SWAN NEWSLETTER #105

February 17, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Hoffman Ford At the February 10th supervisors’ workshop session the company began their presentation of a waiver request at which time the building was evacuated because of a carbon monoxide odor. At this meeting the presentation was resumed. The request was in connection with an application for a stormwater management plan approval for a project along Hoffman’s property on the north side of Jonestown Road Route 22 from Carolyn Street west to the Colonial Commons Shopping Center property. Stormwater piping is being installed there and the township could require sidewalks to be installed also. Hoffman agreed that if the shopping center ever installs sidewalks along that section of the highway they would install them along their section. The supervisors voted not to require sidewalks to be installed at this time.

South Central EMS Ambulance company chief Jason Campbell presented an overview of the organization’s activity during 2014. They received 560 more calls than in the previous year mainly due to the Affordable Care Act. The response to a survey indicated a very high satisfaction rating. The supervisors commended Mr. Campbell for the very noticeable improvement in the service being provided since he took over a few years ago.

Bond Refund Representatives from the financial advisors group reported that the refunding of a large portion of the 2009 bond issue was successfully completed several weeks ago resulting in a significant savings in repayments in future years. They made a quick decision on timing the issuance of the 2015 General Obligation Bonds and fortunately executed it when the market was almost at its lowest rate. The board thanked them for their expert handling of the refinancing.

Friendship Center There was a resignation by one of the members of the center’s Operating Board and the supervisors took action to fill the vacancy. They voted to appoint David Bera to fill the empty position.

Surveying Service Bids were received for a firm to do land surveying related to upcoming work planned in the BC-4 sewer mini-basin. The low bid was received from a firm that was not deemed to be qualified. The low responsible bid was from Dauphin Engineering in the amount of $6,000.00. The board voted to award the contract to Dauphin Engineering.

Computers The township wished to enter into a lease/purchase agreement for thirty one laptop computers to be paid for over a four year period at a total cost of $20,655.00. The agreement was approved.

Subdivision and Land Development Preliminary work has begun on the large Stray Winds Farm residential development around Crums Mill and McIntosh Roads and a letter of credit has been posted. Questions were raised regarding the legal action underway in the county court and the master plan which shows 449 units when only 374 units would currently be permitted. Also a revised phasing plan will be needed. It was acknowledged that nothing could be finalized by the township until there is a court decision and other legal matters are resolved.

February 24, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Reorganizational Meeting The following authority elections and appointments for 2015 were made: William Seeds, Chairman; David Blain, Vice Chairman; William Hornung, Secretary; William Hawk, Treasurer; Robin Lindsey, Assistant Secretary; Steven Stine, Authority Solicitor; and GHD Engineering Services, Authority Engineer.

The authority board voted to change their regular meeting schedule to 6:00 pm the third Tuesday of every month with the understanding that any monthly meeting could be canceled if there are no items of business to conduct. The meetings will be held in the township building before the regular supervisors’ business meetings which start at 7:30 pm. A special authority meeting has been scheduled for 6:30 pm on Tuesday, March 24th of this year at the township building.

Tapping Fee – Resolution #15-02 This item involving a township project with the Donco Construction Company was removed since no authority action was required.

Sewer Rental Rate – Resolution #15-03 The cost of treating the material deposited at the municipal landfill has increased. The township’s prorated share is now $35,000.00 for the year. The authority had to approve this resolution.

Crum’s Lane Project – Resolution #15-04 This resolution would authorize the condemnation work necessary to prepare for the Crum’s Lane/PC-4E Mini-Basin stormwater project. The resolution was approved.

Paving Costs GHD engineers reported that they are working to analyze the cost of street and road paving which is an expensive part of sewer repair work. Change orders for additional paving are a common part of many sewer projects where excavations reveal existing lines that are not where they are shown on old plans resulting in cost overruns.

Bond Funds The question was raised as to whether or not it would be wise to consider investing short term some of the authority’s cash reserves that are in excess of those needed for current projects. It was suggested that one of the township’s financial advisors be consulted. But it was pointed out that interest rates are now low and with fees taken out the returns would probably not be significant. Also, there are certain restrictions on how the township handles its funds. Township manager George Wolfe was directed to look into the matter.

Swatara Authority Annual Meeting At the upcoming meeting the joint Paxton Creek projects will be reviewed. The preliminary review indicates that Lower Paxton should receive a $55,000.00 settlement.

Parkchester Road Pump Station There have been grease and odor complaints in the Paxton Towne Centre mall area and it is not clear what the township can legally do to address the problem. It was suggested that letters be sent to the three restaurants in the area to advise them of the problem. A report will be forthcoming next month.

Revised Sewer Rate Projections GHD engineers reported that they are studying how the long term projections of the costs of sewer projects in the next 20 years will affect decisions on possible changes to sewer rates. The intent is to limit rate changes but to be prepared when extensive projects need to be undertaken.

February 26, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Schoffstall Farm Brewpub – Special Exception #2015-02 At last month’s meeting Mr. Schoffstall received the approval of a Special Exception to continue to operate a winery on his farm at 5790 Devonshire Road in the R-1 Low Density Residential District. At this meeting he was seeking a Special Exception to also operate a brewpub on the farm. In this operation he would grow the hops on the farm, brew the beer, sell it for off site consumption and sell it on site in a brewpub. It was acknowledged that this would not be a bar but it would be allowable as a farm-related business under the township’s zoning ordinance.

To comply with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board requirements he was told he would need to sell food for on-site consumption for 30 people. He said he would plan to meet that requirement by holding thirty hot dogs and buns in a freezer and have a microwave oven to cook them. The PLCB inspector determined that they would accept that as compliance with the state board’s requirement for a brewpub. A standing room only crowd attended the meeting and gave a number of pro and con comments. The board voted to deny the Special Exception.

Mellow Minded Café – Special Exception #2015-03 Mark and Lori Everest are planning to open a restaurant by that name in Linglestown on the first floor of the building at 5943 Linglestown Road. They needed a Special Exception to the number of on site parking spaces required. Based on the size of the restaurant they would need 36 spaces and they would only have about 20 on the site. Their appeal was to be allowed to satisfy the parking requirement by counting 16 spaces from the fairly large municipal parking lot less than a block away which was built to help the downtown merchants but is not heavily used. The board considered this as a satisfactory solution to the parking problem and approved the request.

March 4, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING – Reported by Vera Stuchinski

Bike Share Feasibility Study Update: No new information at this time

HATS Bike-Ped Study: No new information at this time.

Sidewalk Connections: Mr. Luetchford shared the township engineer’s proposal for preliminary work on the Paxtonia sidewalk project. Approval from PennDOT is required. This will entail rather extensive surveying, mapping, etc. at an estimated cost of $15,000.00, and this does not include materials or construction, only planning. The committee has a budget of $10,000.00. Discussion followed on how to convince the supervisors to increase the budget. Members agreed that this project is the committee’s top priority. The committee decided they will address the supervisors at the June meeting with a complete report about the project, including photographs and compelling reasons for more funding. They will also share information about two other top projects and possible costs, in order to make an argument for a larger budget next year.

Walking Opportunities Brochure This was included in the recent township newsletter. Committee members will distribute the brochures in more public places. No photos have been received yet for the photography contest.

Arts and Parks 5K Run Report: Some local businesses have already contributed to the event. A mailing of postcards is planned closer to the date (July 18). Possible T-shirt designs were shown. The 5K will also be for walkers, and dogs and strollers are allowed.

March 4, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING – Reported by Vera Stuchinski

Mateer Field: The lease is in place. Mr. Luetchford will be meeting with the public works department to arrange for maintenance and upkeep.

Heroes Grove: The low bid came in at $646,000.00.00. Minor alterations will be made to bring down the cost to $600,000.00.00. Final approval is expected by April so that construction can begin in May.

Hodges Heights Park Planning: Mr. Luetchford reported on some complications of building any permanent structures : unknown depth of the landfill, stability issues, and possible methane gas emissions, The next township newsletter will announce a public meeting on Wednesday, June 24. The goal is to determine what the community wants, find out how much it would cost, then take the information to the supervisors.

Hurley Fields/Public Works Building Expansion: New district justice offices will be located on a portion of the current ball fields. There is no agreement in place at this time, but it is expected later this month.
Arts Council: They are working on a new agreement with the Township Variety Band to clarify some issues. An invitation was received from Marty Shoffstall to have a craft fair at the Spring Gate Vineyard. The council is working with the Greenway Committee on family-friendly activities at the upcoming Arts & Parks 5K Run. There are plans for a movie night & an author night, but no dates have been set.

Greenway Committee Activities: (See Greenway Committee report.)

Community Engagement: The 5 K race set for July 18, 2015 was discussed.

Other Business: Fill is now being delivered to Wolfersberger Park. Mr. Luetchford told the committee that the township has accumulated $200,000.00 in an escrow account which came from the fees that developers are required to contribute towards park development.

March 10, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION -Reported by Watson Fisher

Note: The supervisors meeting scheduled for March 3rd was cancelled due to bad weather. The agenda items from that meeting were addressed at this meeting.

Public Comment Triple Crown Corporation’s president Mark DeSanto requested that the supervisors allow his company in the future to revise the last part of the phasing schedule for the large Stray Winds Farm housing project. The work is now underway in spite of the ongoing legal issues. He acknowledged that the total number of units can not legally exceed 374 but that they will need some flexibility with the makeup of the last phase years from now as market conditions dictate. After a long discussion the supervisors reluctantly voted to have township solicitor Steve Stine prepare a letter agreeing to Mr. DeSanto’s request.

Friendship Center As they had done at the February meeting, Mr. Dougherty, Chairman of the Operating Board, and Brian Luetchford, Parks & Recreation Department Director, gave an update on the planned alterations to the center. The major changes will provide additional space for fitness facilities which are a major revenue source and will better utilize some other areas in the center. There will also be new lights in the natatorium and some needed noise control measures. The next step is to begin the detailed design phase. The supervisors stated that they support the project.

Meadowview Village The board took action on approving the land development plan for the final 1.7 acre section of the senior residential development located on the south side of Union Deposit Road at Rutherford Road. The stormwater issue and the retaining wall question were resolved and the board voted to approve the plan.

Martin Schoffstall Mr. Schoffstall lives on a farm on the south side of Devonshire Road where he has a winery along with other agriculture-related businesses. At this meeting he made a presentation regarding his proposed amendments to the township’s zoning ordinance pertaining to allowing businesses such as bed and breakfasts and small restaurants on farm properties of a certain size. The board agreed to consider the matter and plans to begin discussions at their April 14th workshop meeting.

2014 Storm Sewer Project Four change orders to the storm sewer contract with Michael F. Ronca & Sons, Inc. were presented for approval. The project involves work at several locations and these change orders total $103,781.00. The board asked for more detailed information on the charges before they approve the change orders and HRG engineers will provide that before the next supervisors’ meeting.

Green Light Go – Resolution #15-07 This resolution authorized the submission of a 50% matching grant application to PennDOT for traffic signal improvements at the intersection of U.S. 22 and Devonshire Road. Submission of the application was approved.
Chesapeake Bay The Capital Area Council of Governments is required to prepare a plan to reduce pollution in the bay and is asking municipalities to collect data for the plan. The supervisors authorized the township to participate in this project.

Engineering Proposals HRG, the township’s engineering firm, presented proposals for the firm to do preliminary design work for three planned projects. At the township’s Public Works Building on Locust Lane, site design work is needed for the building expansion and for the possible new District Justice office. This will require the elimination of one of the baseball fields and the relocation of the other. At the Friendship Center the planned work mentioned above will require some professional design work. The board approved the proposals for these two projects.

The third project is preliminary work that would be needed for the construction of a proposed sidewalk on Nyes Road between Paxtonia Elementary School and the entrance to George Park. This project was suggested by the Greenway Committee as a first step in providing walking opportunities around the park. Questions were raised by the supervisors as to the value of this project. Before any engineering work is done they will evaluate the proposed project during their next road tour.

March 17, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Planning Commission Long time planning commission member Richard Beverly has not attended a regular meeting for an extended period of time and has not responded to repeated inquires as to his interest in continuing to serve. The board is legally allowed to terminate his membership for cause and they reluctantly voted to do so.

Deputy Tax Collector The township needed to appoint an individual to fill the office of Deputy Tax Collector for the real estate tax. The board voted to appoint Dan Bair to the position.

Linglestown Square – Resolution #15-06 The township is a party to the Colonial Park Rotary Club’s project to install a freestanding clock in the highway right-of-way at the Linglestown Square. As such, they needed to execute an application to lease real property from PennDOT to erect the clock. The board voted to approve the application.

I-83 Project – Resolution #15-10 Some months ago the board voted to agree to maintain the new sidewalks that they requested PennDOT to construct on the new bridges that will be built across I-83 at Union Deposit Road and at Route 22. The bridges will be the first part of the interstate highway project widening I-83 to six lanes. Under the Sidewalk Maintenance Agreement with PennDOT the township’s responsibility will be the removal of ice and snow and the perpetual maintenance of the sidewalks. The board voted to assume that responsibility and approved the agreement.

2014 Storm Sewer Project At the previous week’s workshop session the board was presented with four change orders to the storm sewer contract with Michael F. Ronca & Sons, Inc. totaling $103,781.00. The board postponed action on the change orders for a week until they could receive detailed information on the charges from HRG Engineers. The information was provided and the board voted to approve the change orders.

Police Radar – Resolution #15-11 Until now our state has been the only one not to allow municipal police to use radar for speed control. The passing of house and senate bills have finally changed that and board approval of this resolution supports their use. The police department stated that their use will be more accurate and result in some savings in manpower.

Doli Construction This company completed its BC-6 sanitary sewer mini-basin project and submitted Change Order #2 in the adjusted amount of $1,590,555.00. This covered the cost of the paving work for this large project and was a significant savings over the original low bid for this work. The supervisors were pleased with the savings and approved the change order.

R-III Construction Inc. This contractor’s work on the BC-3 sanitary sewer mini-basin project was delayed beyond the scheduled time due to unexpected winter weather conditions. Change Order #1 extending the construction period with no change in cost was approved.

Tree Removal Bids were opened for the tree cutting and trimming, stump and root grinding project within the BC-4 sanitary sewer mini-basin. The work involves the removal of 157 trees and the trimming of 5 trees. Stoner Tree Service was the low bidder with a bid of $61,125.00 and a contract in that amount for their work was approved.

March 24, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Investment Options At their February meeting it was discussed whether or not to consider investing any of the authority’s cash reserves short term. It was then suggested that the financial firm of Susquehanna Group Advisors Inc. be asked to review the matter. At this meeting two of their representatives gave a very detailed report regarding the current and projected investment picture. The bottom line was that with current interest rates quite low, the amount of sewer work planned in the coming years quite high, and the advisability of keeping the authority’s cash balance and debt service steady in the eyes of the lenders, it would be best not to reduce the authority’s cash reserves now or in the foreseeable future.

A board member noted that it would be wise not to risk needing to raise the sewer tax over the next few years. The advisors closed by saying the next scheduled borrowing is in three years and market projections are difficult beyond about five years so they recommended not reducing cash reserves at this time.

Authority Records – Resolution #15-05 The authority is allowed to destroy certain of their records that were kept for seven years. The board approved the destruction of those records.

I – 83 – Resolution #15-06 This resolution was to authorize a request to PennDOT for a reimbursement of 75% of the cost of abandoning a manhole and installing a new one and the necessary piping resulting from the installation by PennDOT of a new sound barrier on the expressway. The work is at the intersection of Route 22 and I-83. The board voted to approve the request.

Program Review GHD engineers gave an in-depth report on the status of the many ongoing sanitary sewer repair and extension projects in the township and a proposed schedule for the upcoming projects over the next few years. The report showed that for the most part the repair projects in both the Paxton Creek and the Beaver Creek mini-basins are being completed ahead of schedule in spite of the less than ideal weather conditions. It was noted that approximately one third of the project cost typically was for street paving after the actual sewer work is completed.

The question was raised whether the project scheduling should continue at the somewhat accelerated pace or be slowed down. The members agreed to continue with the existing schedule and to review the situation again at the next authority meeting.

March 24, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Municipal Vehicles Township manager George Wolfe reported to the supervisors on the sale of thirty used vehicles. Efforts by the township to advertize them for sale at a reasonable price were not successful. The vehicles and equipment included cars, vans, trucks, a plow, a paver and a generator. He then put them up for sale on the online auction for municipal vehicles and received bids totaling $54,485.00 compared to the offer of approximately $1,800.00 he had received from the initial effort.

The supervisors voted to accept the bids and suggested that the township continues to use the auction for future equipment sales.