Parking garage, borough manager's contract addressed at Oxford Borough Council meeting
● By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough Council unanimously approved a contract extension with borough manager Brian Hoover for two more years at its meeting on Feb. 19.
Hoover was hired by the borough in July of 2016 after previously serving as the borough manager of Glenolden, Pa. for 13 years.
Borough council also approved a settlement agreement with Police Chief John Slauch, whose contract was not extended at the end of 2017. The terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed.
A considerable amount of time was also spent discussing items related to the proposed parking garage.
The project is now going through the land-development process, and there are a lot of activities associated to it that officials are handling simultaneously. Steve Krug of Krug Architects, the firm that has been facilitating the development of the parking garage, provided the monthly update about the project, explaining that officials were scheduled to meet with engineers in the coming days.
Pauline Garcia-Allen of Econ Partners, updated borough council about the ongoing efforts to secure funding for the project. Including a $1 million private gift from an anonymous donor, the borough has secured approximately $5 million in funding for the project. Another grant application was to be filed by the Feb. 27 deadline in an effort to acquire additional funding. The borough is also applying for a waiver of a matching requirement for one of the grants that it has secured.
Council member Robert Ketcham made an impromptu presentation. He questioned the methodology of a parking study that was completed about seven years ago, and said that the deficit of parking spaces in the downtown district identified by the study might not be accurate. He said that now that the borough has metered spaces in three parking lots in the downtown, they will have a better idea of how often those spaces are used, and about how much existing demand for parking there is in the downtown. The borough is going to ask Spotts Stevens and McCoy, the firm that completed the parking study, to come to a meeting in March to detail the methodology of the study.
In other business, Garcia-Allen also talked about the possibility of acquiring grant money to pay for issues that are identified through an environmental site assessment and asbestos inspection. The borough has retained EnviroSure, Inc. to do the first phase of an environmental site assessment.
During public comment, Randy Grace, a borough resident, business owner, and a former council member, asked the longtime members to talk about where they stand with regard to the parking garage project. Grace noted that the three new council members have recently received a lot of new information about the project, so he didn't want to put them on the spot and ask them to share their views on the project. But he wanted to get an idea of whether the veteran council members still supported the project, which has already moved well beyond the talking phase.
Council member Ron Hershey said that he still supports the project, and he believes it will be beneficial for Oxford.
Peggy Ann Russell, the council vice president, pointed out that she voted against the project last year, and nothing has occurred to change her mind—she is still in opposition to the project, she said.
Council member John Thompson affirmed his support of moving forward with the project, saying, “I 100 percent support it. The funding is there.”
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SLUG: Oxford Borough Council Feb. 28