Board of Commissioners
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP
REGULAR MEETING APRIL 13, 2020
The following were in ATTENDANCE:
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL
Dean W. Villone, President Thomas G. Vernau, Jr., Township Manager
Edward Black, Vice President Erin G. Trone, Assistant Township Manager
Richard F. Schin Richard Grove, Finance Director
Carolyn Holtzman David Holl, Public Safety Director
Thomas H. Kutz Dan Flint, Public Works Coordinator
John Eby, Building and Zoning Coordinator
Rebecca Davis, Stormwater Program Manager
Leon Crone, Police Captain
Steven Miner, Solicitor
Tina Thomas, Recording Secretary
President Villone called the April 13, 2020 virtual Meeting of the Board of Commissioners to order at 7:00 pm followed by an explanation of rules for the virtual meeting being held on the Zoom platform due to the Covid-19 shutdown. He announced that Proof of Publication was available for review and that the meeting was being recorded on the Township’s YouTube channel. President Villone said that the meeting was being hosted by Assistant Manager Erin Trone and introduced the Commissioners and staff participating. He requested a moment of silence to honor those affected by the Covid-19 virus and those who have passed away as a result of it. This was followed by a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the minutes from the March 9, 2020 Regular Meeting. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: Any item on the agenda.
President Villone asked if anyone joining online in tonight’s meeting would like to speak on any item on
the agenda. He requested that they notify the host. There was no response.
Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the check register of March 27, 2020 in the amount of $111,534.44. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the check register of April 10, 2020 in the amount of $478,421.48. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
Declaration of Emergency
Commissioner KUTZ moved to ratify the Declaration of Emergency signed by President Villone on March 17, 2020. Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
Declaration of Emergency Extension
Commissioner KUTZ moved to ratify the Extension of the Declaration of Emergency to April 30, 2020, signed by President Villone on March 30, 2020. Vice-President BLACK seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner KUTZ moved to adopt Resolution 2020-R-14, waiving refuse penalties for the second fiscal quarter of 2020. Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner SCHIN moved to adopt Resolution 2020-R-15, allowing staff to submit proposals for the Pennsylvania Local Government Implementation funding opportunity for high-priority nutrient and sediment load reduction practices, that are consistent with the PA Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan, to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion and President Villone asked if the Township was aware this was coming up. Mr. Vernau said that this is required before submitting a grant proposal. Motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner SCHIN moved to adopt Resolution 2020-R-16, allowing staff to submit proposals for the Small Watershed Grants, specifically implementation for water quality projects that will reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
ANY BUSINESS PERTINENT TO THE TOWNSHIP:
There was none received. President Villone said that he would ask again later.
2020 Street Pavement Resurfacing Project Bids
Mr. Flint said that sealed bids from three contractors were opened on March 27, 2020. The lowest bid was from Pennsy Supply for $425,300.00 for the 2020 Street Paving Resurfacing Project, which is the recommended bid. The budgeted amount was $600,000 in the Highway Aid Fund. Work will begin in July. Commissioner Kutz asked Mr. Flint if it is typical for bids to come in significantly less than was budgeted. Mr. Flint replied that in this case, the time of year is good, and contractors are interested in finding work due to Covid-19 shutdowns in other areas. The drop in oil prices is also a cost saving factor although this could change by the time the work begins. Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve giving Pennsy Supply the contract and Vice President BLACK seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0.
Hartzdale Drive Micro-Surfacing Project
Mr. Flint spoke about the need for a road treatment called micro-surfacing on a stretch of 500 feet along Hartzdale Drive. Numerous accidents involving vehicles sliding on the curve have made it necessary to look into a surface treatment to increase skid resistance. A bid was not required due to cost, but price quotes were sought. A unit-priced contract is requested to be awarded to Stewart and Tate, Inc. for an estimated amount of $19,673.00. This amount is above the budgeted amount, but the previous item is below budget and could help cover this cost. Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve awarding the contract to Stewart and Tate, Inc., and Vice President BLACK seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Wilson Lane Resurfacing Project
Mr. Flint spoke about this project coming up after budget discussions had ended. The Township was contacted by Bethany Village after multiple incidences of cars sliding off the curve on Wilson Lane and ending up on their property. There is usually wet pavement involved. A similar treatment is proposed for this stretch of road as to Hartzdale Drive and is anticipated to be similar in cost. Due to this not being a budgeted item, authorization is requested for staff to seek price quotes for this project. Commissioner SCHIN moved to authorize staff to seek price quotes for the Wilson Road micro-surfacing project and Vice President BLACK seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0.
Financial Security for SLD Docket No. 2016-04
Mr. Flint said that a 10% increase is due for the renewal of the Financial Security for Highpoint Phase 1.3, raising it from $80,851.83 to $88,937.01 and establishing a new expiration date of April 13, 2021. This is being held to cover the remaining work of the wearing course on the streets. Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve extension of the financial security for an additional year and Vice President BLACK seconded the motion. Commissioner Holtzman expressed her concern about the streets in Arcona being too narrow. Mr. Vernau said that they were built according to the approved plan, and that this action simply extended our financial security, it did not approve any additional construction. The motion carried 5-0.
Approvement of Final Payment to Penn State Construction
Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve Payment Application No. 8 to Penn State Construction in the amount of $57,127.30 for General Construction work completed on the Public Works Building addition. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0. Vice President Black asked Mr. Flint if the building is now in use and he replied that it is.
Disclosure of Teleconference Executive Sessions:
Mr. Vernau provided public disclosure of some electronic and telephonic sessions that have taken place recently since the mandatory shut-down:
- March 20th: Telephone conference for closure of the Township building and reduction of in-office staffing; the Board approved having employees stay at home.
- March 27th: Telephone conference for the non-essential employee stay-at-home order.
- April 3rd: Zoom meeting test as well as discussion of local government exemption from Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act (FFCRA), continuation of pay for employees, and reopening of the yard waste facility.
- April 9th: Additional test of the Zoom meeting in preparation for the Board of Commissioners meeting.
Mr. Miner said that as this was just a disclosure; it does not require a vote as no action was taken.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Policies
Mr. Vernau spoke about two policies that were created by staff regarding the expansion of FMLA and the Emergency Sick Leave Pay under the FFCRA. These will become official personnel policies if approved by the Board. Under FFCRA, municipalities are required to offer guaranteed sick leave to employees. Municipalities are not eligible to receive the tax credit that the federal government offers private companies. This could be reimbursed in the future by FEMA for the Township’s costs. Mr. Vernau said that to avoid a lot of expense, the Township is encouraging its employees to work from home or use accrued leave. Commissioner Schin asked if there is a federal regulation for the amount of payment and he was told that the numbers are determined by the federal government but are maximums. Mr. Vernau said that the Governor’s stay-at-home rule made everyone eligible for full pay. President Villone asked why action by the Board is required on this and Mr. Vernau said it is because staff amended the policies so that they could become permanent additions to the personnel manual. Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the FFCRA Sick Leave and Family & Medical Leave policies. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.
Capital Purchase of a Skid Loader
Mr. Vernau spoke about a request from Fleet Manager Charlie Reynolds for the budgeted replacement of a 2000 Bobcat with a 2020 John Deere skid loader. He said that the plant which makes them is closing and it would be best to order it now while they still have stock. The next opportunity to purchase one could be a long wait and possibly incur increased cost. Buying the equipment now is limited to current stock since the company is no longer manufacturing. The budgeted amount for replacement is $52,000 and the current quoted price with COSTARS contract is $39,536.48. Commissioner Schin asked if the current attachments would fit onto this model and he was told that they would. President Villone asked if it is possible to keep using the current skid loader to save money and Mr. Vernau said that it is for another year, but he was not given a time for useful life. Mr. Grove added that since the money for the skid loader is in the budget, purchasing it will not cause financial hardship for the Township. Vice President Black pointed out that reusing attachments is a cost savings and that the skid loader is a very versatile piece of equipment. Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the purchase of the 2020 John Deere skid loader and Vice President BLACK seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Mrs. Trone said that the Community Development Department has been working from home and processing permits. The only permits being issued, and inspections being performed at this time are for work that is exempt.
Mr. Holl said that Public Safety cannot work from home but N95 masks have been issued and fit tested. EMS and Police are following enhanced precautions. Crimewatch is being utilized for online reporting of non-emergency incidents which helps with distancing. An officer then follows up by phone call. There is also a way to report price gouging on Crimewatch.
Mr. Eby spoke about being proud of staff for setting up Zoom meeting as well as expressing thanks to Director Holl and his department for assisting Community Development in safely meeting the needs of their customers.
Vice President Black requested that Director Holl and Captain Crone pass on his appreciation to the first responders for their hard work. He thanked residents for their monetary donations for food for first responders.
Commissioner Schin agreed with Vice President Black’s statement. He is proud of Township staff and their response.
Commissioner Kutz thanked Township staff for their flexibility as well as first responders, grocery workers, truck drivers, medical staff, and everyone on the front line. He said he is proud of the public safety team at Lower Allen Township.
Mrs. Trone passed along a comment from viewer and staff member Julie Echterling. She wanted to thank everyone for working together for the community and to the staff for a successful meeting.
President Villone thanked everyone for the great discussions and working well together under the circumstances. He appreciates the first responders and the great job they are doing. He has seen residents out for exercise but being friendly and pleasant. The residents appreciate that they get a prompt response from staff in the Township. He wants residents to know that the Township is working for them and trying to make the transition as easy as possible. President Villone said that he feels like this meeting went well and, in the future, more could be added to the agenda.
The Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners adjourned at 8:04 pm.