Police Respond to Stabbing Incident and an Armed Subject in Oxford Borough
By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough police officers responded to two dangerous incidents in the borough. One was a stabbing that took place at Lauren Lane in Oxford where a male was stabbed multiple times. He has received medical care and been released. The investigation is ongoing.
Another incident involved an emergency call with a female needing assistance. When the police arrived, the female displayed a handgun. Officers used de-escalation methods to diffuse the situation. The female was arrested and is being evaluated.
Police Chief Sam Iacono informed council about both incidents during the Sept. 21 council meeting. Iacono said that incidents involving the police have doubled in the borough in the last five years.
Iacono also informed council that 22 applicants expressed interest in the police officer position that was posted. Out of the 22 applicants who took the civil service test, 15 people will now move forward in the process.
Also discussed at the Sept. 21 council meeting was the preliminary budget for the coming year, which currently totals $4,054,836.02.
Borough Manager Brian Hoover said, “We will continue to work on the budget. Currently there are deficits. The budget will change as we find ways to save. We do have the opportunity to put a cellular tower on the elevator of the parking garage which will give us another source of income. And the sale of the former Borough Hall could also support our budget.”
Hoover also informed borough council during the meeting that bids on the former borough hall, which was also formerly the train station, will be accepted on Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. in response to the Request for Proposal that was advertised. Settlement on the property will take place 60 days after a contract is signed.
Council will meet again on Oct. 5 to discuss the budget. A number of department budget meetings will be held before then. The new council and mayor have been carefully scrutinizing the budget to ensure they not only understand it, but that they have not missed anything during this trying economic time.
Robert Hotchkiss from Southern Chester County EMS Medic 94 discussed the increase in this year’s request for borough support. Last year, the Borough’s portion was $18,000 and this year that request has doubled to $36,000. Hotchkiss explained to council that the skilled care portion of Ware Presbyterian Village and the Jenner’s Pond Retirement Community, which are both non-profits, were the two highest users of their services. And the Medicare or Medicaid payments they typically receive do not cover their expenses.
Pauline Garcia Allen, a grant writer for the borough updated council on the status of potential grants.
The “Pedestrianization” of Octoraro Alley, which includes road repaving on Second Street and Octoraro Alley, sidewalks, curbs and the installation of streetlights has received the following funding:
- $1,104,658 secured through a 2017 PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), Multimodal Transportation Fund Program;
- $285,822 through the 2017 PennDOT Multimodal Transportation Fund Program;
- $143,836 through a 2018 PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) grant;
- $25,000 through a Greenways Trails & Recreations Program;
- $650,000 through the 2020 Chester County Community Revitalization Program (CRP);
Various phases of the project will begin this year, with completion expected in 2021.
Oxford Borough is also moving forward on the Safe Routes to School Project. The approved scope of work includes sidewalks, curbs and ADA-compliant curb cuts to Broad, South, Franklin, Nottingham and Garfield streets. The borough received $735,812 in funding through the 2019 PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) and Multimodal Transportation Fund Program (MTF).
Another infrastructure project is one that brings water service improvements for residents and the school campus. This project will replace water mains along Hodgson Street and 8th Street. A grant has been received from the 2020 PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) and the PA Small Water & Sewer Program in the amount of $416,067.
Borough council approved a motion to apply for CRP (Community Revitalization Program) Grant for 2021 for sidewalks and curbs for Hodgson and 8th streets.
Council also approved the application for re-submittal of a G3 Growing Greener Grant.
Hoover also received approval from borough council to seek bids for streetscape four for Octoraro Alley and Second Street.
A discussion of future grants continued with borough council member Dick Winchester focusing on grants such as one that would help tenants who are faced with eviction or assisting victims of crime. Garcia-Allen will be working with council monthly identifying other possible grants they may want to pursue.
During public comment, resident Randy Teel expressed concerns about the pedestrian crossing on N. Third Street, due in part to people exiting from the parking garage on Octoraro Alley.
Public Works Supervisor John Schaible informed council that hydrant flushing will be conducted Oct. 11 through Oct. 30 from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. There will be signs notifying the public posted throughout the borough, printed on the water bills and posted on the borough website.
Mayor Phil Harris told borough council that he has officially moved out of the Oxford Police Department location. His former office will become a much-needed evidence room. He also announced that the fishing tournament that he and the Oxford Library organized has raised $2,000 for the library.
A motion to approve a HARB Recommendation for improvements on property at 64 Pine Street was approved by council.
Council also approved a motion for a camera system upgrade for Oxford Borough Water Works with Alwine Security in the amount of $9,200.
A motion to approve the 2021 Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Police Pension Plan of the Borough of Oxford was approved in the amount of $104,376.03. Council approved a motion for the 2021 Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Non-Uniformed Employees Money Purchase Pension Plan of the Borough of Oxford in the amount of $41,829.13.
Subject to approval of the borough’s planning commission, borough council approved a motion to waive the plan review of the Kevin and Penny DeFrank Land Development Plan which is located in the borough and in East Nottingham Township. It was approved since all improvements that will be made are in East Nottingham Township.
The resignation of Gary Tozzo, the chair of the planning commission, was approved with the deep regret of Council. Tozzo has served on both borough on council and the planning commission in recent years.
Council also approved a motion to approve a settlement agreement and mutual release with 221 Locust Street, LLC. The settlement was approved in the amount of $40,500 with an additional $1,000 for delay damages. The borough will also pay $4,000 to the Faherty Law Firm, their lawyer for their professional services. This was done to secure an entrance to the parking garage from Locust Street because PennDOT required the erection of a sign on that property demarcating the direction of travel into the facility.
John Reynolds informed that the county’s hazard mitigation plan is coming up for renewal. It was first done in 2015. According to Reynolds, it is strategic plan managed by Chester County and will deal with hazard mitigation in the county, including for Oxford Borough. The county will be performing this in the next five years. Reynolds explained that this plan might help the borough apply for future funding for any hazard mitigation projects.
This council meeting was a combination of a Zoom virtual meeting and a regular in-person meeting as a small number of residents were allowed to be present while still complying with COVID-19 restrictions and rules. Council president Peggy Ann Russell participated by Zoom while she was at the new Borough Hall meeting room with the residents.
Resident Mary Baringer spoke during public comment and invited the borough council, borough manager, mayor and the chief and police officers to attend a celebration at the Oxford Farmers Market on Saturday, October 3 between the hours of 12 noon to 3 p.m.
Teel, who was also at the borough hall, questioned council on the choice of colors for some of the newly painted buildings. Russell informed him that, according to her research, the colors are Victorian period colors that would be used on the building in question. Teel also questioned if the flag drop box located at the former Borough Hall would be relocated to the new Borough Hall. Russell asked Teel to give her his list and said those questions would be answered by the appropriate person.
Reynolds informed council that a movie night will be held in the Oxford Regional Park on Oct. 10 with the movie beginning at 7. Public seating in the field will be marked.