Board of Supervisors
Minutes of February 6, 2008
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Thomas Jirele, Vice-Chairman Robert Ciervo, Secretary-Treasurer Michael Gallagher, and Philip Calabro, member. Also present were: Joseph S. Czajkowski, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.
Call to Order: Chairman Tom Jirele called the regular meeting to order at 7:30 PM with a moment of silence. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. Gallagher noted that in the minutes of January 23, 2008, page 6, paragraph 1 should read, “Mr. Gallagher suggested…”
Mr. Gallagher moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of January 23, 2008, as corrected. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Czajkowski said that the minutes discuss a bridge in need of repair on Sycamore Street. This location was incorrect; the damaged bridge is at South State Street near Fountain Farm Lane.
Bills: Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $169,727.34. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $3,867.79. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Gallagher noted that the bills include a payment of $805.81 to the Communications Workers of America, which does not appear on the print-out.
Reports and Comments of Officials
Chairman: Mr. Jirele reported that the Board had met in executive session prior to the start of the meeting to discuss matters of personnel and litigation. The Board participated in a joint meeting with Newtown Borough and the Newtown Corporation on January 28, 2008. The Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation has changed its name to Newtown Corporation and will now focus its efforts on the entire Borough and Township, not limiting itself to promoting the State/Sycamore Streets business district. At the meeting matters of business, traffic and parking were discussed. It was agreed that the three entities will meet periodically, a few times a year, to continue discussion and to work together.
The Board of Supervisors has changed its meeting schedule because of the Presidents Day holiday. The next Work Session will be on Monday, February 11, 2008 and the next regular meeting will be Wednesday, February 20, 2008.
Members: Mr. Gallagher said that he would like the Board to adopt a resolution forming a technology committee. The committee would advise the Board and Township on matters of technology to help improve services to residents and to improve employee productivity.
Mr. Gallagher moved to adopt Resolution 2008-R-7, establishing a Township Technology Committee. Dr. Ciervo seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Garton explained that the resolution would establish a committee to provide advice and recommendations to the Board and Township. Up to seven members would be appointed to annual positions on an as needed basis to help improve technology and communications for the Township and with residents.
Mr. Gallagher said that he would like to recruit members of the community with special knowledge of technology to serve on the committee. While no Township employees would serve as committee members, there would be some employee participation in the meetings.
The motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Jirele asked that interested residents send letters or resumes to any Board member or to the Township Administrative Assistant, Toni Garcia at 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown PA, 18940, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Jirele asked the Board to assign a Supervisor liaison to the committee.
Mr. Calabro said that Mr. Schenkman has been very involved as liaison to the Telecommunications Advisory Board. He suggested that Mr. Schenkman should also serve as liaison to this committee as there will be some overlap of concerns.
Mr. Jirele said that Mr. Gallagher has shown a great deal of interest in forming this committee. He suggested that both he and Mr. Schenkman serve as liaisons.
Mr. Jirele moved to appoint Messrs. Schenkman and Gallagher to serve as liaisons to the Technology Committee. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Gallagher reported that the Financial Planning Committee met on January 24, 2008 to discuss Township debt and upcoming expenditures, and the proposed changes to the 2008 budget. The Committee agreed to provide quarterly reports to the Supervisors.
Manager: Mr. Czajkowski provided members with copies of a resolution appropriating specific sums estimated to be required for the specific purposes of the Township, as set forth in the final amended budget for the calendar year of 2008. This resolution will amend the budget to include changes discussed at the January 23, 2008 meeting.
Mr. Gallagher moved to adopt Resolution 2008-R-08. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Czajkowski provided members with copies of a resolution fixing the tax rate for 2008 based upon adoption of the revised final budget. This resolution eliminates rescue squad millage of 0.125 per $100 of assessed valuation.
Dr. Ciervo moved to adopt Resolution 2008-R-09. Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Czajkowski explained that this is a 4% reduction in millage to a tax rate of 2.5 mills, which translates to an average reduction of $9 per household.
Mr. Jirele noted that the elimination of the rescue squad millage will not eliminate Township funding of the rescue squad. The amount of support remains the same however the funding will now come from the general fund.
The motion passed 4-0.
Solicitor: Mr. Calabro moved to adopt Ordinance 2008-0-01, appointing the Township’s elected tax collector as the delinquent tax collector for Newtown Township for fiscal year 2008. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Engineer: Mr. Calabro moved to authorize escrow release in the amount of $177,975 for Goodnoe’s Corner. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize escrow release in the amount of $35,982 for 11 Friends Lane, LLC. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
In response to Mr. Gallagher’s questions, Ms. Fountain explained that money remains in the escrow account for items not yet completed, as listed in her letters on the above projects. It is standard procedure to release portions of escrow as projects progress.Ms. Fountain agreed to investigate concerns about a utility box in front of Jules’ Pizza at Goodnoe’s Corner.
Open Space Comprehensive Plan: Mr. Gallagher provided members with copies of the Township’s Open Space Comprehensive Plan, last revised in 1997, and the Bucks County Land Acquisition Guidelines in draft form. He said that an open space plan is a necessary part of a County grant for acquisition land for open space preservation. He suggested that the Plan be updated with input from the Environmental Advisory Council and the Planning Commission.
Dr. Ciervo said that in a recent conversation with Jeffrey Marshall of the Heritage Conservancy, he learned that funds from the County could be available to offset costs associated with updating the plan.
Mr. Calabro suggested that, since the information has only been presented to the Board this evening, the discussion should be scheduled for a work session to allow Board members opportunity to review the materials provided before making comment.
Mr. Gallagher agreed and suggested that Mr. Marshall and members of the Planning Commission and EAC be invited to the work session to participate in discussion.
Public Comment: Resident Ethel Hibbs said that she has noticed that three of the four street lights on the Goodnoe’s Corner side of Sycamore Street have been re-aligned to allow for handicapped accessibility, however the fourth is placed on the sidewalk in such a way that it would be impossible for a wheelchair to get around it. This streetlight is located nearest to Silo Drive in front of the open area where new construction has not begun. She is reminding the Board that this needs to be addressed as part of the construction.
Mr. Jirele asked the Township Engineer to be sure to include this in reviews of plans for that lot.
Mrs. Hibbs suggested that the Board review the Joint Municipal Zoning Council’s plan for linked open space, which was prepared by the Bucks County Planning Commission.
Mr. Garton said that the Board would meet in Executive Session to discuss litigation matters regarding K. Hovnanian and the Goodnoe Tract.
The meeting adjourned at 8:00PM.