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Chester County Press

New Garden to replace township building roof

04/24/2024 03:19PM ● By Richard Gaw

At the recommendation of Township Manager Christopher Himes during his presentation at the April 22 New Garden Township Board of Supervisors meeting, the board voted in favor of having the roof of the township building on Starr Road in Landenberg replaced at a cost not to exceed $360,137.00 -- $292,123 for the new roof and an additional $68,014 for insulation and siding.

The project, which will be undertaken by Jottan, Inc., a commercial roofing company headquartered in Delran, N.J., will replace the existing asphalt shingles and copper metal entirely with asphalt shingles. The project is scheduled to get underway this summer and will require no financing on the part of the township. 

Originally constructed in 2003, the 12,000 square-foot township building currently features approximately 13,000 square feet of roofing that displays copper metal at its entrance and at the terrace at the rear of the building. In his presentation, Himes referred to an on-site assessment conducted on July 11, 2023 by Pennoni Construction and LHL Consulting, a roofing consultant. Their analysis revealed that several shingles on the roof have been replaced over the years due to high winds. However, their report acknowledged that most repairs were not performed correctly, leaving shingles non-staggered and in a weakened condition, that opened the way for leaks and damage to the decking material inside the building – as well as significant “pitting” to about one-half of the copper metal portions of the roof.

Township investment strategy

While the remaining $22.1 million from the sale of its wastewater system a few years ago makes up 70 percent of the township’s net cash, the township now has $33,019,715.82 in available funds, Himes said as part of his investment strategy presentation to the board.

Himes said that moving forward, the primary objectives for the township’s investment activities, in priority order will be to ensure that all invested funds are per Pennsylvania laws and the Second-Class Township Code; that the safety of the principal, preservation of capital in the portfolio of investments is preserved, and that credit and interest rate risk is mitigated; to ensure that expected maturities are concurrent with the scheduled use of funds to meet all anticipated operating requirements; and ensuring that the township’s investment balances attain a market-average rate of return that take investment risk constraints and cash flow requirements into account.

Himes said that the township is coordinating its investments with the Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust (PLGIT), a state agency that provides local governments, school districts, municipalities and other governmental agencies with input on establishing investment goals.

In years past, “the township was burning a lot of cash, and that was because we had never had revenues that met our expenditures,” Himes said, “so we were structuring the use of our own cash to fund our operating fund, and because a lot of our operating fund is common commodities and consumables and payroll, we usually spent that money, because that was money that we were obligated to spend. Over the course of the last three years, we were losing that net fund balance position.”

He said that the township currently has 35 percent of its desired General Fund investment strategy of $2.5 million. Meanwhile, the township’s Capital Fund balance consists of $2.6 million – money that is funding critical projects in the township.

“We have to solve the issue about how much capital funding we should keep aside to fund critical projects that need to move forward, and then come up with the financial strategy to fund the growth of the township, increasing our tax base – all of those systemic issues that we need to address if we really want to attack our issues here in the township,” he said.

Himes encouraged the board to invest the township’s funds wisely.

“None of this is made possible unless you protect the underlying fund balance position,” he said. “Without that fiscal discipline, we will never be able to execute a solvent interest income strategy for the township.”

Other township business

The board voted in favor of adopting the township’s Carry In, Carry Out Trash Policy that provides tightened enforcement on pollution in its parks and encourages residents to keep its parks free of debris by cleaning up pet waste, removing all trash after park visits and embracing the ideas of “reduce, reuse and recycle.” 

The board also approved the second quarter appropriation of $246,187.50 to the Avondale Fire Company and the Chester County EMS, as well as approved the appropriation of $182,600 to the Kennett Library, as part of its five-year fiscal commitment. In its appropriation to the library, the township will use $100,000 from its Capital Fund and $82,600 from its General Fund.

The Avondale Fire Company and the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department (SCCRPD) each provided an overview of their respective Fiscal Year 2024 first quarter reports, each of which will soon be accessible on the township’s website. In his presentation, SSSRPD Police Chief Joe Greenwalt said that the department will soon be hiring a new police officer, purchasing three new police vehicles, and has received a federal grant in the amount of $117,000 that will be used to equip the department with new body cameras and tasers. In addition, he said the department will soon receive new unforms as part of a departmental redesign that will also include a new logo and insignia.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].