E. Marlborough Township gets good news on taxes and Unionville Park
● By J. Chambless
By John Chambless
Residents got a double dose of good news at the Nov. 9 meeting of the East Marlborough Township Board of Supervisors. There won't be any tax increases in 2016, and the next phase of the Unionville Community Park project is on track.
Township manager Jane Laslo presented the 2016 budget, saying, “Things are very much similar to what we had last year. Property transfer taxes are the same. All others remain the same – the library tax, the open space tax and fire tax. That gives us income and expenses of $2,250,990. So the tax in this budget is the same as it has been, and the taxes will be set in December.”
There was additional funding earmarked for bridge repairs, $40,000, which will be used for fixing three bridges on Poplar Tree Road and Mill Road.
Real estate taxes will remain at 1.05 mills, the library tax is 0.183 of a mill, the open space tax is 0.2 of a mill, and the fire tax is 0.75 of a mill. Details of the budget will be posted at the township website (www.eastmarlborough.org).
Lisa Thomas, from the Glackin Thomas Panzak landscape architecture firm, presented details about the next phases of construction at the Unionville Community Park. Township engineer Jim Hatfield prefaced her remarks, saying, “Phase One has been completed. For Phase One, the bids came in significantly under the estimated budget. We needed to add additional work to that Phase One budget to maximum our use of grant dollars. So we are presenting here all of the Phase Two work, knowing full well that it's probably going to exceed our budget. In round numbers, with three large grants – one from DCNR, one from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Greenways, and Chester County – and a couple of other smaller grants and the 50 percent the township has to pay, there's about $750,000 to spend on construction of Phase Two.
“What we've done is present a base scope, and five different alternates, which can be added on individually or in combination, so that when the funds come in, the township can maximize the grant money with township matching funds,” Hatfield continued. “We'll build as much as we can.” All designs and permits are completed, he said.
A graphic showing the whole scope of Phase Two was presented by Thomas. The first section to be funded will include landscaping, completion of a new 1,500 feet of trail, building a boardwalk crossing of wetlands, additional fencing at neighboring property lines, benches and trash cans, a “tot lot” play area for ages 2 to 5, and a picnic pavilion with restrooms near the parking lot.
If additional funding is found, another area near Route 82 could be completed, including new sidewalk, trees by the street, and painted crosswalks. Next on the proposal list is eight new parking spaces and a new entry plaza by the sidewalk on Route 82, so walkers can access the park easily from the village of Unionville. Another area that could be built will provide a park entrance on Jackson Street, and a final section of trail to complete the 1.5-mile loop through the park. Finally, an area at the southern end of the park will connect the walking trail to nearby woodlands.
Hatfield said the whole project was outlined so that the process of getting bids and grant money could be streamlined. He asked for, and received, permission to solicit bids for the first part of Phase Two.
“We'd like to advertise for bids on Jan. 11 and Jan. 14, with the bids due by Feb. 23,” Hatfield said. “We would then review the bids and make a recommendation in time for the March 7 meeting. That will allow groundbreaking to begin as soon as the weather's good, hopefully in March or April.”
Township solicitor Frone Crawford introduced an ordinance that would limit truck traffic on East Doe Run Road after the township determined that heavy trucks have been using the road as a shortcut and the road has been damaged. The limitation will be marked with signs at the beginning and end of the stretch of road, and the ordinance can be enacted without performing an engineer study, Crawford said. If the township decides to expand the limits, additional signs can be posted on other roads.
Board president Cuyler Walker said the board will examine the draft ordinance and be ready to vote on it during the board's Dec. 7 meeting.
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