SWAN NEWSLETTER #104
January 13, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION
Reported by Watson Fisher
Bond Refund Representatives from the Susquehanna Group Advisors made a presentation regarding the possible refunding of certain 2009 year General Obligation Bonds. The bonds are in the amount of 1.4 to 1.5 million dollars. The financial advisor stated that because of the current low interest rates it would be possible to save approximately 10% on the interest payments on the double A rated tax exempt bonds. He stated that there is no way to tell how soon the rates might increase. The supervisors authorized the advisors to begin the refinancing process immediately.
Meadowview Village At last month’s meeting, the scheduled discussion with representatives of the homeowners’ association was not held since no representatives attended and the item was removed from the agenda. At this meeting, the representatives renewed the discussion of their problems with trying to resolve several long term issues with the various developers and builders that have been involved with the project over many years. A main ongoing item of contention now is the possible need to construct a retaining wall as was recommended by the township engineer several months ago. If required, the question remains as to who would be responsible to construct it. The association certainly is in no position to do so. Since the township appears to have no jurisdiction in the matter it was suggested that the homeowners retain legal council to help resolve the various issues.
K-9 Unit The supervisors, as part of finalizing the 2015 budget, had approved the addition of a dog and an officer to the police force. At this meeting Public Service Department director, David Johnson, reported on the status of the project. Any officer interested in being the handler can apply and one will be selected. The Castle K-9 company will be bringing 15 dogs back from Germany and the department will select one. The company will then conduct a four week training period. Assuming things go well, the officer and the dog will begin patrol and narcotics duties. The dog will appear for events at schools, retirement homes, and other venues and the public may contribute to its maintenance.
Tax Collector The board was made aware of the new state legislation that in accordance with 2014 Act 164 the elected tax collector is now required to appoint a deputy. The collector’s choice of a deputy needs to be approved by the county, the school district and the municipality. The collector will be made aware that this needs to be done promptly.
Green Light Go Program Township manager George Wolfe reported that PennDOT has a continuing grant program that helps municipalities pay for ongoing improvements to traffic control equipment on public streets. The township has received grant funds in the past for new and replacement traffic signals and controls primarily along the route 22 corridor. It will continue to submit grant requests for new systems and upgrades.
January 20, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Grant Application – Resolution #15-05 The Capital Area Soccer Association requested that the township lend its support in their efforts to secure a grant from the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association for field maintenance. The funds will help CASA maintain and make improvements to the fields at the township’s Ranger Fields and George Park. The supervisors voted to agree to the request.
Hurley Fields At the previous business meeting the board approved a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the joint use of the two fields along Locust Lane. These fields are used by the township, the Dauphin County Industrial Development Association, the Capital Area Soccer Association, the Paxton Athletic Association, and the Linglestown Baseball Association. At this meeting the board voted to amend the memorandum correcting the name of the Paxton Athletic Association to the Paxton Baseball Association.
Wolfersberger Park JVH Excavating, Inc. is regrading a portion of the new park site as part of the project to deposit clean fill on the site from ongoing sewer project excavations. They encountered unforeseen quantities of rock which must be removed, creating an extra project cost. A change order in the amount of $37,800.00 to cover the extra work was approved.
Junk Yard License The yearly renewal of the license with the H. J. Towing and Salvage Yard Company was approved.
Municipal Records – Resolution #15-02 There is a systematic schedule for the allowed destruction of certain municipal records. This resolution approved the destruction of some of the records that the township can now legally destroy.
Grace Period The board approved establishing a short interest-free grace period for citizens to pay their 2014 township real estate taxes without penalty. It has been shown that this short penalty-free allowance period does generate revenue.
Emergency Operations Plan – Resolution #15-03 There were no needed changes to the township’s plan and the supervisors voted to reaffirm it for this year.
Traffic Signals – Resolutions 15-04-1, 15-04-2 and 15-04-3 These resolutions involve three PennDOT traffic signals. The township is responsible for the maintenance of the signals at the intersection of Jonestown Road and Colonial Road and at the two ramps onto I-83. The supervisors voted to approve the resolutions.
January 22, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Reorganization Meeting The board elected David Dowling to serve as Chairman and Jeffrey Staub to serve as Vice Chairman for the 2015 calendar year.
Rite Aid Corporation – Docket #1364 At their August meeting, the board heard a variance request for more exterior signage than allowed by code at the new large Rite Aid store located at the southwest corner of Jonestown Road and Devonshire Road in the C-G Commercial General Zoning District. Because of the size of the building the request to allow a few more wall signs than allowed was approved but the request to have a larger freestanding pylon sign than allowed was not approved.
At this meeting Rite Aid submitted a revised proposal for the freestanding sign. The applicant noted that the code would allow three freestanding signs but only one is requested. The previous submission called for a 105 square foot sign but the revised design would be a 83 square foot sign which would be 37 square feet less than the total allowed if they erected three signs. The board voted to approve the revised submission.
Schoffstall Farm – Docket #1369 The applicant was seeking a Special Exception to be allowed to continue to operate Farm Related Businesses in the R-1, Low Density Residential District. The 45 acre farm property is located at 5790 Devonshire Road. The applicant operates the Spring Gate Vineyard winery on the property and holds various events including weddings, reunions and political gatherings. The owner was not aware that the zoning ordinance placed some restrictions on such activities.
The board expressed concern for traffic safety because of the difficult unlighted entrance drive and for adequate paved, clearly marked and lighted parking areas. With this large property, there appears to be no concern for the events to disturb the neighbors. The board voted to approve the special exception to give the applicant conditional approval to continue to hold their functions with the understanding that he will submit a plan indicating how he will improve the parking situation.
February 2, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Fire Company Equipment For some time the supervisors have been discussing what their contribution to the three companies should be for the purchasing of new major items of apparatus. At this meeting, two of the chiefs requested that a decision be made soon so that they can decide how to plan their individual fund raising efforts for the year and what needed new equipment they can expect to be able to purchase. Public Safety Director, David Johnson, agreed to continue his discussions with Township Manager, George Wolfe, leading up at some point to having the supervisors make a decision and finalize the issue.
Company Reports The three fire companies were requested to submit current rosters and personnel information to Mr. Johnson. This material is needed quarterly to update workmen’s comp insurance and Length of Service Award information.
Street Widths The Colonial Park Fire Company chief stated his concern that the width of some streets in new developments is less than the ordinance requires. This is an obvious concern for the maneuvering of fire trucks. Residential streets with on-street parking should be 32 feet wide and collector streets 36 feet wide. The committee members agreed that the township should not make exceptions to these requirements for any reason.
LOSAP The chiefs expressed concern that some of the township’s annual contribution to the firefighters’ Length of Service Award program is coming from the Fire Equipment Capital Fund. Mr. Johnson agreed to review this.
Unsafe Property List Planning and Zoning Officer Amanda Zerbe distributed the current list of unsafe properties in the township with their present status. The police and fire departments need to have these updated lists available when responding to any emergency.
Miscellanous Reports The police department reported that there have been an excessive number of speeding incidents and accidents on Nyes Road recently. They also mentioned that the Village of Linglestown 250th year celebration will be this October and meetings will be held soon with the various township organizations to coordinate the activities. Mr. Johnson reported that a presentation will be made at an upcoming supervisors’ public meeting to recognize police and fire department personnel with records of extended service. Planning is underway for the annual Citizens Police Academy to be held in the spring. He reported that the Castle K-9 Company representative is in Germany and he will be selecting a dog for the township in March. He will begin dog training in April and if all goes well will begin service in May. The township is considering options for an agency to carry its workers comp insurance.
February 3, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Bond Refund – Ordinance #15-01 At the January supervisors’ workshop session representatives from the Susquehanna Group Advisors Inc. financial firm suggested that, with the current low interest rates, the township could realize some savings by refinancing their 2009 Series C General Obligation Bonds. The supervisors agreed to consider this, and after discussion they authorized the firm to proceed. The procedure would recall a maximum of $14,500,000.00 of those bonds and issue new lower interest rate bonds, with an estimated long term savings over 20 years of between one million and one and a half million dollars. There are no tax implications and the township’s double A rating will not be affected. The board at this meeting voted to approve the bond sale and the new issuance.
Subsidy Agreement As part of this bond issuance, process the sewer authority needed to formally agree to the refunding since their revenues are pledged as a guarantee to the bond payments. The authority subsidy agreement was approved.
Deputy Tax Collector At last month’s meeting, the board was advised that, by law, the elected real estate tax collector is required to appoint a deputy tax collector. At this meeting, it was stated that the tax collector had appointed her husband as deputy and that there was no legal problem with this choice. However, since the surety company also needed to sign off on the agreement, the supervisors voted not to approve the appointment until the surety company first approved it.
Triple Crown Corporation The initial construction work on the Stray Winds Farm residential development project is the installation of sanitary sewer lines and this work is now underway. Triple Crown’s, Mark DiSanto, stated that the current work consisting of digging the trenches for the lines and the installation of the piping in nearby trenches can be accomplished with one outside inspector, instead on the current two. After discussion, the supervisors decided to review the matter with the township engineer and to have an answer to Mr. DiSanto the following week as to whether or not he can eliminate the one inspector during this phase of the project.
Mid-Atlantic Machinery – Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #13-20 This company’s building is located at 6332 Flank Drive in the BC Business Campus Zoning District. At their August 2014 meeting, the Zoning Hearing Board granted the owner a Special Exception to allow him to construct an addition to the existing one story building. At this meeting, the supervisors voted to approve the applicant’s land development plan to allow the construction to proceed.
February 4, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING Reported by Vera Stuchinski
Bike Share Feasibility Study Update: Dauphin County is looking for a professional firm to prepare a study on the feasibility of a regional bike share system linking downtown Harrisburg with Hershey, heading towards Lebanon County. This study will be partly financed by a grant from the Tri County Regional Planning Commission. One downside is that if the bike path follows Derry Street, it will by-pass Lower Paxton Township. This is a long-term project planned Bike Share Feasibility Study Update: Dauphin County is looking for a professional firm to prepare a study on the feasibility of a regional bike share system linking downtown Harrisburg with Hershey, heading towards Lebanon County. This study will be partly financed by a grant from the Tri County Regional Planning Commission. One downside is that if the bike path follows Derry Street, it will by-pass Lower Paxton Township. This is a long-term project planned for 2030, which gives plenty of time to plan, budget for costs, and pursue funding sources.
HATS Bike-Ped Study: No new information at this time.
Safe Routes to School: This initiative will be kept on the agenda for discussion, although it has been tabled for now.
Sidewalk Connections: The first priority is a sidewalk linking Paxtonia Elementary and George Park. Discussion ensued about who needs to give final approval for the project. The principal at Paxtonia was contacted. The township engineer, Steve Fleming, will be contacted as well. The area must be surveyed. At least 2 curb cuts will be needed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards. (Depending on cost, we may need to do the curb cuts one year, and paving the next.) When the details are worked out, a committee member will go to the school board with a presentation of the plan. The committee viewed a large map that shows walking paths in George Park and where a path can be made to join to Lamplight Park.
Walking Opportunities Brochure This brochure shows all the walking trails in the township maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department and the school district. As a way to get the word out, it will be included in the next mailing from the Friendship Center. Committee members talked about how to distribute the brochures more widely, and getting them into the schools.
Arts and Parks 5K Run Report: There was discussion about how to make this fundraiser as successful as possible. If the Greenway Committee takes the lead, a larger portion of the proceeds will be available to fund its projects. The event could be expanded into a sort of family fun day. The Arts Council could be asked to sponsor some creative activities. Food trucks might be invited. T-shirt designs were shown featuring Freddie the Frog (Friendship Center pool mascot). A public relations person has offered to help with publicity.
February 10, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION
Reported by Watson Fisher
Kellie VonStein This woman is Senator Teplitz’s Director of Constituent Outreach, introduced herself and explained that she and the senator were available to help the citizens with any government related problems or services and could be contacted at their Kline Village office.
Friendship Center The Chairman of the Operating Board, Mr. Dougherty, and the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, Brian Luetchford, gave a detailed presentation of the finalized plans for improvements to the center. Over the past few years, detailed professional studies have been made, as to how best improve memberships and revenues. This would involve making some structural changes to the building that would be needed to upgrade program offerings. In addition, the staff has conducted studies locally with the membership and the public as to what facilities and programs would appear to be the best to provide.
As a result of all this preparation work, the center’s leadership has finalized their plans for renovations and new equipment. They asked the supervisors to endorse the plan, as presented, and to give their approval to move the work forward with the funds the township will provide and with their existing funds. The supervisors voted to approve the project.
5K Run Last summer, the township’s Community Engagement Committee with the help of the Parks & Recreation department held this new event. They are now beginning the planning for another similar one to be held on July 18, 2015. Initial plans are to expand it into a block party type event and to encourage more businesses and other sponsors to participate. They requested that the supervisors give them permission to hold the event, and they formally endorsed it.
Waste Management A representative from the township’s waste collection and recycling company reported that with no increase in the landfill fees and the low fuel costs they are not anticipating any increase in the cost to the public in the foreseeable future. The board questioned him on the future possibility of using larger recycle bins to encourage customers to recycle more, and a possible change to an automated cart pickup system. He said that they are already using an automated system in neighboring municipalities. The supervisors arranged for him to make a formal presentation on this and other possible improvements with projected costs, etc. at their April workshop session.
Hoffman Ford The company had presented a waiver request in connection with an application for a stormwater management plan approval. The request, was to not be required to install a sidewalk along their property on the north side of Jonestown Road, from Carolyn Street west, toward the Colonial Commons Shopping Center, where stormwater lines are being laid. PennDOT would not require the sidewalk, but it would be an extension of an existing sidewalk in this busy area, and the township staff and their engineer recommended that it be installed.
At this point in the discussion, it was noticed that there was a questionable odor in the large hearing room and the decision was made to immediately end the meeting and evacuate the building. The fire company arrived in a very short period of time to deal with the problem. It is assumed that the sidewalk issue and any other items on the agenda will be addressed at the next week’s supervisors’ meeting.