Board of Commissioners
|BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS||LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP|
|REGULAR MEETING||FEBRUARY 28, 2022|
|The following were in ATTENDANCE:|
|BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS||TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL|
|Dean W. Villone, President||Thomas G. Vernau, Jr., Township Manager|
|H. Edward Black, Vice President||Erin G. Trone, Comm. & Economic Dev. Director|
|Thomas H. Kutz||Steven P. Miner, Township Solicitor|
|Joshua Nagy||David Holl, Public Safety Director|
|Rebecca Davis, Public Works DirectorLeon G. Crone, Police Captain|
|John M. Eby, Building and Zoning Coordinator|
|Anthony Deaven, EMS Captain|
|Renee’ Greenawalt, Recording Secretary|
President Villone called the February 28, 2022 Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners to order at 6:02 PM. He announced that Proof of Publication for this meeting was available for review. President Villone expressed the sadness shared by the Township Commissioners and staff at the recent passing of Commissioner Carolyn Holtzman. A moment of silence was observed in her honor. This was followed by a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioner KUTZ moved to approve the minutes from the February 14, 2022 Regular Meeting. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion. The motion carried 4-0.
The representative was unable to attend.
West Shore Historical Society (WSHS)
WSHS President, Don Paul Shearer, and Executive Director, Janice Lynx, presented an update on the recent activities of the West Shore Historical Society (WSHS). Ms. Lynx noted the organization had recently been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission that will be used to inventory, digitize and archive records.
Ms. Lynx discussed an upcoming event, as part of “Round and About with the West Shore Historical Society,” a collaboration between West Shore Historical Society (WSHS,) West Shore Photography Club (WSPC,) and Art Center School and Galleries of Mechanicsburg. They are offering a workshop, free and open to the public, called History Through Photography” on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Discussion will focus the historical significance of the places whose images were captured for the exhibit, such as the Sheepford Road Bridge, Peace Church, Rebecca Bitner House, and Basehore Farm.
On behalf of the WSHS, Ms. Lynx asked the commissioners to consider permitting the organization to service the kiosk located at Yellow Breeches Park, to update the fishing and park information, and to include information about the Sheepford Road Bridge and the WSHS. She also asked them to consider allowing for some space in the Township newsletter.
Cumberland County District Attorney-Drug Task Force
An update was presented regarding the task force activity that takes place within Lower Allen Township. Cumberland County District Attorney, Sean McCormack expressed appreciation for the ongoing cooperation from the Township police and presented a check in the amount of $25,000 to the Township to offset the cost of the Township police officer dedicated to supporting the task force.
Commissioners expressed their gratitude for the funds as well as the updates on the program, and their efforts towards making the community a safer place to live.
At 6:37 p.m. Commissioner Villone announced that the meeting would be recessed for the purpose of discussion on the legal matter of Triple Crown Corporation vs. Lower Allen Township. Following the executive session, the regular meeting reconvened at 7:10 p.m.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: Any item on the agenda.
President Villone advised the audience that if there were any item on that evening’s agenda that they wish to comment on, to please indicate as such. There was none.
President Villone stated that any Commissioner, staff member, or anyone in attendance who would like to have an item on the Consent Agenda removed for further discussion, could do so at that time. There were none.
Items on the Consent Agenda:
a. Department Reports for the month of January for Community Development, Fleet Maintenance, Facility Maintenance, Public Works, and Public Safety.
b. The destruction and disposal of obsolete Tasers.
c. Check Register of February 25, 2022 in the amount of $151,808.80.
d. Prepare to solicit and to advertise bids for RTU-1 and RTU-3.
e. Proposal for the Beacon Hill Stormwater project from E.K. Services.
f. Removing Craig Doll, Code Inspector for the Community and Economic Development Department from Probation Period.
Commissioner KUTZ moved to approve the items on the Consent Agenda. Vice President BLACK seconded. The motion carried 4-0.
President Villone requested a motion to adopt RESOLUTION 2022-R-11, hiring Andrew R. Fullerton as a full-time Maintenance Specialist for the Facilities Maintenance and Public Works Departments.
Commissioner KUTZ made the motion. Vice President BLACK seconded. The motion carried 4-0.
ANY BUSINESS PERTINENT TO THE TOWNSHIP:
President Villone noted that if anyone wished to speak at that time, there would be 15 minutes allotted per person to speak at the podium. There was none.
MANAGER – Tom Vernau
Solar energy final proposal for Township property
Mr. Vernau referred to and reviewed the informational document from Solar Renewable Energy (SRE) included in the Board packet, regarding the proposed solar energy project, which would include two sites. The first would be a ground-mounted solar panel array located on the property across from the St. John’s Road Public Works building. The second site would include a smaller array installed atop a parking canopy, as well as a ground-mount on the north side of the municipal building. The document addressed the questions presented by Commissioners about the project. Mr. Vernau also noted that the initial outlay of money was available from the sale of the cell tower leases in addition to the anticipated PPL grant. Next, he shared the positive feedback he received from existing SRE customers.
Mr. Vernau expressed his support for the project, which is projected to achieve a savings of $2.5 million over the life of the project.
President Villone noted his impression that the project seems to be a good opportunity for the township that will have a net positive savings, especially given increasing energy prices. He also acknowledged some hesitation in recognizing the unknown factors that may influence the project in the future, such as increased equipment costs.
Vice President Black asked whether other solar energy companies had been considered. Mr. Vernau replied he had not solicited other proposals but would do so at the direction of the Board. He cautioned that seeking proposals from other companies would delay the project anywhere from 30-60 days, and the opportunity for the PPL credit, which is a finite resource, may not be available later. He said the feedback gained from talking with current SRE customers, who had investigated other companies, was insightful and gave him confidence in the selection of SRE. He also noted several factors that were constant regardless of the company, such as SREC state credits and the savings on electricity. Any difference would be in the construction and ongoing maintenance costs.
Commissioner Nagy suggested that with the project being long-term and a large expenditure, he would feel more comfortable in having another proposal for comparison purposes. Commissioner Kutz agreed.
President Villone asked Township Finance Director, Rick Grove, to speak to the fiscal impact of the project. Mr. Grove noted that he and the manager had analyzed the proposal in detail, to include the brand of the solar panels, degradation, and the workmanship guaranteed by the company. He added that the project would be independently guaranteed by an insurance company. In summary, he noted his support for the project, stating the projected numbers were logical and reasonable. He highlighted the credibility of the company, the quality of the product and the workmanship, and offered his assessment that the risk was as low as it could be for this kind of project.
Mr. Vernau reiterated his recommendation to move forward, adding that the project results in cash inflows that outweigh the expenses. The initial outlay of funds is available in the Capital Projects Fund and there is risk in waiting due to the finite resource of the PPL credit. Addressing a question about obtaining other quotes, Mr. Vernau explained the details involved with creating a written proposal with technical specifications, which would likely delay the project by up to 60 days. He said that because of the leasing arrangement, there is no legal requirement to solicit additional bids. Additionally, SRE is a COSTARS listed company.
Commissioner Kutz asked what the capital funds would be used for if not this project. Mr. Vernau replied that nothing else was planned, and while the money could be used for a wide variety of projects, this was one that would provide significant savings to the Township.
Hearing no further discussion, Vice President BLACK made a motion to move ahead with Solar Renewable Energy (SRE) on the project. Commissioner KUTZ seconded. The motion carried 3-1 with Commissioner Nagy opposed.
Mr. Vernau thanked the Commissioners for their decision and noted that staff was confident that the project would result in savings as well as sustainability of resources.
Mr. Eby announced that the Yellow Breeches Watershed Association’s Trout Day would not be held this year due the current closure of the Slate Hill bridge and the parking lot.
Ms. Trone referred to an email from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development regarding the Township being selected for an Excellence in Government award related to the Lower Allen Commons project.
Vice President Black thanked Captain Crone for the excellent job on the Public Safety Annual Report. He also offered remarks regarding his personal sadness at the loss of Commissioner Holtzman, offering his thoughts and prayers to her family.
Commissioner Nagy provided additional explanation of his vote for the solar project. He said he supported the project and that his vote reflected his comfort level in not having another proposal for comparison. He also reported on his attendance at the Recreation Board meeting, noting his enthusiasm for participation in that, with an eye towards re-energizing township residents to come out to events. He thanked Ms. Davis and Ms. Trone for providing him a tour of what happens “behind the scenes” of the Township. He noted his appreciation for attending the Lisburn Community Fire Department banquet and noted the inspiring speech given at the event by Captain Crone.
Commissioner Kutz expressed his sadness regarding the loss of his colleague, Commissioner Holtzman, noting she had been a formidable commissioner who cared deeply for residents and fiercely advocated for the public safety disciplines. He also reported on his attendance at the Lisburn Fire Banquet and offered congratulatory remarks to Greg Black on his Firefighter of the Year award. He also noted his participation as the Township delegate to the Capital Region Council of Governments, reflecting on a recent productive meeting and discussion of public safety issues. He noted the collaboration among municipalities on the opposition to the tolling of the I-83 South Bridge. Finally, he noted his privilege to serve as a delegate to the Cumberland County Municipal Advisory Board, working to achieve common goals throughout the county.
President Villone expressed additional remarks of sadness at the passing of, and his fondness for, Commissioner Holtzman, reflecting on memories of his time serving with her. He noted her passion for serving and for the Township, saying she would be missed and that he would keep her family in prayer. Next, he reported on his attendance as liaison at the recent Planning Commission meeting and noted his appreciation to Ms. Trone for the upcoming and follow-up project updates. He also reported his attendance at the Lisburn Community Fire Company banquet and complimented Captain Crone on a fantastic speech. He said he looked forward to the upcoming Lower Allen Fire Company Banquet and offered additional congratulations to Greg Black. President Villone shared a plaque that had been given to Lower Allen Township and the Board of Commissioners from the Lisburn Community Fire Company for their continued support and dedication in 2021. President Villone also noted his appreciation to Commissioner Nagy for his thoughtful consideration and vote on the solar energy project, adding that voting should always reflect comfort levels.
Commissioners recessed to executive session at 7:55 p.m. to discuss potential I-83 South Bridge tolling litigation.
The meeting was reconvened at 8:23 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.