santarsiero moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Zachary Rubin to the Cable TV Advisory Board and Mr. Tony Zamparelli as an Alternate to the Zoning Hearing Board.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.
Steve Santarsiero, Secretary