A Chester County Food Bank request and fire company agreement top East Nottingham Township agenda
● By Steven Hoffman
The East Nottingham Township Board of Supervisors met on Dec. 11 to handle a full agenda of items, including a discussion about a request from the Chester County Food Bank, agreements for fire and ambulance services for 2019, and an update about RFPs for the township solicitor position.
For the second month in a row, officials representing the Chester County Food Bank addressed the possibility of locating its second facility in the county on an available property in East Nottingham Township.
The Chester County Food Bank is looking at constructing a 40,000 square-foot facility on a property on Hickory Hill Road in East Nottingham Township. The Chester County Food Bank distributes about three million pounds of food annually to residents in need in Chester County, and the new location in the southern part of the county would increase the organization's ability to distribute the food effeciently. As many as 10 to 15 employees could be added as part of the project.
Larry Welsch, the executive director of the Chester County Food Bank, said that they are currently able to serve approximately 2,200 individuals who reside in the boundaries of the Oxford Area School District, so the food bank is a vital resource for local residents. Additionally, La Comunidad Hispana would be a partner at the location, which would allow for expanded medical services to residents in need in the area.
The Chester County Food Bank is seeking an amendment to the township's ordinance that would allow for a food bank as a specific, permitted use in the C-1 special limited district. The township will be forwarding a draft of the ordinance, including the proposed amendment changes, to the Chester County Planning Commission and the East Nottingham Township Planning Commission for the review there. At the same time that the supervisors agreed to forward the draft ordinance, they also approved the subsequent advertising for the ordinance changes once they receive responses from the planning commissions. Once the ordinance language is advertised, a hearing will take place for the township supervisors to approve the changes to the ordinance. The hearing could take place as early as February of 2019. Several supervisors made it clear that the food bank would be a welcomed addition to the township, including Joe Herlihy, the chairman of the East Nottingham Township Board of Supervisors, who expressed his support for having an organization like the food bank in the township.
In other business at the meeting, the supervisors approved the signing of agreements with the Union Fire Company No. 1 of Oxford as well as an agreement with the fire company's ambulance division for the next year. For 2019, the township is allocating slightly more than $137,000 for fire services. That is up slightly from the 2018 total of approximately $136,000.
Supervisor Sam Goodley, Jr. noted in his Oxford Area Sewer Authority report that the organization's executive director, David Busch, recently went to an Oxford Borough Council meeting to update the borough officials on the progress that has been made regarding the sale of the state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant and other sewer authority holdings to the Delaware County Regional Water Authority (DELCORA).
A sale would likely end the four member municipalities' responsibility to guarantee a $27 million loan that the Oxford Area Sewer Authority took out several years ago. In 2016, the sewer authority fell behind on making debt-service payments, and while changes have been implemented to keep a balanced budget, the past-due payments have not yet been made up. One of the goals of the sale is to relieve the four municipalities, including East Nottingham, of the financial responsibility of guaranteeing that loan.
“The goal is to protect the rate payer,” Goodley said. That process is moving ahead.”
There was a brief update about the township seeking RPFs (Requests For Proposal) for the solicitor position. Supervisor Michael Watson said that the township received seven responses from law firms in the area that are interested in serving as the township's solicitor, including the current solicitor. The supervisors will start the process of evaluating those applicants and could make a decision as early as January.
The East Nottingham Township Board of Supervisors will hold the organizational meeting for 2019 at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 7.