SWAN NEWSLETTER #94

April 1, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING

Reported by Watson Fisher

2014 Bond Issue – Resolution #14-05 This resolution authorizes and approves a subsidy agreement with the township for the authority’s 25 million dollar portion of the larger township’s upcoming bond issue. These funds are for capital improvements to the township’s sewer system in accordance with the approved action plan and secured by the authority from the ongoing collection of sewer fees. The authority board approved this resolution.

April 1, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

Reported by Watson Fisher

Ernest Gingrich Mr. Gingrich has completed over three decades of service on several township boards, the majority of the years on the Planning Commission. He was recognized and thanked for his lengthy dedicated service by the supervisors at the beginning of the meeting.

Dauphin County Tax Collection Committee The board needed to appoint a delegate and an alternate from the township to this county committee. They appointed Tim Houck as the delegate and William Hawk as the alternate.

2014 Bond Issue – Ordinance #14-02 This ordinance authorizes the issuance of General Obligation Bonds in the amount not to exceed 39 million dollars. Of that amount, 25 million dollars are designated for the sewer authority for sewer work as noted in the report of the sewer authority meeting held just prior to this meeting. Most of the other approximately 14 million dollars is earmarked for long needed improvements to the Public Works building and a number of planned storm water improvement projects throughout the township. Representatives from the financial firm handling the bond issue stated that interest rates are currently favorable and the bond sale should be completed by the end of April.

Linglestown Road Project Change Order This is the only change order to the contract with M.F. Ronca and Son for the PC-2C & 2D sanitary sewer mini-basin project involved with the major PennDOT road project for the rebuilding of Linglestown Road and Mountain Road through Linglestown. The change order in the amount of $854,000 was a result of a significant amount of work being added by the state to the contract during the project. The board approved the change order.

Jason Lucas Three years ago Mr. Lucas bought a residential property at 137 Sunset Avenue which contains three apartments. He is in the process of selling the property and has found out that the sewer bills he has received and paid during this period and those paid by the previous owner have erroneously covered only two of the three units. To correct this he is now being billed for the fees for the third unit going back to 2006. He is willing to pay in arrears for the third unit back three years but doesn’t feel he should pick up the unpaid fees for the third unit for the years before he owned the property. The supervisors agreed and voted to waive the unpaid fees before February of 2011.

April 2, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE REPORT

Reported by Watson Fisher

Project Prioritization The committee gave final approval to the detailed list of identified projects they intend to use as a guideline for their work during this year and beyond. They will now present the list to the Parks and Recreation Board for review. The list, which contains 17 items, is broken down under short-term, long-term and on-going projects and under high, medium and low priority.

Oak Park Trail Further work is underway by the committee on initial planning for a possible new hiking trail from Mateer Field at Oak Park Circle generally along the sewer right-of-way south to the Osteopathic Hospital. The committee now has a new very detailed map of the area identifying every land owner involved and showing all property lines for the entire length of the proposed trail. Several committee members will begin to make telephone contact with affected property owners as a first step in the planning process.

Community Engagement Committee The committee is continuing their planning for the 5K race fund raising event that will be held on July 19th. They are nearing the deadline for finding a title sponsor and sponsors for the various other planned events. Many volunteers to help with the event will also be needed.

Shadebrook The developers have received final township approval to begin the construction of this large residential and commercial project adjacent to the Vo-Tech School. At their next meeting the committee will review the project plan and consider how they might be able to include walking opportunities in the overall plan.

Planning Grant In the next few weeks the P&R Department will submit a grant application to the state for matching funds to prepare a detailed feasibility study for the creation of a trail along Nyes Run south to the township line. The estimated cost of the study is $40,000.00.

Miscellanous Last year the department with the help of volunteers planted trees along one side of the stream running along the west side of Brightbill Park. In May this year they plan to do the same along the other side. Committee members are planning to walk the trail at Kohl Park this month and a walking tour of the proposed Oak Park Trail is planned for sometime in May. They are also making improvements to the Walking Opportunities Guide they had created describing all the existing walking trails in the township and they will then reissue it.

April 2, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Reported by Watson Fisher

Paxtonia Baseball Field The board was reminded of the planned rededication of the major baseball field at Paxtonia scheduled for April 26th.

Policy Manual Parks & Recreation Department Director Brian Luetchford has begun the development of a formal policy manual covering procedures and regulations regarding the use of the park facilities. The main initial item discussed was insurance requirements for organized groups using park facilities. After the manual is completed it will need to be approved by the supervisors.

Arts Council The council has drafted an updated version of their Mission Statement and Goals and they needed the board’s approval to forward it to the supervisors for their approval. The statement was approved. They also reviewed the list of activities planned for the coming months.

Greenway Committee The committee finalized the extended list of the projects they intend to work on during this year and beyond. The projects are categorized by priority and estimated length of time to complete. The list was submitted to the P&R Board and approved.

Friendship Center The center is presently short handed and is interviewing for two part time clerical staff members and a part time maintenance person. During the last week in August when the center is closed the new pool pack HVAC units will be installed and the lap pool will be replastered.

Heroes Grove Ground breaking for the first phase of construction for this planned outdoor amphitheater to be located in Brightbill Park adjacent to the Friendship Center is scheduled for July 5th. Having adequate parking for the facility remains a concern. No arrangement with the adjacent shopping center for occasional use of spaces in their lot is forthcoming and this problem could jeopardize the project.

Vacancies Two vacancies exist for the Parks & Recreation Board and one for the Greenway Committee. Three applications have been received for the B&R Board. Interested citizens can apply.

April 2, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

No report on this meeting was available.

April 8, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION

Reported by Watson Fisher

IT Services The firm of Appalachia Technologies has been retained by the township to manage their computer operation after the departure of their in-house IT director. Appalachia’s manager Larry Arnold gave the board an update on his company’s work to date and his plan for the coming years. The township’s new computer equipment is operating on a four year lease.

Waste Management Tom Stang reviewed his company’s five year agreement with the township for waste collection including the agreed-to minor increases in the later years and the automatic increases if there are changes in disposal fees or fuel costs. He also discussed possible future improvements including automatic pickup using standard containers for trash and recyclables and separate pickup for hazardous household waste including paint and garden chemicals.

Bond Issue Planning for a 2014 municipal bond issue has been underway for months. It would include funds to continue the ongoing stormwater and sanitary sewer projects and the expansion of the township’s Public Works building. The total issue would be approximately 32 million dollars. Three options were presented on specifics regarding the payback schedule. No decision was made at this meeting. The interest rates are currently very attractive and the plan is to try to sell the bonds within the next month.

Earl Drive Culvert Steve Fleming from HRG, the township engineers, presented three options that had been prepared to consider how to deal with the repeated flooding problem upstream from this culvert. Previous studies were unsuccessful and it was stated that none of these new ones could expect to achieve any significant improvements. Most of the options would be very expensive and would require demolition of nearby houses and would not significantly reduce flooding from major storms. The only reasonable action at this time seemed to be a project to replace the Curvin Drive culvert upstream and to repair the bottom portion of the Earl Drive culvert. The supervisors will continue to consider what action should be taken to deal with this periodic problem.

Wolfersberger Tract The project to use clean fill from ongoing sewer projects to grade areas of the future park property for playfields is getting underway. The initial work will be done on a portion of the southern half of the site. Required state permitting has been acquired and the next step is to receive bids to engage a site contractor to strip and store the existing topsoil from the designated areas prior to the dumping, spreading and compacting of the clean fill that will be brought in. Engaging a contractor needs to be done quickly so the site is ready when the fill becomes available.

Winfield Street Planning for a storm sewer replacement project designed to alleviate ten year storm events along this street is underway. Fortunately a state grant will cover the entire cost of this project. Three design options were considered and the choice was a new 60 inch pipe and a new 60 inch culvert. The board will approve the project at their April 15th business meeting.

Public Works Building Expansion As noted above, the cost of the needed expansion of this building will be included in the new bond issue. Sam Robbins, Public Works Director, presented four initial plan options for the project which will be evaluated and an eventual schematic plan agreed to. After that an architect will need to be retained. The final plan will probably result in the need to abandon one of the two adjacent baseball fields which would be a significant concern to the Parks & Recreation Department.

Sanitary Sewer Accounts The board was advised of the status of delinquent accounts in the collection process by the collection agency, Modern Recovery. The company’s fee is based on the dollars collected and at present the delinquency percentage is about 4%. This is lower than that in most neighboring municipalities.

Friendship Center Parks & Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford reported to the board on some of the membership and program changes being made at the center. He stated that they have sent survey fliers to current members seeking their input on a variety of issues including programs, hours of use, etc., as a guide for other possible changes. The Operating Board will review these and the supervisors stated that they want to get a report from the board on their findings before any significant changes are made.

April 15, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

Reported by Watson Fisher

Appointments The supervisors made the appointments of two individuals to serve on township boards. Nayur Patel was appointed to serve on the Parks and Recreation Board and Steven Landau was appointed to serve on the Greenway Committee.

Wolfersberger Tract Township engineers HRG Inc. have been chosen to provide design services and the issuance of bids regarding the placement of clean fill on portions of the future township park site. The fill will come from township sewer projects and it will be used for rough grading of planned play-field areas. Their contract is in the amount of $18,000.00 plus expenses not to exceed $19,800.00. The supervisors voted to approve the contract.

McDevitt High School At last month’s meeting the board voted to approve the procedure to transfer funds from the state to the school for partial reimbursement of the cost of improving Spring Creek Road in front of the new building. At this meeting they approved the formal paperwork finalizing this action.

Jonestown Road Bridge – Resolution #14-12 Planning for the replacement of the bridge on the Lower Paxton Township West Hanover Township line which the townships jointly own will begin soon. At this meeting the board voted to pass the resolution accepting the Federal-Aid Reimbursement Agreement with PennDOT for preliminary engineering for the project. The engineering work will be done by HRG.

Benjamin and Michael Slotznick – Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan #13-19 This 1.7 acre property is located at the end of Hillside Road in the R-1 Low Density Residential Zoning District. The subdivision proposal has been to divide the property into three home building lots but the difficulty has been that with only one access road there was no way to meet the front footage requirement for all of the lots. The proposed solution was to allow lots with narrower front yard widths that will be served by a common dead end street. There will need to be an operation and maintenance agreement signed by the three homeowners. The required township agencies and their engineers had finally approved the plan and at this meeting the supervisors gave their final approval.

April 24, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING

Reported by Watson Fisher

Beaufort Hunt, Inc. – Docket #1355 In January of this year this organization was granted a variance from the minimum side yard setback requirement at the property they have leased and wished to purchase identified as 6660 Union Deposit Road in the AR Agriculture Zoning District. After a further review it was discovered that an additional variance was needed from the minimum lot size for the organization to be allowed to continue to use the property as a kennel as they have for many years. Their request for this second variance was approved.

Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless – Docket #1353 The company requested a variance to be allowed to construct a cell tower on the property they would lease from the Pennsylvania Council of Churches at 900 South Arlington Avenue in the Institutional Zoning District. A cell tower is not permitted by code in this district. Also the code requires that the tower be at least 300 feet plus the total height of the tower away from any existing dwelling. The proposed tower would be located to the north of the existing office building and a few feet less than the required distance from the only residence in the vicinity.

Verizon explained that because of the exceptional increase in usage area wide, a tower is now needed in this general location. They had hoped to be able to install it on the roof of the nearby Osteopathic Hospital which uses wireless communications extensively but were unsuccessful. There are only three locations in the township where towers are now allowed by code and none of them could serve this area. The board suggested that because of possible nighttime helicopter landings at the hospital a light on top of the tower should be considered. The board approved this variance.

Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless – Docket # 1354 This variance request is very similar to the previous one in that Verizon wants to construct a cell tower at a location where the tower is not allowed by code and where there is a dwelling within the allowed distance from the proposed tower. The location is at 4951 Irene Drive in the R-1 Residential District in an undeveloped area adjacent to I-81. The dwelling is the home of the property owner from whom Verizon is leasing the proposed tower site. It was noted that the ordinance is primarily intended to protect dwellings on adjacent properties. The site is wooded so the tower will hardly be visible from beyond the property. The board approved the variance.

April 29, 2010

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION

Reported by Watson Fisher

Bond Rating The recent Moody’s Rating Report related to the planned $32 million bond issues showed that the township’s rating has remained at AA2 and with a slight improvement in the other measuring index.

General Obligation Bonds Final plans for the $7 million dollar bond issue to be sold in the next several weeks were discussed. The issue will cover $3 million for continued storm water system repairs and $4 million for the long needed expansion of the township’s Public Works Building. The supervisors debated how best to structure the repayment schedule and of three options chose the one with higher upfront payments recognizing the certain need for future bond issues.

Vision, Mission Statement, and Slogan The board reviewed the current township logos that appear on the web site and elsewhere which have not been changed since they were originally created in 2005. They suggested a few minor changes and agreed to finalize them at a meeting in the near future.

Strategic Planning Session The board began a preliminary comprehensive overview of the current and proposed activities of the various departments in the next 3 to 5 years. Items that were reviewed, listed by department, were as follows:

* Public Works Possible creation of a Stormwater Authority, enlarging the Public Safety Building and increasing staff, ADA improvements, additional paving projects.

* Police Department Four additional officers, add K-9 services with one new officer, new in-car video equipment, replace in-car computers with tablets.

* Parks & Recreation Begin Wolfersberger Park improvements, Heroes Grove grading, complete George Park, create new trails, upgrade park equipment, add Mateer Field to park system.

* Administration Increase township TV programs, develop electronic resident contact system, codify ordinances, consider early retirements.

* Community Development Update Comprehensive Plan, add a code enforcement officer.

* Fire Department Revisit Fire Equipment Capital Plan, push back equipment purchases.

Board members and staff recorded their initial choices for most to least urgent items under each category. This exercise constituted the beginning of the board’s work on periodic strategic planning.

Microsoft Office 365 The recently acquired HP computers did not come with an operating system. The board approved an annual lease agreement for $21,600.00 for the use of the Microsoft Office 365 system for its 95 computers.