By Richard L. Gaw
At its Feb. 24 meeting, the New Garden Board of Supervisors approved a five-year loan in the amount of $186,000, which will be used to purchase several items of crucial need to the township.
The loan will be dedicated to the purchase of two new vehicles for the New Garden Township Police, at a cost of $96,000; a new pick-up truck, estimated at $50,000; a new utility trailer, at a cost of $8,000; a road roller, estimated at $20,000; and various software upgrades to the township building, which are estimated to be $12,000.
Interim Township Manager Spence Andress told the supervisors that the loan – to be arranged with National Penn Bank – carries with it an interest rate of 2.758 percent. By a 5-0 vote, the motion to approve the loan was agreed upon, providing the interest will not exceed 2.8 percent.
In other township business, the board agreed by a vote of 5-0 to table discussion on the possibility of increasing the township residential sewer rates by nine percent. Calling the increase “modest,” Andress said that the reason for the increase was to better support operations in the township.
“The budget for 2014 so far with regard to operations is balanced by using some funds in reserve, so it's the kind of situation that we should avoid if possible,” Andress said. “Expenses have been cut, and the budget has been reduced significantly for the past two years, so the alternative is to increase sewer rates.”
If passed, the increase in rates would be applied to the next billing cycle.
Saying that “nine percent seems a little steep,” supervisor Steve Allaband made a motion to table further discussion about a potential increase until the supervisors' next work session.
Township solicitor Vince Pompo gave an update on the status of an announcement at the board's last meeting on Jan. 27 by Albench, a member of the board of directors for St. Anthony in the Hills, who said that the parish is considering the idea of introducing a concert series at St. Anthony in the Hills beginning in 2014, and fully incorporate the concert series in 2015.
Pompo said that to date, the township has not received an application from St. Anthony's for the concert series. He is currently working to review issues concerning the proposed use of the facility, including zoning, traffic, potential noise issues and the series' possible impact on township services. A report is scheduled to be finalized and presented on March 17.
Pompo also brought the board up to date on the status of his Jan. 24 letter to Delaware-based Artesian Resources, that informed the company that the well Artesian is looking to activate on Broad Run Road in Landenberg has no record of land subdivision approval, and is in violation of two township ordinance compliance issues. The letter was in response to a Dec. 5, 2013 letter sent by Artesian engineer Kathleen B. Thaeder to New Garden residents who own a well on their property within one half mile of Broad Run Well #1, stating that the company will be conducting a 72-hour aquifer test at the 225-foot-deep well, tentatively scheduled to be done during the first quarter of 2014.
To date, Pompo said he has received no response to his letter, but said that in response to press coverage of the Artesian plans, he has heard from Sen. Andy Dinniman, who told Pompo that he is “very, very interested” in the issue and would like to be of assistance to township residents.
In other news, the board agreed that chairperson Betty Gordon will serve as the New Garden Township representative on the Kennett Area Regional Planning Commission, and that supervisor Richard Ayotte will serve as the township's alternate member.
Jon Martin, manager of the New Garden Flying Field, reported that the project of paving the West T-Hangar apron at the flying field has been awarded to Martin's Paving, at a cost of $308,000. He said that 75 percent of the cost will be paid for by the Bureau of Aviation's Airport Development Program, through state funding, and that the remaining costs will be paid for by the air field's capital fund. The entire project has been budgeted at $500,000, which in addition to the cost of construction, will also include engineering costs.