Franklin Township supervisors begin to prepare 2019 budget
● By J. Chambless
By John Chambless
The Franklin Township Board of
Supervisors took a first public look at the 2019 township budget at
their Oct. 17 meeting.
The board members discussed projects at Crossan Park and acknowledged that many projects have been put off for a long time. One of the projects being considered for next year is refurbishing the park's bathrooms. Assistant township manager Jeff Eastburn has put together a catalogue of park projects that the board will use as a guide.
Since the park loan will be paid in 2019, the .27 mills dedicated to the park will be reduced to .2 mils, with the .07 mills reverting back to the township's general fund. These funds, along with the amount the general fund usually contributes to the park fund, will now go to the open space fund.
The board also discussed the reserve fund. The township, by continuing to put in $45,000 per year, will reach the fund's goal in 2020. The board members discussed putting in a little less and putting that extra money toward something else. The consensus was to wait until details are available about the Chester County Conservation District grant for the repair of the Hess Mill Bridge.
The board expects to authorize the 2019 budget for public advertising on Nov. 14, and it should be adopted at the board's Dec. 19 meeting.
Emergency services was also discussed. Chairman John Auerbach explained that the West Grove Fire Company's expenses have gone up. With fewer volunteers signing up, the company is going to rely on paid help. Auerbach said he worked with a committee from the municipalities served by the fire company for more than a year to get a funding formula that was fair to all municipalities for ambulance coverage. This formula uses number of runs and population, not appraised value of the properties served.
The township has been working with Medic 94 to come up with a fair funding formula and hasn’t been able to reach an agreement, since Medic 94 works with 17 municipalities. Currently, Medic 94 uses appraised real estate value for their calculation. Work is continuing to find a more agreeable funding formula. The township has agreed to pay Medic 94’s full request for 2019.
Township manager Joan McVaugh reported that there are six zoning issues in the township. An abandoned home at 3327 Appleton Road, which sits in the historic district of Kemblesville, has been the subject of ongoing discussions. Fines have been imposed on the owner for three of the property's five violations.
Supervisor Donna Dea summarized the Oct. 4 meeting of the Planning Commission, which continued the discussion on adding additional dwelling units to township homes. She stressed that the Planning Commission understands that people want to be able to move their parents or children into their homes and give them an independent living space. The commission is working to ensure that no unintended consequences occur with the passing of the ordinance. This discussion has been going on for most of 2018, and Auerbach said that he expects the ordinance will be ready for the board’s review by the end of the year.
Paul Lagasse of the Historical Architectural Review Board said he recently attended the “Hallowed Ground Conference” on cemeteries that contain African American Civil War veterans. He had hoped to find out who holds the deed to the cemetery at the corner of Hilltop and Church Hill roads. He reported there are more than 70 people buried there, and at least 10 are veterans.
Lagasse said he discovered that Church Hill Road was named for the church – which was named Church Hill African Church -- and not named because there was a “church on the hill,” which has been popular opinion. Auerbach suggested that cleaning up the cemetery and restoring the gravestones could be an Eagle Scout project.
Chris Perkins from the Wyndemere home owners association discussed his plan to build two bridges on the Keen Trail, located on Wyndemere HOA-owned land. Supervisor Nancy Morris confirmed that this was a public trail. Solicitor Mark Thompson confirmed that since the township is donating the material, they would not be liable for anything that happened on the bridges.
Auerbach pointed out several issues for Perkins to take care of: Notifying the HOA’s insurance company of this project; getting load ratios for the bridge and railings; and using an engineered plan. Perkins said he was confident that he can build the bridge to the correct specifications, and has gotten informal approval. He has not finalized the project yet. The board members agreed that they support the project. Perkins will come back before the board in November, and at that time, the board will discuss how much they will commit to the project.
Updated township information is posted at www.franklintownship.us.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email email@example.com.