Duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury and posted at www.schuylkilltwp.com
Board of Supervisors
Martha Majewski - Chair, Fred Parry – Vice Chair, Jim Morrisson – Treasurer, Mark Donovan, Susan Guerette
William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison – Township Secretary. The Township Engineer was excused from the meeting.
Other Township Representatives Present
Rick Beittel-President Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company, Bob Cooney – Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission, Curt English – Schuylkill Township Planning Commission, Chief James Fetterman-Schuylkill Township Police Department
Appearing before the Board
Norman Vutz – Valley Forge Sewer Authority Board Member for Schuylkill Township
Call to Order
The monthly public business meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. The meeting was chaired by Supervisor Majewski.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Donovan, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Consent Agenda.
Valley Forge Sewer Authority Report
Mr. Vutz briefly described the organization of the Valley Forge Sewer Authority (“VFSA”); that it is owned by three municipalities, Charlestown Township, East Pikeland Township and Schuylkill Township from which it collects and treats sewage. The VFSA also has five partner municipalities – Easttown Township, Tredyffrin Township, East Whiteland Township, Malvern Borough, and Willistown. Sewage from these municipalities is collected by the Valley Creek Trunk line (owned and operated by Tredyffrin Township) and delivered to VFSA for treatment. VFSA started operations in 1976 at which time it had a capacity of 8 million gallons daily (“MGD”). By 2000, capacity increased to 9.2 MGD. A 2003 expansion again increased capacity to 11.6 MGD. Mr. Vutz explained the treatment process, informing the Board that the end product discharged into the Schuylkill River is cleaner than the river itself. Planning for an expansion began in 2003 to accommodate the anticipated development and growth in its member municipalities. Each partner was to contribute to the expansion cost according to its anticipated load on the plant. In February 2013, a contract for $9.8M was awarded for the expansion. Construction was scheduled to start on July 1, 2013 and completion was to be within 540 days (December 22, 2014). Completion was delayed by 67 days. According to the contractor the delay increased the original costs by about $200,000; additionally a modified cost claim was submitted by the contractor for $5.9M for additional cost overruns. Ultimately, a loss claim was filed by the contractor in federal court for about $15.9M. The case went to mediation which was not successful. The three parties involved, the VFSA, the contractor and the project engineer, agreed to binding arbitration scheduled for late June 2018 with a decision in July.2018. Once the claim is settled, the partners will have to contribute their share to the settlement costs. Mr. Brennan asked how much Schuylkill Township would be obligated to pay and if the owner townships guaranteed losses. Mr. Vutz said it was the VFSA’s position that partners are obligated to pay their share of costs according to their load and usage of the plant; the approximate breakdown being Easttown Township 5.55%, East Whiteland Township 64.9%, Malvern Borough 2.0%, Tredyffrin Township 6.3%, Willistown Township 13.5% and VFSA 7.7%. Schuylkill Township’s obligation as an owner municipality would be about 2.57% of the final settlement. Supervisor Majewski invited Mr. Vutz to the Supervisors’ August business meeting to update the Board on the agreed settlement.
Board Member Reports
Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company - Supervisor Parry commended the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company for their continuing service to Schuylkill Township and mentioned that in April, the fire company has 222 respondents to 38 calls and sent 120 +/- members for training.
PSATS Annual Conference – Supervisor Morrisson reported that he had attended the annual convention on April 23rd and April 24th and that he would provide a full report at the June meeting.
Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee (“PRPC”) - Supervisor Donovan reported that the PRPC reviewed the recreation and open space sections of the Regional Comprehensive Plan (the “Plan”). He noted that the PRPC would be holding a public meeting on the draft regional comprehensive plan on August 29, 2018 at the Kimberton Fire Company.
Schuylkill Township Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”) - Supervisor Majewski reported that the EAC held their spring clean-up campaign on Saturday April 28, 2018, collecting a half ton of trash on Pothouse Road between W. Evergreen Drive and Ridgeview Drive. The EAC is changing the start time of their monthly meetings to 7:00 p.m. This change will be duly advertised and posted.
Valley Park Park Grant Applications Update - Supervisor Majewski advised the Board that the awards for the Chester County Municipal Grant, the DCNR Grant and the Schuylkill Highlands Grant have not yet been announced.
Phoenixville Area School District – Supervisor Majewski informed the Board that the school district, in partnership with the Green Valley Watershed organization, obtained a grant to plant 900 trees along the creek in the open space on their Early Learning Center property. The planting of the trees will be a student project and is being undertaken to restore the creek’s riparian buffer.
Tax Collection – Supervisor Majewski advised residents that the discount payment period for Township property taxes ended on April 30th and that the face value payment period would expire on June 30th.
Municipal Complex – Supervisor Majewski reported that work was proceeding on the building permit application for the new pole shed in the garage complex approved by the Board in the 2018 budget.
Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills
Supervisor Morrisson, Treasurer, advised the Board that as of April 30, 2018, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of $3,816,791.73. Supervisor Morrison stated that expenditures were at about 26% of budget. Supervisor Morrisson reported that the bills for April 2018 have been reviewed and he recommended payment of these bills.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending April 30, 2018, and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending April 30, 2018.
Board Discussion Items
Mr. Brennan advised the Board that there was nothing to report in public session; he did request discussion of a zoning matter in executive session.
Freedoms Festival Update
Supervisor Donovan reported to the Board that the Chaplin’s will be the primary sponsor and has started some publicity efforts for the festival. A website has been created, www.freedomsfestival.com, and will be going live on May 4, 2018. Facebook, Instagram and Gmail accounts have been created as well. Supervisor Donovan said he has received the general flyer for the event and will distribute it to the Board. Supervisor Majewski asked that it be sent electronically to the supervisors and township office for further distribution. Efforts continue to sign up food trucks and other participants. Supervisor Donovan asked the Township Solicitor about COIs. Mr. Brennan said he would draft an agreement stating that Chaplins LLC is the sponsor, promoter and entity in charge of the event; that Schuylkill Township has agreed to assign its right to use of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Amphitheater to Chaplins LLC for this one event, and that Schuylkill Township would attempt to use its insurance to indemnify itself for the event, and certain services would be provided by the Schuylkill Township Police Department and Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company at agreed-upon costs. Mr. Brennan also said that some kind of indemnity should be required from Chaplins in case of injury to attendees. Mr. Cooney said that once the agreement was drafted, he would forward to Chaplins’ attorney for review. Supervisor Majewski if Supervisor Donovan had contacted other second class township to discuss their method of staging events such as this; Supervisor Donovan said he has not. Supervisor Majewski requested he do so because that could be very useful information going forward. Supervisor Donovan said he would have a report for the next meeting. Mr. Cooney reported that his research into the creation of a 501c entity indicates that it is a complex and expensive procedure and recommended that setting up a non-profit for this and similar festivals be tabled until the success of the 2018 festival is evaluated.
Natural Lands Trust (“NLT) Land Use Ordinance Update
Supervisor Morrisson summarized the reasons an ordinance assessment was considered necessary, described the NLT’s free assessment and discussed his negotiation with NLT on their proposal to produce draft Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance amendments to incorporate recommended land use changes. Supervisor Morrisson reminded the Board that there was $10,000 in the 2018 budget for ordinance review and said the NLT’s initial estimate is at least that amount but could be higher. Supervisor Morrisson added that NLT’s estimate does not include additional costs such as legal reviews and hearings and other necessary procedures in amending ordinances. Supervisor Morrisson went on to say that NLT has access to a William Penn Foundation grant through which it may be possible to cover any budget over runs on the part of the Township, perhaps up to an additional $10,000. Supervisor Morrisson recommended that the Board accept NLT’s proposal due to their expertise, their familiarity with the Township’s open space program and their success with their Grower Greener concept in other municipalities ordinance updates. The Board instructed Supervisor Morrisson to present the proposal to the Open Space Commission for review and recommendation and to report back to the Board with the recommendation(s). Supervisor Majewski requested that the Board members be copied on any documents shared with the Open Space Commission regarding the NLT proposal.
Appointment of Assistant Township Secretary
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Kimberly J. Yocom as Assistant Schuylkill Township Secretary until such time as amended by the Board of Supervisors, said appointment being retroactive to April 26, 2018.
Gilmore Review of updated Sedgley Farm updated Stormwater Feasibility Narrative & Community Impact Study
Supervisor Majewski informed the Board that, prior to the May 9, 2018 PRD Public Hearing, the Township Engineer would be reviewing the Sedgley Farm Stormwater Feasibility Narrative & Community Impact Study updated in response to the March 16 2018 Gilmore & Associates, Inc. review memo.
Resolutions / Ordinances
Nothing to report.
Subdivision / Land Development
Nothing to report.
May 24, 2018 Working Session - Supervisor Majewski reported that the Board of Supervisors would be discussing titles in the Township’s Zoning Ordinance to clarify and correct certain responsibilities and procedures in the Ordinance.
Chester County Planning Commission Landscapes 3 – Supervisor Morrisson recommended that the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission review the County’s draft Landscapes 3 plan as it relates to Schuylkill Township. The Board instructed Mr. English to take this recommendation to the Township Planning Commission.
John Mraz-Meadowbrook Lane. Mr. Mraz asked for an update on the left turn phasing for the traffic signal at Pothouse Road and State Road (SR 29). He was informed that the improvement was approved by PaDOT. At this time, the school district and township were waiting for pricing from the project engineer. Mr. Mraz asked who was paying for the improvement; the Board informed him the Township would be and the cost should be less than $10,000.
Joanne Hunsicker-Wells Road. Ms. Hunsicker informed the Board that she could not get an answer from Aqua Pennsylvania on her request to hook up to public water and requested assistance from the Board with her inquiry to Aqua Pennsylvania. The Board instructed the Acting Township Manager to make a call on Ms. Hunsicker’s behalf.
An executive session was called to order at 9:02 p.m. upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson and passed. Present were Supervisor Donovan, Supervisor Guerette, Supervisor Majewski, Supervisor Morrisson and Supervisor Parry. Also present were the Township Solicitor, Mr. Brennan and the Township Secretary, Mrs. Harbison. The public meeting resumed at 10:27 p.m. Supervisor Majewski announced that personnel issues and potential litigation were discussed.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:27 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Donovan and unanimously agreed by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township.
Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting
Board of Supervisors Working Session................................. Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 7:30 P.M.
Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting.................... Wednesday June 6, 2018 at 7:30 P.M.