Board of Supervisors
Minutes of November 12, 2008
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Thomas Jirele, Vice-Chairman Robert Ciervo, Secretary-Treasurer Michael Gallagher, Jerry Schenkman and Philip Calabro, members. Also present were: Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor, and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.
Call to Order: Chairman Jirele called the regular meeting to order at 7:30 PM with a moment of silence. Rabbi Howard Hersch of Congregation Brothers of Israel gave the invocation. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Czajkowski reported that an update on the St. Andrew’s Briar Detention Basin would be added to the Engineer’s Report
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. Calabro pointed out a typo on the first page of he minutes of October 6, 2008.
Mr. Gallagher moved to accept the minutes of the work session of October 6, 2008, as corrected. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Gallagher moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of October 15, 2008. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Gallagher moved to accept the minutes of the special preliminary budget meeting of October 29, 2008. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Dr. Ciervo abstaining.
Mr. Gallagher moved to accept the minutes of the budget meeting of November 5, 2008. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Bills: Mr. Jirele said that a bills list had been approved on November 5, 2008 without its having appeared on the agenda for public comment. He asked if any residents would like to comment or question that list, a copy of which has been provided. There was no response.
Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize payment of bills as appearing on the November 12, 2008 bills list totaling $488,392.03.. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $163,729.80. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Chairman: Mr. Jirele said that a plan for the redesign of the Stoopville/Washington Crossing Road intersection by Lower Makefield Township was in the Board packets. He said that he would like the Board to consider the proposed improvements, which include a traffic signal and a reconfiguration so that cars proceeding on Stoopville Road would now be making a turn at a traffic light. He noted that most motorists will be proceeding toward Stoopville, not continuing on Washington Crossing Road, particularly during the rush hours. He expressed some concern that traffic would back up waiting for the signal. He would like any improvement to provide continuous movement, although he agrees that some traffic calming, to reduce speed of motorists, is necessary. While this intersection is in Lower Makefield, he would like Newtown Township to contribute comment at any meetings Lower Makefield has on this proposed improvement program.
Dr. Ciervo asked whether this proposed change has been made with information on the intersection with Highland Road, which will be improved to accommodate the federal cemetery entrance. If the cemetery entrance requires a traffic signal, there could be significant back-up of traffic.
Mr. Schenkman expressed similar concerns and said that he is not sure about communication between Upper and Lower Makefield on the road improvements associated with the cemetery entrance.
Mr. Czajkowski said that this particular plan comes from Toll Brothers for improvements associated with a new development at that location, but it is similar to other Stoopville Road improvement plans that have been developed in connection with the cemetery improvements.
Mr. Calabro and Mr. Gallagher agreed that some traffic calming is necessary on Stoopville Road, but that any modifications should be made with consideration of the cemetery.
Resident Jay Sensibaugh said that he agrees with the Board that improvements should be coordinated among the municipalities to reflect the cemetery entrance improvements.
Mr. Jirele said that he would contact Upper and Lower Makefield officials to request inclusion of Newtown Township in planning for these proposed road improvements, as the changes will affect Newtown Township residents.
Mr. Jirele reported that he and Mr. Schenkman, along with Mr. Sensibaugh and Planning Commission Chairman Allen Fidler had recently attended Jointure meeting at which a historic overlay district proposal was discussed. An overlay district could possibly offer a tax abatement from the State to residents who preserve their historic properties.
Mr. Jirele reported that he had attended the Wrightstown Township War Memorial dedication on Saturday. This Memorial was built as an Eagle Scout project by Newtown resident Matthew Piette and his scout troop.
Other Board Members: Mr. Gallagher reported that the recent open space referendum has passed with 63% of residents voting to support an increase of 0.01% in the earned income tax to preserve open space.
Mr. Gallagher thanked those who worked or volunteered at the polls on Election Day. The voting went very smoothly.
Mr. Gallagher reported that he and Mr. Schenkman attended a County Commissioners meeting at which a possible dog park at Core Creek Park was discussed.
Mr. Gallagher reported that the Open Space Committee is close to completion of a draft open space comprehensive plan update. He is optimistic that the draft will be complete by year’s end, at which time it will be forwarded to the Bucks County Planning Commission for comment before being presented to the Supervisors for approval.
Dr. Ciervo thanked volunteers who distributed information on the open space referendum on election day, particularly Jeff Marshall, who provided residents with information on the benefits of open space.
Historical Architectural Review Board: Chairman Harriet Beckert was in attendance to review applications for certificates of appropriateness.
Zephyr Gallery: Mr. Gallagher moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for Zephyr Gallery at 243 N. Sycamore Street for replacement windows and doors as described in the memo dated October 22, 2008. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Heidi’s Boutique: Mr. Schenkman moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for Heidi’s Boutique at 213 N. Sycamore Street for a sign as described in the memo dated October 22, 2008. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Frank’s Auto Center: Mr. Schenkman move to approve a certificate of appropriateness for Frank’s Auto Center at 101 S. Sycamore Street for replacement doors and windows as described in the memo dated October 22, 2008. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mrs. Beckert thanked this applicant for working with HARB to preserve the 1950’s appearance of the service station.
First Federal of Bucks County: Mrs. Beckert reviewed the application of First Federal of Bucks County for signage at 295 N. Sycamore Street for a “V” shaped sign with information on each side. She said that the Zoning Officer confirmed that this would be in compliance with a 1988 variance, which variance Mrs. Beckert said HARB has not seen
Philip Doorley of Compass Signs explained that other banks have not been successful at this location. The site is on a corner and the proposed “V” shape will allow traffic in both directions to more easily read the signs. This proposed sign is smaller than the double sided sign of the previous bank at this location.
The Board discussed whether to permit a “V” shaped sign, as there have not been any others in the historic district. The Code Department memo indicates that the Sycamore Center was granted a variance in 1988 to permit each unit to have two identification signs in the front and one at the rear of the building.
Mr. Garton said that the Board should consider whether HARB has adequately reviewed the question of the “V” shaped sign, and if so, whether the “V” shaped sign is in accordance with the variance. The Board can either approve the certificate of appropriateness this evening, approve it conditioned upon confirmation of the variance or table discussion pending confirmation of the variance.
Mr. Doorley said that there is a temporary sign in place right now. The proposed sign can be displayed as a two-sided sign until it has been determined that a “V” sign is permissible, at which time the “V” can be opened.
Mr. Schenkman moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for a back to back sign for First Federal of Bucks County at 295 N. Sycamore Street pending confirmation of the 1988 variance and HARB’s recommendation of approval of the “V” shaped sign, at which time a certificate of appropriateness for the “V” shaped sign will be deemed approved. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Christine’s House of Fashion: Mrs. Beckert said that this applicant would have liked to have placed the shop name on the awning as well as on the sign, but that would have been considered a second sign. It was not known by HARB that a 1988 variance would have permitted two signs. This applicant has a hardship in that the shop is set back from the street and is partially blocked by the signage of the business next door.
Mr. Jirele asked Mr. Czajkowski to investigate unapproved signage on Sycamore Street and also the variance permitting two signs at Newtown Center. If the variance does exist, it is possible that Christine’s would be entitled to lettering on the awning.
Christine Reedman, proprietor of Christine’s House of Fashion, said that her sign is partially blocked by her neighbor’s sign and it is important to increase her visibility on the street. She does not want to place a sandwich board in front of the shop, as hers in a very upscale business and a sandwich board is not in keeping with the image she is trying to project.
Dr. Ciervo moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for signage at Christine’s House of Fashion at 247 N. Sycamore Street, as outlined in a memo dated October 22, 2008. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Planning Commission: Chairman Allen Fidler was in attendance to review the October 21, 2008 meeting. At that meeting the Commission reviewed the Silver Lake Executive Campus plan for construction of two office buildings connected by a common cafeteria and gym for D-1 office use in the OR Office Research Zoning District, and recommended that the Board of Supervisors grant preliminary plan approval subject to certain conditions. The Commission has asked for landscaping to be placed along the edge of the parking lot rather than along Lower Silver Lake Road. Before final approval is given the Commission would also recommend confirming the traffic lane configuration at the intersection of Lower Silver Lake Road at the Newtown Bypass. Mr. Fidler noted that the original approval for this site involved the dedication of land to construction of the Bypass in lieu of a traffic impact fee. He suggested that the original terms and conditions for development of the site be reviewed prior to final plan approval.
Ms. Fountain noted that the Traffic Engineer’s letter of October 1, 2008 refers to a traffic study, as there will be an increase in service at the intersection with the Bypass.
In relation to this application and future applications, the members discussed the best management practice of using more natural plantings and grasses for stormwater management. These plantings, which create a meadow like atmosphere, require very little regular maintenance, but could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. It is recommended that the Board to consider asking the EAC to develop standards for treatment with larvacides and it was discussed that possibly the EAC should review plans for installation and maintenance of this type of planting as part of land development.
Mr. Jirele suggested that this be added to an agenda after the New Year.
The Commission reviewed Harold Beck & Sons’ plan for an addition to an existing building on a 6.207 acre site for G-1 manufacturing use in the LI Light Industrial Zoning District and recommended that the Board of Supervisors grant preliminary as final land development approval subject to certain conditions. The Commission discussed whether a land development process would be triggered if the use were to change at this location. It is a manufacturing use and the addition will not require a traffic study, as no new employees are contemplated. The addition is to be used primarily for on-site storage and for robotic equipment. The Commission’s concern is that a much more intense use could be housed in this location if the building were to be sold, which would have an impact on traffic.
In relation to this application and as other buildings are renovated or built in the Commons, the Commission discussed the requirement to install sidewalks. The Commission did not recommend granting a waiver from this requirement. The applicant, while willing to escrow money for a future sidewalk, did not want to install a sidewalk as there are no other sidewalks to connect to. A question for the Board is whether to require this applicant, and future applicants, to install unconnected sidewalks at time of land development, or to escrow funds toward an eventual project of installing sidewalks throughout the Commons. It was the Planning Commission’s feeling that someone has to be the first, as an increase in the number of noonday walkers in the Commons has been observed.
The Board agreed that there is an increase in pedestrian traffic, and the goal is to have sidewalks throughout the Commons. Mr. Schenkman noted that Teletronics was to have installed a sidewalk, and he believed there were funds escrowed toward this. He suggested that Teletronics be required to install a sidewalk now and that Harold Beck connect to it.
Mr. Fidler said that the Commission has begun its review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan draft. There is no other business on the November 18 agenda, so the Commission would like to cancel and postpone the review until the December 2, 2008 meeting. Because so many Commission members have been involved in the writing of the Plan for the past four years, review should not take long. The Commission will have a recommendation for the Board of Supervisors at its next regular meeting.
Park and Recreation Board: Chairman Andrew Levine was in attendance to review the activities of the Park and Recreation Board. The Board has been reviewing the report on the Clark Nature Center, prepared by the Heritage Conservancy, which points out three areas of concern:
Some of the erosion issues will be addressed as part of the stormwater management planned for the Woll tract, however there is also considerable run-off from the Council Rock School District property, which should also be addressed.
The property is being decimated by deer right now. Typically, a property the size of the Clark Nature Center should have about 2 to 3 deer, but currently as many as 125 deer have been observed on the property. The Board is looking to the Environmental Advisory Council for recommendations for wildlife management throughout the Township. To fence the property would be an enormous expense, and it has been learned that it has not been completely successful in Bowman’s Wildflower Preserve. The Park and Recreation Board members agreed that unless or until the Township has developed a plan to maintain and restore the Clark Nature Center by means of controlling both the deer and invasive species, the Park and Recreation Board could not recommend purchase of additional wooded open space. A maintenance plan, which would include a budget, should be developed before moving forward with additional wooded open space acquisitions.
Mr. Jirele said that the Board should discuss the Park and Recreation Board and the EAC working together to address the deer problem. He disagreed with the PRB recommendation to avoid acquisition of wooded lands, as these lands are already unprotected from deer, and could possibly be targeted for development if not preserved. Mr. Levine reported that land is being acquired next to the all-purpose field behind Staples to be used for a skate park. A few ramp companies will soon present plans for the park, which will be reviewed by the Park and Recreation Board with input from the Council Rock students who had worked on the initial skate report. Once a ramp scheme has been chosen possible fund raising efforts will be explored, but Mr. Levine indicated that he is not sure that fundraising will be successful in the current economy.
Dr. Ciervo indicated that the Board of Supervisors is planning to include skate park equipment in this year’s Park and Recreation budget.
Mr. Levine said that the PRB and Kathy Pawlenko will be considering plans for an appropriate replacement for the damaged playground at Helen Randle Park at its November 19 meeting. The PRB has agreed that placing restrooms at Roberts Ridge Park should its top priority for the upcoming year. The members feel that this is especially urgent since that park has been renovated for handicapped and able bodied children to play together. Members have begun reviewing compost toilets and are also looking into an upgraded, larger port-a-potty, possibly with a diaper changing station, for the site. Some input from the Township Engineer might be needed on this project.
Mr. Gallagher said that he has some information on compost toilets that he will forward to the PRB.
The PRB has discussed names for the Woll tract park, and are generally in favor of calling it a “Veterans’ Memorial” park, rather than naming it for a specific service member or a particular branch of service or for veterans of any one war. Newtown has played an important roll in American history since the Revolution, so to single out any one group did not seem appropriate.Because of its proximity to Chandler Hall, the Board would like to consider a long term plan for a “senior” playground with equipment that senior citizens might enjoy with young children at Carl Sedia Park.
Pitcairn – Silver Lake Executive Campus – Preliminary Plan for Land Development: : Attorney Ed Murphy represented the applicant for this plan to construct two 78,426 square foot office buildings connected by a 4,125 square foot cafeteria building with associated parking and stormwater facilities on a 34.8 acre parcel in the OR-Office Research Zoning District. The applicant is actively pursuing a single tenant to occupy both buildings. Zoning Hearing Board relief has been granted for parking, stormwater management, driveway width, loading areas, and access through Silver Lake Road. Mr. Murphy said that in 1988 the sitting Board of Supervisors had granted approval for development of the entire site. Park and Recreation and traffic impact fees were waived because then owner DeLuca donated land for the Newtown Bypass. The original plan called for 350,000 square feet of D-1 office space. A portion of the plan has been built. The fully developed site will be considerably less space than had been initially approved. Off-site roadway improvements have already been completed on Silver Lake Road to conform to the higher traffic volumes anticipated by the larger full development. A traffic study was completed in August of this year, which is being reviewed by the Township Traffic Engineer.
Mr. Garton said that he has not yet had an opportunity to review the conditions of the prior approval, so would be uncomfortable making recommendations on these issues this evening. He suggested addressing these concerns at final plan approval.
Mr. Murphy said that the applicant is working with a New Jersey business interested in relocating and using the entire site. This prospective tenant already leases 50,000 square feet in the other building on the site.
Ms. Fountain said that the traffic engineer has indicated that there would be some reduction in service at the intersection of Silver Lake and the Newtown Bypass, but she does not know the extent of the reduction.
Mr. Garton noted that no additional Zoning Hearing Board relief is needed for installing a water line.
In response to Mr. Jirele’s questions, applicant Tony Noce explained that the applicant will clean up the landscape buffering along the Bypass. The grading of the property is such that the parking area will be 3 to 5 feet below the grade of the Bypass, so no car lights will flood onto the Bypass. The Planning Commission has requested that landscape buffering be placed around the parking areas.
In response to Mr. Schenkman’s question, Mr. Murphy said that the existing light fixtures are 30 feet high. The applicant would like to continue with similar light standards. At this height fewer fixtures are required. These lights will be shielded. There are no residential neighbors. The Planning Commission has recommended approval of this request. The proposed cafeteria and gym are for employees of the tenant only, as per a condition of Zoning Hearing Board relief.
In response to Mr. Calabro’s questions, Mr. Noce said that the lights will be 200 to 300 feet from the Bypass and will be extinguished by 9:00 PM.
In response to Dr. Ciervo’s question, Mr. Murphy confirmed that the applicant will comply with the Bucks County Planning Commission to use trees other than ash. The applicant will take direction from the Township on the variety of trees to be planted.
Mr. Schenkman move to approve the preliminary plan of Silver Lake Executive Campus as prepared by Taylor Wiseman and Taylor, dated July 16, 2008 and last revised October 1, 2008, subject to the following conditions:
A. ZONING ISSUES:
(1) Paragraph 5. Applicant to provide documentation related to the vacation of the easement to the Township Solicitor for his review and approval.
(2) Paragraph 8. The Township Engineer and Township Solicitor have determined that the Applicant need not file any further proceedings with the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board so as to be granted a Special Exception for the purpose of installing a water main in an area to be free of disturbance since it has been determined that the location for the installation of the water main is the same location as was the subject of a prior Zoning Hearing Board Decision granting approval to disturb that area for other utilities.
(3) Paragraph 10. Thirty (30’) foot high light poles, consistent with the current lighting will be permitted.
(4) Paragraph 12. Off-street parking will be screened with evergreens from Lower Silver Lake Road.
B. SUBDIVISION AND LAND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES:
(1) Condominium Documents. Condominium documents shall be submitted to the Township for review by the Township Solicitor.
(2) Paragraph 2 and 8. No traffic impact fee or fee in lieu of recreation payments need to be made by the Applicant to the Township as a result of a waiver of those requirements in a prior approval which was granted by the Board of Supervisors of Newtown Township on February 2, 1988
(3) Paragraph 5. No trail shall be required to be installed along the Newtown Bypass and sidewalk has been shown along the frontage of Lower Silver Lake Road.
Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Noce said that Pitcairn tries to be green in its buildings, and is an energy star company. While the company is not specifically seeking LEEDS certification, the architect on the project is LEEDS certified and will be attempting to gain as many LEEDS points as possible.
Mr. Murphy said that the applicant will comply with any Township signage requirements.
Mr. Gallagher said that the Township should work hard to attract businesses and he is eager to help with attracting a tenant for this project.
The motion passed 5-0.
Harold Beck & Sons, 11 Terry Drive – Preliminary as Final Plan for Land Development: Attorney Don Marshall and architect Rhett Jones were in attendance to review this plan for a 24,330 square foot addition to an existing 66,733 square foot manufacturing building on 6.207 acres in the LI Light Industrial Zoning District. The site had 194 parking spaces, 75% of which are 9 feet by 18 feet. This is a G-1 manufacturing use. The new addition will be used for robotic equipment and storage; no new employees will be added.
Mr. Marshall said that this building is between two buildings without sidewalks. While the applicant has no objection to escrowing money toward a future sidewalk project, it would not want to install a sidewalk that would be unconnected to any others. This would create a checkerboard appearance as some buildings install and some do not. Mr. Marshall suggested that sidewalks should be part of the financial agreement.
Mr. Jirele suggested that the Board investigate whether the adjoining building will be installing its sidewalks.
Mr. Garton noted that the Planning Commission had discussed whether a land development proceeding would be necessary if the space were to be sold to another tenant with a different use. He said that if another tenant with a more intense use were to move into the site, parking would have to be addressed and a traffic impact fee for the change in traffic would be required.
Mr. Jones reviewed the configuration of parking spaces. There will be 194 spaces, although only 140 are needed for the business. It would be difficult to leave some spaces in green because the paving is needed to maneuver trucks serving the business. He agreed to look into possibly reserving some parking and would report to the Township prior to signing of linens.
The Board discussed buffering of the site. Mr. Marshall presented a series of photographs showing the already large plantings surrounding the building.
Ms. Fountain noted that the Planning Commission had recommended requiring additional buffering on the north side only, as the other side is already planted and it adjoins another parking lot.
Mr. Jirele said that if the parking on the south side is to remain in green, some additional buffering should be planted.
Mr. Schenkman moved to grant preliminary as final plan approval to Harold Bech and Sons, 11 Terry Drive for a plan prepared by Boehler Engineering, was dated July 10, 2008 and consisted of 19 sheets but no revisions have been made to the plan to date. The plan relates to Tax Parcel 29-10-116, subject to the following conditions:
2. As part of the approval, the Board of Supervisors granted the following waivers from the provisions of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance:
3. The Board of Supervisors also granted waivers from certain provisions of Section 222.1 of the Stormwater Ordinance so as to not require the two (2) year post‑development peak rate be less than or equal to the one (1) year existing conditions and further regarding the rate of runoff post-development;
4. Compliance with the Carroll Engineering Corporate letter dated August 15, 2008.
5. Compliance with the Newtown Emergency Services Department letter dated July 22, 2008.
6. Compliance with the Bucks County Planning Commission report dated August 14, 2008.
7. Applicant shall fund and execute development and financial security agreements in a form satisfactory to the Township Solicitor.
8. Applicant shall secure any and all permits required from any agencies having jurisdiction over this project including the Township, Bucks County, the State and Federal governments including, but not limited, to the Bucks County Conservation District and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The Township agrees to sign paper copies of the approved revised final plan provided they bear the legend “not to be recorded” if signed paper copies are required to be submitted to the various local, state and federal agencies that must approve the various approvals, permits, certificates and the like for the land development, provided, however, that the Township reserves its rights of participation in all approval and permitting procedures which will be required for the approval of this plan.
9. Applicant shall provide a will serve or appropriate agreement from the appropriate water and sewer agencies confirming the availability of public water and public sewer to the project.
10. Applicant shall comply with the Township Engineer’s recommendation as to storm water management and best management practices. Applicant shall execute a storm water management agreement in a form acceptable to the Township.
11. Applicant shall pay all review and professional fees incurred by the Township in connection with all prior reviews and the reviews in connection with this approval as required by the Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and its applicable rate structure.
12. No use shall be permitted which is noxious or offensive to the immediate area by reason of odor, dust, smoke, gas, vibration, illumination or noise or which constitutes a pubic hazard by fire, explosion or otherwise and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
13. Any signage proposed to be placed shall comply with the applicable Township sign ordinances and shall only be placed after securing any and all permits from the Township.
14. All lighting shall comply with all Township Ordinances (except to the extent any waivers or variances have been granted) and no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
15. Applicant shall execute a Declaration of Unilateral Restrictions and Covenants as it relates to the notes contained on the plan, which said Declaration will be filed contemporaneously with the final plans.
16. Developer shall provide sufficient landscape buffering so as to preclude headlights from the property from impinging upon nearby intersections.
17. A fee in lieu of dedication of park and open space land shall be paid in accordance with the Township’s fee schedule.
18. The plan shall be ADA compliant.
19. Applicant shall comply with all terms and conditions of the original conditions of approval granted by the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors.
20. A note shall be added to the plan which shall be incorporated into the Declaration of Unilateral Restrictions and Covenants such that if the property is sold and additional vehicular trips are generated, a traffic impact fee will be due and payable at that time based upon an analysis of the additional trips generated by the addition.
21. Sidewalks shall be installed on site or they may be installed elsewhere in the general vicinity of the site provided the Applicant and Township agree to an alternative location for the placement of the sidewalk with the understanding that said sidewalk shall be constructed prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the addition or the final release of escrow funds.
22. Applicant to consider placing in reserve certain parking spaces on the southern side of the site, which said reservation shall be reflected on the plans to be recorded of record and if a reservation of additional parking spaces is provided, additional trees and other buffing shall be installed in the area that had been previously shown as the location of parking on the southern side of the building.
Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to questions form the Board, Mr. Marshall said that the park and recreation impact fee would be about $32,000. The addition would be energy efficient but not LEEDS certified.The motion passed 5-0.
Reports of Officials
Friends Lane Condominium Association: Mr. Calabro moved to authorize final escrow release for Friends Lane Condominium Association, 121 Friends Lane in the amount of $32,392.85. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
2008 Roadway Improvement Program: Mr. Calabro moved to authorize roadway improvement program payment #3 in the amount of $69,353.80. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Grainhouse Developers: Mr. Calabro moved to authorize escrow release #1 in the amount of $288,866.51. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Dr. Ciervo commented on the excellent appearance of Grainhouse’s renovation of a warehouse space.
St. Andrew’s Briar Detention Basin: Ms. Fountain reported that the cost to increase the orifice size for the outlet of the detention basin would cost between $1000 and $1500. The Homeowners Association does have funds to cover the cost. The Homeowners Association agreed to do all other repairs but would like guidance on the orifice replacement.
Mr. Schenkman said that since the Township would be accepting dedication of the basin, he would prefer that the Township be responsible for the work and escrow money from St. Andrew’s Briar to cover costs.
The Board agreed, and Mr. Jirele asked the Township Manager to write to the Homeowners Association outlining a timetable for completion of other tasks, and dedication of the basin.
Resolution Accepting Dedication of Roads: Mr. Garton explained that the Township staff is preparing its submission to PennDOT for liquid fuels funds. PennDOT requires a resolution accepting dedication of roads. All roads being accepted have been recorded except for those in Eagle Glen. Although Eagle Glen is the subject of a Dedication Agreement, the actual deed of dedication has not been located. The developer will be forwarding a new deed of dedication.
Mr. Schenkman moved to adopt the following resolutions accepting dedication of roads for inclusion in the liquid fuels fund:
Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Gallagher asked those residents interested in serving on Township committees, boards and commission, and those whose terms are expiring and wish re-appointment, to submit letters of interest to the Township Manager.
Mr. Czajkowski said that a notice would be placed in both the Advance and the Bucks County Courier Times as well as on the Township Web site. It was agreed among Board members that if letters of interest were sent directly to an individual Board member, those letters would be forwarded to the Township Manager for circulation among the full Board. Early next year the Board would discuss priorities for each committee to focus on in the coming year.
2009 Budget: Mr. Czajkowski said that the budget has been updated to include recommendations made at the previous budget meeting. The current budget will be a 3.5% increase over the previous budget. $60,000 has been moved into the Park and Recreation capital fund for a skate park, and the brine spreader and water connections at the park behind Staples have been removed from the budget. A balance of $2,000,000 will remain in the reserve fund.
Jean Tanner and Lieutenant Glenn Forsyth of the Police Department were in attendance to address question on the Police Department budget.
Regarding the Police Department, Dr. Ciervo expressed some concern about the increase in budgeted overtime.
Lieutenant Forsyth said that overtime has been greatly reduced this year, and it currently stands at $128,000. The increase in the budget reflects the increase in salaries for the members of the department, the truck details and the increased traffic details. Truck details require four officers for safety reasons. The budget anticipates the possibility of a major incident requiring overtime. A traffic enforcement grant of $20,000 is expected, but until it is determined that the grant will be received, the traffic enforcement overtime is also in the budget.
Ms. Tanner explained that traffic details are performed during overtime because if officers are on regular duty they will be taken away from the traffic detail to answer calls.
Lieutenant Forsyth confirmed that under the new chief there has been a reduction in overtime and it is assigned more equitably. Shifts have been adjusted to help reduce the need for some overtime. He noted that special events such as First Fourth and First Night have also required overtime.
The Board discussed giving the Police Chief clear direction to work toward reducing overtime. Mr. Czajkowski pointed out that there has been a great reduction in the amount since the new chief was hired. He reviewed the numbers for preceding years. It was agreed that the overtime budget would remain at $160,000, to be re-examined if the Township received traffic grants.
Ms. Tanner reviewed the expectation of money from the DEA from forfeitures. She said that it is not known if the expected $37,000 will be received in the coming year. It must be spent on police equipment and cannot be use for items already in the budget.
As the Board discussed removing items from the equipment budget, Lieutenant Forsyth explained that a change in procedure for sending 911 data at the County level has made the need for MDT’s more urgent. These items cannot be removed from the budget.
Dr. Ciervo said that he would like a procedure in place so that if the DEA money comes it cannot be spent without Board of Supervisors input.
Mr. Gallagher discussed the increased cost of uniforms for the Police Department, and understands that the style of uniform has changed. He asked about legal and engineering expenses for the Planning Commission, noting that prior to 2005 no solicitor attended the Planning Commission meetings.
Mr. Schenkman said that the Planning Commission defers to the solicitor for motions in land development reviews. He agreed that elimination or reduction of time for a solicitor should be discussed with the Planning Commission chairman.
Regarding Dr. Ciervo’s question about training costs, Lieutenant Forsyth said that much of the Police training is mandatory and is run by Penn State.
Mr. Gallagher thanked Mr.Czajkowski and Finance Director Elaine Gibbs for their written responses to his specific budget questions.
Dr. Ciervo expressed some concern about the contributions that non-union employees make toward health care benefits. He urged the Board to consider changing the employee contributions to a percentage rather than a dollar amount. He asked Mr. Czajkowski to prepare information on the impact moving to a percentage, such as 10% or 15%, would have on employees as a whole and on individual employees.
Mr. Czajkowski spoke briefly about the employee benefits, noting that the non-union benefits are tied to the union contract, which will not be renegotiated until 2011.
Mr. Calabro said that he hesitates to compare municipal employee benefits to private sector benefits, but would rather discuss a comparison with other municipalities.
After further discussion, the Board agreed to investigate specific percentage contributions, with a goal of adopting a percentage contribution either immediately or looking ahead to 2010. Mr. Czajkowski agreed to provide numbers for consideration at the December 3, 2008 meeting.
Dr. Ciervo questioned the technology budget, and asked whether purchases should be postponed until the new building is complete.
Mr. Gallagher said that the Township is on a five year replacement plan, and to postpone purchases would only cause the budget to go up in the future. He noted that equipment and computers would be moved to the new building, not replaced .
Dr. Ciervo asked that training budgets be reduced for all departments.
Mr. Jirele said that he would agree to reduce the legislative budget for training but said that the manager should review this and decide what training is necessary for other departments.
In response to Dr. Ciervo’s questions on Park and Recreation salaries, Mr. Czajkowski said that the budget reflects recent changes in personnel, and there is also a budget for a part-time replacement for recreation programming; this had been a full time position. The budget has been reduced by about $50,000.
In response to Dr. Ciervo’s questions on equipment leases, Mr. Czajkowski explained that copiers are needed throughout the complex for the various departments. Once the departments are housed in one location there will be a reduction.
Mr. Calabro discussed the Newtown Corporation’s revised mission to serve as a chamber of commerce to both the Borough and Township. He noted that if the Township does not continue to support the organization, there would be no Township oversight or direct involvement. The Board discussed possibly contributing to Newtown Corporation on a quarterly, rather than annual, basis moving forward. This would give the Board an opportunity to better evaluate what benefits to the Township Newtown Corporation will bring.
Regarding other contributions, Mr. Jirele said that he would like to continue to support First Fourth. The Board discussed contributions and asked Mr. Czajkowski to investigate the Township’s contribution to First Night’s fireworks. The members agreed that they would like to eliminate the contribution for 2009/2010, if the 2008 budget would be paying for New Year’s Eve 2008.
Dr. Ciervo asked that Board to consider passing a resolution to dedicate 25% of the Local Services Tax (LST) to the ambulance squad as its source of funding rather than making a specific contribution from general funds.
Mr. Jirele and Mr. Calabro expressed some concern about tying the contribution to the LST as there must be consistent funding of the ambulance squad and the LST could fluctuate with the economy.
Mr. Schenkman asked whether there could be projections of needed revenue going forward to better prepare residents for the eventual need to raise taxes. He asked about possible incremental increases.
Mr. Czajkowski said that the Township’s current debt service tax will cover the first year of the bond, but moving forward an increase will be needed. An increase will be needed for park maintenance, which will be incremental as portions of the Woll tract park are developed. He will work with Mr. Garton on taxing options. He has spoken to representatives of Berkheimer Associates, who feel that Bucks County and the Philadelphia region might not be as hard hit as other parts of the country by the downturn in the economy. This area has a diversified employment pool and has seen fewer bad mortgages and foreclosures as elsewhere.
Mr. Schenkman noted that as residents experience investment losses there could be some impact on the retail sector in the Township.Going forward, Mr. Jirele asked Mr. Czajkowski to re-evaluate the cell phones and Township owned cars to establish policies and possibly reduce costs in the future.
Mr. Czajkowski said that response to the request for bids for the municipal complex has been heavy, and the date for opening bids has been pushed back one week.
The meeting adjourned at 1:00 AM.