Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors

Minutes of May 8, 2013

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on May 8, 2013 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Michael Gallagher, Secretary/Assistant Treasurer Ryan W. Gallagher and Philip Calabro and Robert Ciervo, members. Also in attendance were: Kurt Ferguson, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.

Call to Order : Chairman Gallagher called the meeting to order with a moment of silence followed by an invocation by Monsignor Michael Picard of St. Andrew’s RC Church and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Special Action

Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week: Mr. M. Gallagher read into the record a proclamation naming May 15, 2013 as Police Officers Memorial Day and the week of May 12, 2013 as National Police Week. He acknowledged the great sacrifice of our Police Departments in protecting the lives of residents and presented the proclamation to Lt. Robert Matthews.

Public Comment

Monsignor Michael Picard expressed concern about traffic on Swamp Road near Linden Avenue and Walnut Avenue, especially in the morning when the High School is starting its day. He pointed out that it is difficult to exit from the side streets onto Swamp Road because of poor sight distances and there are many cars and many pedestrians at that hour. He has seen some close calls at these intersections and feels some safety measures are necessary. Perhaps the Traffic Engineer could look at the situation.

Mr. M. Gallagher agreed with Monsignor Picard, noting that cars have to inch out rather far into the intersection to get a clear view of oncoming traffic. He asked Mr. Ferguson to investigate this.

Mr. Ferguson said that he would ask Traffic Engineer Amy Kaminski and the Police Department to look at the area and try to develop some “easy fix” ideas to remedy the situation.

Mr. M. Gallagher also noted that he has heard from residents about difficulty in crossing Richboro Road at Hanover Street into Tyler Park. Although this is a crosswalk, cars are travelling very fast and it is hard to cross. He asked about possibly installing crosswalk signage.

Mr. Ferguson said that there are already flashers at this crosswalk. As this is a state road, the Township may have limits to what it can do. He said that he and the Solicitor will investigate further. He noted that he had already been planning to discuss this with Lt. Matthews, as he has noticed that drivers speed up quite a bit as they approach the bridge.

Board of Supervisors Report

Dr. Ciervo noted that May 21, 2013 is Primary Election Day. He urged residents to participate in the election.

Mr. R. Gallagher thanked the Police and Public Works Departments for their participation and help in making the Newtown Business Association’s Welcome Day a great success. He understood that over 12,000 people came to Newtown for the event.

Mr. M. Gallagher agreed and thanked Mick Petrucci and the chairmen of the event for their efforts. Mr. Gallagher also recognized the staff of the Council Rock School District during Staff Appreciation Week. Newtown’s wonderful schools are part of what makes this a great place to live. U.S. News recently ranked Council Rock High School North as among the top 500 schools in the country.

Engineer’s Report

Promenade Planning Module: Ms. Fountain explained that when the Promenade was granted final land development approval, it was conditioned on a DEP approved full planning module. That planning module has now been reviewed by Bucks County Health Department, Bucks County Planning Commission, Philadelphia Water Company, Newtown Township Planning Commission, Newtown Sewer Authority, Newtown Artesian Water Company. It now requires a resolution by the Board of Supervisors to forward to the DEP. In response to Mr. M. Gallagher’s question, Ms. Fountain noted that the full planning module is a 67 page report.

Dr. Ciervo moved to adopt Resolution 2013-R-6, approving the Planning Module for the Promenade, 200 North Sycamore Street, and authorizing forwarding it to the DEP. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Solicitor’s Report

Goodnoe Elementary School Agreements: Dr. Ciervo moved to approve the development and financial security agreements for the Goodnoe Elementary School additions as 298 Frost Lane. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Goodnoe Elementary Temporary Construction Easement: Mr. Garton explained that this temporary easement would be to allow the School District access to Township property at Roberts Ridge Park during the construction of the addition.

Mr. R. Gallagher asked whether a license should be used instead of an easement agreement.

Mr. Garton explained that the easement has a finite duration of two years.

Dr. Ciervo said that the School District has been very cooperative with the Township regarding easements and has allowed an access easement through Newtown Elementary School to Veterans Park.

Dr. Ciervo moved to authorize a temporary construction easement to Council Rock School District/Goodnoe Elementary School. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Police Report: Lt. Matthews reported that the Department responded to 1236 calls last month including 12 thefts, 1 fraud, 11 DUI’s and 7 domestic calls. There were 63 medical emergencies and 31 traffic details resulting in 280 citations.

Lt. Matthews announced that Monday evening at 7:00 PM the Police Memorial Service will be held at St. Andrew’s Church to honor our fallen officers. Monsignor Picard will conduct the mass, which will be followed by a reception. The public is invited to attend.

Mr. M. Gallagher said that the Supervisors would postpone the work session of May 13 until 8:00 PM to allow them and the residents to attend the service.

Lt. Matthews said that the area has seen an increase in thefts from cars. A gang called the “felony Lane Gang” from Florida has been spotted in the area. This gang travels up I95, breaking car windows and stealing purses, gym bags, diaper bags and other items of value from cars. The gang members do not enter the cars, but they take wallets, then put on disguises to resemble drivers license photos and withdraw cash from bank accounts, cash checks, etc. They have been targeting gyms, nursery schools and playgrounds, places where mothers tend to leave things in the car. He reminded residents not to confront the gang members, but to be alert and call the police. They have recently broken into cars at Goddard School and Roberts Ridge Park.

Manager’s Report

Plan Expiration Report: Mr. Calabro noted that the report shows that the Mobile Home Park has an indefinite extension.

Mr. Ferguson explained that a PRD application must have its hearings within 60 days unless the applicant grants the Township an extension. The applicant has given an indefinite extension because the application may never be heard, depending on the progress of the townhouse application submitted for the same property.

Mr. Calabro asked whether the extension had to be granted.

Mr. Garton said this is an administrative procedure. The Township would have the burden of hearing the application without the extension.

Wide Format Scanner: Mr. Ferguson said that the Township needs to replace the wide format scanner and printer. He researched various products and is recommending a five year lease of a Canon product at $239 a month. There is no option to buy. He did not want to be stuck with an old product as technology changes. This scanner/printer can handle 36 inch paper. The cost includes service. He has also spoken to Ms. Fountain about the continued need for large scale printing and feels the printer will still be needed for plans over the next few years. In response to Mr. Calabro’s question, he said that the total cost of the five year lease would be about $14,000.

Mr. M. Gallagher moved to authorize a lease with Canon for a wide format scanner/printer, subject to review of the lease agreement by the Solicitor. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Other Business: Mr. Ferguson reported that he has developed a work order system for the Public Works Department and is meeting with HARB to develop guidelines for businesses in the historic district.

Treasury Report: Mr. Ferguson reported that he has begun planning the 2014 budget and hopes to have a capital spending plan for Board review by October. The current balance in the Treasury is $3,024,691. This includes $598,020 in property taxes collected for debt service and fire funds. The general fund balance is $2,426,086.

Mr. Ferguson reported that since the change to Keystone Collections, Newtown Borough had noticed an increase in its expected collections of non-resident earned income tax. An investigation revealed that Paychecks, an ADP competitor, had used Newtown Borough’s code rather than Newtown Township’s on certain non-resident collections of 2900 taxpayers. This has amounted to $208,000 credited to Newtown Borough instead of Newtown Township. This is being corrected and Newtown Township should see a repayment of the $208,000 and it will also change the baseline collection estimate in the budget. He will have a full report at the next meeting.

Mr. M. Gallagher said that he will be meeting with the County Tax Collection Committee to make sure that Keystone has proper safeguards in place to avoid future difficulties like this.

Mr. Ferguson reported that the most recent audit of the pension funds has been completed and a mistake was found in 2011 on a list of employees’ salaries and contributions. The state provides funds based on this summary of employees for the MMO. One employee was improperly included in this list so the state must be reimbursed $3200 plus interest. The complete audit will be available next week.

Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports

Minutes: Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve the minutes of the meeting of April 24, 2013. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Bills: Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve payment of bills totaling $169,203.44. Dr. Ciervo seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Calabro asked about a payment to Farmer Electric for $9380.

Mr. Ferguson explained that this was a repair of a streetlight on Sycamore Street damaged in a car accident. It has been reimbursed by insurance.

The motion passed 4-0.

Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $182,299.19. Dr. Ciervo seconded. The motion passed 4-0.

Mr. Garton said that there would be no executive session.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 PM.


Respectfully Submitted:
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary



Kurt Ferguson, Township Manager

Michael Gallagher, Chairman

Matthew Benchener, Vice-Chairman

Ryan Gallagher, Esq., Secretary

Philip Calabro, Member

Robert Ciervo, Member