Board of Supervisors
Minutes of April 13, 2011
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on April 13, 2011 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Robert Ciervo, Vice Chairman Matthew Benchener, Secretary/Treasurer Jerry Schenkman and Philip Calabro and Michael Gallagher, members. Also present were: Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.
Call to Order: Chairman Ciervo called the regular meeting to order at 7:30 PM with a moment of silence and an invocation by Rabbi Howard Cove of Congregation Kol Emet. Dr. Ciervo extended sympathy to the family of former Planning Commission Member Michael Piazza, who passed away earlier this week. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Czajkowski said that a pension transfer fund discussion has been added to the Manager’s Report.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. Schenkman moved to approve the minutes of the work session of March 15, 2011. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Schenkman moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of March 23, 2011. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Bills: Mr. Schenkman moved to approve payment of bills totaling $279,206.32. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $180,000. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Schenkman moved to approve a wire transfer for payment of deferred compensation pensions totaling $29,570.16. Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Calabro asked whether this was noted in the summary report.
Mr. Schenkman pointed out that it was listed separately on the reverse side of the report.
The motion passed 5-0.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Appointment of Traffic Engineer: Mr. Gallagher moved to appoint Gilmore & Associates as Township Traffic Engineers. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Gallagher explained that the Board had been very impressed with work done by Amy Kaminski for the Township, including the Swamp Road project. Ms. Kaminski has a very good working relationship with PennDOT, which helped in moving projects along. Ms. Kaminski has changed employers, so the Board would like to go with Ms. Kaminski’s new firm.
Mr. Schenkman said that the Board had considered proposals submitted by a number of other firms.
Dr. Ciervo noted that Carroll Engineering had initially been appointed specifically because of Ms. Kaminski.
The motion passed 5-0.
Skate Park: Mr. Czajkowski explained to the Board that the staff has been investigating ways to reduce the noise from the park as well as considering the services of a sound engineer to record baseline readings of the noise levels. Someone has come forward offering to spray insulation at no cost. The Public Works Department will be enclosing the ramps, which should also help to muffle sound; the enclosures can be constructed in-house at a cost of about $1000. American Ramp Company (ARC) will be coming next week to secure the ramp bottoms, along with some other punch list items.
Ms. Fountain said that she had provided the Manager with the name of a certified noise control engineer who will take some baseline measurements and make recommendations for a cost of between $900 and $1300.
Dr. Ciervo said that ARC has assured the Township that insulating the ramps and doing the enclosures in-house will not void the warrantee. ARC’s estimate for enclosures would have been about $11,000. Dr. Ciervo said that he would favor hiring the sound engineer for a baseline reading and doing the insulation and enclosures in-house. Having the baseline number would be important to document the sound before work is done, providing a comparison. He is concerned that sound will not be completely eliminated but would like to be able to document the reduction in noise.
Mr. Gallagher asked whether the Township had sound measuring equipment to enforce our noise ordinance.
Police Chief Henry Pasqualini said that the Township does not own sound measuring equipment. It had been rented at one time and a few different Township businesses have hired sound engineers on their own to document noise.
Mr. Benchener said that he did not think it should be necessary to document the sound levels for a baseline number. This is a quality of life issue. If residents are still complaining about noise after corrective measures have been taken, it will not matter whether the level is less than it had been. It would require a second expense to measure a second time.
The Board briefly discussed taking measurements in-house with rental equipment but decided that it would be more prudent to have an expert conduct the tests and interpret the results.
Mr. Benchener favored postponing professional testing; it the corrections perform satisfactorily the tests would have been unnecessary.
Park and Recreation Chairman Andrew Levine said that he favored using a professional sound engineer to document the level of noise as the Township continues to work with ARC to remedy the ongoing issues, including excessive noise.
Dr. Ciervo moved to proceed with the remediation using spray foam and enclosures installed by Public Works and hiring a sound engineer to test the sound level before remedies are installed. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Mr. Benchener suggested that the motion be tabled or withdrawn in order to address each question separately.
Mr. Benchener moved to table Dr. Ciervo’s motion. Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Dr. Ciervo withdrew his motion; Mr. Schenkman withdrew his second.
Mr. Benchener moved to adopt the remediation of spray foam and enclosures, along with remedies outlined in the ARC punch list, for a cost of approximately $1000. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Dr. Ciervo moved to hire a sound engineer to measure sound levels at Tyler Walk at a cost of between $900 and $1300. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: Planning Commission Chairman Allen Fidler said that during hearings to address noise from La Stalla, the sound engineer measured noise levels at the property line. He suggested that the Township should meet the same standards that residents and applicants are held to.
Ms. Fountain said that she expected the cost to include measurements at both the property line and in the neighborhood impacted by the sound.
The motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Benchener voting nay.
Chairman’s Report Continued: Dr. Ciervo said that at a recent Joint Zoning Council meeting, members considered some draft ordinances to address new energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels. This should be coming before the Planning Commission shortly.
At the same meeting, Dr. Ciervo said that he expressed his concern with Newtown Borough’s plans for redevelopment of the Stockburger property, a 9 acre parcel bordering the Township. The plan calls for 300 residential units and 60,000 square feet of retail space. Such a development will require 900 parking spaces and will generate 4500 trips per day. Only one entrance is planned. Bucks County Planning Commission has expressed concern about the density, which is three times that of Society Place in Newtown Grant. Redevelopment of this size will negatively impact the Township and burden the School District. The Jointure has asked its solicitor to contact the Borough with its concerns about this new overlay district.
Mr. Benchener said that the proposed Stockburger development would not only impact Township traffic but will impact Council Rock School District and Township residents’ school taxes.
Mr. Schenkman said that perhaps the Township should invite developer Allen Smith to present his plans to our Supervisors and Planning Commission. Perhaps we can work cooperatively to lessen the impact.
Dr. Ciervo said that he is concerned the Borough will quickly “green light” the project; we should be prepared with other strategies. He noted that the project, as presented, will be a 33% increase in the number of residences in the Borough.
Mr. Calabro said that the Township is directly adjacent to the parcels involved in the plan, and would be entitled to party status should the project require zoning relief. He said that because the Borough is not part of the Jointure he is not certain what else could be done to influence the size and scope of the project.
Dr. Ciervo reported that he had received a letter from State Senator McIlhinney explaining that the State will be repealing its mandate for sprinklers on residential construction. Individual municipalities can still require sprinklers.
Other Board Members: Mr. Gallagher said that this is Local Government Week; he read a letter from David Sanko, Executive Director of Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors extolling the important function local officials play in the State, especially in light of recent efforts throughout the State to consolidate at the county level. Pennsylvania has 14055 second class townships.
The Board agreed with Mr. Gallagher on the importance of the local level of government to be accountable to and representative of the people.
Park and Recreation Board: Chairman Andrew Levine said that the Park and Recreation Board has been working with Eagle Scout Ryan Varian on his project to build an entrance monument and flag poles honoring the six branches of the Armed Services. Ryan raised over $6000 for his project and is seeking the Supervisors’ approval to hold a dedication ceremony on Armed Services Day, May 21, 2011.
Ryan Varian and American Legion Representative Jim Casey explained that the work on the monument wall and flagpoles will be completed by May 21. The American Legion and Boy Scouts want to hold the ceremony, with Council Rock North Marching Band playing the anthems of each branch of the Armed Services as their flags are raised for the first time. The Legion and Boy Scouts are aware that the park will not be open and that all activities on the day of the ceremony are to be restricted to the paved areas. The ceremony would begin at 10:00 AM, after which coffee and cake will be served.
The Board was supportive of the ceremony and congratulated Ryan on the success of this ambitious project.
Mr. Levine said that the Board voted to accept a fee in lieu of open space for the Birches of Newtown assisted living facility, but discussed possibly amending the ordinance to allow for tradable development rights in addition to direct dedication of open space or fee in lieu. This arrangement has been successful in other municipalities.
Dr. Ciervo said that he would be interested in further investigating this as a third option, as dedication of open space is not always appropriate and fees collected are sometimes used for active recreation instead of open space preservation. He would be interested in some input from the Planning Commission on this idea.
Mr. Levine thanked Ms. Fountain for her input in working with the Park and Recreation Board and ARC in resolving the skate park issues.
Mr. Levine said that the Planning Commission Liaison to the Park and Recreation Board had discussed a possible waiver of land development for a project at Bucks County Community College. The Board would like to remind the Supervisors that at one time the College had agreed to make its facilities available to the Township for recreation programming. The Board would like to see that agreement restated.
The Park and Recreation Board unanimously voted to recommend to the Supervisors that any organized and recognized sports organizations using Township facilities and parks be permitted to apply money they spend on capital improvements to offset field usage fees. The Park and Recreation Board, in conjunction with the Park and Recreation Director and Public Works Director, would formulate a pre-approved process for application of credit for the capital improvements. Board members who are also actively involved with sports organizations noted that a similar arrangement is already successfully in place with Newtown Borough and Council Rock School District. Alternatively, the Leagues would ask for assurance that fees collected would go directly to capital improvements to the fields. The Board would also like to see an adjustment in tournament fees, applying a percentage of the gross collected, 10% for Newtown Township organizations’ tournaments and 20% for outside organizations. These tournaments cause the greatest impact on the Township, and many, if not most, of the participants are non-residents.
Mr. Gallagher noted that the fees collected are being spent on the parks, with general maintenance of the parks by staff and use of staff time to manage scheduling, among other things. Although the fees might not all be used for capital improvements, the money is being used by our Park and Recreation and Public Works Departments for the parks.
Dr. Ciervo concurred, noting such ongoing projects as fence repair and replacement and paving of parking areas.
Mr. Gallagher said that this suggestion would require some consideration. The Board would want some additional information from the Park and Recreation and Public Works directors about staff time.
Mr. Levine noted that the Leagues spend a great deal of money in making improvements to the fields and would like some credit given for their investments. Park needs get battered in the budget process; the Leagues are asking either for credit or some assurance that fees collected will be placed in a dedicated fund for fields, rather than into the general fund.
Mr. Benchener said that in the current tight budget, he would be reluctant to give up the fee revenue. He noted that the Township pays the structural investment in developing and maintaining parks.
Dr. Ciervo noted that the entire amount of league fees collected last year was $15,000, far below the amount the Township spends on field maintenance. The Township had compared our fees with those of neighboring municipalities and found Newtown’s far below the surrounding area.
Mr. Calabro asked whether the Leagues are offering to take on some of the maintenance work done by Public Works in addition to the work they currently do to improve the fields. If this is the case, he said he would be interested in reviewing the details and contracts the various leagues have with the Borough and School District.
Mr. Levine said that the Park and Recreation Board will begin reviewing those costs.
Resident Kevin O’Shea, representing Newtown Little League said that Council Rock School District has agreed to accept in-kind work in exchange for a waiver of usage fees. Newtown Little League has completely refurbished the baseball field next to Newtown Elementary School, including installation of safety bases and other infield improvements, spending about $2000 and many volunteer hours. The District has the use of the improved field during the school day and has waived the usual fee.
Dr. Ciervo said that the Township staff is already on salary to do the work of maintaining the fields.
Mr. O’Shea said that he was not disputing the work done by Public Works but the work the Leagues do makes significant improvements and the leagues are asking for credit for that work.
Mr. Czajkowski said that the Township provides a certain level of basic maintenance to provide the public with safe parks.
Dr. Ciervo again said that the fees pay for the maintenance of the infrastructure of the parks.
The Board agreed to continue this discussion after some information has been gathered about the cost to the Township of maintenance of the parks.
Mr. Levine said that the Board is also recommending that tournament fees be adjusted. There is a very different level of use and impact on fields for a tournament; hosting these events, which bring in a great deal of money, is not benefiting the Township.
Mr. Gallagher said that hosting of tournaments brings revenue to many Township businesses, as participants and their families shop, eat and spend the night in Newtown.
Mr. Czajkowski did confirm that Township staff spends a great deal of time on the tournaments, which require a police presence, EMS involvement and additional Public Works time for clean-up. Some of the tournaments have brought upwards of 500 participants.
The members discussed the additional costs to the Township for tournaments, noting that the fees collected for tournaments are already the bulk of fee revenue. Mr. Gallagher suggested that the Township might further investigate the specific additional costs and ask tournament hosts to pay accordingly, for example paying for every additional bag of trash collected.
Mr. Levine said that he would bring the Board’s concerns and comments to the Park and Recreation Board for further discussion.
Planning Commission: Chairman Allen Fidler reported that at its April 5, 2011 meeting the Commission reviewed the revised final plan for Newtown Athletic Club, 209 Penns Trail, for an 11,450 square foot fitness addition with associated parking, access drive improvements, landscaping and stormwater management and recommended that the Supervisors grant approval subject to a number of conditions.
The Commission reviewed a request for a waiver of land development for renovations and an addition to connect the gymnasium, Pemberton Hall and Charles E. Rollins Center, with four small additions to support the interior connections at Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Road. The project involves a total increase in impervious surface of 1,054 square feet. No additional students or employees are anticipated with these improvements Because the project will improve handicapped accessibility, the Commission was supportive of the request and recommended that the Board grant approval subject to the conditions that stormwater management calculations be provided to the Township, that if any additional EDU’s are needed, they will be obtained from the Sewer Authority and that the applicant will return to the Planning Commission should the plans be changed.
The Commission continued to review the Neshaminy Creek Watershed Act 167 Stormwater existing Stormwater Ordinance. The new ordinance will not have any exemption from applying volume controls in any new planned development. In addition the calculated capture runoff volume cannot leave the site and shall either be infiltrated, reused or evapo-transpired. The new ordinance does not consider parcel size, but only size of new impervious surface. The Plan allows municipalities to accept non-engineered small project site plans for residential projects between 1000 and 5000 square feet and to accept self-regulation of volume control requirements for residential projects under 1000 square feet. The members were in full agreement that a non-engineered plan for small residential projects would be acceptable. The Commission discussed the self-regulation of volume control at length. Of particular concern to the members is that the volume control requirements will be onerous on residents contemplating small projects such as sheds, small pads for barbecue grills, etc. Formal review and inspection of the volume controls proposed by the residents could add significantly to the cost of outdoor improvements which increase impervious surface by a very small amount. The new regulations do not consider existing conditions, so the members had concerns that residents on large wooded properties, for example, would be faced with the same volume control requirements as residents with no existing volume controls on site. After very careful discussion, the members were in agreement that the Township should provide residents with information on volume control methods and best management practices but should allow implementation of those BMP’s to be self-regulated for small residential projects under 1000 square feet. The members also agreed that the stormwater management and erosion and sedimentation control requirements in the SALDO should be moved to the Township’s stand-alone stormwater management ordinance.
Mr. Fidler expressed the Commission’s thanks to traffic engineer Andrew Brown for his work and said that he hoped Ms. Kaminski would be able to help with plans for the extension of Terry Drive.
Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Road: Mr. Garton explained that the College is requesting a waiver of land development for a project which will renovate the existing gymnasium deck and connect the Gym, Pemberton Hall and the Charles E. Rollins Center internally. The plans include the addition of a vestibule between the Wellness Center and Gym; a lower lobby addition to provide an elevator, making the facility ADA compliant; a server room addition, and a vestibule to provide a weather break for the IT workroom. The plan will add 4,591 square feet of impervious surface, but will remove 3,537 square feet of existing paving, meaning a total increase of impervious surface of 1,054 square feet, or 1% of the area of the existing buildings being connected. No new instructional space is being added.
Eric Gianelle of KCBA Architects represented the applicant. He said that the plan will connect the three buildings but will not increase the number of students or employees. No new traffic will be generated; no new parking is being added. There will be some slight changes to the lighting, with some reduction in the wattage. Mr. Gianelle showed an aerial photograph of the campus with the project outlined.
Dr. Ciervo said that the project will add almost 4600 square feet. He asked what the current impervious surface for the campus is.
Mr. Gianelle was not sure of the total impervious, but noted that some impervious is being removed and the increase is about a 1% increase for the three buildings.
Dr. Ciervo asked whether the Township will be losing fees.
Ms. Fountain said that the applicant must still pay the professionals’ review fees. There is no traffic impact fee, as the project will not generate any additional trips. No street improvements are required. The only fee being waived is recreational impact, which would have been about $9300.
Mr. Benchener noted that the Board had granted the NAC a similar waiver for a renovation which did not involve substantive changes to the property. He favors treating such requests consistently.
Mr. Schenkman reminded the members that the Park and Recreation chairman had requested some cooperation on the use of the College facilities.
Mr. Gallagher said that when the Township was reviewing the Swamp Road improvement project there had been some consideration of an additional entrance to the campus. A land development review would allow discussion of this.
Mr. Garton said that this project does not require a conditional use; perhaps the College could be asked to demonstrate that there is no traffic impact.
Mr. Gianelle said that the Planning Commission had asked whether additional EDU’s would be required. He spoke to Warren Gormley of Newtown Sewer Authority, who assured him no additional EDU’s are needed, since the plan will be relocating, not adding, restroom facilities. The Sewer Authority will provide a letter confirming this.
Mr. Schenkman said that he would like to discuss the Park and Recreation fee further. While he favors an administrative approval it might be premature for a motion for a waiver.
Dr. Ciervo asked the applicant to return with information on traffic impact, information on the total impervious surface for the campus and additional discussion of the Park and Recreation fee or in-kind use of the College facilities.
Mr. Garton said that he would write a letter outlining the Board’s requests. The matter will be continued to April 27, 2011.
Newtown Athletic Club, 209 Penns Trail – Final Plan for Land Development: Mr. Garton reminded the Board that this is a revised final plan for land development of an 11,450 square foot expansion of the existing Athletic Club, with associated parking, access drive improvements, landscaping and stormwater management facilities. The plan also includes consolidation of Tax Map Parcels 29-10-137, 29-10-138 and 29-10-139 to form lot 29-10-137-1. The Board has seen this plan on numerous occasions.
Engineer Luke Teller was in attendance to represent the applicant. He confirmed that the applicant will comply with the review letters of the Township’s professionals and with the conditions recommended by the Planning Commission.
Mr. Gallagher moved to approve the final plan of Newtown Athletic Club Fitness Addition, for the premises located at 209 Penns Trail, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 19840, being Bucks County Tax Parcel Numbers 29-10-137, 29-20-138, 29-10-139-1, to be consolidated to create TMP 29-10-137-1, and 29-10-140, prepared by Langan Engineering, subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:
A. March 17, 2011 and March 25, 2011 correspondence from CKS Engineering, except for the following comments, which shall be resolved as indicated:
- A drainage swale easement to TMP 29-10-141 is to be obtained and submitted to the Township Solicitor for review;
- Closure reports for monitoring wells are to be presented to the Township;
- Storm pipe under Penns Trail and connecting pipe will be televised and repaired or replaced if needed.
B. March 4, 2011 correspondence of Boucher and James, except for the following comment, which shall be resolved as indicated:
- A waiver from SALDO section 529.4.C is to be obtained.
C. March 25, 2011 correspondence from Carroll Engineers, Inc,
D. March 19, 2011 correspondence from Bucks County Planning Commission,
E. December 16, 2010 correspondence from Newtown Emergency Services Department.
2. The applicant shall comply with all terms and conditions of revised preliminary plan, as outlined in a letter from Township Solicitor Jeffrey Garton dated October 19, 2010;
3. The applicant shall comply with all terms and conditions of any variances, conditional uses and/or special exceptions granted by the Zoning Hearing Board,
4. The applicant shall supply all permits required by all Township, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.
5. The applicant shall supply and execute all financial security documents in a form satisfactory to the Township Solicitor.
6. Applicant shall provide a will serve or appropriate agreement from the appropriate water and sewer authorities.
7. The applicant shall provide an adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District as to erosion and sediment control.
8. All lighting shall comply with all Township Ordinances and no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
9. The applicant shall comply with all storm water management ordinances and the Township Engineer recommendations and the applicant shall execute a storm water management agreement in a form acceptable to the Township’s professionals.
10. 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 public hazard by fire, explosion or otherwise and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
11. The applicant shall execute a declaration of unilateral restrictions and covenants as to the notes of the plan.
12. All review and professional fees as required under the Township SALDO shall be paid.
13. Applicant shall provide sufficient landscape buffering so as to preclude headlights from impinging upon nearby intersections.
14. All signs shall be subject to and comply with Township sign Ordinances and shall only be placed after securing any and all permits from the Township.
15. A fee in lieu of open space as recommended by the Park and Recreation Board shall be paid;
16. The Plan shall be ADA compliant.
Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Garton reminded the Board that the Traffic Impact Fee was waived in the preliminary plan approval.
The motion passed 5-0.
Dr. Ciervo asked Mr. Teller to review the plan for the benefit of those in the audience.
Mr. Teller showed the plans, pointing out the new fitness addition, reconfigured entrance from Pheasant Run and additional parking.
Consortium Bids, Fuel: Mr. Schenkman moved to accept the Bucks County Consortium fuel bids as outlined in a memo from Gary Crossland dated April 7, 2011, as follows: Petroleum Traders for unleaded gas; Ports Petroleum for low sulfur diesel fuel and #2 heating fuel. Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Czajkowski explained that 40 municipalities in Bucks County join together for certain purchases. Some outside organizations use Newtown Township’s pumps and are billed per gallon whatever Newtown was charged.
The motion passed 5-0.
Sign and Post Materials: Mr. Schenkman moved to accept the Bucks County Consortium sign and post materials bids as outlined in a memo from Gary Crossland dated April 7, 2011, as follows: U.S. Municipal Supply of King of Prussia for 14 gauge galvanized quick punch post and Garden State Highway Products for all other sign materials. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Czajkowski said that this is the seventh year of a mandated upgrade of signs to reflective materials.
Road Materials Bid: Mr. Gallagher moved to accept the Bucks County Consortium road materials bids as outlined in a memo from Gary Crossland dated April 7, 2012, as follows: Eureka Stone Quarry for 2A stone mix and rip rap mixed stone, Hansen Aggregate for ¼ “ stone chips, 1 lb ¾” stone chips, 5-8” mix gabion stone, super pave 9.5 mm asphalt and super pave 12.5 mm asphalt; Miller & Son Paving for screening and quarry grit; H&K Blooming Glen for QPR high performing cold patch. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Czajkowski said that the asphalt and cold patch were higher than last year because of oil prices.
Dr. Ciervo asked whether the consortium is locked into this price if prices drop.
Mr. Garton said that if prices go down, the Township can order directly from the suppliers.
Appointment of Township Auditors: Mr. Czajkowski asked the Board to authorize advertisement for reappointment of Major and Mastro as Township Auditors. They have agreed to extend the current rate for an additional three years.
Dr. Ciervo said that he has found Major and Mastro very responsive to his questions.
Mr. Gallagher said that their work is verified by our elected auditors.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize advertisement for reappointment of Major and Mastro for a term of three years. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Clark House Lease: Mr. Garton explained that the realtor has found a tenant for the Clark House with rent at $1700 per month. Mr. Garton has reviewed the lease.
Mr. Gallagher moved to approve the lease for rental of the Clark house for one year at $1700 per month. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo thanked the administration for working to find a tenant for the house. It had been leased to the Newtown Corporation at a cost of $1 for many years.
Mr. Calabro asked if the lease would automatically be renewed at the end of the term.
Mr. Garton said that after the year it would be a month to month lease. The realtor is entitled to commission for the first year only.
The motion passed 5-0.
PBA Amendment to Collective Bargaining Agreement: Chief Pasqualini asked the Board to approve the amendment changing the promotion policy for the Department. The agreement puts into place a fair and objective promotion policy for future openings in the department. This will allow for supervisors on every shift. The additional cost will be $8000, but will eliminate the OIC pay. The plan is to promote four corporals and one sergeant next year.
Mr. Benchener moved to approve the amendment to the PBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Police Report: Chief Pasqualini reported that the Department had responded to 1647 calls last month. The Department will be enforcing traffic aggressively on Swamp Road in the coming month, particularly monitoring students who are texting while driving when leaving the high school and college.
Chief Pasqualini reported that there had been a medical emergency which was routed to the Northampton EMS because the address exists in both Northampton and Newtown. The Departments have investigated ways to prevent future confusion on this.
On April 30, 2011, the Department will sponsor a Drug Take Back day with the DEA. Old prescriptions can be dropped off at the municipal building on that day.
Mr. Gallagher asked about reports of unleashed dogs.
Chief Pasqualini said that the Department usually responds to complaints with a warning the first time, but will issue citations for subsequent complaints.
Mr. Calabro asked about police impersonations.
Chief Pasqualini said that these complaints usually involve someone being followed by an unmarked car with a flashing light at night. If a person feels uncomfortable stopping for an unmarked car, he or she should drive to the Police Station or other well lit and inhabited area rather than pulling over immediately.
Pension Discussion: Mr. Czajkowski explained that Dahab Associates is recommending a transition pension manager to invest funds being liquidated by Merrill Lynch until they are re-invested by Dahab with new managers. Dahab is recommending State Street Global for a cost of $3000.
Mr. Gallagher expressed some concern about moving the funds at all until a new Investment Policy Statement has been adopted.
Dr. Ciervo said that it had been his understanding that Dahab’s intention had been to invest the funds in funds similar to Merrill Lynch’s investments. Dahab had not mentioned this extra step.
Mr. Schenkman noted that the current Investment Policy Statement does not address hedging. We could be violating our own rules.
Mr. Benchener said that it would be worse for the funds to be out of the market for a week and he agreed that the recommendation to use State Street Global is correct. He did not think that the funds should be moved until the new IPS was in place, but would like this to happen soon, as he does not like paying Merrill Lynch and Dahab.
After some further discussion the members agreed that they would prefer not to move the pension from Merrill Lynch until a new IPS has been adopted.
Mr. Benchener said that he agreed with this but would still advocate for the use of a transition manager.
Mr. Schenkman suggested that the Financial Planning Committee and Pension Committee should be included in a meeting to review a new IPS.
Mr. Gallagher moved to ask the Township Manager to direct Dahab to leave the funds invested with Merrill Lynch until directed to move them after adoption of a new IPS. Mr. Benchener seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman suggested that as part of the discussion, he would like an updated review of the performance of the Merrill Lynch investments against the benchmarks.
The motion passed 5-0.
Manager’s Report Continued: Mr. Czajkowski said that the Solicitor is investigating a defined contribution pension plan for new hires. He has also spoken to the actuary about 457 and 403B funds, which can get state funds.
Mr. Czajkowski reported that the addition of the Police modular unit will cost $70,000 with site work and engineering at $65,000. There is $240,000 in the fund for the Police renovations. The Township is looking to sell one of the Codes trailers and using one for the Police.
Mr. Czajkowski said that he spoke to Bucks County Planning Commission Executive Director Lynn Bush about the TC Town Commercial Zoning District changes. Ms. Bush is planning to attend the May 17 Planning Commission meeting to review the changes.
The Matrix Fire Consultants are to begin next week.
The Penns Trail traffic calming devices will be installed in early May; they must be installed in dry weather.
The wind turbine monopole is to be delivered on May 20, 2011.
Resident John D’Aprile said that he disagreed with the Township paying for capital improvements to the playing fields. The Township provides the fields and it should be the responsibility of the parents of the children using the fields to improve them. He suggested that the sports organizations all join together under one umbrella athletic association to address park maintenance and improvements.
Mr. Gallagher noted that the proposed assisted living facility project at Durham Road is being named “Birches at Newtown.” He reminded the Board that no new projects were to have the words Newtown or Eagle in their titles. He suggested that the name be changed before any signs have been made.
Mr. Garton said that he would speak to the applicant’s attorney about this.
Dr. Ciervo said that the Township had expected Veterans Park to be completed and ready for play by the fall of 2010, but this has not occurred.
Mr. Czajkowski said that there have been a number of weather related delays and a number of punch list items not yet addressed. He expects to have a firm deadline for the project in place shortly. It is hoped that the park might be ready for opening sometime in June. The dedication by the American Legion is to be strictly confined to the paved areas. No activities beyond the dedication ceremony are planned.
Mr. Garton assured the Board that the Township has not accepted the park yet. This ceremony is not the same as allowing play on the fields.
Dr. Ciervo announced that the Planning Commission would cancel its April 19, 2011 meeting in observance of Passover.
Dr. Ciervo announced that the Board would remain for executive session to discuss matters of personnel.
The meeting adjourned at 11: 20 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary