SWAN NEWSLETTER #107

May 4, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING -Reported by Watson Fisher

LOSAP Public Safety Department Director, David Johnson, stated that he has not received the current firefighters’ Length of Service Award Program personnel roster from the Paxtonia Fire Department. Their representative said the roster would be sent to him immediately. Mister Johnson also reported that the township has contributed $77,520.00 to the fire companies from their Fire Equipment Capital Fund.

Unsafe Property List The township’s list of vacant houses now contains 40 houses, which is down from the high of 147 houses some time ago. The township currently updates this list for the fire companies every two months and the companies agreed that the plan is satisfactory.

Capital Plan The fire departments’ Capital Plan is now complete. It will be sent to township manager, George Wolfe, for distribution to the supervisors at their workshop meeting on May 12th.

Police Department Director Johnson reported that the department has hired two new police officers who are now going through training. He said that a second round of hiring will begin in June. He noted that they are doing some recruiting at local colleges. The annual National Night Out is again being scheduled for August in George Park.

May 5, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING -Reported by Watson Fisher

Appointments The board voted to approve the appointment of Mark Emery as an alternate on the township’s Zoning Hearing Board and Richard Kreiger as an alternate on the Emergency Medical Services Board of Directors.

1st Quarter 2015 Key Indicator Report Township Manager, George Wolfe, presented a detailed report on the township’s first three month’s financial activity. He began by stating that the report for the last quarter of 2014 had not yet been completed but should be available before the next supervisors’ meeting.

His report covered the 2015 1st quarter financial information on the township’s General Fund, State Aid, General Improvement Fund, Friendship Center Operating Fund, Authority Operating Fund, Authority Expenditures, General Improvement Fund, Fire Equipment Fund, Length of Service Award Program, Friendship Center Capital Fund and the Authority Fund.

As a review, he noted that the township had shown growth before 2008, but from then to 2010, there had been a recession. Then during the years 2011 through 2013 there had been a moderate rebound in revenues, but in 2014 the General Find had shown a small loss. He said that the supervisors had established a goal of maintaining a General Fund balance of 25% of expenditures and that has been accomplished in recent years.

He reported that during the first quarter there was little activity in the Fire Equipment Capital Fund and a steady balance had been maintained in the LOSAP Fund and the General Improvement Fund. Also the Friendship Center had shown a small gain in revenue as well as an increase in memberships and the Authority showed some gain in revenues over expenditures.

May 6, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING- Reported by Vera Stuchinski

Bike Share Feasibility Study Update: A committee member will participate in a Webinar on this topic May 7.

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

Sidewalk Connections – Paxtonia Elemenary: The feasibility study was approved by the school district, but no funding is available from CDSD. Paxtonia PTA was not interested in fundraising for this purpose, but they will be approached again. The Supervisors want to know if the public supports the plan, so the committee discussed ways to get the word out to gain public support.

Potential Projects for 2016 Budget: Focus will be on finishing George Park walkways and fields rather than diverting attention to several other projects. Funds have already been allocated. Committee members will meet on Wednesday the 13th at George Park, to get a look at the progress to date.

Arts and Parks 5K Run Report: Some photo contest submissions have been received.

May 6, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING – Reported by Vera Stuchinski

Bathroom Availability at Koons Park: Mr. Hock, a parent and pony baseball coach, spoke to the committee about the need to have a portable bathroom for the pony ball field. According to Mr. Hock, the permanent bathrooms at the park are too far away from the pony ball field. Mr. Hock presented a petition signed by parents of some players. Much discussion followed. There are several potential problems (in addition to the expense) of adding a portable bathroom, including likely complaints from neighbors and vandalism. The topic will be revisited in future. (The current policy is that facilities are adequate as long as there is a bathroom in-sight of the different areas of the park.)

Mateer Field: Repairs have been made to bleachers, fencing, building, landscape, etc.

Heroes Grove: By year’s end, the work will be substantially completed.

Hurley Fields/Public Works Building Expansion: Work is proceeding.

Arts Council: More plans are in the works for movie night & other events.

Hodges Heights Park: Mr. Banks, the president of H.H. Community Association, spoke to the committee. The Community Association is planning to do some fundraising at their annual picnic to pay for a historic marker for the neighborhood. A suggestion was made and agreed upon to print fliers to be distributed in H.H. and surrounding developments announcing the public meeting to be held at the Township Building on Wednesday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m.

May 6, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Reported by Bill Bostic

The Planning Commission met for the second time this year and their workload continued to be light. Only two items were on the meeting agenda.

Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan for Best Line Equipment and Storage Pad Best Line plans to construct a 5-acre storage pad for construction equipment behind the existing building used by the equipment rental business located at 6700 Allentown Blvd. The property is in the Light Industrial Zoning District. (Map: http://bit.ly/1FgGZk8)

The pad would be located between the existing building and I-81. It would be used to store boom lifts, earthmoving equipment, trailers and other heavy equipment.

The commission unanimously recommended approval of the plan.

Note: Beyond the township review process, the project is contingent upon receiving a state stormwater permit (NPDES) from DEP. There’s a chance that the permit issuance could be delayed because the property has been flagged for possibly having an endangered plant on it.

Sketch Plan for Sir Thomas Court, Lot 5C The commission reviewed a sketch plan for a 3-story office building on a 3.4-acre lot in an office park on Sir Thomas Court, which is located off of Londonderry Road just west of I-83. The lot is the last undeveloped parcel in the office park. The building would mainly be used for medical offices. (Map: http://bit.ly/1FgOSpZ)

Commission members were glad to see that the office park would be built-out, and the township’s consulting engineer offered a few design suggestions to the developer’s engineer.

May 12, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION – Reported by Watson Fisher

Martin Schoffstall Mr. Schoffstall attended the meeting to again discuss proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance pertaining to farm related businesses in the township. Before that, under public comment, a neighbor appealed to the supervisors to not change the zoning of Mr. Schoffstall’s property at 5790 Devonshire Heights Road mainly because of the already existing traffic problem along that road.

After previous discussions on the farm related ordinance question, township manager George Wolfe had said that he would investigate similar ordinances from other municipalities. He reported that most ordinances are similar to Lower Paxton’s in allowing some farm related businesses by Special Exception or Conditional Use and were designed to encourage the preservation of existing farm lands. They also favored not allowing restaurants in agricultural areas and not adding to future traffic problems.

It was decided that the supervisors led by William Hornung would meet to review the current ordinance and revise it where necessary to be in the best interest of the township toward maintaining existing green space and controlling development in areas now zoned agricultural.

Paintball Representatives from the Linglestown Paintball Games organization, which leases land on the eastern half of the Wolfersberger Tract to operate their business, attended the meeting. Work on the western half of the tract is now being done to develop a new township park and some of the eastern portion will also be developed in the coming years. They asked the township for an update on the park work to determine whether or not they could continue to do business at their current location. Mr. Wolfe advised them that they would be able to operate there for at least another year after which the township could begin to develop at least part of that eastern area into park facilities.

Public Safety Director Director David Johnson has tendered his resignation from that position and the board was asked to consider how to proceed in finding his replacement. The PA Chiefs of Police Association presented a proposal to conduct an employment search to find a satisfactory replacement. For $5,000.00, they would review a number of candidates, select the best six of those and interview them, and then select the best three of those to be interviewed by the supervisors. After discussion, the supervisors voted to have the association do the initial screening.

Stormwater Drainage Township engineers, HRG, had submitted a response to the Department of Natural Recourses regarding a permit for work along Paxton Creek. This involves controlling sediment in streams. DEP did not accept the township’s response and the township will need to resolve the issue by the end of the year. Some improvements have already been made and the board will be advised in the coming months on the resolution of this matter.

May 18, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Canine Police Officer Board chairman, William Hawk, conducted the swearing-in ceremony for the township’s new police dog, Rex. The dog came from the Netherlands and was trained locally with his handler, Trouper Miller, to among other duties, do drug searches and enter buildings to locate people in emergency situations. He has already been involved in two drug arrests. It was noted that the public can make donations to help pay for the dog’s upkeep.

Municipal Records – Resolution #15-12 The board voted to destroy certain old municipal records as allowed by state law. In this case, they were township financial, administrative and Friendship Center records.

Survey Services The township received proposals from four land surveying firms for work on the upcoming Paxton Creek 4-A, C and E sanitary sewer mini-basin projects. The low bid was from the firm of Navarro & Wright Consulting Engineers Inc. in the amount of $23,800.00. All the bids were close. The board voted to award the work to that firm.

Wolfersberger Park Project JVH Excavating, Inc. is the company that has the contract to do the rough grading on the western half of the tract on Wenrich Street for the new park project. They submitted a change order in the amount of $6,900.00 to widen and extend the access drive to the eastern part of the tract, which will allow continued vehicular access to the area currently leased by the Linglestown Paintball Games organization. The supervisors approved the change order.

Best Line Equipment – #15-01 This Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan involves the construction of a 4.7 acre outdoor storage facility at the company’s property at 6700 Allentown Boulevard. The pad would provide a place for the storage of their rental construction equipment. All maintenance work on the equipment would be done indoors in their adjacent existing building. The planning commission had a number of concerns, but when those were satisfied they approved the plan. After a satisfactory review of all the items in question the board voted to also approve the plan.

May 26, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Chotiner Sewer – Resolution #15-07 This resolution was to authorize the condemnation for a private sanitary sewer easement in the PC1GDA/GDB mini-basin project. The authority members approved the resolution.

Sewer Condemnation – Resolution #15-08 This resolution was to authorize the condemnation for a permanent and temporary construction easement for a private sewer in the BC-4A/B/C project on Jonestown Road. The project is to install a private lateral requiring a temporary easement. The resolution was approved.

Retainer Agreement This agreement between the authority and their engineers, HRG, was to formalize the hourly billing rates for their staff, including the on-site inspectors they provide. The supervisors had reviewed the agreement and the authority approved it.

Blue Ridge Avenue – Resolution #15-09 This resolution was to authorize a cost sharing request to PennDOT for a road repair project on Blue Ribbon Avenue. The resolution was approved.

Sewer Replacement Projects HRG engineers reported on the status of several ongoing sewer projects. The large one along Linglestown Road, east from Gale Drive to beyond Dover Road, will finally be finished before winter. The one along Jonestown Road between the Paxtonia Post Office and Blue Ribbon Avenue should also be finished before winter.

Delinquent Sewer Accounts Sewer Department director, William Weaver, gave the authority members an update on the delinquent accounts. He reported that the collection agency that the township had hired has continued to provide very effective service and that the current list of uncollected sewer bills has decreased somewhat with the improved economy.

Engineer’s Report HRG’s director reported on the tentative schedule that had been formulated for township sewer repair projects in the coming years. Plans for some of the projects will depend on the outcome of ongoing discussions with the state, Harrisburg city and Susquehanna Township on a possible joint project to build a storage facility probably in Susquehanna Township.

Bond Issue The township’s financial consultant discussed possible options on the time schedule for issuing bonds to finance upcoming sewer repair projects. Current low interest rates suggested that it might be wise to initiate a bond sale sooner than waiting for the projects to start in 2016. The supervisors discussed their options and deferred a decision on that until a later meeting.