The Nether Providence Township Board of Commissioners held their one August meeting last night. The video is available on Youtube. This was the first meeting chaired by Commissioner McKenzie and was one of the shortest.
The meeting opened with remarks regarding the police department’s recent accreditation. This recognition caps 5 years of work by the township’s police department. I wrote up a summary of what accreditation is and isn’t here, and clearly accreditation is a lot of work. And, as highlighted by the official presenting the accreditation, it requires the department to perform annual updates to remain accredited, so the work does not end here. Rep. Krueger and DelCo DA Stollsteimer were present to comment, and the certification was presented by Chief Daly.
There was only one comment from residents who live on Brookhaven where the no parking signs will be moved (or perhaps already have been, it wasn’t clear).
Parks & Open Space
The DelCo Greenways program and PECO greenways grants were discussed, but tabled until Commissioner Garson was back for further discussion. There was discussion of using the Greenways grant to connect the Leiper-Smedley trail to the greater area circuit trail to improve access to the township and open up additional grant funding opportunities.
The bids for the demolition of 1012 Glenn Rd. (the property recently purchased using a PEMA grant) came in higher than expected, so the bids were rejected and the work is being rebid. The demolition is complicated by the existence of asbestos in the house.
Zoning & Planning
Another escrow release for Media Walk was approved.
The state (or feds, it wasn’t clear) has passed a law removing the ability of municipalities to impose zoning standards for 5G antennas in the public right of way. The township can charge a fee for placements, but cannot restrict them. This only applies to the public right of way, other antennas are still governed by the township’s zoning rules. The township has until Oct. 29th to enact an ordinance to collect the fee.
The police pension restatement negotiations are nearing an end and the township is advertising the restatement in preparation for approving the final version soon.
The board approved 4 resolutions allowing Berkheimer to collect the local services tax on behalf of the township.
The township received $1.4 million in American Rescue Act funds and will receive another $1.4 million next year. But there are vague limits on what it can be used for. The township engineer compiled a list of 14 sewer and water projects that would probably meet the guidelines. The board asked for them to be ranked by likehood of being covered by other grants and whether they would help the township meet its MS4 requirements. There is also a possibility some funds could go to funded organizations like the fire companies, but it was vague about how that’d work.
The township is starting budget season soon and additional budget meetings are planned.
The recycling contract will end this year, the township is leaning toward renewing the existing contract. Expenses are currently under budget.
The board approved using DIVET safety grant funds for backup cameras for township public works vehicles. The township is reviewing a accident and illness protection policy from DIVET as well.
The board approved the sale of two police vehicles that are being replaced this year.
Family Fun Day is planned for October 2nd at the usual location at the middle school, tentatively from noon – 3 pm, though the township is waiting for approval from the school district so the timing may change. There will be Zach’s food truck, and obstacle course, local music, the police and fire departments and pumpkin painting.
The tenants at the bungalow in Houston Park are moving, and there was a discussion of whether to rent it again or possibly use it as community space. Commissioner Molloy asked if they could reach out to NPAA about possibly using it, but the board plans to rent it out again.
An editor’s note here. Commissioner McKenzie’s assertion that there is plenty of community meeting space available at the school district indicates that the board is looking at the space needs of the community completely wrong. As someone that has worked to secure space for small community groups, the school district’s terms and pricing make their space inaccessible for most community groups. The spaces that are affordable and accessible – Furness Library, Swarthmore Boro Hall, SMFC and until it was demolished, Summit School – are heavily used and scheduling them pre-pandemic was sometimes tricky. If the township is using the school district’s policies as a guide, then they are looking at the worst possible example – they need to be taking a closer look at these other sites for the kind of meeting space the community is in need of. And, given the hostility and divisions within the community now, I think the board needs to consider how much this community needs spaces to bring us together.
That said, I can’t think of how the bungalow could easily be made an accessible community space, but if you have ideas for an institution that could operate out of it, let the board know.
Commissioner O’Connor has canvassed residents near where street lights may be installed in the 6th ward. He got mostly good feedback for it, but the board took no action.
The township updated its street restoration standards so that fewer streets are only paved 75% of the way and ADA features must be preserved when repaving.
The board approved an engineering study for the Avondale guardrail, which the township is looking at repairing.
Work on the Possum Hollow Sidewalk will start soon. Possum Hollow will be one way for parts of the project, more information will be available after the project meeting Monday.
Work on the Pennsylvania Ave. sewer is starting soon, so expect street work in the Garden City manor.
The board approved previously discussed changes to the lateral sewer inspection ordinance.
The board approved sending out the East Rose Valley sidewalk project for bids in anticipation of PENNDOT approval of the project plan.
The township submitted a pre-approval plan for the Providence Rd. sidewalk project for the next DVRPC grant round.
Covid vaccinations are available from the county. The Pfizer vaccine has received full approval.
The DELCO-ERA still has money available for renters in need of assistance.
There is a SEPTA trolley outage coming up August 30th.
The township EAC is studying Media’s composting program. Composting service in the township is currently available through Kitchen Harvest for those interested.