• Marta Kathryn Driscoll

My Notes for 11.2.2020 Regular Council Meeting

BOROUGH FINANCES


2021 BUDGET

The 2021 Budget hearing date will be advertised and the 2021 Budgets will be posted for public review on the borough website. Councilwoman Lim will be providing an explanation as to why the current budget is 50% higher than in previous years.


SPOILER ALERT: The borough is taking money from the $1.3 million surplus in the general fund and spending almost $300K on refurbishing the park and maintaining the new open space that was acquired in 2020. This expenditure increases the borough's regular spending of approx. $600K per year to $900K in 2021.


PECO GRANT FUNDING

A motion was approved for the PECO GRANT APPLICATION. This application was submitted requesting $10,000 for the walking path in the park. The application requires borough matching funds in the same amount- $10,000.


It is unclear as to how this funding correlates to the walking path to be installed by Mr. Conrad. Mr. Conrad is under an agreement to install a walking path in Chester Heights Park in exchange for the main road in the QUARRY KNOLL development becoming a dedicated borough road.


October Treasure’s Report

Total Receipts – $49,279

Total Expenses $42,986

SNOW REMOVAL BID

Only 1 bid was received this year for snow removal services by MOR Construction Services. The final bid price was $120 per ton of salt and $120 per truck hour, which is in line with prior year pricing.


ASSESSMENT

Via Public Comment of Mr. Greg Chestnut.

Currently 11,000 real estate tax appeals in the county. The Garnet Valley School Board feels that there is a lack of uniformity in the assessment and that there is a shift of tax burden from the commercial properties to residential properties. Mr. Chestnut presented his concerns with the County Council at the October 21st meeting. You can watch the County Council Meeting Video from October 21st, 2020 to see the exchange.


Jack Higgins (President of the Highland Residential Homeowners Association) asked given the lack of response from the County Council, would the council consider supporting a property owner's petition to activate a review of these assessments? If yes then, he would be willing to support such an effort.


Response from Mr. Chestnut (member of the GVSD School Board) - The School District will be in full-court press with newspaper interviews and everything else should there not be an adequate response from the county council. The School Board will keep pushing until they get a resolution to these issues. The School District is also reviewing properties for under assessments and appealing those. So for example, if you were assessed $400K and sold for $600K, the discrepancy will be noted.

SIDE NOTE: The assessment was mandated by court order in 2017 based on the inequity in the distribution of the tax burden. The previous administration hired Tyler Technologies, a third-party contractor, to carry out the assessments. The current council inherited the contract and the task of carrying out and applying the new assessments. Though there are some obvious mistakes, like the assessment for The SUMMIT in Chester Heights which sold for $45M in 2021, but was only assessed at $329K, the law has a clear remedy through the appeals process. To “redo” the assessment is would cost the county $6M. Stay tuned for this one.

FIRE TAX

Public Comment (Marta Driscoll) – When the fire tax was set up,

$30K of non-restricted funding was specifically to be allocated from the general fund budget to pay for items not covered by the tax ordinance because the ordinance had restricted the use of the funding. The council has proposed cutting $10K of this nonrestricted funding now and the remaining $20K in future years forcing the fire company to make up the difference with a restricted fire tax fund. The council is effectively raising taxes while making it harder for the fire company to meet its obligations. Council noted that their actions have been agreed to by the fire company president and Mayor Wood.

DEVELOPMENT AND ZONING:


CARWASH No Update


ROSEHILL

The builder is requesting to remove 21,000 sq feet from the Rosehill lot and combine it with the existing home at 350 Lenni Road. With the additional 21,000 sq ft the property will remain still not meet the R-1 zoning, but will be “a little less non-conforming” and can be sold. The council approved the measure contingent on the builder meeting the 8 conditions issued by the planning commission( these were not disclosed at the meeting).


HAMANASSETT BED & BREAKFAST

Zoning Hearing - November 17th @ 7pm in the Village of Valleybrook Clubhouse.


The owners of Hamanssett have been looking for a buyer for their bed and breakfast for over a year. Illuminated Hearts Specialty Care, a potential buyer is seeking a special zoning exception to use the property for a personal care home for up to 13 individuals. The borough solicitor, Mr. Montella, and zoning officer, Mr. Jensen will be attending to represent the borough's interest.

FIRE MARSHAL – NEW ADDRESSES

New addresses for Octoraro /Old Quarry Knoll have been provided to the 911 system.


Rose Hill Development addresses are up in the air. The developer (Mr. Iacobucci) will need to advise the Fire Marshall if they want Aston mailboxes or Chester Heights PO Boxes.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Given that there is no mail delivery from ASTON on Llewelyn Rd. between Valleybrook Rd. & Lenni Road, and that Brookfield has Glen Mills addresses; I believe it is completely plausible that Rosehill could petition for a Glen Mills addresses. If Rosehill were to get mail delivery with a 19342-zip code, maybe, just maybe all the homes along Llewelyn Rd. could get a Glen Mills address as well. Curious about the mailing situation in the borough checkout Does Your House Really Exist?"

VILLAGE OF VALLEYBROOK

Public Comment Justin Buccilli – as the President of the VOV HOA


Trinity Subsurface mapped all underground Electrical & Sewer Lines in the community. These records are now included in the PA 1 Call database.


Village of Valleybrook has employed Mr. Walter Fazler of Bradford Engineering to assist in the process of upgrading the sewer plants. Mr. Fazler is leading the effort to change the VoV 537 Sewage Facilities Plan for the community and will be reaching out to council. The new 537 plan proposes a reduction in the maximum amount of gallons permitted to be passed through the plant from 72,000 to 36,000 gallons per day. This change would allow the new system to have only one silo vs. the two silos it currently has therefore reducing the cost significantly. The current peak flow for VOV was reported by Mr. Buccilli to be 22,000-23,000 gallons per day.

PA STATE POLICE REPORT

60 incidents in Chester Heights including:

· 6 crashes

· 11 proactive traffic stops

· 2 criminal mischiefs

Trooper Jessica Tobin noted that she will be part of a Mobile Field Force started November 3rd and through November 10th in anticipation of Election Day unrest. She will be monitoring social media sights for potential issues. If you have a concern you can contact her via the main PSP number 484-840-1000 or via email at jetobin@pa.gov.


Meeting audio is available on the borough website.

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