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Chester County Press

Stormwater management mandates prove costly to municipal budgets

10/04/2022 09:51PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Oxford Borough Council briefly discussed the budget at the most recent meeting, and at this point they said they are not looking at a tax increase for 2023. However, new stormwater-management mandates from the Pennsylvania DEP, under the MS4 Program, are proving costly to municipal budgets. Oxford Borough discussed MS4 and how it could affect the budget moving forward.

Municipalities and other entities such as universities and prisons that meet certain standards must obtain NPDES permit coverage for discharges of stormwater from their municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s).

Oxford Borough Manager Pauline Garcia-Allen explained they may be able to reduce some of their costs by working with PennDOT. PennDOT has an Individual MS4 Permit covering stormwater conveyances operated by PennDOT and used for collecting or conveying stormwater runoff associated with PennDOT's roads, bridges, and related structures, such as maintenance facilities. They have approached municipalities with an opportunity to participate in their stream bank restoration project which will allow the Borough to meet some of their MS4 requirements. 

“This would be cheaper than us initiating our own project. The minimum we would purchase is $10,000 [worth] of pounds of sediment reduction,” Garcia-Allen said. “That would be for two watersheds within the Borough, Elk and Tweed Creeks.”

Arlene Harrison, the assistant borough manager/borough treasurer, swore in new council member William Fitzpatrick to fill the term left vacant with the resignation of Mary Higgins. Council member Robert Ketcham was also officially elected as the new vice president of council.

A new junior council member, Annabelle Bresler, was sworn in for the 2022 -2023 school year. 

Council also heard from a scheduled visitor, Jim Gordan from Sunny Dell Foods, Inc. He explained that a new investor’s group has purchased Sunny Dell Foods.

Gordan said, “We are a privately owned business and we are committed to growing Sunny Dell and excited to work with the community. We may be purchasing other buildings in the community as well for this business. We feel we have many opportunities here within the Borough. We currently have over 82 employees that come through an agency and many live in the Borough. We are also hoping to secure grants going forward for water and sewer.”

Another scheduled visitor, longtime resident, Robert Burnett, addressed council regarding parking issues with his property at 123 E. Locust Street. The property is currently up for sale, and Burnett expressed concern with parking available to him.

Garcia-Allen explained she would be meeting with him in the future regarding his concerns, and she has done so. Garcia –Allen met with Burnett and confirmed that he has multiple parking spots available to him on Western Terrace Avenue.

During Public Comment, resident Marge Laigaig brought up the need for more handicapped parking. Garcia-Allen stressed that the Borough is waiting for a grant to come through for the garage which might help with that initiative.

In other business Borough Council approved the following motions:

  • To appoint Amanda Birdwell to the Oxford Regional Planning Commission;
  • Approve Flyway Excavating, Inc. Pay Application #7 in the amount of $149,806.46 for the Transit Center Access Improvements Project/Streetscapes;
  • Advertise ordinance amending the police pension document for Oxford Borough to clarify the definition of normal retirement date;
  • Motion to approve resolution #1340-2022 to submit a 2023 Chesco Chesapeake Communities Action Plan (C3AP) Non-Ag Implementation Sub-Grants Program;
  • Motion to approve resolution #1341-2022 amending the water connection fees; 
  • Motion to approve 208 Pine Street curb and sidewalk waiver;
  • Motion to approve 19 S Third Street (Maroon Hornet) for signage; 
  • Motion to approve 49 and 51 S Fifth Street roof repair;
  • Motion to ratify approval to purchase either a 2022 police vehicle at a price of $36,680 or a 2023 police vehicle at a price of $43,275.00;
  • Motion to approve the purchase of a 2021 demo unit street sweeper with full manufacturer warranty for $236,915;
  • Motion to appoint Bob Ketcham to the Oxford Borough Planning Commission