STORMWATER AUTHORITY LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP
REGULAR MEETING JULY 9, 2020
The following were in ATTENDANCE:
STORMWATER AUTHORITY BOARD TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL
Gordon E. Wilson, Chairman Rebecca Davis, Stormwater Program Manager
Lloyd Bucher, Treasurer
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 9, 2020 Regular Meeting of the Stormwater Authority to order at 7:43 pm. He announced that Proof of Publication was available for review. Tina Thomas completed a Roll Call of the Board members present. Vice Chairman Timothy Johnson is absent with excuse.
Mrs. Shuler moved to approve the minutes from the June 4, 2020 meeting of the Stormwater Authority with a correction. Mr. Schin seconded the motion. Motion carried 4-0.
Mr. Miner spoke about a collection of correspondence between the Township, Mr. Miner, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike which he provided to the Board. He said Mr. John Dwyer, Assistant Counsel to the Turnpike, called the Stormwater Fee a tax and cited case law as the reason that they will not be paying the requested fee to the Township. Mr. Miner replied to him that Municipal Authorities have no power of taxation and Mr. Dwyer has not sent any further communication. Mr. Miner said that there is a common belief that if the municipalities succeed in collecting stormwater fees from the state, they will take the money from the liquid fuels tax which municipalities receive for roadwork costs. Mr. Miner will pass along any updates.
Mr. Miner provided information on the question of the cost involved in pursuing a case with the Camp Hill Prison or another stated entity. He said that he obtained help with estimates from a co-worker, Karen Miller, who does defense budgeting for litigation. Mr. Miner said that it would cost a lot of money and there is no guarantee of success. He recommends joining forces and sharing the cost with other municipalities. He said environmental counsel would probably also be needed and that is even more expensive. The Board discussed getting cooperation from the prison based on the fact that they pay sewer fees to the Township. Mr. Wilson asked if the Township were to win, if the costs could be paid by the entity not paying the fee. Mr. Miner replied that the Commonwealth is a Superior Sovereign and does not fall under the Municipal Claims and Lien act. He recommends partnering with someone else or getting COG involved.
Mr. Miner also spoke about previously when the Township sued the Department of Corrections, the suit was filed in the Board of Claims but we have no agreement with the prison for stormwater. This case would be heard in Commonwealth Court where it would be an original jurisdiction matter. He does not feel it’s likely for this Court to side with a municipality over a state agency.
Mrs. Davis has a meeting in August with COG and in September with other municipalities after this. She also said that she learned of West Chester Borough having litigation with the University there as well as PennDOT. Mr. Miner said the Borough has gotten through the preliminary objection stage with the University and has spent a year in waiting so far.
Mr. Miner requested that the stormwater Authority make a motion to defer the action on collections against the Peiffer Arboretum. This was made by Mr. Schin and seconded by Mr. Bucher. Motion carried 4-0.
Mr. Bucher mentioned not seeing the $293,000 transfer to the Township that was approved last month. Mrs. Davis explained that was for 2019 but it may not have been transferred by the date the report was run by Financial Director Grove. Mr. Grove also provided the Stormwater Authority with their cash balance at the end of June as $1,297,374.87. Mr. Bucher noted that the available year to date revenue as of July 1, 2020 is $799,961.06, and year to date expenditures $121.02. Mr. Bucher moved to approve the financial report for July 1, 2020 and Mr. Schin seconded the motion. The motion carried 4-0.
2019 STORMWATER AUTHORITY AUDIT
Mrs. Davis said that this report was provided by the company who performed the audit and she wanted each Board member to have a copy. She also referred to Mr. Bucher’s earlier question about why there is an $86,000 difference in the audit report. She provided a letter from Mr. Grove explaining that the figure is made up of $65,000 in Legacy costs. This was incurred when the Board of Commissioners hired a consultant, Arcadis, to get the stormwater program started with a stormwater fee study.
STORMWATER PROGRAM MANAGER REPORT
Credit and Appeals Summary
Mrs. Davis stated that no new credits or appeals have come in.
Mrs. Davis noted that delinquent properties are now in the collection process and will get a 30 day lien notice. These are signed by Mr. Miner. Mrs. Davis said that as of today there are 59 residential accounts and four commercial accounts. She also said that quite a few people came in to pay after receiving their notices of delinquency. She has had positive results by following through with the resolution.
Public Works/Sheepford Basin Construction Update
Mrs. Davis gave an update on progress with the two basin projects that were awarded grants. She said they have met with the contractor and issued a notice to proceed on June 24th. The dates of construction run from June 29th until the end of October. The contractor wants to use Lisburn Road, a stated owned road, for access to the site and they need a minimum use driveway permit from PennDOT to do this. Mrs. Davis is hoping to have the planting done in the fall before the projects must be closed out in 2020 because they are grants.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS PERTINENT TO THE AUTHORITY:
Mrs. Shuler asked about the contracts and awarding the bids. Mrs. Davis said that the Township Manager Mr. Vernau did not see a problem with the bids being opened at the Stormwater Authority meeting. She said Mr. Miner reviews the bids at the Commissioners meeting and could do the same at the Stormwater meeting. Mrs. Davis will update the Board on the progress of the basin project and she will be taking progress photos for the grant. She spoke about an intern from Harrisburg University who flew a drone over the basins to get pictures prior to construction. The student will also do this after the basins are retrofitted to show the progress. He will do all ten basins this way.
Mrs. Davis noted that she will be on vacation during the first week of August and will miss the Stormwater meeting date. She suggested waiting to meet until September unless an urgent issue came up. Chairman Wilson agreed it was reasonable to wait until September if nothing urgent arose.
There being no more business, Mr. Wilson adjourned the Stormwater Authority meeting at 8:28 pm.