Infrastructure payments, a discussion about crossing guards top Oxford Borough Council’s agenda
● By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough Council handled a full agenda at its meeting on May 20, including a review of some ordinance changes that are being advertised, a discussion about school crossing guards, and the approval of payments for infrastructure projects.
With construction on the parking garage project moving forward, borough council approved a number of payments related to it, including one for $326,706 to CPS Construction, the main contractor for the project. A payment of $3,229.75 to Hillis-Carnes Engineering Associates for the inspection of the soil work on the site was also approved.
Borough Council approved payment of $27,435 to Wexcon’s for street utility improvements that included water main replacements.
The borough is doing work on water main replacements on Broad Street. Borough council approved a payment of $91,122.12 for one phase of the work.
Borough Council gave its authorization to advertise a zoning ordinance that pertains to consumer fireworks. Pennsylvania has made changes to its regulations regarding the sale of consumer fireworks, and Oxford Borough must adhere to those new regulations. Oxford Borough’s new zoning ordinance designates that the retail sale of fireworks can only be allowed in the borough’s Planned Commercial Light Industrial district.
Borough council authorized the advertisement of some minor changes to the historic district ordinances. Borough officials are also looking at clarifying the language regarding directional signs in the borough so that the size of those signs are clearly stated in the ordinance.
Council member Robert Ketcham is now wearing another hat. He was designated as the deputy Emergency Management Coordinator for Oxford Borough. There is no stipend for the position.
The borough is considering the formation of an Environment Committee. Council member Peggy Ann Russell said that there have been several issues in the last year that could have been referred to such a committee if it were an option.
There was a lengthy discussion about school crossing guards. The borough has attempted to hire additional crossing guards, but they have had little luck in attracting a pool of applicants.
Oxford Borough Mayor Lorraine Bell said that she and Police Chief Sam Iacono want to ensure safety for all students, and a better system of hiring and training crossing guards is needed. Both the borough and the Oxford Area School District pay for a portion of the costs for salaries for the crossing guards.
Bell said that she would like to have further discussions with the school district about maintaining a roster of crossing guards to ensure the safety of pedestrians and motorists around the school.
Bell sought—and received—permission from borough council to seek applications from students to serve as a junior council member. The borough has previously had students serve in this position, but not for the last few years. Bell said that she would like to collect applications for a few months, and then identify a junior council member in August or September for the start of a new school year. The position can be filled, Bell said, by students who are juniors and seniors. They must also be borough residents.
After a lengthy discussion, Oxford Borough Council opted to reject the HARB’s recommendation to deny the certificate of appropriateness for some renovation work that has been completed on a home on Pine Street. The renovation work has been a topic of discussion for the last few months after the new property owner undertook the renovations without securing the necessary approvals from HARB. Borough officials are delighted by the work being done on the home, which had previously been in a state of disrepair. However, they were not happy that work that resulted in significant changes to the character of the home was completed without consulting on the HARB about regulations for homes in the historic district.
Bell talked about a proclamation that she issued designating May 20 to 26 as Emergency Medical Services Week in the Borough of Oxford. Several members of the ambulance division were in attendance while Bell read the proclamation. The Oxford Borough mayor also issued a proclamation in observance of the National Mental Health Awareness Month.