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October 8, 2013 Minutes

New Britain Borough
Minutes
October 8, 2013

The monthly meeting of the New Britain Borough Council was called to order by President Robert Belchic at 7:30 PM.  All council members were present except Mr. Peter LaMontagne.  Also present were Mr. Mark Hintenlang, Ms. Robin Trymbiski, Mr. J. Thomas Yatsky, Ms. Marie Coia, Solicitor Michael Goodwin and Mayor David Holewinski.  Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve the minutes of the September 10, 2013 meeting as written; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and approved.

President Belchic welcomed the audience and thanked them for coming.  He reminded them that they are welcome to comment on agenda items as they are addressed and to please save other comments until “Resident’s Remarks”.

Correspondence: for the month was reviewed.

September Treasurer’s Report: for the month was reviewed.

Building, Zoning, Road & Phone/Visitor Reports: for the month were reviewed.

President’s Report:  President Belchic stated that Council has continued to stay pro-active with the future development of the Borough.  Looking forward they have decided to consider bringing in an outside community development consultant.  Mr. Stephen Barth met with Council and staff at a work session immediately before the Council Meeting to present his proposal.  President Belchic went on to explain that the Community and Business Committee has spent the better part of two years establishing a vision and plan for the future of the Borough.  He continued by saying even though the members of the Community and Business Committee have been dedicated to the cause, they do not have the mechanism, experience and contacts to bring the vision to reality.  That is where Mr. Barth can help.  Mr. Barth’s hire will be up for consideration at a later date.

Manager’s Report:

Administration: The Borough was awarded a $1500 grant from Delaware Valley Insurance Trust to purchase a defibrillator for Borough Hall.  The defibrillator has been ordered.  The training is an additional $50 per person.  The following people responded that they will be interested in taking the training: Robert Belchic, Jeff Gilmore, Tom Yatsky, Mary Pat Holewinski, David Holewinski, Ms. Trymbiski and Marie Coia.  President Belchic offered training to Ms. Robyn Kelemen, the resident who suggested getting a defibrillator for the Borough Hall.  It was suggested, that until a second device was purchased for the Borough Office, the device be brought back and forth depending on the meeting schedule.

Ms. Trymbiski has contacted the members of the Uniform Construction Code Appeal Board to ask if they would also be members of the Property Maintenance Code Appeal Board.  Three have responded positively.  The Appointment Advisory Committee has begun a search for two additional members.

The New Britain Borough Fee Schedule is before Council to be amended to change the sign permit renewal fee.  A new policy is being implemented.  The change in fees is listed below:

New Signs and Replacement $100.00
Temporary Sign ($25/fee, $25/escrow for removal) 50.00
Annual Renewal Fee
Business Sign 20.00
Marque20.00
Building Sign or Plaque 20.00
Window Stencil no fee

Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore motioned to approve the sign renewal amendment to the Borough fee schedule; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and approved.

The exemption was approved by the Bucks County Board of Assessment for the Apple Orchard (open space).

Finance:  The Preliminary 2014 Budget should be completed and distributed next week.  A budget work session has been set for Tuesday, October 29, 2013.

The MMO – Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Police Pension Plan will be $32,176.  The MMO for the Non-Uniform Pension Plan will be $9,274.

Police: The new regional police department will be officially changing the name from Doylestown-New Britain Regional Police Commission to Central Bucks Regional Police Commission.  Ms. Margaret Remmey motioned to approve for advertisement an ordinance of the Borough of New Britain, Bucks County Pennsylvania, approving the first amendment of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement establishing a regional police department, entered into with Doylestown Borough on May 20, 2013, to change the name of the regional police department and regional police commission.  Both the police departments of the two boroughs and the new joint commission have agreed to be referred to as the “Central Bucks Regional Police”; seconded by Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski and approved for advertisement.

Bike and Hike:  Penndot has changed their requirements related to Right of Way plans for local projects.  Michael Baker Inc. will prepare a separate stand-alone right of way plan for the two property easements required for the Butler Avenue/Tamenend Avenue Train Station Trail project.  This requires an additional $6,893.00 to the current contract.  Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve the additional cost of $6,893.00 added to the current contract amount of $49,546.30 making the new contract value $56,439.30; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and approved.

Zoning Hearing: Delaware Valley College has requested the zoning hearing for the stadium be continued to November 21, 2013.  When asked why the college has asked for a continuance, President Belchic remarked that the college has been meeting with the residents to discuss buffering and solutions to the lighting issue.  Ms. Joanne Malta of 109 North Shady Retreat Road, who was in attendance, said she has not been notified of any such meetings and has not met with the college.  Her name and address were recorded in order to check and see if she is included on the list of interested residents provided to the college.

Groner:  While preparing the preliminary Groner Budget it was suggested that the Borough might want to raise the tenant’s (of two years) rent which is currently $1,500.00.  Ms. Marie Coia will come up with the annual maintenance fees for the house and grounds.  She will report to Council next month and the increase will be discussed.

Mayor’s Report:  Mayor Holewinski reported that the new website has been launched, but is still being tweaked.  Mr. Jim Chant complained about the website being the most “un-user friendly” site he has ever seen.  Ms. Robyn Kelemen added that it is not intuitive.  She agreed that it was not user friendly.  Several others nodded in agreement.  President Belchic suggested the website contain the heading “Under Construction”.  The staff will be meeting with the website designer about changes and concerns with the new site.

Committee Reports:  Ms. Marie Coia reported that the Community and Business Committee had met with Mr. Steve Barth and will continue to work with him if he is hired by the Borough as a Community Development Consultant.  The committee is considering developing a brochure for Delaware Valley College students containing information on New Britain Borough, businesses, restaurants etc.

Ms. Coia also reported on the Historic Preservation Committee’s 100 anniversary celebration of the New Britain Borough Hall.  Ms. Coia thanked all those involved in the very successful celebration naming Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski, Ms. Margaret Fabry, Ms. Lorraine Moxey, Ms. Donna VonLipsy and the Unami Middle School Marching Band.  The Historic Preservation Committee will be involved in “Wreaths Across America” again this year.  Each wreath is a $15 donation.  All donations are due by November 26, 2013.

Expenditures:  Mr. Craig Sturza motioned to approve payment of the monthly expenditures; seconded by Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore and approved.

Old Business:  Two design options for the Mathews Avenue No Thru Traffic were presented.

  1. Landscape area, leaving tire track areas open for emergency vehicles at an estimated cost of $15,000.00.
  2. City Posts across the road, which emergency vehicles can drive over at an estimated cost of $8,000.00. This option will cost less and require less maintenance

Both options provide parking on either side for the Nature Preserve.  Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski asked Borough Engineer Mark Hintenlang if he can provide a rendering of the area for both options, making it easier to imagine what the area will look like in both cases.  There is also a proposed light standard to illuminate the area.  Mr. Bob Binkley asked if anything can be done at the intersection of Landis Mill Road and Mathews Avenue to deter drivers from going all the way to the barricades.  His driveway located just east of the barricade has been damaged by drivers turning around.  Mr. Hintenlang explained that there will be a turn-around area next to the Nature Preserve parking.  Mr. Binkley added that he is concerned that four parking spaces for the Nature Preserve may be too many and tempt patrons of Grove Supply to park there.  Mr. Jim Chant asked Council if what he had read in the newspaper about a lawsuit was correct.  Solicitor Michael Goodwin responded that he had received the suit earlier that day and that the Borough would proceed with the best interest of the Borough in mind.  Ms. Linda Strong of Unami Trail asked if there were two suits (one being a class action suit).  Mr. Goodwin said there was only one and it was from a single party.  Ms. Strong asked how much has been spent so far on the Mathews Avenue issue.  President Belchic recommended she go to the Borough Office for that information.  Mr. McAteer of Sioux Rd. asked if anything had been done about Sioux Road since his visit last month to Council.   He was informed that the Chief has been asked to begin a traffic study on Sioux Road.  Ms. Robyn Kelemen reminded Council that she had asked for the “line of site” when pulling out of Mathews Avenue onto Tamenend Avenue be part of the traffic study, when it was not she asked that it be reviewed separately.  Mr. Jeff L’Amoreaux, Borough traffic Engineer, answered that he had reviewed it and that there is a striping solution.  The Borough will have that done.

New Business:  Since the website is still under construction the policies were not discussed at this time.

Resident’s Remarks:  Mr. Chant continued his remarks about the website being un-user friendly.  He also asked again about having access to unapproved minutes.  Solicitor Michael Goodwin explained again that if the minutes are published in a draft form and mistakes need to be corrected it can be confusing and possibly damaging.

Ms. June Bair expressed her concern about the area parents’ park to wait for the school bus on Mathews Avenue.  She feels it is a danger to all those involved when a car turns on to Mathews from Tamenend Avenue.  Before erecting a sign, the police will talk to the parents and advise them to park further down the road away from the stop sign.

Mr. Bob Binkley asked to give a Nature Preserve Report in Peter LaMontagne’s absence.  He reported that the Nature Preserve Committee will be wrapping up the PECO Grant in time for the Borough to apply for a new one.  He added that the Committee has gotten sidetracked from regular Preserve maintenance because of the grant.  Mr. Binkley said the committee will be concentrating on their regular maintenance soon.  Mr. Binkley reported that the committee would like to keep the idea of paving the driveway at the Groner house alive.  He quoted Ms. Groner’s will; “I direct that the house which is situated on my property shall be restored and maintained in perpetuity by the Borough of New Britain in keeping with the architectural, aesthetic, structural and historic values of the property”.  Mr. Binkley feels this does not indicate that paving the driveway would be in violation of Ms. Groner’s will.  They also thought that at the very least a section of the area (close to the house and garage) should be paved.  Mr. Binkley looked in to porous paving, but it would be 2/3 as much again in costs than regular paving.  Ms. Marie Coia also quoted Ms. Groner’s will; “The Borough shall hold the land surrounding my residence as open space in perpetuity.  The use of the land shall be restricted so as to conserve its natural and scenic resources including but not limited to soils, streams, and wetlands, to enhance the value of the Wilma Quinlan Nature Preserve.  I direct that the house which is situated on my property shall be restored and maintained in perpetuity by the Borough of New Britain in keeping with the architectural, aesthetic, structural and historic values of the property”.  Ms. Coia pointed out that the will could also be interpreted that paving would not be something Ms. Groner would approve.  President Belchic asked Mr. Binkley what the advantage of paving would be.  Mr. Binkley said cars can rust when parked on gravel, that you can’t wash your car on a gravel driveway and that it will be easier for the Borough to maintain each spring.  Now the Borough has to re-grade the stones that were moved by the snow plow and often add new stones to the driveway. Mr. Chant asked if all options of paving had been explored, suggesting the committee look into the paving blocks which allow grass to go through.  His feeling was that this can be easily mowed and is porous.  Council will look at options presented by the Nature Preserve Committee.

Ms. Joanne Mular asked if the street light in the administration office parking lot is LED, to which she was told yes.

Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore motioned to adjourn; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi and the meeting ended at 8:30 PM.