Nether Providence Township held its regular workshop meeting last night. The relatively short meeting is available on Youtube. There were no opening reports or public comments, but the commissioners announced a proclamation for Hope for Hallie Teen Mental Health Awareness Day.
As part of the ongoing budget process, the board heard from the Garden City Fire Company, one of the township’s funded organizations. GCFC told the board that they were shifting funds to cover equipment maintenance instead of new purchases and they were requesting additional funds to cover the rising cost of vehicle maintenance. They also reported that they were spending $75k to purchase additional equipment needed for air packs purchased with a grant. GCFC also received a SAFER grant from the state to improve recruitment and retention of members. GCFC’s annual drive is underway, everyone in the township should have gotten a mailer recently.
The township solicitor has drafted an ordinance to change possession of small amounts of marijuana to a non-traffic citation. The board is reviewing the ordinance.
The board has received complaints of high school students parking on Byre Ln. near the high school. The township has several options for limiting parking there – 2 hour limits, no parking during school hours or banning street parking completely. The board plans to consult neighbors on these options, but it should be noted that the school is facing a parking crunch due to its transportation difficulties, so hopefully the school district will be consulted too.
Parks and Open Space
There was no business
Building and Zoning
Linn Architects inspections agreement for 2022 was up for review. Linn has requested a rise from 40% to 50% of the permit fee for its inspections. The board noted Linn’s value to the township and how much unpaid work they do. The solicitor noted that the township’s contract with Linn is not comparable to other municipalities nearby which have someone on staff to do inspections. The board approved the new agreement for 2022.
The board discussed zoning for marijuana dispensaries in the township and after reviewing the township’s zoning map asked the solicitor to draft an ordinance to limit marijuana dispensaries to the township’s few industrial zones. There seem to be two, one small plot near the bicycle shop in the south end and Plush Mills Senior Living.
The township’s Use and Occupancy inspection code is out of sync with inspection practice, so the township asked the solicitor to draft an ordinance to bring the code into compliance with current practice.
Finance & Administration
The police pension saga continues with the FoP raising an issue with the wording, which is yet to be resolved.
The engineer continues to work on the list of suggested projects for the American Recovery Act funds. The board suggested that once it has a list of projects, it will also look at using some of the funds to help the fire companies and library.
There was an esoteric discussion of the township’s rate stabilization funds from the insurance trusts the township uses. The board decided to use the funds towards next year’s insurance premiums. Its a good thing that we have Commissioner McKenzie to make sense of these details.
The township approved receipt of about $211k from the state to contribute towards the township’s pension obligations for next year.
The township has gotten approval for its extension of its recycling contract, but the hauler for recycling hasn’t yet approved the extension, so the township may need to send that contract out for bid again.
The bungalow at Houston Park has been rented to a NPAA coach.
There was a lengthy discussion of the budget, which is in the early stages. The township is hoping to use some realty transfer surplus to fund repairs this year rather than adding them to the budget next year. There was vague discussion of the township’s personnel levels, it wasn’t clear if they’re adding or removing positions next year. There was discussion of the vehicle replacement cycle and if the leaf truck replacement can be delayed. The township has a match needed for improvements to Gouley Park and is setting aside $75k for either the Providence Rd. sidewalk project or the comprehensive plan next year. Commissioner Cooper asked about helping the township’s funded organizations with their long-term financial stability, but it wasn’t clear if they’d want that help or how much help they’d want.
The Halloween competition is up and running, with prizes for the best decorations. Contact Mona Price at firstname.lastname@example.org to participate.
Leaf collection starts in the township next week although the region around Garden City isn’t scheduled until the week of the 25th. The 5th, 6th and 7th wards are scheduled for the weeks of Nov. 15th and Dec. 6th as well, plus the final township finish-up on the week of Dec. 13th.
The public works portion was inaudible. The township manager told me afterwards that the one vote was to approve the sewer enforcement officer alternate. The state DEP requires an alternate, so someone from Catania Engineering was appointed as the second.
The E Possum Hollow project was scheduled to start imminently, but at the last moment the contractor has stated they plan to delay work until next spring. The township has objected, but as long as work is completed by next summer, the contractor is within their contract to delay. So there may be no work this fall on Possum Hollow, its up in the air at this point.
The board reviewed notes from the Planning Commission on Delcora’s Act 537 plan. Bill Silverstein of the EAC and Planning commission prepared extensive notes on the alternatives for wastewater treatment. Sending wastewater to Philadelphia is becoming increasingly expensive so two alternatives call for re-routing the wastewater to the existing facility in Chester and expanding it. The last alternative calls for building a new wastewater treatment plant in the eastern part of the county. Bill Silverstein’s notes raised concerns about sending yet more waste to Chester for disposal. Delcora’s existing facility is near the Covanta incinerator, contributing to the high levels of industrial pollution in the region. The township has until the end of the month to comment on the plan.
The board passed a resolution approving the grant application and estimates for the Transportation Alternatives grant to build a sidewalk from Mother of Providence to Rose Valley Rd. along Providence Rd.
The board discussed a PENNDOT multimodal grant opportunity next month. The program has a 30% match, which is higher than other sidewalk grant programs. The board discussed a project to link up the apartments in Ward 1 to other areas near Bullens Ln., but the match would result in significant tax rises in the next two years (the township’s match would be ~$200k for two years), so the commissioners decided to wait for a lower cost grant.
The county website has information about Covid vaccinations, including booster shots. There is a vaccine clinic for first responder booster shots (Pfizer only) at the Aston community center this Saturday.
The county is also offering drive through flu shot clinics. There is one in Middletown today (Friday).
The township will host a blood drive on Dec. 29th, information to come.
The voter registration deadline is October 18th for the Nov. 2nd election.
The last county household hazardous waste event of the year is tomorrow (Oct 16th). Registration is required.
The township thanked the many sponsors for Family Fun Day as well as township staff that made it all happen. Several hundred people attended. The board also noted the decorations on the township building.
The next meeting is the October 21st budget meeting. I should note there was also an October 7th budget meeting.