SWAN Newsletter #103
December 9, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION Reported by Watson Fisher
Township Engineers At last month’s workshop meeting, representatives from township engineers HRG reviewed their proposed fee structure for 2015. It was mostly the same as for 2014 except for the elimination of a discount on certain work items. The Supervisors requested that HRG reconsider that change. At this meeting, engineer Steve Fleming, reported that this discount would be continued in 2015. The board will plan to approve their contract at their next business meeting.
Meadowview Village This agenda item was for the homeowners’ association to discuss the long term matter of the construction of retaining walls in their development. Some residents attended the meeting, but no one from the association was there. The item was removed from the agenda.
Delinquent Collection Policy – Resolution #14-15 The township sewer authority members at last month’s meeting discussed a policy regarding collection of delinquent sewer bills. There were three homeowners who had not received bills for 16 years due to billing errors on the part of the township and who were now faced with large one-time bills to correct the errors. The authority had agreed on a policy to somewhat reduce the amount of the large bills and to provide a policy of extended payments over five years for the three homeowners involved. At this meeting one of the three appealed the decision but without success. At their meeting on December 16th the Supervisors will take formal action to approve their decision.
Strategic Plan Township Manager, George Wolfe, stated that over a number of meetings he had presented the township’s strategic plan for 2015 through 2019 to the Supervisors and they had discussed and revised it. At their December 16th meeting, he will submit it for approval with the understanding that it is an outline, subject to annual reviews and periodic revisions. He added that yearly budgets need to mesh with significant changes to the plan.
Municipal Fees At last month’s workshop meeting the Supervisors agreed to raise fees for some municipal services to be more in line with the actual cost of providing those services. Adjustments were last made at the beginning of 2011. At this meeting they agreed to a general 5% increase for most services. Action on this change to the fees will be on the agenda for the first meeting in 2015.
Flood Insurance Mr. Wolfe reported that the county will be offering a new program that can reduce FEMA flood insurance rates by 10% for some residents. He said that the township will need to indicate to the county their willingness to participate in the program and without any Supervisor’s objection he said they would.
December 16, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Delinquent Sewer Bills – Resolution #14-15 At their December 9th workshop session the Supervisors agreed on an official policy regarding the collection of delinquent sewer bills. This was caused in part by the discovery of three residential accounts that had never been billed over the last 15 years. Since this was discovered several years ago, the township has adopted an aggressive collection policy which has been very successful. The authority members voted to approve the new official collection policy addressing the resolution of delinquent accounts.
Sewer Rate Increase – Resolution #14-16 The authority at their recent budget meeting had agreed that it was necessary to make an increase in the homeowner’s quarterly sewer rate to help fund the number of major repair projects to the older parts of the township’s sanitary sewer system. At this meeting they voted to approve an increase in the homeowner’s quarterly bill from $125.00 to $130.00.
December 16, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
2015 Budget – Resolution #14-40 The Supervisors have been working on every aspect of the township’s budget for the last six months and at this meeting they took final action on it. It was noted that the township is the 17th largest municipality of over 2,600 in the state. Spending in 2015 is projected to be approximately $53.5 million dollars, with the largest amount of revenue coming from earned income and real estate taxes. Over the last five years, annual spending has only increased by 1% with no tax increases. Some new projects are planned for 2015. The supervisors voted to raise the real estate tax from 1.3 to 1.7 mills. The average for municipalities in the area is 2.5 mills. The supervisors voted to approve the 2015 budget.
Strategic Plan – Resolution #14-41 At the previous meeting, Township Manager, George Wolfe, presented the final version of the long range plan he and the Supervisors had created as a fiscal guideline for the next four years. At this meeting the Supervisors voted to adopt the long range plan.
Municipal Fees – Resolution #14-42 It has been a number of years since the township has increased their fees for certain services they provide to the residents. The supervisors voted to approve a general rate increase of approximately 5%. The new fee schedule will be posted on the township web site.
Township Engineer At the recent workshop meeting, HRG engineers and the township settled on a retainer for 2015 with no change from the current year. Formal approval of the agreement will occur next month.
Sewer Work Change Orders Change Orders 2 & 3 to the 2014 storm sewer project with M. F. Ronca & Sons, Inc. were approved. Change Order #2 was for $49,916.00 to replace a previously unknown pipe and a damaged manhole under Beaver Road. Change Order #3 was for $8,276.00 to relocate water lines under Spring Creek Road.
Sale of Municipal Vehicles The township opened bids on the sale of ten vehicles. Only two of the bids were satisfactory and those vehicles were sold. The other eight will be advertised again and will be sold at municipal auction.
Harrisburg Christian School – Resolution #14-21 This subdivision plan is to divide the 67 acre Parkway Farms property located on both sides of Parkway West into four parcels. No development on this property is planned at this time. The subdivision was approved.
January 5, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Annual Reorganization Meeting This meeting, which is required to be held the first Monday of the year is for the Supervisors to: elect officers, make appointments to boards and committees, and make decisions on other items affecting the township’s business for the coming year.
The board made the following elections and appointments: William Hawk, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors; Gary Crissman, Vice Chairman; William Hornung, Secretary; William Seeds, Sr., Treasurer; Robin Lindsey, Assistant Secretary/Treasurer; Lowman Henry, Vacancy Board Chairman; George Wolfe, Township Manager; Steve Stine, Solicitor; HRG, Township Engineer; William Seeds, Sr. and Robin Lindsey, Representative and Alternate to the Capital Region Council of Governments; William Hawk and Robin Lindsey, Delegate and Alternate to PSATS State Convention; Treasurer’s Bond, $1,000,000.00; Township Depository, M&T Bank; and the Supervisors’ Meeting Schedule for the year.
The board also made appointments of individuals to the Arts Council, the Greenway Committee, the Planning Commission, the Community Engagement Committee, the Friendship Center Operating Board, the Public Safety Committee, the Shade Tree Commission, the South Central EMS Board and the Zoning Hearing Board. The Supervisors stated that citizens are regularly needed to serve on the township’s boards and committees when there are vacancies and interested township residents should contact the township office.
CPA – Resolution #15-01 The board considered the appointment of the certified public accounting firm of Zelenkofske Axelrod to audit the accounts of the township, the township authority and the Friendship Center for the 2014 year. That firm has a three year contract with the township running through 2016. The reappointment was approved.
Mateer Fields The township’s solicitor has prepared a legal agreement between the township and the Community Club of Colonial Park for the use and possible future purchase of the club’s two baseball fields on their park property east of Oak Park Circle on the west side of Berryhill Road. Some items in the agreement were changed including certain conditions relating to the possible purchase of the property. The Supervisors voted to approve the amended agreement.
Hurley Fields A Memorandum of Understanding has been prepared regarding the shared use of the baseball/soccer fields on the south side of Locust Lane north of the township’s Public Safety building. The agreement involves the township, the Dauphin County IDA, the Capital Area Soccer Association, the Paxton Athletic Association, and the Linglestown Baseball Association. Six additional provisions were added to the agreement. The revised agreement was approved.
Shadebrook Road construction on this large combined residential and commercial project located around the intersection of Fairmont Drive and Cider Press Road has now begun. It will be built in five phases with scheduled completion by 2026. At this meeting the developer requested some minor changes to the phasing schedule to allow some of the commercial construction work to begin sooner than phase four, as was previously planned. Construction of the first houses will begin this spring. The supervisors voted to approve the phasing revisions.
January 7, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING Reported by Bill Bostic
Annual Reorganization Meeting The Commission reappointed Fred Lighty as Chairman, appointed Roy Newsome as Vice-Chairman and Douglas Grove as Secretary. Monthly meetings will continue to be held on the first Wednesday of the month at 7 pm.
Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan for Mid-Atlantic Machinery The plan is for a 3,625-square-foot addition to an existing 10,000-square-foot building at 6342 Flank Drive in Gateway Corporate Center located along Allentown Blvd., in the Linglestown area. The building is in the Business Campus Zoning District. (Map: http://goo.gl/maps/lHu02)
Mid-Atlantic Machinery, a metal fabrication company, will occupy two-thirds of the building after the addition is completed. The remaining space currently is unoccupied.
The applicant received a special exemption for the proposed expansion from the Zoning Hearing Board in August 2014. (See SWAN Newsletter #98 for more details.)
The Planning Commission unanimously recommended the plan for approval.
Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan for Meadowview Village Lot 1B Developer Eric Kessler made his second appearance before the Planning Commission with a plan for the final phase of Meadowview Village, a senior housing development located south of Union Deposit Road near the Rutherford Road intersection. The plan calls for 12 condo units in four buildings on a 1.74-acre lot. The units would be located on the property’s northern boundary along Union Deposit Road.
Since meeting with the commission in September 2014, Kessler received variances from the Zoning Hearing Board in October 2014. (See SWAN Newsletter #100 for more details.) Also, driveways were revised to eliminate a poorly planned intersection of driveways and a road.
The Planning Commission unanimously recommended the plan for approval, and the commission agreed to have the developer discuss with the Township Supervisors whether walking trails that were waived for other phases of Meadowview Village, would need to be constructed for this phase.
Review of proposed Steep Slope Ordinance as prepared by resident John Packer of 1851 Parkway West and his father, James Packer, proposed a revised ordinance based on one used by a New Jersey municipality. They said the township’s current ordinance had been gutted from one that had been used in the past.
The Packers first expressed concerns about steep slopes when the Commission, in November 2014, approved Harrisburg Christian School’s subdivision plan. (See SWAN Newsletter #101 for more details.)
Township officials said the current ordinance is brief in scope because Dauphin County Conservation District and the state Department of Environmental Protection are involved in reviewing plans with steep slopes. Also, regulations for steep slopes appear in various sections of the township’s zoning and land development ordinances.
The Planning Commission took no action on the proposed ordinance.
January 7, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING Reported by Vera Stuchinski
Jim Seidler was elected as chair, and Angela Sedun as co-chair.
Safe Routes to School The committee discussed the Transportation Alternative Program, which encourages students to bike and walk to school. It was pointed out that many parents prefer to drive their children to and from school for various reasons (safety, heavy backpacks, etc.). It will be difficult to change their minds. The program should first be endorsed by the Superintendent, Dr. Johnson. There are some obstacles that need to be overcome, such as inadequate sidewalks and curbing in many neighborhoods. It is not known how many students currently walk to school. Would the interest level be sufficient to justify the amount of energy and resources necessary for the program to succeed? It was suggested that efforts may be better spent finding ways to encourage families to walk together recreationally. There was a consensus to table this initiative for now.
Sidewalk Connections The supervisors have allotted $10,000.00 for the building of short sections of sidewalks needed to fill in existing gaps. Discussion followed regarding locations. One priority was a location between Paxtonia Elementary and George Park. Mr. Luetchford reported that the total cost of sidewalk sections can be determined based on sidewalk width. The price per linear foot of a 4-foot wide section is $14.00, a 5-foot section is $17.50, and a 6-foot section is $21.00. It was noted that the township asks for homeowners’ permission to install sidewalks on their property, and that it is generally given. It was not known what recourse the township has if the property owner refuses permission. The committee is prioritizing areas. In addition to the list which has been developed, an additional 8 locations were noted that need to be added to the list. Mr. Seidler will request that the Parks and Recreation Board approve their plan, after which it will be taken to the Supervisors for their approval.
Walking Opportunities Brochure Ms. Sedun is working on the Walking Opportunities Brochure, which will identify and locate all the walking trails in the township maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department and the school district. Flyers have been designed for a public photo contest. The subjects are: landscapes, people, places, plants, and wildlife from around Lower Paxton Township.
Crosswalks There was discussion concerning crosswalks that are needed. Some research shows increased pedestrian accidents in crosswalks, but in cases where signs are obvious, accidents actually decrease. Penn Dot provides free-standing Yield to Pedestrian signs at no cost to municipalities.
January 7, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING Reported by Vera Stuchinski
Mateer Field: Mr. Luetchford reported on the current (verbal) annual lease agreement for the township to use the Mateer Park fields. The township will take over maintenance & trash removal and pay approximately $300.00 per month for insurance.
Heroes Grove: The design plans were presented to the group. Phase 1 construction will take approximately 1 1/2 years and will begin this summer. The committee plans to continue meeting and to devise fundraising plans for upkeep.
Hodges Heights Park Planning: Mr. Luetchford reported on possible repair work at the park located along Conway Road in the southeastern corner of the township. The next step is to investigate Department of Environmental Protection regulations for building on a landfill, to find out what structures are allowed, if trees can be planted, etc. It could be very costly due to structural support issues.
Park Improvements: Repairs are being made to the Possibility Place Playground by the Rotary Club and an Eagle Scout. At Centennial Acres, there is a new paved pathway & bridge leading from the parking lot to the pavilion. There is a new paved pathway for the Lingle Pavilion. At the Kohl Building, the roof has been replaced and the building has been resided. The playground equipment is damaged, and it would be very expensive to replace it. The board voted to remove the damaged equipment and to use the area as open space, as there is a playground located very close by.
Hurley Fields/Public Works Building Expansion: New district judges offices will be located on a portion of the current ball fields.
Arts Council: It was noted that the Lower Paxton Township Variety Band is an asset to community events. The Arts Council will continue craft activities at upcoming events. The council is partnering with the Greenway Committee on a photography contest.
Greenway Committee Activities: Mr.Seidler reported on the photography contest which will take place in May (landscapes, people & places, plants & wildlife in the township). He also presented the Greenway Committee’s request for the sidewalk connections project at Paxtonia Elementary School to begin as soon as possible. It was approved, and the item will be put on the Supervisor’s agenda in February.
Community Engagement: There will be a 5 K race held on July 18, 2015, as a fundraising event.
Miscellaneous: Koons Park tennis courts are badly cracked and damaged and new lighting is needed. Should they be resurfaced or entirely redone? The committee decided to schedule a walking tour of the courts in April, led by Mr. Luetchford.