Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

April 16

MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting May 9, 2001. WORK SESSION OF 4/16/01: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the work session of 4/16/01; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

Members Present: Steve Sanderlin, Chairman; Tom Jirele, Vice Chairman; Scott R. Harp, Treasurer; Frank Mendicino, Secretary; Raymond W. Goodnoe, Member; Steve Harris, Township Solicitor; Bob Larason, Township Engineer; Tom Harwood, Acting Township Manager.

Also Present: Bob Conway, resident; Winslow Mason, Courier Times, Bob Iwaskiu.

Call to Order: Mr. Sanderlin called the meeting to order at 7:15 PM.

Station 55 Fire Truck Purchase: Mr. Harwood explained that a certificate of $252,000 has been allocated, and an additional $80,000 will be available, for purchase of a new fire truck. Mr. Sanderlin clarified that the fire company wishes to use the money for a truck instead of expansion of its facilities. The purchase price of the truck would be $384,000.

Mr. Goodnoe said that the understanding of the fire company is that the purchase of the truck would be in lieu of building expansion. Mr. Jirele said he had asked Mr. Forsyth to bring any expansion plans to a board meeting.

Mr. Goodnoe said that there is $240,000 in the account now, and that the fire company would like a deposit made now, with final payment due around October. Mr. Jirele said that the firefighters wish to replace an older truck that they feel is too tall and unstable. The old truck, which is 7 – 10 years old, would be traded in. Mr. Goodnoe said he thought the issue was to give the fire association the authority to decide whether to use the allocated money for a building or truck, and that the township should continue to give $80,000 to the fire association annually.

Mr. Jirele moved to allow the fire company to use the certificate of deposit for $240,000 and the additional $80,000 towards the purchase of a new fire truck. Mr. Goodnoe seconded; the motion carried unanimously.

Bob Conway Mr. Conway said he has expressed concern about the opening of the first floor bathrooms a number of times, and asked why nothing has been done. Mr. Sanderlin said that the bathrooms had been left unlocked several evenings the preceding week and both nights the bathrooms were vandalized. He asked Mr. Conway why it was a problem to get a key to use the bathrooms. Mr. Conway said he felt the bathrooms should always be open, but that it would be great if they were open during normal business hours.

Mr. Harp asked if a notice concerning bathroom vandalism had been issued to township employees; Mr. Harwood replied that a memo has gone out to employees, citing the penalties for vandalism.

The consensus of the board was to open the bathrooms during business hours, with an accompanying memo to the staff. Mr. Harwood will write the memo and Mr. Harris will review it. There have been no problems reported at the restrooms at Swamp Road Park.

Mr. Conway commended the board for listening to 3 hours of public comment at their last regular meeting.

Minutes: Mr. Conway felt there should have been more in the minutes regarding his 4 minutes of comment on the bathrooms at the last regular meeting of the board. Mr. Sanderlin explained that the minutes were summary minutes.

Streetlights: Mr. Conway said he was appalled by the high cost of streetlights, based on a $7 a light tap fee, totaling $83,000 per year. Mr. Goodnoe noted that the cost used to be $125,000. Mr. Harris explained that the Public Utilities Group approved the tariff, and that PECO says they are recovering costs. A suit brought by the board resulted in reduced costs, and the township now watches the number of taps and asks developers to minimize the taps to minimize cost.

Mr. Conway asked if the township would always have to pay the tariff; Mr. Harris said the rate is frozen until 2005, when PECO can request a change. Mr. Harris said as long as the tariff is in effect the township must pay. He said that, in its suit, the township had argued that all the equipment had been purchased and that the location charge was paying twice. It was ruled that there was a reason to charge the tariff, and the question became how much. The rate was $11, the township pushed for $4, and the rate was settled at $7.

Salaries: Mr. Conway asked about the police chief’s salary, and asked why there weren’t separate line items for each township position. Mr. Harris said that the information was a matter of public record, and that Mr. Conway could request the information through the township offices tomorrow.

Request for resolution Paul Krupp, Bill Lynch, and Rich Delello appeared for Bucks Residents for Responsible Airport Management to discuss concern over requested expansion at the Trenton-Mercer Airport and other airport issues. They distributed information about their organization, a letter written by Congressman Greenwood, and sample resolutions supporting the request for an environmental study. They said they have met with Congressman Greenwood, the FAA and Mercer County and the airport. They researched and found that there are federal laws regulating the process for airport expansion that include an environment impact study and noise study and noise abatement program, which they said have not been done. Congressman Greenwood has written asking for noise abatement and environmental studies. Mr. Krupp said RAM is not opposed to airport expansion, but that they would like more impact studies, increased public input and adherence to federal regulations governing airport expansion.

Mr. Krupp said they felt there should be more community support, and that Lower Makefield and Yardley Borough have passed resolutions supporting an environmental impact study. He presented a draft resolution for Newtown Township. Mr. Krupp said they feel the public has been left out of the loop and that the airport has not been forthcoming with them about their plans for expansion.

Mr. Jirele said he was glad to hear the group was not against airport expansion, and would like time to review the drafted resolution to determine what would be appropriate for the township. Mr. Sanderlin said he felt some changes would need to be made to reflect the concerns of township residents. Mr. Jirele recommended the board take the matter under advisement. Mr. Goodnoe suggested the group check with Representative Steil about what might be the most effective action to take. Mr. Harris suggested the board check with the Business Development Council to gauge their feelings about the airport.

JMZO Proposed Changes: The sign ordinance draft was reviewed. Mr. Sanderlin recommended it be sent to the Planning Commission and Business Development Council for review. The changes were discussed, with regard to limited access and non-limited access sections. Distance of signs from the Bypass in the limited access section, from Swamp Road to Silver Lake Road, remains at 1000 feet. It was clarified that the new ordinance will not require any signage changes from Stockburger. Generally, the closer to the Bypass, the smaller the sign must be; larger signs are allowed further from the Bypass. Mr. Harris suggested to Mike Frank that, to avoid confusion, the definition of “facing” should be eliminated, as a township interpretation exists already. Ms. Dunleavy will bring copies of the draft to the next Business Development Council meeting in May for review.

Walter Iwaskiu: Grading Issue: Mr. Iwaskiu expressed concern over the water problem on his property, and asked how, when the as built plan could not be located, the CO could have been issued. He said a swale has been added, but the problem still exists. He added that the as built plan and the final plan differ.

Mr. Larason said he had visited the site, and the issue is now on Ken Yerger’s desk for a second look. He said it was his understanding that the contractor had done what Mr. Iwaskiu requested. Mr. Iwaskiu said he felt that the problem has not been solved. He had spoken to Mr. Hopkins, who suggested he could approach the problem on his own. Mr. Iwaskiu said that when he went to sign the escrow papers, Realen had been excluded from the documents and he felt that he could not sign. He said that Mr. Hopkins offered further assistance.

Mr. Larason said that the plan calls for a swale; Mr. Iwaskiu said that the swale is not like the one on the plan. Mr. Sanderlin said that the only thing that can be done is for Mr. Larason to visit the site to determine if the work was done according to the plan and if the work required was done at the time. Mr. Larason said he will write up the process thus far so the board could see what has transpired, and he will look at the property twenty-four hours after a rain.

Mr. Iwaskiu gave board members permission to visit his property at 144 Cliveden to take a look. Mr. Sanderlin suggested the board get the recap of events and take a look at the property. Mr. Larason said he would talk with Mr. Yerger.

Mr. Harwood said that this has been a difficult property, and that Mr. Iwaskiu built a playground set before the permanent CO was issued. Mr. Harwood said that Mr. Iwaskiu refused to move the structure to allow Realen to complete the final grade, and requested a change in the swale from Realen, without the engineer’s approval.

Town Manager Search: Mr. Sanderlin said he had viewed a presentation from Bennett & Associates and was impressed with their approach; he liked the contact person. He would like to proceed with the recruitment for a new town manager and use Bennett Associates as the executive recruiter. He was a little concerned that they had not done much work in Pennsylvania, but they have done similar work elsewhere. Mr. Jirele was also impressed with Bennett.

Mr. Jirele moved to hire Bennett & Associates to undertake the task to recruit a new township manager, in accordance with the 2/22/01 proposal. Mr. Harp seconded; the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Harp said he would like Dick Bennett to be the primary person; this will be stated in the acceptance letter to be sent by Mr. Harris.

Supplemental Reimbursement Agreement – Newtown Trail: Mr. Larason said that PennDOT needs an official resolution that confirms Mr. Goodnoe and Robyn Wood (witness) as authorized signers.

Newtown Meadows: Mr. Jirele said he has received emails concerning storm water management and trash issues at Newtown Meadows. Mr. Harwood said the issues are being investigated.

Executive Session for matters of personnel: (9:05 – 9:32)

Interim Manager’s Contract: During executive session the board discussed the contract for interim manager with Mr. Harwood. There were several changes to the contract, including:

Mr. Jirele moved to approve the agreement, as amended. Mr. Mendicino seconded; the motion carried unanimously.

Annexation: Mr. Harris said he had been mistaken regarding the annexation process. He said the initiative and referendum are necessary, requiring a petition. He distributed a letter from himself to the board dated April 16, 2001, and cited the following section:

“Article IX, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution guarantees the right of voters to change boundaries of municipalities; however, the procedure is by “initiative and referendum”. The “initiative” is defined as a petition signed by registered voters comprising 5% of the total number of votes cast for the office of Governor in the last gubernatorial general election within the municipality. A separate petition must be filed for each municipality affected by the proposal. The petition must be filed with the County Board of Elections at least 990 days prior to the next primary or general election. Boundary change referenda may be placed on the ballot at any spring primary or the November election in even numbered years.”

Mr. Sanderlin said he would send a copy of Mr. Harris’s letter to T.J. Walsh for distribution to the borough, with the board’s approval. Mr. Harris recommended laying out the petition in the same form as a candidate petition.

Applebee’s Signs: Mr. Harris showed the board three sketches of the proposed signs for Applebee’s, to confirm the details of agreed-upon signs with the board. He will submit the sketches, sign dimensions and other pertinent information.

Swamp Road Corridor Study: Mr. Mendicino moved the appointment of George van der Horne, Jim Bowe, James Ott and Madeleine Faust to the Swamp Road Corridor Study Committee. Mr. Jirele seconded; the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Sanderlin said that the committee consists of a member from the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. He said that in similar instances in the past, the Planning Commission has designated its representative and that the same should occur here. Mr. Jirele suggested that the board ask the Planning Committee to inform them of whom they would like designated. Mr. Mendicino will ask the Planning Commission for their recommendation.

Mr. Harp moved to appoint Mr. Jirele as the Board of Supervisor’s representative on the Swamp Road Corridor Study Committee. Mr. Goodnoe seconded; the motion carried unanimously.

Public Comment: None

Adjournment: Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:50 pm.


Respectfully Submitted by:_______________________________________________ 
                                                        Leslie P. Dunleavy, Recording 5/1/01