The October Workshop Meeting of the Nether Providence Board of Commissioners took place as scheduled on October 13th. The video is available online (and the sound quality is the best yet!) and the agenda is available on the township’s website.
The township is accepting applications for the open alternate position on the Zoning Hearing Board. Three people have expressed interest so far.
There were two people for public comment. The first I believe was someone from B&L disposal, who bid for the township’s recycling hauling contract. The board accepted the bid, which is a 27% increase to recycling hauling costs for the township.
The second public comment concerned the loud sound of the fire company horn. The resident questioned the need for it given all the other technology we have and noted the effect it has on children playing at the playground next door. The board noted discussions are underway at the fire committee. So far, most comments have come from Ward 7 and the board is interested in hearing from Ward 5, as they also live near the fire house. So if you have an opinion, let your commissioner know.
Still no word from PECO about scheduling a meeting about the proposed tree cutting.
The comprehensive plan stakeholder interview committee has tentatively planned to hold their first meeting later this month. Ward 7 nominated Alyssa Krauss, but members are still needed from wards 3 and 6.
Parks & Open Space
The board approved contracts for the two grants for work in Houston Park.
The board is considering a trail feasibility study to look at connecting township’s trails with the larger network of trails running through Delaware County.
Conversations are underway with Springfield about possibly improving the Plush Mills/Wallingford Rd. bridge near the border between the townships. The commissioners note how dangerous the narrow bridge is.
The board approved an agreement with the school district extending the lease of the property that Martha Burton Park lies on. I couldn’t hear clearly, but I believe the lease is for $1 and will last 25 years, so that sounds pretty affordable.
The township finally approved the long-talked about DROP ordinance, which involves the pension and benefit system for the township’s police officers.
There was a lengthy discussion of a proposed fireworks ordinance. They looked at a draft ordinance, which would prohibit fireworks in 95% of the township (fireworks would not be allowed within 150′ of a building, which is 95% of the township) except on specific holidays. Times would be set during which fireworks could be used. The board asked the solicitor to remove the requirement for permitting for the use of consumer fireworks in the 5% of the township where they are allowed (permits are still required for larger display fireworks). The ordinance will be re-drafted to include this.
Finance & Administration
Budget meetings are ongoing and on October 20th funded organizations will make their presentations to the board (groups like the library, fire companies, sports groups, etc.).
The board voted to pay off a loan from 2020 to avoid next year’s interest payments. The loan was taken out to pay for work at Gouley Park, as the state is very slow to reimburse the township for those expenses. The accountants believe the township has enough funds available to continue operating until the state eventually reimburses the township.
The township engineer is preparing bids for stormwater and traffic light work that will be funded with ARPA money.
Community, Health & Environment
The new waste committee still needs members from wards 1, 3 and 6.
The board discussed the single use plastic bag ban ordinance matching Media borough’s. The board wants language included that makes it clear that only commercial business (and not chartiable/non-profit operations) are covered by the ordinance. They are also reluctant to put requirements on food trucks. (editor note – As someone that studied this for the EAC, this is strange because the ordinance from Media already only applies to commercial establishments and no other plastic bag ban seems to exempt food trucks – which is probably why most food trucks already operate without plastics. But hopefully this can get passed in time to be enacted for 2023.)
The DEP 902 grant program is open with a 10% match. The township is considering applying for 2 leaf machines and recycling containers. The township is waiting for more information but a resolution to apply will have to be passed at the next meeting.
There was more discussion of a public right of way for utilities ordinance that would require utilities and others working in the right of way to seek a permit from the township. The board discussed adding a threshold number of properties being affected before a permit would be required to exempt smaller projects. This was prompted by PECO’s plans to cut down trees in the township. There is some hope this would serve as a way to improve communications between PECO and the township. I’m not sure any further progress was made toward passing this ordinance.
Rose Valley has contacted Nether Providence about having the township plow their 18 roads during the winter so they don’t have to contract it out. Discussions are underway about the feasibility of Nether Providence doing this, as it already has the staff and equipment.
Building and Zoning
The board passed an escrow release for the Media Walk development.
The board passed a motion to advertise the fencing ordinance. There was a lengthy discussion around the language banning electric fences and how it applies to dog, chicken, goat and sheep fencing. That part was removed with the commissioners saying they wish to revisit it later.
The low income household assistance program ends October 28th for help with water and sewer bills.
Saturday is Family Fun Day at SHMS from 12-3. Details are on the township’s website. They are also still in need of volunteers, you can sign up a the sign-up genius. The township manager noted that if you need service hours, they’re happy to fill out the paperwork for those helping out.
Lifewerks pantry is continuing to look for assistance for their work. The township will be collecting non-perishable food items for the pantry at Family Fun Day. Commissioner McKenzie noted there is a second food pantry in the township, but I didn’t catch the name.
The township is holding its annual Halloween Decorating Contest with prizes for first, second and third place. Contact the township if you’d like for your display to be considered.
There is a shredding and electronics recycling event scheduled for October 29th at Gouley Park.
It is fire prevention week, and the fire companies have been promoting fire safety.
Furness Library is seeking board members from residents in Nether Providence and Rose Valley.
There are two grant programs opening soon, the DCED small water+sewer grant program for small projects and the H20 PA program for larger ones so the commissioners are looking for possible project ideas for these programs.