No tax increase planned in East Marlborough for 2019
● By J. Chambless
By John Chambless
During a marathon Board of Supervisors
meeting on Nov. 5, East Marlborough Township Manager Laurie Prysock
had some good news for taxpayers in the township. For 2019, there
will be no tax increase, and the preliminary budget is balanced, with
$2.8 million in income and expenses, she said. “We put together a
budget that's based on an estimated assessed value of $703,524,430.
It is a balanced budget of $2.8 million in income and expenses,”
she said. “Our millage remains the same. We do not need to raise
taxes in order to meet the expenses, based on the projections.”
While there are a few details to work out, the proposed 2019 budget will be posted for public inspection in the coming weeks, and the board will vote for approval at their December meeting.
Prysock said there are some big expenses projected for the township, but the costs will be offset in most cases by grants.
“Among the big projects for 2019 is $50,000 to demolish the former fire station building at the entrance to Unionville Park, $60,000 to replace the roof on the township building, $15,000 for the first of three years of curb repairs at Willowdale Crossing, $60,000 for the Mill Road Bridge, and $100,000 for the East Locust Lane bridge, and then $61,000 for Cedarcroft Road. Those last two are the township match for the grants that we've received for those,” Prysock said. “There's also $50,000 in engineering fees built in for the crosswalks at the high school and middle school, which is also our match for that construction grant.”
The township sewer budget is also balanced for 2019, with no increase in fees, although a boom in housing development is putting additional stress on the sewer system. The supervisors discussed preparing a formal assessment of the system's capacity so that future load can be dealt with efficiently.
During public comment at the beginning of the meeting, about a dozen residents of West Locust Lane complained to the supervisors about traffic speeding through their neighborhood. The road is used by drivers as a cut-through from Mill Road to Route 82, and residents said vehicles consistently exceed the posted 25-mile-per-hour speed limit. There have been several speed enforcement efforts, but the residents are seeking permanent traffic-calming measures, possibly speed humps or stop signs. Residents said they cannot allow their children to play in their front yards, and no one is able to walk along the road due to the number of cars and the speeds they routinely travel. Resident Mike Smith said he has picked up side mirrors and broken glass from in front of his house, so minor collisions are already happening, he said.
Supervisor John Sarro, who leads the township safety committee, took careful notes and asked for a couple of residents to meet with him and Police Chief Robert Clarke to compile hard data on the speed the traffic is moving, in preparation for installing some sort of remedy. New supervisor Bruce Jameson, who was sworn in at the beginning of the meeting, said he would coordinate the neighbors since he lives in the area and is aware of the problem.
The supervisors also considered a request to change the color of the roofs in the Longwood Village Shopping Center. The shopping center, which is being renovated to add several new stores, will be updating the green metal roofs installed when the center was built in 1992 with black or charcoal gray roofs. The supervisors approved the plan, but Planning Commission chairman Cuyler Walker pointed out that the architectural rendering showed no brick along the bottom of the windows of two stores. The developer had previously agreed to put low brick walls underneath each store window to create a uniform appearance. The representative said he would ask tenants if they could add the brickwork as construction proceeds.
A subdivision of a property at 223 E. Street Road was granted final plan approval after several months of debate regarding possible spillover from a pond adjacent to the property. The developer has added a berm to channel any water flow away from the proposed residence and into a nearby wetland.
The entrance to Unionville Park could be getting some changes as well, and Cuyler Walker presented a possible plan to the supervisors. If the empty firehouse building is torn down, leaving just the current post office building, the open space could be turned into green space, Walker said. The entrance to the park could also be reconfigured as a one-way entrance, not an entrance-exit as it is now. There is no time line for the demolition of the building, but the expense has been budgeted for the coming year. The post office will remain for at least the next five years, Walker said.
Resolutions adopted by the board at the meeting included applying to the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank for a loan of up to $1,020,000 to finance the replacement of the East Locust Lane bridge until a reimbursement check comes back to the township. The bridge is about 100 years old and is failing.
The board also approved adding the Mayne property, a 23.6-acre farm at 659 Byrd Road, to the Agriculture Security Area, as well as adding 25 properties to the Historic Resources list. The properties were either overlooked in previous studies of historic resources, or have been created due to subdivision of larger properties over the years. Being added to the list helps owners preserve the homes and other buildings instead of demolishing them.
For information about East Marlborough Township, visit www.eastmarlborough.org.
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.