Board of Commissioners
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP
REGULAR MEETING OCTOBER 14, 2019
The following were in ATTENDANCE:
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL
Edward Black, President Thomas G. Vernau, Jr., Township Manager
Dean W. Villone, Vice President Erin G. Trone, Assistant Township Manager
Richard F. Schin Richard Grove, Finance Director
Carolyn Holtzman David Holl, Public Safety Director
Peddrick M. Young, Sr. Dan Flint, Public Works Director
John Eby, Building & Zoning Coordinator
Steven P. Miner, Solicitor
Tina Thomas, Recording Secretary
President Black called the October 14, 2019 Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners to order at 7:15 pm followed by a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. He announced that Proof of Publication was available for review. Meeting start time was delayed due to a Public Hearing prior to the Board of Commissioners meeting.
Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the minutes from the September 23, 2019 Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners. Vice President VILLONE seconded the motion. Motion carried 4-0, with President Black abstaining due to absence from that meeting.
Commissioner YOUNG moved to approve the minutes from the September 30, 2019 Budget Meeting. Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion. Motion carried 4-0, with Commissioner Holtzman abstaining due to absence from that meeting.
Mike Hakes requested to speak on agenda item 9B, the property at 806 Lisburn Road.
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.
- Tax Collector’s September 2019 monthly report.
- Adoption of the Pedestrian/Bicycle Study dated August 2019, prepared by Simone Collins.
Commissioner YOUNG made a motion to approve the items on the Consent Agenda and Commissioner SCHIN seconded it. Motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner YOUNG moved to approve the Check Register of September 27, 2019 in the amount of $422,200.60. Commissioner SCHIN seconded it. Motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the Check Register of October 11, 2019 in the amount of $338,875.00. Vice President VILLONE seconded it. Motion carried 5-0.
ANY BUSINESS PERTINENT TO THE TOWNSHIP: Political Sign Size Requirements
Vice President Villone wished to address the Board regarding political sign size requirements. He requested guidance on oversized signs and if sign restrictions apply on private property. He said that generally political signs have been permitted in the right-of-way as long as they do not block sight distances. Discussion ensued. Commissioner Young asked what constitutes an oversized sign and Mr. Eby stated that it is over 6 square feet in residential districts and 40 square feet in all other zoning districts. He said sign size depends on the zoning district and the regulations are not easily found. Mr. Vernau asked if the Board would like staff to change the guidelines to allow any size political sign and the majority agreed as long as it does not cause a safety issue.
Commissioner SCHIN moved to direct staff to make revisions to the sign ordinance regarding political signs. President Black added that political signs will be left alone for this election cycle. Commissioner YOUNG seconded the motion. Motion carried 4-0 with Vice President Villone abstaining.
Mr. Grove explained that the value of the investment portfolios goes up and down each year. Smoothing can make the change less drastic by spreading it over five years. The amount that must be contributed in 2020 is $125,000 with the smoothing. Without it, the contribution amount will be $186,000. Taking this action is recommended by the actuary and the pension attorney.
Vice President VILLONE moved to adopt Resolution 2019-R-40, a five year smoothing method to determine the actuarial value of assets as part of the actuarial valuation for the Lower Allen Township Police and the Lower Allen Township Pension Plans. Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
Mr. Grove spoke about lowering the interest rate assumption from 7.75% to 7.5% for Defined Benefit Pension Plans. He said it has the most impact on the budget in the upcoming year. Commissioner Schin asked why 7.75% was chosen initially. Mr. Grove stated that it is based on history and an educated guess by the actuary. What the funds earn comes from investment returns and the fund hasn’t been reaching the necessary amount. He said it will be less expensive in the long run to go with 7.5%.
Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve Resolution 2019-R-41, reducing the Defined Benefit Pension Plans’ interest rate assumption from 7.75% to 7.5%. Vice President VILLONE seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
Resolution 2019-R-42: Grant Opportunity
Mr. Flint spoke about a grant relating to the Chesapeake Bay Initiative that is available to apply for. The grant money would be used to retrofit Moreland Basin and Sheepford East Basin which are currently old detention basins.
Commissioner SCHIN moved to authorize the President of the Board of Commissioners to submit proposals for the Pennsylvania Local Government Implementation funding opportunity for high-priority nutrient and sediment load reduction practices that are consistent with Pennsylvania’s Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Vice President VILLONE seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0.
806 Lisburn Road
Mr. Flint spoke about a resident’s request for a sidewalk repair using a substitute material, as permitted by Ordinance. He provided pictures of the shifted sidewalk on the overhead projector. There is no curb, as the sidewalk is close to the road, and there is a retaining wall behind the sidewalk. Mr. Mike Hakes is the property owner at 806 Lisburn Road. He told the Board that he had spoken with a contractor about building up the sidewalk with a process called “mudjacking”, but they felt it would wash out again. He is therefore seeking permission to have a blacktop overlay done over the existing sidewalk with bituminous concrete. This would level the area by making the concrete thicker on the road side and tapering back towards his property. A curb could also be created. Mr. Flint feels that this is a good and cost effective approach.
Vice President VILLONE moved to approve the request and Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0.
Payment to Penn State Construction
Commissioner YOUNG moved to approve payment number 3 for $205,508.09 to Penn State Construction, general contractors for the Public Works Building Addition. Commissioner SCHIN seconded it and the motion carried 5-0.
Public Works Coordinator
Commissioner YOUNG moved to transition Bryan Harshbarger from probationary to regular full-time employment status as Public Works Coordinator. Vice President VILLONE seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
SLD Docket No. 2019-08: Arcona Phase 3 Subdivision Plan
Mr. Flint spoke about the Subdivision Plan being tabled by the Planning Commission and the 90 day action deadline approaching. Charter Homes has offered a 120-day Time Extension, extending the deadline to February 11, 2020. This will allow them to go back before the Planning Commission with revised plans.
Commissioner YOUNG moved to accept the time extension and Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0.
COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Eby provided an update from the Zoning Board.
Zoning Hearing Board Report from September 19, 2019:
- Docket 2019-09: At the September 19th hearing, the Zoning Hearing Board granted a second request for Sheetz to postpone their public hearing for two variances, until the October 17th
- Docket 2019-10: Central PA Equities 31 requested a special exception from Section 220-241 of the Codified Ordinance to reduce the number of off-street parking spaces, as well as from Section 220-242.L.2(a) and 220-201.B.a(b) for distance of parking spaces from the building and height of the dumpster enclosure for hotel construction at 3535 Gettysburg Road. This variance was approved.
Zoning Hearing Board Meeting To Be Held October 17, 2019:
- Docket 2019-09: The continuation of the hearing from August 15, 2019 for Sheetz, Inc. at 1500 & 1510 Cedar Cliff Drive. Mr. Eby stated that Community Development will notify residents by social media if Sheetz is going to be ready for the hearing. Otherwise it may be continued again.
- Docket 2019-11: Derry Young of High Associates, Inc., 5000 Ritter Road, Suite 201, is requesting a special exception in accordance with Section 220-241 to reduce the number of off-street parking spaces at 4910 – 4932 Louise Drive. This is a small commercial strip with several restaurants. They would like to provide some additional indoor seating without adding more parking spaces. The applicant has submitted data and video showing that the current number of spaces will be adequate.
Pay Increases for 2020
Mr. Vernau stated that he is looking for guidance from the Board regarding staff raises in 2020. He provided a hand-out from Wells Fargo on the employee cost index. It shows that the employee cost index from 2019 to 2020 is 3.0%. This would add $94,770 to the salary budget which Mr. Grove has already included in the 2020 draft budget. The commissioners voiced support for the 3.0% salary increase unanimously.
Mr. Eby spoke about the Field & Stream store being sold to Sportsman’s Warehouse. At this time they are just re-stocking and not undertaking any renovations.
Mr. Vernau mentioned the upcoming Cumberland Conservation Collaborative Seminar on Climate Change. No one has signed up from Lower Allen Township so he is redistributing the flyer. It is being held Wednesday night in Carlisle at Dickinson College.
Vice President Villone thanked everyone for help with the political sign issue. He spoke about volunteering for Bingo at the Lisburn Fire Hall with his wife. He had the opportunity to speak with older residents who expressed that they like living in Lower Allen Township. One thing brought to his attention was the mention of incentives for volunteer firefighters in the Ad Hoc Committee meetings. He was asked why only firefighters would be eligible for the incentives and not other staff who support them. Vice President Villone also said he will be attending tomorrow’s tax meeting for the Cumberland County Tax Bureau and Finance Committee. He will report on how the budget approval goes there.
Commissioner Schin spoke about attending Coffee with a Cop with his wife last week. He thought it could be more heavily promoted but had a good time. He expressed his appreciation to the Board for the stance they took on fireworks by sending a letter to the legislators. He spoke with Senator Regan about it recently. Commissioner Schin also spoke about filling in at the Cumberland County Municipal Advisory Board. The 2020 Census was the main topic and the internet will be used for the first time. He reported that jobs will be available to work for the census. They are predicting 40,000 non-responders in Cumberland County which is money the Township will not get. He said the Township is being encouraged to promote the census. Mr. Vernau said there is information about the census posted on the Township Facebook page and in the newsletter. He will ask the County Planner what is planned on the County level. Mr. Schin said MS4 was also discussed at the Advisory Board meeting. He said Mrs. Davis is well regarded throughout the County for reaching out to other municipalities. Text to 911 if calling is not available was also covered.
Commissioner Holtzman thanked the Board for sending her flowers during her recent illness.
Mrs. Trone announced that the Development Authority has sold the Burger King. It will remain in business. This will provide money for the Development Authority to pay some utility bills. She thanked Steve for doing the closing. Mrs. Trone also spoke about the upcoming New Residents workshop to be held on Saturday November 9th from 9 – 10:30 am at Gorgas Hall. She said 115 letters are being sent to new homeowners in the Township. The agenda is still being finalized.
President Black asked if there were any comments from the audience. Mr. Jeff Logan gave an update on the roundabouts. He said that the one being built by Charter Homes is further ahead and scheduled for paving tomorrow.
President Black spoke about serving as a representative on the Pennsylvania State Association Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission. He provided an update on TMI being decommissioned and fuel being removed underwater to concrete casks. These will be taken by truck to a disposal facility in Utah. This will take two and a half years to complete. The decay process at the plant will take 60 years for all the radioactivity to be gone. President Black stated that a lot of nuclear plants are being decommissioned because they are too expensive to operate.
RECESS TO EXECUTIVE SESSION
The Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners recessed at 8:44 pm to discuss a personnel issue.
The Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners reconvened at 9:02 pm.
Commissioner YOUNG moved to ratify the action taken by the Manager to terminate an employee. Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
The Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners adjourned at 9:03 pm.