Representatives of Bird Town USA were on hand to recognize the township as a Bird Town for its work in promoting bird habitats and stopping invasive species. We are officially on the Bird Town list.
The GCFC made their annual budget presentation. They noted that the annual fund drive used to cover the cost of the mortgage, but fund drive revenues have declined in recent years and no longer cover it. So please contribute this year! They’ve also asked the township for additional money to cover increased maintenance, gas and electricity costs. The commissioners asked about rental of the fire house hall and the fire company noted that use of the space has increased but it remains a small source of revenue for the fire company. The hall recently hosted the township’s blood drive and Election Day.
The NPAA gave a very lengthy presentation for their annual budget presentation. The wrestling, soccer, baseball, softball and basketball programs were covered. These programs remain successful with increasing numbers of children participating. Some of the programs noted were Buddy Ball with children with special needs and the 3-4 year old basketball program, which does sound like it’s delightful. This year has seen a return to normal schedules and practices as Covid restrictions have passed. Programs like the Easter soccer tournament fundraiser have returned. Several of the programs noted increasing difficulties with the school district, however. As the school district has most of the fields and gyms in the area, this has led to difficulties. Usage fees are increasing and unpredictable – a fact that I’ve seen noted by other community organizations. NPAA has gotten billed for times they requested but were not granted use of fields. It was noted that an outside organization offered to perform improvements on school fields (at the external group’s expense) and the superintendent wouldn’t even hear out the request. There were also issues with maintenance of the fields outside the school year. NPAA asked the commissioners to intervene on their behalf, but the school district is outside the township’s purview. The commissioners said they’d do what they can, and that there will be a conversation about opening up field space at Gouley for more uses.
In his report, the solicitor noted the township won an appeal against a Bullens Ln. property that was being improperly used as an office.
The engineer in his report noted the tree causing issues at the Media Walk development has been moved and the escrow release could proceed.
The township manager read an anonymous township letter from a resident complaining about the leaves in the street. The letter writers son slipped and fell on the wet leaves in the road way. As a bicyclist myself, I can attest that the leaves people are shoveling into the street are dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, so follow the rules and keep leaves out of the street. It has gotten out of hand this year.
The meeting between the township and PECO with Rep. Krueger and Sen. Kane has been scheduled for some time soon. PECO will present their plans for work in the district then.
Parks & Open Space
The Gouley Park playground is complete and seeing steady business.
SEPTA wants the township to split the cost of a platform extension to the Wallingford Train Station. The township hasn’t budgeted for this and is pushing back on the cost of the project (about $30k).
The fire committee met, but there seemed to be little to report. The siren concerns were mentioned but the conversation is ongoing.
Finance & Administration
The township passed a resolution required by the state to waive penalties fees in certain circumstances (such as first year homeowners that didn’t receive the tax bill because it went to the previous owner).
The board passed an update to the township’s fee schedule. I’m still not clear what the significant changes were, but the new fee schedule will likely be posted soon.
The township’s 2021 audit came out with no major concerns, the township should end the year with a healthy fund reserve.
The board ran through the many funds. The grants fund has money for the townships various grant-funded sidewalk projects as well as work at Gouley Park, a trail feasibility study and the upcoming trail and watershed work at Houston Park. This fund also includes federal ARA money for the public works garage to be built next year and stormwater work.
The liquid fuels fund covers road resurfacing, salt, road lighting and road patching. The township is moving some smaller costs to the general fund to free up more money for road resurfacing.
The recycling fee will rise 43% to cover the large rise in costs, the fee will now be $119/house.
The sewer fund has a 5% increase from CDCA and 3% from Delcora so a 3.43% increase overall.
The general fund had a few updates. There is a request from Media’s fire company to pay Riddle Hospital for advanced life support services. Apparently hospitals throughout south-east PA are shaking down municipalities for these fees – often for much more money than Media is being asked for according to the solicitor. The commissioners noted they are still considering this request and that this issue really needs to be addressed at a higher level of government.
The township manager noted $4k in cybersecurity upgrades including training and multi-factor authentication. There will be a slight reduction in police salary costs due to upcoming retirements. There is an increase of $29k to the library and $25k from the general fund for road resurfacing also in the draft budget. The draft budget sets the tax rate at 3.3639 mills, which according to my math is a 4.9% increase. The commissioners noted that the draft budget is conservative because its easier for them to remove items than add them, so its likely the final millage will likely be lower. The commissioners passed a motion to advertise the draft budget.
Community Health and Environment
The CBDG grant program is opening again. Only Garden City Manor is eligible for this grant. Last year the township got money for road resurfacing and they’re looking for suggestions for this year.
The township will receive bids for yard waste collection service soon, and will then decide whether to include it in next year’s budget or not (currently there’s a rough estimate as a placeholder).
The board proclaimed Arbor Day on April 28, 2023 as the final requirement needed to apply for Tree City certification for Nether Providence.
The solicitor is still working on the Right of Way access ordinance for utilities.
The H2O and small water and sewer grant programs are open. The H2O program is too big for our township, so the township is mostly looking at the small water and sewer grant program. The township is looking at projects to improve drainage on Henry Ln. or extend the Moylan sewers. These programs have a 15% match.
The township engineer has designed a storm drain and bioswale for Henry Ln. The project would cost $500k, which is at the upper limit of the small water and sewer grant program. The commissioners are considering if the project could be broken down into smaller pieces.
The Providence Rd. sidewalk project has issues with a small bridge near the golf club. Because dealing with this small bridge is problematic, the sidewalk project will be extended further south and the bridge will have to be addressed at another time (I recall last time they discussed it PENNDOT wanted several million dollars – around 1/3 of the township’s budget – to do something about the bridge). I’m assuming this means there will be a gap in the sidewalk there. The commissioners also granted the design work for the sidewalk project to the township engineer.
Building and Zoning
The board approved the delayed Media Walk escrow release.
The board adopted the updated fencing regulations.
The Shade Tree Committee will be planting trees at Houston Park on Sat., Nov. 19th at 11 am. Meet in the parking lot, everyone is welcome to help. Its a lot of fun.
The township is accepting political signs for recycling thanks to the county recycling program.
Nov. 14-18 is crash responder week. Remember to slow down and pull over to protect crash responders on the road.
It was also the township manager’s dad’s birthday.