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5-14-18 Minutes

Board of Commissioners
5-14-18 Minutes


BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS                                       LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP

REGULAR MEETING                                                       MAY 14, 2018

The following were in ATTENDANCE: 

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS                                     TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL

Edward Black, President                                                      Erin G. Trone, Assistant Township Manager

Jack R. Simpson Jr., Vice President                                     David Holl, Public Safety Director

Richard F. Schin                                                                   Leon Crone, Police Captain

Dean W. Villone                                                                   John Eby, Building & Zoning Coordinator

Carolyn Holtzman                                                                Richard Grove, Finance Director

                                                                                             Steven P. Miner, Solicitor

                                                                                             Julie Echterling, Recording Secretary

President Black called the May 14, 2018 Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners to order at 7:00 pm followed by a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.  He announced that Proof of Publication was available for review.   He spoke about the loss of Fleet Manager Kenneth Rocuskie last week.  He spoke about his career and his 35 years of service at the Township and how he will be missed.  A moment of silence was observed for Mr. Rocuskie.  He asked everyone to remember his family during this time.


Commissioner HOLTZMAN made a motion to approve the minutes from the April 23, 2018 meeting of the Board of Commissioners.  Commissioner VILLONE seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0.


There was no response.


The following bids were received:

1.      ATO Excavating, Inc.                       $24,900 with a bid bond.

2.      Schlegel Excavating                         $11,746 with a bid bond.

3.      Farhat Excavating                             $19,300 with a bid bond.



Mr. Eby thanked the Board for creating this public awareness for what Community Development does for the Township.  He discussed the ICC and their role in developing codes and standards.  He showed a video of a recent flash flood in Ellicott City where 4-foot wall of water ran through the downtown during a storm.  He discussed the weekly emphasis for the month including safe guarding water and improving education.  He discussed his staff and their backgrounds. 

Mr. Bill Yeagley discussed the partnership Community Development has started with Public Safety and the PSOs.  He held fire inspection training for the PSO and Director Holl, which saved over $900 for the Township.  He believes the mentoring program has been successful and will help with the yearly fire inspections required for businesses in the Township. This year he is working with PSO/CSOs on identifying code violations while they are out in the community so that the Complaint Coordinator can send out notices.  He discussed the initiative to have the PSOs learn about development.  He discussed a recent tent fire in Chicago and stated that that is why they permit and inspect tents going up in the Township.  Commissioner Villone shared that in Florida, the utility company sets up the propane to run the gas grills at functions.  He asked if there are issues the Board should be acting on now versus later.  Mr. Yeagley stated that there will be some changes coming in the Fall to update the codes for the Board to approve.

Mr. David Yount thanked the Board for the meeting and their concerns.  He spoke about working with Arcona on their development and establishing relationships with their staff.  He spoke about the commercial inspections he does, while Mr. Richard Lehigh (who was unable to be here tonight) focuses on the residential side.  He spoke about the apartments, commercial and residential properties in the works for Arcona.  In addition to Arcona, they are working with Starbucks, Dave & Busters, PA American Water and smaller projects that aren’t seen at the Board level.

Mr. Yeagley discussed the upcoming changes to the codes to bring them up to the 2015 levels for both fire and property maintenance.  He gave examples of each of the codes for the Board.  Mr. Yount spoke about how important the fire inspections are, as once he inspects a building and gives final signoff the developers can change the location of items and no one would know, except for the yearly inspections.  Mr. Yeagley explained the inspections are not a surprise and why it helps to notify them for proper personnel and fixes for the inspection.  The Board thanked them for their work and presentation.  Director Holl thanked Mr. Yeagley for training the PSOs and spoke about the ongoing process with this initiative.


Director Holl spoke about the CALEA and PLEAC certifications that have been achieved by the Township.  He praised Captain Crone for his work as Accreditation Manager.  He stated that for CALEA this is the 8th award.  Captain Crone spoke about how CALEA is a panel of professionals setting best practices into standards for agencies to follow.  PLEAC is the Pennsylvania best practices to help keep agencies in compliance.  They presented the awards to the Board.  The Board thanked them for their work and achievement for the Township.


President Black presented Commissioner Schin a plaque from PSATC honoring him for this 28 years of service for the Township.  He read the plaque and thanked him for his service to the Township.


President Black asked that any Commissioner, staff member, or anyone in attendance who would like to have an item on the Consent Agenda removed for further discussion request so now. There was no response.

Vice President SIMPSON made a motion to approve the following items on the Consent Agenda:

  1. Awarding a contract to Thermotech, for the LACP Barn HVAC Upgrade Project in the amount of $40,474.00.
  2. Tax Collector’s April 2018 monthly

Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0.


Commissioner HOLTZMAN made a motion to approve the Check Register of April 27, 2018 in the amount of $111,777.65.  Commissioner VILLONE seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0. 

Commissioner SCHIN made a motion to approve Check Register of May 11, 2018 in the amount of $491,254.93.  Commissioner HOLTZMAN seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0. 

ORDINANCE 2018-03 – Emergency Response Payment

Commissioner VILLONE made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2018-03, amending Chapter 21, Fire Companies, of the Code of Lower Allen Township, by adding Section 21-5, Emergency Response Payment Reimbursement.

Roll Call Vote:            Commissioner Holtzman        – Aye

                                              Commissioner Schin               – Aye

                                              President Black                       – Aye

                                              Vice President Young             – Aye

                                              Commissioner Simpson          – Aye

Ordinance 2018-03 was approved by a 5-0 vote.


Mr. Chris Briel, 217 Ewe Road, spoke about walking around his neighborhood picking up unsolicited newspapers from the Patriot News.   He has bags of them that are left in the street and end up in the storm drains.  He has contacted the Patriot News several times and has heard about the First Amendment.  He has contacted the companies that advertise on these special papers.  He has researched how other communities deal with this nuisance.  They have an opt-out program and ban plastic bags.  He asked the Board to take action to stop these.  Mrs. Trone stated that Staff can look into this if the Board agrees.  Solicitor Miner spoke about the 1st Amendment and stated that he could see what is on the books at other municipalities in PA and let the Board know.  Discussion ensued.  The Board agreed to have Staff look into options and work with the Solicitor.

Mrs. Sharon Rubin, 6 Kensington Drive, expressed her concerns about a motor home parked on Kensington Dr. that she feels is a safety hazard.  She brought an illustration of where the motor home is parked and how it causes traffic issues.  She is also concerned about the fire hydrant and the parking of this home.  She read the goals of the Township including improving protecting and maintaining and feels this is not part of the goals.  She provided pictures of another camper parked on the grass.  She is upset and asked the Board to do something about this issue.  Discussion ensued.


Time Extension Request:  SLD Docket No. 2017 -145 S. Locust Street

Mrs. Trone and Mr. Eby discussed the request for a time extension from William R. Grace for SLD Docket No. 2017-04, Final Subdivision Plan for 145 S. Locust Street, establishing a new deadline July 13, 2018.  Mr. Eby discussed the history with this plot of land and the plan to build single family homes and townhouses.  He stated that there are conditions with third parties that haven’t been met with the proposed plan.  Commissioner Schin is concerned with another delay and knows the neighbors aren’t thrilled with the plan.  Discussion ensued.

Commissioner VILLONE made a motion to approve a time extension request from William R. Grace for SLD Docket No. 2017-04, Final Subdivision Plan for 145 S. Locust Street, establishing a new deadline July 13, 2018.   Vice President SIMPSON seconded the motion.  Motion carried 4-1, with Commissioner Schin voting in the negative.  President Black asked Mr. Eby to contact Mr. Grace and let him know there will be no more extensions granted.

Resolution 2018-R-19 – Manager to Sign the Reimbursement Agreement with PennDOT

Commissioner SCHIN made a motion to adopt Resolution 2018-R-19, authorizing the Township Manager to sign the Reimbursement Agreement with PennDOT for the Gettysburg Road Relocation Project.  Vice President SIMPSON seconded the motion.  Motion carried 5-0.


Zoning Hearing Board Report

Mr. Eby discussed Docket #2018-02, a variance request for a privacy fence within the required front yard setback of 1 West Shore Drive.  The ZHB heard their request and it was approved.  Docket 2018-03, a variance request for a home addition for 1425 Main Street, Mechanicsburg.  The ZHB approved their variance request.  However, after the meeting, Eby discovered the applicant’s site plan exhibit didn’t provide the minimum 20’ total side yard setback required.  The property owner was notified and is in the process of submitting a variance request for a total of 17.75’ of side yards, a deficiency of 2.25’.  This variance will be discussed during the ZHB’s June 21st public hearing.  Mr. Eby will update the Board on the progress of this variance request.  There will not be a Zoning Hearing Board meeting in May.


The Regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners recessed at 8:54 pm.


The regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners reconvened at 9:01pm.          


Presentation – Pension Plans

Mr. Grove provided a PowerPoint presentation on the differences between a defined benefit (DB) and a defined contribution (DC) plan.  He stated that his presentation is more fact than opinion.  He discussed Act 44 requirements but stated that the plan doesn’t fall under the federal government regulations. He provided the Board an example of the DB versus DC.  He went over in detail the assumptions he used and why he used them, including earnings assumptions, asset allocation, salary assumptions, and mortality tables.  He went over two examples of how much would be needed each year based on his assumptions for an employee.  He discussed increasing the retirement age to 66 and how this change would reduce pension costs by 5%.  Vice President Simpson believes the retirement age should match Social Security’s age.  Mr. Grove discussed the replacement ratio which is how benefit levels are measured and the Contribution Ratio which measures costs.

He discussed the differences between the two plans in the work environment including long-term and stability for the DB plan versus the DC plan.  He discussed the efficiencies with the DB plan, including costs, investment and predictable cash flow.  He stated that retirement plans are growing in importance among those less than 40 years of age from 28% in 2009 to 63% in 2011.  He stated that there is less turnover with DB plans and they attract better workers at all ages.  The Board disagreed with his facts.  Commissioner Villone disagrees with the statistics provided and stated that the work place has changed a lot from 2011.  Vice President Simpson disagrees with the facts and spoke about the portability and loan programs available for younger families.  Commissioner Schin looks to staff for their suggestions and believes the portability of the plan is a benefit.  President Black has quality employees with a DC plan for his company and noted that DB plans are paid by the taxpayers.  Discussion ensued.

Mr. Grove stated that there is a way to continue to receive state aid if the plan transitions to a DC.  The Board thanked him for his presentation.  Commissioner Villone asked for benchmarks and pros/cons and to see numbers of how this will impact the Township for the next several years.  Mr. Grove stated that an actuary would do the estimating based on the wishes of the Board.  Mrs. Trone stated that there are many possibilities they can look into for the Board.  Vice President Simpson is concerned the stock market may drop again and the impact it could have on the pension plans.  He thinks the DC plan is a huge benefit.

Resolution 2018-R-20-Pension Portfolio Mix. 

Mr. Grove discussed the Pension Committee’s recommendation for changing the portfolio mix.  Vice President Simpson was also at the meeting and agreed with the changes. 

Vice President SIMPSON made a motion to adopt Resolution 2018-R-20, Investment Policy Statement.  Commissioner VILLONE seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0.


Superhero Day – June 16th in Lower Allen Township.

Mrs. Trone discussed the request from Capital City Mall to designate Saturday, June 16th as “Superhero Day” in Lower Allen Township.  Captain Crone stated that they will be also honoring local Police, EMS and Fire personnel.

Vice President SIMPSON made a motion to approve the request from Capital City Mall to designate Saturday, June 16th as “Superhero Day” in Lower Allen Township.  Commissioner VILLONE seconded the motion.  Motion carried 5-0.


Mr. Eby spoke about the renovations and clean-up happening at the Pines.  There will soon be an application to take the building down.

Mrs. Echterling thanked the Board for their kindness over the years, as this is her last meeting.  She introduced Tina Thomas as her replacement.  She appreciates the opportunity to work with the Board over the years and will fill in when needed.

Commissioner Villone discussed a meeting he attended where the traffic issues on 81 were discussed.  They want to work with legislators on options to improve the area.  In the meeting, they discussed the opioid crisis and trying to work on programs for education and prevention.

Commissioner Simpson spoke about the need for succession plans for key individuals in the Township especially after the loss of two key employees in the past several months.  Mrs. Trone stated that they don’t have a specific plan written out and how she discussed the need for these during the strategic planning.  Captain Crone spoke about how the Police Department does this through training and planning.

Commissioner Schin provided an update from the COG meeting he attended.  He spoke about a public safety meeting COG had and how they are recommending that COG hire a part-time person to help with the Fire Departments.  Director Holl spoke about the idea and meeting with COG in the past.  He spoke about the administrative work for fire companies and how one part-time person wasn’t reasonable to help with all the fire companies in the area.  He spoke about regionalization and fighting for live-ins with other fire companies.

Director Holl stated that this week is the Police memorial week to remember those killed in the line of duty.  On Friday, Cumberland County will have a ceremony remembering those killed in the line of duty.

President Black met with Mrs. Trone before the meeting and discussed potential Sunoco grants.  He spoke about the Township’s Comcast contract which includes us paying for our services and TV, where he thought we were offered those services for free.  Mrs. Trone spoke about the reduced rate for TV service for the Township.


The Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners adjourned at 10:25 pm.