New Britain Borough
March 11, 2014
The monthly meeting of the New Britain Borough Council was called to order by Vice President Mary Pat Holewinski at 7:30 PM. All council members were present except President Jeffrey Gilmore. Also present were Mr. Mark Hintenlang, Ms. Robin Trymbiski, Mr. J. Thomas Yatsky, Ms. Marie Esher Coia, Solicitor Michael Goodwin and Mayor David Holewinski. Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to approve the minutes of the February 11, 2014 council meeting and the February 24, 2014 special council meeting as written; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved.
Vice President Mary Pat Holewinski invited the audience to speak on agenda items as they were being discussed and to speak on none agenda items at the end of the meeting under “Resident’s Remarks”.
Correspondence: for the month was reviewed.
January and February Tax Collector’s Report’s: for those months were reviewed. An error had been made by the New Britain Borough Tax Collector. The millage rate was the same as 2013 and did not reflect the increase in taxes. The Borough tax collector is in the process of sending out new tax bills with a letter of explanation. Ms. Trymbiski relayed a request to Council from Rich Sabol, tax collector, to pay for or help pay for the additional postage necessary to send out the new tax bills. A discussion was held by Council where it was determined that the tax collector is an elected official not an employee. It was also determined that it is the responsibility of the tax collector to check the ordinance which fixes the tax rate for the upcoming year. Ms. Margaret Remmey questioned why Mr. Sabol had not come to the meeting to address this in front of Council. It was decided that inquires need to be made to the bonding company to see if they would cover any of the charges. Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to table the decision until next month; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved.
Building, Zoning, Road and Phone/Visitor Reports: for the month were reviewed. Mr. Hintenlang addressed a question about the phone calls concerning the “putting back” of the Mathew’s Avenue closure after being opened due to inclement weather and slippery conditions on the Sand Road hill. He explained that he is not always available immediately after the conditions have improved, but will try and coordinate with Mr. Yatsky and hopefully decrease the time the closure is open.
President’s Report: Vice President Mary Pat Holewinski led the meeting in President Gilmore’s absence. Vice President Holewinski reported that she, Mayor Holewinski and President Gilmore attended the Chalfont Fire Company Banquet. At the banquet Mr. Walt Bair was recognized for his 15 years of service to the fire company. Mr. Bair was present at the council meeting and was greeted by a warm round of applause. Vice President Holewinski asked for support of the fire company’s rummage and soup sale coming up. It was stated that the fire company’s calendar of events is posted on the New Britain Borough website.
Administration: A Hazard Mitigation Plan is required by state and federal agencies for New Britain to be eligible to receive state and federal disaster relief funds after a disaster occurs. All Bucks County municipalities agreed in 2011 to participate with the county to prepare the plan. Ms. Robyne Kelemen motioned to approve Resolution 2014-3, an agreement to participate in the planning process of the Bucks County 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan Update; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved.
Ms. Robyne Kelemen motioned to approve the Lenape Valley Church Expansion Land Development request for an extension of two years ending December 31, 2015; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi and approved.
Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to approve the Weston Land Development request for an extension of two years ending December 31, 2015; seconded by Ms. Robyne Kelemen and approved.
Ms. Trymbiski will be participating in a webinar for three consecutive Mondays on municipal administration, which will include budgeting, personnel and record management.
Finance: Styer and Associates started the 2013 Audit of the Borough Finances.
The Manager’s Report included the reporting of the tax bill error which was discussed earlier in the meeting.
Police: The police department has requested an advance of $80,253.00 from the two Boroughs to purchase two SUV patrol vehicles. New Britain Borough’s portion would be $20,865.78. If approved the proposed repayment method would be reflected in reduced monthly allocation from the Borough for the remainder of 2014. The current allocation is $72,155.83, which will drop to $69,837.41 from April to December. Ms. Lori Kesilman motioned to approve the request; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved.
Roads: As of March 3, 2014 the Borough has spent $36,522.00 on snow removal. The Budget is for $30,000. The Borough is expecting an additional bill for salt from New Britain Township.
Planning Commission: The Planning Commission is currently working on updating the comprehensive plan which includes reviewing and modifying the zoning in the vicinity of Delaware Valley College down to the Knoell property.
Park and Recreation (Bike and Hike): Ms. Trymbiski explained a proposal from Michael Baker for the engineering for the Greenways, Trails Grant along Butler Avenue to the Town Center for $36,250. Ms. Margaret Remmey motioned to table a decision on the proposal until the Parks and Recreation Committee can review it; seconded by Ms. Lori Kesilman and a decision on the proposal has been tabled until next month.
Bird Town: Mr. Peter LaMontagne asked Council to support New Britain’s Bird Town status by paying for two residents to attend a workshop on encouraging birds in the community on March 29th from 10:00 to 2:00. Mr. Tom Price, member of the Nature Preserve Committee will be attending. Mr. Al Marciante volunteered (Mr. LaMontagne told him he would let him know later in the week).
Mayor’s Report: Mayor Holewinski will be attending the PSAB Conference in April. He asked Council to approve him as a voting member, representing New Britain Borough, at the conference. Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to appoint Mayor Holewinski as a voting member from New Britain Borough at the PSAB conference; seconded by Ms. Lori Kesilman and approved.
Mayor Holewinski reported that he had located a document from PSAB covering the history and regulations for a junior councilperson. The information will be reviewed and hopefully put into effect next school year. When the search begins it will be put in the newsletter and on the website.
Chief Donnelly and the Mayor spoke about the three options for the location of the Central Bucks Regional Police Department (1. Remodel existing office, 2. Atkinson Drive between the Intelligencer Building and the Post Office, 3. The existing PennDot property on Broad Street). The Penndot property seems to be the most preferred. Doylestown Borough has talked about moving all their municipal office there as well. Mr. Peter LaMontagne thought a complex of this nature (housing all of the Doylestown Borough offices) would seem like it was the Doylestown Borough Police rather than the Regional Department. He felt the police should have an independent building and closer to New Britain Borough. The Chief encouraged him to come to the public meeting on the subject, a better place to air his concerns. Ms. Jeanie Jacobs, resident on Butler Avenue, asked what the Borough commitment is to the project. The mayor answered that it will remain the same financial commitment as what had previously been agreed upon.
A discussion followed about the millage increase for 2014 between, but not limited to, Ms. Jacobs, Mr. Bintner and Treasurer Marie Esher Coia. It was decided that the budget would be posted on the Borough website. Mr. LaMontagne asked the residents to review the budget and if they had ideas of where cuts could be made to share them with Council.
Expenditures: Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to pay the monthly expenditures; seconded by Mr. Peter LaMontagne and approved.
Old Business: Vice President Mary Pat Holewinski reported on the Doylestown Bike and Hike. There will be a bike ride in the fall to expose people to the trails in the area.
New Business: The vultures are gathering sporadically in the Borough. If it becomes a great problem Ms. Trymbiski will take care of the pre-approved hanging of an effigy. Otherwise the Borough will wait until the fall to see if they become a nuisance.
Public Safety Committee: Chief Donnelly described Doylestown Borough’s public safety committee. The committee is made up of council members. The purpose of the committee is to create public safety for the community through education, enforcement and engineering. This can be accomplished by studying traffic (speed, volume) in the Borough, street by street, and making non emotional, logical recommendations to Council of solutions to problems. The public may attend the monthly meetings to bring forward their concerns. The Chief encouraged Council members to attend the Doylestown Borough meeting (2nd Wed. of the month) to see how the committee operates. Ms. Margaret Remmey motioned to committing to forming a Public Safety Committee after investigating the necessary process; seconded; by Ms. Lori Kesilman and approved.
Neshaminy Greenway Trail: Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to approve the Neshaminy Greenway Trail Share Participation Agreement where Chalfont Borough, New Britain Borough, Doylestown Township and New Britain Township have cooperated in the planning of a regional trail system and have cooperated in an application for a grant for construction of a portion of a regional trail extending from Blue Jay Park in Chalfont Borough to Upper State Road in Doylestown Township, being known as the Neshaminy Greenway Trail Project; seconded by Mr. Peter LaMontagne and approved.
Ms. Robyne Kelemen has set up the defibrillator training for Tuesday, March 25, 2014 from 7:00-9:00 in Burkart Hall. Interested parties should contact the Borough office or Robyne.
Residents Remarks: Inquiries as to the status of the Bitzer’s property was asked by Mr. Paul Cook, to which he was told the building has been demolished.
Ms. Dawn Marciante asked if anything has been proposed for the Knoll property. She was informed that there have not been any proposals at this time. The Planning Commission is looking at a mixed use ordinance for that area.
Ms. Jacobs asked if there was anyone in the Borough to turn to for power outages etc. She was informed that the Borough Emergency Management official is Mr. Dan Jenkins and his deputy is Ms. Dawn Marciante. He can be reached through the Borough Office. She was concerned about the length of time she and her neighbor were without power during the recent ice storm. She was advised to contact the Borough. Tim Brennecke Spoke, on behalf of Hillside Village, on the same topic. Ms. Trymbiski has been in touch with the Borough’s PECO rep. about the condition and location of the wires and poles in Hillside Village and about the frequent loss of power for extended lengths of time. PECO is to examine the area and then hold a meeting with the Borough and available residents. This will hopefully happen in April.
Tax Collector Rich Sabol apologized to Council for the error on the tax bills and took full responsibility for the mistake.
Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to adjourn; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and the meeting ended at 8:56 PM.
Executive Session: Council went into executive session immediately following the meeting to discuss litigation.