STORMWATER AUTHORITY LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP
REGULAR MEETING JULY 11, 2019
The following were in ATTENDANCE:
STORMWATER AUTHORITY BOARD TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL
Gordon E. Wilson, Chairman Rebecca Davis, MS4 Coordinator
Alison J Shuler, Secretary
Richard Schin, Assistant Secretary
Also in attendance: Steven P. Miner, Esquire, LATSA Solicitor, and Tina Thomas, Recording Secretary.
Chairman Wilson called the July 11, 2019 Regular Meeting of the Stormwater Authority to order at 8:18 pm. He announced that Proof of Publication was available for review. Tina Thomas completed a Roll Call of the Board members present. Lloyd Bucher, Treasurer, and Timothy Johnson, Vice Chairman, were absent with excuse.
Ms. Shuler moved to approve the minutes from the June 6, 2019 meeting of the Stormwater Authority. Mr. Schin seconded the motion. Motion carried 2-0 with 1 abstaining due to absence. Mr. Schin asked if the Board went into Executive Session when Mrs. Shuman was asked to leave the meeting. Chairman Wilson stated that he asked her to leave the meeting so that the Board could discuss her case.
William and Helen Shuman, 260 Creek Road, Camp Hill, were in attendance at the meeting to further discuss the stormwater fee for the vacant lot they own. Mrs. Shuman recapped what she had spoken about at the last meeting for the benefit of Mr. Schin who was absent. Chairman Wilson stated that the Board had not been able to consider the Shuman’s case yet because they were awaiting more information from the MS4 Coordinator. Mrs. Shuman stated she did not expect a decision to be made tonight but she is interested in hearing what Mrs. Davis is going to share with the Board.
Mr. Miner stated that the vacant lot is a credit policy issue. Since this would involve changing the credit policy, it is a policy matter and not a formal appeal. Chairman Wilson asked Mrs. Shuman if she had anything to add to last month’s presentation and reminded her that there is a 15 minute limit for audience participation.
Mrs. Davis explained the hand-out that she provided to the Board members a listing of vacant parcels and whether they have road frontage, as requested last month by the Board. She stated that out of 190 vacant parcels in Lower Allen Township, 12 have no road frontage. She also had property mapper pulled up on the overhead. Mrs. Shuman stated that she also looked into vacant parcels that were contiguous residential properties and which had no road frontage. She believes either five or seven properties fall under this category, including her property. She stated that if only these five or seven properties were exempt from the stormwater fee, it would only be a loss to the Township of $400 to $530 year. Otherwise, an exemption of all vacant properties would be $14,000 per year in lost revenue. Mrs. Shuman stated again for the Board that properties with road frontage use the storm drains, but they have no storm drain access from their vacant lot and they feel this makes it an exception [from] to the stormwater fee. Per Lower Allen Ordinance, properties without road frontage cannot be developed. She stated that residential properties larger than theirs only have to pay one ERU for their property and it would be too costly for them to change their deed. They also do not want to do a BMP as it is costly to start and maintain.
Mrs. Davis stated that the Board would have to amend the policy and then the resolution as it states that every parcel will be billed. She believes there may be more than 5 vacant parcels that fit the criteria. She also stated that all properties have stormwater runoff and that is why each property [that was] assigned a parcel number by the Cumberland County Tax Association was assessed a fee. Mrs. Davis also anticipates more owners of vacant parcels will come to the Township and ask for their fees to be waived.
Mr. Miner stated that the Shumans do not have a relevant appeal under the current policies. Theirs is more of a policy issue. He also agreed with Mrs. Shuman that under current Lower Allen ordinance, a property cannot be developed that does not have road frontage on a public street.
Mr. Schin stated that he does not feel that the Stormwater Board is close to changing the policy and a lot of discussion would need to be held before a decision could be reached.
Mrs. Davis stated that a lot of time and thought went into creating the policy initially. The stormwater program helps to fund the future infrastructure of the Township that must be maintained. All residents use the stormwater infrastructure and drive on the roads. It is a very comprehensive program and does not just deal with where stormwater inlets are located.
Chairman Wilson stated that he would like to table this discussion. Mrs. Shuman asked what the next step would be. Chairman Wilson said that Mr. Miner and the whole Board would need to review the information. This would probably take place next month. Mrs. Shuman thanked the Board for their time.
Mr. Miner referenced the memo that he had passed out to the Board members. He stated that there is not an expiration date on the appeal.
Mrs. Davis is presenting the report due to Mr. Bucher’s absent. She stated that she and Mr. Bucher met with the Township Finance Director, Mr. Grove. The purpose was to go over the transfer request for the first quarterly installment of 2019, which was based on budgeted amounts. She stated that after an audit is performed, the financials for the third quarter will be based on actual numbers. A hand-out was provided with the revenue and expenditures leading to the requested funds transfer. The first installment is for $139,527 and is a third of the budgeted amount. Ms. Shuler moved to approve the transfer of funds and Mr. Schin seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-0.
Mrs. Davis spoke about the updated billed revenue which is $403,953.73 and noted the difference still not collected is $99,332.70. This outstanding amount, which totals almost 40%, is from PennDOT, the PA Turnpike, and SCI Camp Hill. After three quarters of uncollected fees, a notice will be sent; after four quarters a delinquency notice will then be sent. Fifteen days after that a lien is placed on the property.
MS4 COORDINATOR REPORT
Mrs. Davis presented the Stormwater Fee Credit and Appeals Monthly Report. She stated that one application was received in the past month and it was from 2850 Appleton Street. It is a large commercial property with a large basin constructed in the 1970’s. She stated that there was no justification provided demonstrating the basin on the property meets BMP. Thus, it was denied.
Mrs. Davis then spoke about the summary of the vacant parcel data that Mr. Bucher had requested she provide. She offered to provide a larger map next month if that would be helpful to the Board. Ms. Shuler asked Mrs. Davis if she could look more into contiguous parcels and parcels without road frontage specifically. She would like a list of properties that cannot be developed to narrow down the current list.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS PERTINENT TO THE AUTHORITY:
Chairman Wilson would like to pursue stormwater fee payment by SCI Camp Hill. Mr. Miner stated that he will do it informally as he did for the Sewer Authority. If it goes to litigation and the Township would lose, it would set a precedent for the entire state. Mr. Schin stated that other municipalities are also having a difficult time collecting stormwater fees from large entities. Chairman Wilson asked if we can report entities that will not pay to the DEP and EPA. Mr. Miner stated that a better result would be achieved by going together with other municipalities and perhaps starting with PennDOT since everyone is affected by them. The Stormwater Board asked Mr. Miner to pursue this.
Mr. Miner told the Board that he will not be in attendance at the August 1st meeting.
There being no more business, Mr. Wilson adjourned the Stormwater Authority meeting at 9:08 pm. The next meeting of the Stormwater Authority will take place on Thursday August 1st.