The second business meeting for November was held November 20, 2000 at the Great Valley Middle School. Irene W. Ewald, Chairman, Hugh D. Willig, Vice Chairman, Paul J. Hogan, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael J. Rodgers, James E. McErlane, Esq., Tim O’Neil, Esq., Emory S. Todd, CPA, Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Planner, Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:35 P.M.
Mrs. Ewald had four announcements:
Ellen Behrle, 11 Moses Way, asked the following questions.
Mr. Hogan moved to approve the November 6, 2000 minutes and Mr. Willig seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. There being none, she called the vote and all were in favor.
Phil Staas, 4 Hana Lane, read aloud a 3-page prepared statement entitled Opening Remarks to: A Discussion of Charlestown Township’s Fund Accounting System. This was followed by a step-by-step discussion and responses to his 4-page memorandum dated 11/10/00 listing 10 questions on existing fund accounting and 5 questions on the recent bond issue.
Mr. Willig asked Mr. Todd, CPA to clarify in general whether the Township was currently following the state format in its accounting practices. Mr. Todd responded yes.
Responses to Mr. Staas’s questions were as follows:
Mr. Hogan asked what would happen if the Township sold the 55 acre Pyle property before paying off the bond issue. Would it then have to be repaid in full? Mr. O’Neil said that the proceeds of the sale of the Pyle Farm could be used for a new acquisition if done within six months. However, the money must be used to fund public projects, it cannot be used for what is deemed private use.
In summary, Mr. O’Neil said that the tone of Mr. Staas’ memorandum dated 11/10/00 is that the Township is not handling its finances correctly. He said this is not true. The Township is highly regarded, receiving a AAA Bond Rating from Standard & Poors. In conjunction with the bond issue, the Township’s finances was reviewed favorably by Standard and Poors and the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development and Mr. O’Neil said no improvements to the accounting system are necessary. He reiterated that he recommends against segregating any accounts into a Capital Reserve Fund and that the public’s concerns basically reduce to a Public Relations issue.
Sue Staas, 4 Hana Lane, said she doesn’t understand the different accounts as shown in the Township Budget. She is only aware of them because she attends township meetings and knows the Board members personally. She said the Budget should be made easy to read. Mrs. Ewald suggested she review the monthly Treasurer’s Report, which ends with a summary sheet listing the balance of each fund.
Mrs. Behrle asked for more information on the $2.1 million bond issue, which provided net proceeds to the Township of $2,079,900.00. She said the meeting was posted on the website only 1 day before the meeting, and stated her disappointment that the Board acted so quickly and quietly after the four most recently elected members ran for election promising to better inform their constituents. Mr. Kuhn responded that the Board has met almost every Monday this year and has discussed the matter in public many times before making the final arrangements to approve the bond issue. He explained that the additional funds would have to be expended within three years or paid back. Mr. O’Neil stated that advertising was done in accordance with the Local Government Debt Act three days prior to enactment of the ordinance incurring the debt. Mr. Kuhn said that the public as well as the Board was aware when they bought the Pyle farm that arranging financing was a detail to be worked out. Mrs. Behrle said the actions taken by the Board give the illusion of the quick manner in which the purchase of the first 20 acres of the Pyle property was undertaken in 1996. Since then, methods of purchasing open space have been discussed, including imposing an earned income tax. Mrs. Ewald said the 20-acre parcel was purchased with available money from the Open Space Fund with no borrowing or tax increase necessary. This second purchase of 55 acres will likewise not cause a tax increase as shown in the preliminary 2001 budget.
Russell Hanscom, Valley Hill Road, asked for details on the bond pool itself, which were provided by Mr. O’Neil.
Mrs. Ewald asked that the Roadmaster provide a recommendation for a posted speed limit across the newly rehabilitated Bridge 178 over Pickering Road. She also suggested posting one lane bridge@ signs approaching the bridge in both directions. Mr. Hogan moved to authorize advertising of an ordinance to post a 10 MPH speed limit and to post one lane bridge signs approaching Bridge 178 pending the Roadmaster’s recommendation. Mrs. Ewald seconded. She called for discussion from the Board and the public. There being none, she called the vote and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald said she received several e-mails from residents of Rees Road and Union Hill Road asking again for speed enforcement. Residents have witnessed cars passing school buses and other vehicles. The Board members agreed to seek enforcement action from the State Police.
Mr. Kuhn said that rocks are appearing along the Horseshoe Trail bordering Rees Road from Blackstone Lane toward Howells Road. After some discussion, he and Mr. Hogan agreed to arrange for clean up.
The Board opened the following four bids for the paving of trails at Charlestown Park:
|Delaware Valley Paving Inc.||98,000.00|
Mr. Hogan will review the bids prior to the contract award.
Mrs. Behrle had two comments. First she stated that requiring the successful bidder to carry $5,000,000 in excess liability (umbrella) insurance, as stated in the bid document, is out of line with the scope of the project, and asked that this be kept in mind during the bid review process.
Second, she stated her understanding from prior public meetings that #18 of the Statement of Bidder’s Qualifications, which she referred to as a nepotism clause, was not to be included in any bids other than the annual road maintenance contract. She read item #18 in its entirety, Is Bidder, or any of the partners, officers or principals of the Bidder if the Bidder is a partnership or corporation, a close relative of any Township elected official, officer or employee? (Close relative means, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, son, daughter, sister or brother). If yes, the Bidder is disqualified from bidding on the contract subject of this Request for Bids.
Mrs. Behrle objected to the inclusion of item #18 in the Park bid document, noting that Delaware Valley Paving Inc. was sought out by Parks & Rec Chairman Mark Connolly and invited to bid the project. She asked if it was the Board’s intention to include this item. Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Rodgers both stated that this clause was not to be included in this bid package. Mr. Rodgers said the clause was not included in the Blackberry Lane paving bid earlier this fall and similarly should not have been included in the Park bid. Mrs. Ewald asked why Mrs. Behrle believes this clause disqualifies Delaware Valley Paving, and she responded it would be due to Mr. Faggioli’s position of Roadmaster since his son David is President of Delaware Valley Paving Inc. Mrs. Ewald said that since Mr. Faggioli wouldn’t be supervising the Park work, the clause wouldn’t apply. Mrs. Behrle disagreed, stating that the clause references any employee, not just one supervising the work. Mrs. Behrle said she believes Mrs. Ewald added this clause purposely to disqualify Delaware Valley Paving. Mrs. Ewald responded that she believes the clause belongs in all township contracts to avoid any conflict of interest. Mr. Kuhn disagreed, saying that the annual road maintenance contract, bid on a time and materials basis, is different from a lump sum contract. He also stated that he had objected to the inclusion of item #18 even in the annual maintenance contract, as he believed it unnecessary since the Board can always use its discretion in disqualifying a bidder. Mr. Kuhn asked for a clarification of the Board’s position on the inclusion of #18 in Township bid documents. Mr. Hogan moved to eliminate item #18 from the Statement of Bidder’s Qualifications from all contracts except the annual maintenance contract. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and the public. Mr. McErlane said the clause can be removed as framed by the motion provided the Township representative related to the contractor is removed from his supervisory role on the bid job. Mr. Willig asked if the Township bears any responsibility when a company expends funds for a bid bond and is then disqualified during the bidding process. Mr. McErlane responded no. Mrs. Ewald called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed on the basis of conflict of interest inherent to the bid.
This matter was tabled until December 4, 2000 to allow more time for the drafting of the ordinance.
Mrs. Ewald moved to advertise the conditional use hearing for the Altemose application for December 4, 2000. Mr. Willig seconded and Mrs. Ewald called for discussion. Mr. Willig asked if the application is complete. Mr. McErlane responded that although it appears to be incomplete, he recomm3nds proceeding with the hearing as a matter of discretion. Mrs. Ewald called the vote and all were in favor.
With regard to the Altemoses’ Land Development application, the Secretary will notify the applicant that the submission is incomplete but will be discussed as a sketch plan at the next scheduled Planning Commission meeting on December 12, 2000.
The proposed budget for the year 2001 will be advertised for adoption at the December 18, 2000 meeting.
Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt the Employee Handbook as drafted and Mr. Willig seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and the Public. She commended the Secretary and Mrs. Campion for an excellent job in drafting the document. She called the vote and all were in favor.
Lee Haller Jr. of Fieldstone Partners was present to request a temporary Use & Occupancy Permit be issued to the buyers of Lot #2 of the Zeigler subdivision. He explained he discovered that a 3+ foot violation of a side yard setback occurred in the construction of the house, which wasn’t discovered until preparation of the as-built plan. He currently has a lot line change application on file to remedy the situation by exchanging a small amount of equal square footage between lots #2 and #3. He added that this would also remedy the same problem on lot #3. Mr. Kuhn asked how the building process got so far along before the mistake was discovered. Mr. Haller said that the stakes were initially set properly and the error occurred on his firm’s part after trees were removed and the house was re-staked incorrectly. Mr. Kohli explained that on larger lots such as these, a foundation as-built is typically not required since it adds unnecessary cost to the builder. Mrs. Ewald moved to direct the Zoning Officer to issue a temporary Use & Occupancy permit to Mr. & Mrs. Dickenson subject to the completion of the lot line modification, and with the understanding that the Township has already received an escrow deposit of $1,000 for this process. Mr. Kuhn seconded. She called for discussion from the Board and the Public. There being none, she called the vote and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Escrow Release #1 for Emma Builders in the amount of $53,085.00 subject to the execution of the tri-party agreement, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. She called for discussion from the Board and the Public. There being none, she called the vote and all were in favor.
The hearing was opened and continued to February 5, 2001 per the applicant’s request in a letter dated November 17, 2000.
Mrs. Ewald briefly explained the proposed ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance to permit outdoor advertising of billboards as a use permitted by Conditional Use in the LI-2 Zoning District. Mr. Willig moved to approve Ordinance #91-00 permitting outdoor advertising of billboards as stated in the proposed text, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. She called for discussion from the Board and the Public. There being none, she called the vote and all were in favor.
Mr. Hogan moved to approve Ordinance #92-00, establishing a 25 MPH speed limit on Buckwalter Road and approving a four-way stop at Rees Road, Howells Road and Green Lane. Mr. Rodgers seconded. She called for discussion from the Board and the Public. There being none, she called the vote and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald will arrange for the dedication ceremony for the Township’s acceptance of Bridge #178 from the County for December 17, 2000. The County Commissioners plan to attend.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:05 P.M. The next meeting will be held on December 4, 2000, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School.