November 1, 2017Friends and Neighbors of the Panhandle Civic Association,
Next Tuesday, Election Day, voters will be asked to make a yes or no choice on an amendment to our State's Constitution. My personal feeling is that this amendment has not received the kind of publicity, transparent discussion, and due diligence that something of this significance deserves.Sincerely,
The amendment, in and of itself, could have no consequences. What it does do, is make possible reworking the State's system for funding our public schools. In the guise of protecting homesteaders from property tax increases, it could allow a bill to be passed that eliminates most local school property taxes. Harrisburg would then control all of our public schools' funding. In order to make up for the loss of local school property taxes, probably sales taxes and income taxes would be increased. I say probably because that is one of the things that has not been fully discussed.
Of course all of us would like our property taxes to be held to a reasonable level. But I think I can safely say that most, if not all, of us are concerned that our schools maintain their excellence. That's important for the children in our community, but secondarily for our property values. Given the current status quo in Harrisburg, perhaps giving them control of our schools’ funds is not such a good idea. Importantly, at any time, the state legislature would be able to change the funding allotments for the schools!
The T/E School Board has come out against the Amendment. Please go to their website to see a video of that discussion: tesd.net, in the middle column of the Home page, under In the News, click on Tredyffrin/Easttown School Board Opposes Proposed Constitutional Amendment. At the bottom of the text, you can click on a link to the video.
Finally, last Wednesday, October 25, 2017, the Philadelphia Inquirer, published an editorial discussing the proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution. A copy of that editorial can be found by clicking here.
If you have questions regarding the Amendment, you are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to answer you or send you in the direction of someone who can.
February 2015Dear Panhandle Civic Association Residents,
The Panhandle Civic Association (PCA) has held a social dinner designed to bring neighbors together for the past eight years. It has been enjoyed by forty to sixty residents each spring, and was scheduled for March 27 this year at St. Davids Golf Club. If there is enough support for the dinner, and we are able to form a committee willing to organize it, the Board will continue to arrange for the dinner. Initial emails so far have not brought the needed indication of support and we are preparing to cancel it for now and, instead, hold a regular annual meeting and election of officers later in the spring. If any residents would like to see the dinner continue this year,please contact Julie Lindberg at email@example.com and let her know that you would like to serve on the committee. Members of the Board will be happy to support this effort.The PCA Board of Directors
2015 marks the 40th anniversary of this remarkable organization, founded by a group of residents frustrated with the lack of communication from the Township during installation of sewers. Since then the list of accomplishments is long.
During development of Fox Chapel, the PCA convinced the builders to widen the intersection of Upper Gulph and King of Prussia Roads. Since then the number of accidents at that corner has diminished. The builders also took actions to preserve the pure stream emptying into the preserve below it, and moved roads to save the William Penn oak tree on one lot.
We supported the residents of Kynlyn Road who needed more visibility when exiting onto K of P Road - they proved it was not up to state law requirements and it was corrected by lowering the road. Residents of Hollow Road have serious issues with water drainage, and we supported their request to improve the drainage system. Many times we have successfully objected to a tax increase by the Township, and in 2009 encouraged the $3 million reduction to the proposed budget which has eliminated three years of tax increases.
We aided in the improvements to the park behind the Mount Pleasant area, and provided support in clearing ownership of the adjoining lot. We provided a format for the residents living next to a proposed garage by St.Davids Golf Club to discuss noise issues. We twice organized an area wide aerial spraying of our trees attacked by gypsy moth caterpillars. The list goes on and on as every year there is an issue to address. Most importantly, when we speak as a group there is a better response from the Board of Supervisors and School Board. Our residents need to have a voice in local government, and the above results are due to the PCA's watchfulness and actions. This is one of the many reasons the Panhandle is a great place to have a home.
The future role of the PCA and its relevance today is under discussion. As a new slate of officers is being formed, a questionnaire will soon be sent to all residents asking opinions about current issues. Please look for and return it right away so the Board is able to speak for the residents and reflect their thoughts. The slate of officers is not filled, so please also indicate interest in being an officer, committee member or block captain as a way to insure this valuable organization will continue in the future and be effective in meeting local issues as they arise.
We thank all for your past support and continued participation in your community affairs and direction.
Julie Lindberg, co-President
Mark Werther, co-President
Donna Shipman, Vice President
Greg Twombly, Vice President
Christine Wright, Treasurer
November 2014Guest speakers at the October 23 meeting of the PCA held at the Tredyffrin Library were Police Chief Anthony Giaimo, Supervisor Paul Olson and Supervisor Murph Wysocki.
Chief Giaimo explained the organization of the department with a 45-minute slide presentation. The police department has a total of 43 officers. He has two lieutenants, Taro Landis and Leon Jaskuta, one sergeant and four detectives – each with his own specialty such as financial crimes and forensic cases, but can assist in all cases.Executive Committee Meeting, November 3, 2014
The Police Department represents the Township’s 29,332 residents and the 38,600 people employed in the township. The department patrols 19.8 square miles, and it takes 18-25 minutes to travel from east to west. The area is divided into three sectors: West, East and Middle, the Panhandle being in the East sector. The department has three shifts a day, with a two-hour overlap of each shift: 6 am to 4 pm, 2 pm to 12 am, and 10 pm to 8 am. There were 25,000 calls for service last year.
Squads are actively patrolling in both marked and unmarked cars, and recently made arrests in a copper theft and house burglaries. Crime rates were down in 2013, but were up in the number of burglaries. The value of thefts increased from $277,569 in 2012 to $583,536 in 2013. Many stolen pieces of jewelry have been recovered at pawn shops in New Jersey and Delaware.
Chief Giaimo explained school safety practices and practice drills at schools. There were 56 burglaries in 2013, and 41 so far in 2014. There have been 13 in our east sector. Police have increased surveillance, and their intelligence has identified 2 suspects.
In 2013, Tredyffrin had 17 drug overdoses to manage, with 3 of those not surviving. There were 29 in Chester County. So far in 2014, there have been 11 ODs, with 4 DOAs The police have a new tool to help in overriding an overdose, a drug called Naloxone.
The department has many community partners – camps, schools, business sectors, civic associations, Townwatch, and Citizen Police Academy. The Townwatch Program is still vibrant, as well as the Trail Surveillance Program. If any residents would like to organize a workshop with the police community officer to learn how to better protect their homes utilizing prickly bushes around the house, lights on timers, and window locks, Chief Giaimo is open to phone calls from residents at any time over any issues. The PCA will be glad to sponsor this as it has several times in the past.
Questions from the residents included how 911 calls are quickly routed to the correct township police department, and the Chief explained patrols are sent out immediately while the operator continues to take information.
Concerns were expressed last spring when building contractors began to solicit for business at individual homes in the evening. Only licensed contractors are allowed to directly solicit at certain hours, and the company involved was licensed but was outside the allotted time so was cited. The township solicitor reports the township cannot prohibit these solicitations, but their license badge must be displayed.
The issue of cars speeding on our major local roads was addressed, and Chief Giaimo explained the police can only stop cars exceeding the limit by 11 mph. He welcomes calls to him regarding specific instances so he is aware of violations.
Paul Olson is the longest serving supervisor in the history of Tredyffrin. He mentioned this is our fourth year without a tax increase, and we are fortunate to have a strong tax base where most residents pay taxes on time.
The Valley Creek Trunk Sewer (VCTS), which handles a portion of the sewage of Tredyffrin and five nearby townships, had one break in 2012 and two breaks in 2014, and is in need of replacement. During the repair of this year's breaks and after notice to PADEP, it was necessary to discharge sewage into Valley Creek. Several environmental groups have filed notice of a potential lawsuit against the Township as result of this action. The Township is working vigorously with all stakeholders on all aspects of the VCTS matter.
When the sewers were installed in the 1970s, the technology specified concrete pipe connecting bands, that have now proved to be defective, and 3.6 miles of pipes need replacing costing $12-16 million. The possibility of privatizing the system is under discussion between the five adjoining townships involved, but the rates have to remain even. There is a separate Tredyffrin reserve fund for the sewer system.
Murph Wysocki announced a Budget Workshop on the Preliminary 2015 Budget to be held on the morning of November 13 from 10 am to 12 pm at the Township building. In October, the Board voted to create a Reserve Fund Balance policy establishing procedures for incrementally spending the operating reserve (approximately $16 million) over time, creating goals for the minimum reserve fund balance in accordance with accounting standards, and providing transparency in the use of the reserve fund balance. The Reserve Fund Balance policy is posted in detail on the Township website.
In response to a question about the rate of paying off the $45 million unfunded post employment benefit liability owed to certain retiring Township employees, Murph Wysocki responded that the 2014 budget provides for a $500,000 payment to the OPEB trust fund (Other Post Employment Benefit Trust fund). The preliminary 2015 budget provides for the payment of $575,000 to the OPEB trust fund. Mr. Olson pointed out that Radnor Township's unfunded pension liability is approximately $200 million.
Another question about slow removal of snow following a large storm and whether the township has back up private companies to use to open up small streets sooner: The answer was yes, there is a list of contractors a homeowner can call.
A meeting of the EC discussed the future roster of the PCA, as Mark Werther and Julie Lindberg will be retiring as co-presidents at the annual meeting and dinner this coming March 27. They will remain on the Executive Committee as our by-laws retain past presidents in this role for life. A new slate of officers will be presented in the spring. Any resident interested in becoming active in the leadership is encouraged to contact us. We are missing block captains in several areas.Respectfully submitted,
Continuing issues with the local deer herd damage to private property in the area were discussed, and a new solution is a latex based pepper spray called “Winter Free” only available through wholesale distribution to yard services. In addition to ridding your property of deer, it acts as an anti-desiccant in the winter protecting foliage from winter burn. An application lasts about three months in the spring and summer, and six months through the winter.
Having the Nextdoor Panhandle network established by Cherri Griffiths this past year has greatly improved communication with the residents. Susan Marshall has maintained a Facebook page for the PCA for several years, and we intend to make it more actively involved in making announcements about our activities. All residents who have joined Facebook are encouraged to become friends with the PCA so they can be alerted when news is posted. Particularly with the number of recent burglaries in the area (three nighttime break-ins at Fox Chapel in October), we need to update our method of sending alerts. The Association would like to create the new role of Communications Director. We encourage each family to keep their email address updated with their block captain or directly to our Webmaster, Tom Frank. Tom is very conscientious about limiting the number of messages sent, and this is your pipeline to valuable township information.
Save The DateMarch 27, 2015 - for the Annual Meeting and Social Dinner at St. Davids Golf Club
PCA Executive Committee
February 2014Dear Panhandle Residents:
We've sponsored a very successful Annual Meeting and Social Dinner for PCA members for the past seven years at the St. Davids Golf Club Clubhouse, and have reserved the date of April 4, Friday night, this year. The brief meeting includes a brief talk by a township administrator, school board members, and the election of officers, followed by the social cocktail hour and buffet dinner. The cost last year was $44 per person, which includes a $5 donation to the treasury. This constitutes our only fund raising event for the year.Julie Lindberg
If we know how many residents are interested and might attend on April 4, it will make our planning easier. We usually have about 45-60 residents attend, and it provides many of our neighbors an opportunity to have a social evening together, as well as a time for new residents to meet others in the area.
We'd appreciate it if you can respond to Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org about your support for this dinner and whether you would try to participate. More information will be distributed by your block captains soon with reservation information.
After hearing today that the Township Supervisors have fired our Public Works Director and the Township Treasurer this month, it reminds us how important a civic association is in keeping a watchful eye on our township administration, the tax situation and our school board.
With many thanks for your continued interest and support,
Mark Werther, Co Presidents
Panhandle Civic Association Executive Committee Meeting, December 2, 2013
Executive Committee Meeting, graciously hosted by Ann Shaud
December 2, 2013
Mark Werther, Julie Lindberg: Acting Presidents
Ann Shaud: Previous President, Block Captain
Greg Twombly, Donna Shipman: Vice Presidents
Christine Wright: Treasurer
Tom Frank: Webmaster
Ann King: Membership
Brendan Walsh: Block Captain, Retired
After much discussion of the relevance and future of the PCA, after 40 years the ongoing need is to bring younger leadership into steering roles of the organization. The Executive Committee reached a major decision. A strategic planning committee, led by Greg Twombly and Ann King, was formed and will contact and poll Block Captains and residents on their interests in and directions they wish for the PCA. They will determine programs and activities for this coming year, consider fundraising, work to fill open block captain positions, and learn of support levels by members for activities in order of importance and participation. They will report back to the next Executive Committee meeting. Possibly a survey will be designed for distribution to all residents which will help define the interests of the community, and, importantly, increase and update the email addresses of residents to include in our mailing list. The committee’s intent is to meet with small groups of block captains as they are available.
(Ann and Greg 's first effort to invite the block captains in early February met with too many conflicts, and future plans will be announced.)
Many residents on Weadley Rd., are concerned about excessive speeding and recent robberies on their street. Speeding is an issue on many of our streets. The suggestion was made to invite Chief Giaimo to speak at a regular meeting of the PCA this spring.
Annual Dinner Meeting
The date of April 4, Friday, was suggested for the Annual Meeting Dinner at St. Davids Golf Club, and the date is reserved. A brief business meeting and election of officers will precede the social dinner
As the dinner is our only fund raiser to maintain the treasury, a $5 donation will be included in the ticket price. All residents are encouraged to attend, and seating by neighborhoods will be arranged on request. The dinner has been well attended and enjoyed by 50-60 residents every year, and we hope new residents will increase the number. Information will be distributed to residents late in February.
Small Social Gatherings
Following the suggestion that the block captains be invited to hold neighborhood mixers to increase friendship among neighbors if they wish, it was voted to approve reimbursement of food and beverage costs by the PCA. These mixers would not be focused on PCA but more as social gatherings. If it would be helpful, either Mark or Julie could attend the meet and greets.
Executive Committee Meeting
Mark Werther asks residents to look at their county tax bills due March 15, as against the township tax bill which just arrived. The township has held its increases to zero this year, whereas the county tax is double the township bill (which provides residents with all our services). Traditionally, both taxes were the same. It would be well to question county expenditures and review their budget.
Barbara Zimmerman, Officers
January 2013Panhandle Civic Association Meeting, January 17, 2013
The Panhandle Civic Association held its winter meeting on January 17th at the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church on Upper Gulph Road. State Representative Warren Kampf was our invited speaker and we were also joined by Radnor Fire Chief Mike Maguire and Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Paul Olsen. Karen Cruickshank, current member and former President of the Tredyffrin Easttown School Board was also in attendance.
Fire Chief Maguire spoke to the group concerning a communications/radio transmitting problem in this area. The Panhandle is protected by the Radnor fire company, and according to the Chief, radio communications in the Panhandle are poor if not non-existent. In order to increase safety, the Fire Department would like to purchase special radios for each of their 10 trucks, at a cost of $10,000 each. Realizing the high cost of this, further discussion with the fire company is anticipated.
Rep. Kampf spoke first about his committee assignments which are:
In addition, Rep. Kampf is a member of the Pension Task Force.
- Consumer Affairs (Utilities), Secretary
- Liquor Control
- Local Government, Secretary
- Urban Affairs
Before the floor was opened for questions, Rep. Kampf advised that, at the Governor’s impetus, the following issues will be a major focus for the next six months. They are: the annual budget (revenues are up slightly), pensions, liquor stores privatization, and transportation.
Very lively discussions took place concerning these issues. Much of the conversation revolved around the discomfort that the residents are feeling regarding the negative cash flow conditions of these pre-determined pension and health care funds.
- The State reduced the budget by $3.5 billion the last two years rather than raise taxes.
- A crisis deficit condition of the school pension fund and health benefits has evolved due, in part, to previously passed laws granting lifetime benefits for State Employees and Teachers’ Union that, due to current financial circumstances, are unsustainable without tax increases. PA State law will not allow benefits, once given, to be reduced or taken away. A question arose asking how high our taxes will have to rise in order to meet the PSER’s (Public School Employees’ Retirement System) pension debt, and how this will affect home property values. Rep. Kampf said the State would like to convert to a defined contribution fund.
- The Governor is investigating the possibility of selling the State Liquor Store system. Pennsylvania is currently the third largest purchaser of alcohol in the country, exceeded only by Walmart and Costco. The State nets $90 million a year from the current system, which is added to the general fund. Rep. Kampf is looking forward to delving into the numbers to determine if more income would be generated through sales by independent stores. There are 600 state stores, and the state plans to sell 1400 licenses statewide to increase income from the license sales.
- Reduced State subsidies to the School System.
- General conditions and physical infrastructure in the State.
- Energy considerations.
- Rep. Kampf is not in favor of increasing income by legalizing medical marijuana. He cited his experience as a former prosecutor for informing his position.
It should be noted that both T/E School district and Tredyffin Township have over $12 million each in reserve funds. Half of that amount is required to maintain the A+ Bond Ratings and to run operations until taxes are collected.
Karen Cruikshank provided Mark Werther with a synopsis of three versions of the anticipated funding for the T/E School District to 2017-2018. The School District expenditures are projected to be $113,567,000 in 2013-2014 and $127,548,000 in 2017-2018.
By 2017 – 2018, with no tax increases T/E will be approximately $39 million in the red.
With Act 1 allowance of a 1.7% tax increase per year, T/E will be $31 million in the red by 2017. With Act 1 plus exemptions (tax increase of 3.44%), T/E will be $24 million in the red by that date.
Many local businesses and homeowners have appealed to lower their real estate assessments and have prevailed. If this practice continues, the deficits would increase even more.
When asked if and how residents could help, Rep. Kampf indicated that newspapers no longer have enough staff to cover local issues. He asked us to encourage folks to contact him with their concerns and ideas. He has offices in Paoli and in Audubon and his email address is WKampf@pahousegop.com.
Tredyffrin Supervisor Paul Olsen was also in attendance and gave a 10 minute presentation. He reviewed the $40 million deficit in anticipated costs to cover projected benefits for retiring uniformed and non- uniformed personnel in the police department. Until a recent law forced townships to disclose the costs of these settlements, and their subsequent liability on the books to pay retirement benefits, the amount of this budget deficit had not been publicly announced. This non-funded pension and medical benefit obligation has been building over the past 30 years.
The Township is trying to taper future benefits payments. The cost now is $6 million a year, and in ten years it will be $10-12 million. It hopes to move to a hybrid plan. Currently, the Township contributes 50% and the State 50% to the IRA contribution.
The Police Department budget is approximately 50% of the Township Budget. Our community is incredibly lucky in the excellence of the force and the high level of service we expect and receive from the police. Recently, for the second time, the Police Union retained their high benefit schedule through arbitration of their contract. One possible reason for the arbitrator to find in the favor of the police department regardless of the size of the mounting deficit is the surplus the township has built up in its reserves.
This then provides only so many alternatives or combination of alternatives for the residents:
Township discussions are continuing on ways to fund the pension obligation now through taxation, rather than leaving this growing problem to be solved by the future generation. In effect, this would require upwards of $30 million to be raised and kept in a separate fund to cover future benefit payments. Each year, more reserves would be added as a result of the benefits added that year. This prefunding of future benefits is now being required in some situations, such as with the US Postal Service, and is a contributing reason for its’ current deficit problem.
- Pay higher taxes.
- Reduce general costs.
- Reduce the size of the Police force (already three less than recommended)
- Reduce services.
Transportation funding is critical in the near future.
The policy about fracking in Pennsylvania was raised, and questions were asked about why the natural gas companies who are drilling pay less tax here than in other states – PA only charges 1% severance tax as compared to 10% in Alaska, for example. One of the reasons is that Gov. Corbett pledged not to raise taxes.
A local resident is attempting to discover the cost of extending a natural gas line to his area of the Panhandle. He has been told by PGW that it would cost $100,000 to extend the line 1000 feet to reach his neighborhood. Residents would need to raise that amount themselves to fund the extension. As a note – Rep. Kampf is on the Consumer Affairs Committee which deals with utilities.
The Panhandle Executive Committee wants to thank the Mt. Pleasant Church for allowing us to hold our meeting in their facility. It is so conveniently located with plenty of parking. This meeting was an excellent opportunity to have one on one conversations with three of our elected officials. We extend our sincere thanks to Karen Cruickshank, Warren Kampf and Paul Olsen for taking time out of what are very busy days, to share with us their thoughts and concerns and to answer questions to the best of their ability on a wide variety of topics.
All PCA Residents: By newsletter/e-mail and Block Captain distribution, PCA will be taking reservations for our Annual Dinner at St. David’s Country Club on April 12. This has always been a fun affair. State Senator Andrew Dinniman will be our guest speaker prior to the dinner.
There is also a possibility of having a PCA area block party in late spring if we have volunteers to organize it. Please look for the notices.
All notices are posted on the website. If you are not receiving important updates from us by email and would like to, send your name, address, and email address to our webmaster at email@example.com and ask to be added to our mailing list, or give this information to your local block captain.
PCA Executive Committee
December 2012Panhandle Civic Association Meeting, November 15, 2012
A meeting of The Panhandle Civic Association was held at Mark Werther’s home on November 15, 2012. The meeting was attended by the Executive Committee and Block Captains.
PCA Residents: This is now a time for concern. Both the schools and the township are considering tax increases.
Discussion was held on the $3.9M surplus remaining from the 2011/2012 year and where the surplus is currently applied. Over the last year, school budgets were slashed and teachers, programs and benefits were reduced. Some unionized support staff (ex. custodial staff) have not received raises in over four years. The reduction in expenditures and increase in revenue resulted in the surplus, which was added to the schools $25M general fund balance. A PCA member questioned whether it is wise to “pay forward” creating a surplus to cover increases in the future expenditures (PSERS). Since the School Tax is limited to a defined annual percentage increase, these future expenditures might not be able to be matched. School Board president Karen Cruikshank states that she believes we have sufficient surplus for about 4 - 5 years before T/E schools have significant financial issues. T/E School District is one of very few in the state with a significant reserve fund, so the PSERS benefits problem will affect most school districts in the next year.
Andy Dinniman | Warren Kampf
There is an interest in having State Representative Warren Kampf and State Senator Andy Dinniman speak to our group. PCA is investigating dates and locations.
After scrutiny by a citizen’s committee, the 2011 Township budget was cut by $3M. For 2012, the PCA suggested utilizing members of the Citizen’s Cost Analysis Committee review the upcoming budget but the Board of Supervisors chose not to utilize this process. Also, the PCA suggested release of the preliminary budget prior to the middle of November and extending the budget to include, at the minimum, 3 years of projections. These requests were not utilized.
The current budget identifies a usable surplus fund of about $12M. It also assumes that there will be a tax increase of about 3% to prepare for future expenditures. The philosophy is it is better to have a small increase each year, rather than a large one to meet future benefit increases in a few years.
Budget cuts to the Police Department were also discussed. Per the Police Superintendent, the department is currently understaffed. Additional staffing has not been possible due to the collective bargaining contract dispute with the township and police union. The main point of contention is the current contract healthcare benefits package. The current 2009-2011 coverage as per the contract is as follows:
A study was completed by ICMA (International City/County Management Association) to review our police operations. The feedback from the study coupled with finalized union agreement will assist in determining the addition of new personnel.
- For officers (and their spouses/dependents) hired prior to 1/1/99 who retire after 15 years of service, medical coverage is provided without cost, except for co-pays and deductibles.
- For officers (and their spouses/dependents) hired after 1/1/99, who retire after 20 years of service, the township shall pay the premiums for medical coverage in the amount of 4% multiplied by the officer’s years of service. An example given: 4% x 20 years of credited service = 80% premium payment.
Christine Wright and Mark Werther attended the Supervisors' Meeting on December 3, 2012. The uniformed employees' contract is in the hands of the arbitrator. It appears that we will receive a 5% plus tax increase, but the true amount of the rise will be determined by the arbitrator's decision. This also affects the hiring of from 0 to 5 additional police officers.
The board of supervisors approved changes for the Commercial Zoning Ordinance. The vote was 6-1 in favor of the reduction in acreage to allow an assisted living facility to be built in Daylesford. The zoning change was generally opposed by citizens from all over the Township, especially the Daylesford neighbors. Citizens stated opposition for numerous reasons (flawed process, spot zoning, preferential treatment to a developer, conditional use not a by-right use, bed density, safety concerns for patients, increased demand on township’s emergency services, etc.) In the opinion of the attending PCA members, it was surprising that the vote of the township supervisors didn’t reflect the public opinion (overwhelming disapproval). It appeared to many of the PCA members that the zoning change was in fact “Spot Zoning” and based purely on the specific developer and project. If this is the case, there is an overall fear that zoning can be modified and approved for any particular project presented.
Currently there is a commercial zoning analysis being completed by a local firm. Their preliminary presentation given early December seemed competent.
Township Update and Website Content Policies
A letter was distributed via Township website by a Supervisor on Township letterhead. Accusations in the letter were made that seemed inappropriate for this type of communication, including contact from the Township Manager and Police Superintendent with the resident who received the letter.
It was recommended that a clear policy and procedure should be formulated stating the type of information that should be approved and posted to the township website. Also, the policy should include what type of information should be made public on township letterhead and a clear process on approving content.
This clear policy and procedure was considered on Monday, November 19, 2012 at the Supervisor’s meeting. Board Chairman Michelle Kickline read the formulated policy aloud but did not make the policy publicly available as part of distribution at the meeting (making it difficult for those in the audience to truly grasp the information in its entirety). The approval function by the Township Manager and Solicitor was questioned by Ms. Benson in her Community Matters blog. In her and Mark Werther’s opinion, the question was avoided and should have been tabled for to further clarifications. The Policy was approved by all Supervisors.
Mimi Gleason resigned as Township Manager and new Manager Bill Martin was approved on November 19th.
Historically the PCA has been holding an annual dinner for its residents. Over the last few years the attendance has been on the decline, although the 2012 dinner was highly enjoyed by all present. Discussion was held on whether we should continue this event and if there was a better time of year to hold the event to improve attendance. Scheduling of the event will be dependent on pre-reservation increased attendance. The Block Captains are important to the success of the dinner as the purpose is to have neighbors attend together in a social setting. It was proposed to have the event April 12 with a “Save the Date” flyer going out in January. The possibility of a PCA Block Party in the spring was also discussed.
Currently the Block Captain positions are being reviewed to fill in areas with no representation. A Block Captain’s get-together was suggested to strengthen the PCA and to update as many e-mail addresses so we can cover the entire area more efficiently through the internet.
Donna Shipman has accepted a Vice-President's position on the Executive Committee. She will be a valuable addition to the team as she has been attending Supervisor meetings and following issues.
To receive information on township news, the township has an E-mail newsletter (contact the township to be added to their distribution list). Also, a resident has a blog that discusses many of our township issues in great detail (Tredyffrin Community Matters. This is an individual's efforts and the PCA does not endorse the content of the publication). Subscription to the blog can be obtained at TredyffrinCommunityMatters@Gmail.com
The meeting adjourned at 8:45.
PCA Executive Committee
January 2012Panhandle Civic Association Meeting, January 26, 2012
A meeting of The Panhandle Civic Association was held a meeting at the Tredyffrin Library on January 26, 2012. The meeting was called to order by Mark Werther, PCA co-president, at 7:05pm. Panhandle residents were joined by Tredyffrin (T/E) School Board members, Peter Motel and Kevin Buraks, and Tredyffrin Township Supervisors, Michael Heaberg and Evelyn Richter.
The school board members pointed out that of the 500 districts in the state, we ranked 61st with the low $16,000 per student expenditure, yet 467 have higher tax rates than T/E. Thus, we are getting more results, have a better school system, for less taxes than most in Pennsylvania.
The current budget projection for 2012-2013 school year of $114,077,751 shows a deficit of $6.2 million. The budget will need to be balanced either through additional cost saving measures or by using the reserve. Over the past 2 years, the Board has cut around $10 million from the budget. According to the Board members at the meeting, all fat has been cut from the budget.
A question came from the floor. "Has the board looked at reducing administrators?" The answer was: "The number of administrators was cut by 13%. The number of teachers was also cut, though by attrition, by 59. Other reductions are still being considered."
There are certain challenges that the board faces. First of all, the revenue that T/E historically earned from the interest accrued from early tax payment funds has been decreased by lower interest rates. Secondly, the retirement commitment (PSERS) has been a large challenge. Passed by the same legislators who included themselves in the programmed raises, the state mandates that a person once given a certain retirement amount, cannot have their retirement agreement reduced. It would require a change to the PA constitution to return the salary/retirement levels to that of several years ago.
The residents have already been taxed for the 2011-2012 budget. This included a property tax increase of 3.77%, or .6774 mills, which will produce $3.22 million in revenue. This tax rate increase translated into an average annual increase of about $171 on an average T/E home assessed at $252,601.
As per 2012-2013, the Act 1 Tax limitation means that the board has the authority to raise taxes up to 1.7% per year. Additionally, the board can consider increasing the tax an additional 1.6%. Thus, the board is limited to 3.3% per year tax increase.
Expenses have also increased so the deficit anticipated for the 2012-2013 Budget is $6.2 million. Going forward, the reserve fund of $31,026,455 will not be able to continue to cover this shortfall. The district has to deal with a $6,174,219 deficit in 2012-13, $10,471,455 in 2013-14, $14,548,435 in 2013-14 and $18,306,132 in 2015-2016. Even with tax increases anticipated at 15% for the stated years, the reserve will not be enough. When the reserve is depleted, our situation will be dire.
From the Executive Committee to PCA residents: It appears that you will continue to have your taxes increased. If you assume the past $177 and future tax increase of $200 per year, your tax bill will be increased by approximately $1000 by 2015-2016. We will be out of all reserve funds in three years; at the same time cutting educational services. The high quality educational system cannot help but decline with all the cuts. This is a statewide problem caused in part by the legislature’s increase in salary and benefits package two years ago.
Mark Werther asked if legal action to change the law has been organized in coordination with other districts, and the response was that nothing has started in this regard. Werther asked what was the board’s solution? No answer was given.
The increased expenses involve salary obligations and health benefit costs. The contract for the teachers expires in June 2012 and is currently in negotiation. The school board asks that citizens stay involved. It was pointed out by the audience that the school board and the board of supervisors both meet on the same Monday night. Broadcasts of both meetings are available on the local public access channels.
Township Supervisors Mike Heaberg and Evelyn Richter were our next speakers. Mike stated that the Finance Committee welcomes input from its residents.
He said that Tredyffrin has great financial strength. We have a AAA bond rating which allows the Township to borrow money for large capital projects at a very low interest rate of 2.7%. We have a diverse tax base with 70% of our assets coming from residential taxes and 30% from commercial taxes. The supervisors want to increase the amount of business in our township and a committee of local experts and representatives from the Board has been established to promote our Township for potential new business.
The Township is responsible for the following: the police department; significant support to local fire and ambulance companies; street and storm sewer maintenance and snow removal; fund the libraries; maintain the parks, open spaces and recreational programs; issue permits; oversee zoning and land planning. Mr. Heaberg was careful to mention that, in addition to Township funds, the fire departments and libraries also depend on private contributions from the residents.
The average household pays the Township an average of $510 per year in property tax. Mark Werther pointed out that we also pay an average of $4100 in school tax. Mr. Heaberg distributed handouts listing the tax history over the last 11 years. The graph shows that our tax rate has gone up about 17.5%, from 1.88 mils in 2000 to 2.23 mils in 2011. Almost half of Tredyffrin’s operating revenue comes from property taxes. In the past, a second significant source of revenue was from transfer taxes on township properties that were bought and sold. With the downturn in the real estate market, this amount has dropped to about half of what it had been. Currently the budget projection is for about 25% of township revenue coming from transfer taxes. The remaining revenue is derived from grants, state aid, licenses and permits and fees, fines, and interest.
We have three unions representing township employees in the township and those three contracts are now under review.
Beginning in January, the Board of Supervisors will discuss the budget of specificdepartments at the Supervisor’s monthly meetings. The schedule is as follows:
- Streets/Storm Sewer on February. 27
- Planning/Zoning/Permits on March 19th
- Parks/Leaves on April 16
- Libraries on May 14th
- Finance/Administration/IT on June 18th
- Police/Fire on July 16th
- Revenue Trends/Mid-year review on August 20th
- Goals for the 2013 Budget on September 17th
This process is designed to bring residents into the budget discussions earlier in the year. Community questions and input will be welcome, as the Supervisors need to know what is important to the citizens. They can’t make cuts in service without encouragement from taxpayers.
An audience member suggested that the Budget Advisory Working Committee (BAWG), which helped reduce the budget for 2010, be reinstated. This group of citizens took the budget line by line and found money to save. Most of these cuts were implemented by 2010. The report is now on the Township website stating which of the recommend-ations have been utilized. Many people in the audience supported having a citizen’s advisory group, like the BAWG, become a permanent part of the Supervisors’ finance committee. Mr. Heaberg said he would take this idea back to the Finance Committee.
Supervisor Evelyn Richter then talked about the Information Technology (IT) committee. She said that a contract had been awarded to an IT technology firm to implement a state of the art web based system to replace the current web site. The cost will be $38,000 to build the site. There is $12,000 left in the budget for any additions to the system. It was pointed out that $38,000 is only the construction cost. There will be a recurring cost to host the system and for maintenance.
A suggestion was raised that it would be cost saving to hire consultants to review proposals when the expertise does not reside in the staff or in the Board of Supervisors.
Mark Werther asked if the Township pays for the Tredyffrin police to monitor Route 202. Supervisor Heaberg stated that Tredyffrin, along with the state police, monitor 8 miles of 202. The State reimburses the Township for this service through 2 grants.
A question arose about the amount of our reserve fund. Currently $17 million is the part of the reserve fund allocated to the General Funds for the township.
Initially there were questions concerning the County tax bill payment terms. This was resolved. Chester County Representatives were asked to attend the meeting. None were present and it was reported that the response from administrative staff was the new policy of no checks accepted after Dec. 1, 2012 applied only to delinquent taxpayers.
From the Executive Committee to PCA residents: Look at your Chester County Tax Bill. You will note that it is significantly higher than the Tredyffrin Township Bill which provides direct services every day. Our County main perk is the huge West Chester Complex housing the Court and most standard County Functions. You should also know that Tredyffrin pays almost twice as much as other townships based on area comparisons.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45.
PCA Executive Committee
April 2011Panhandle Civic Association Meeting, April 8, 2011
The Annual Meeting of the Panhandle Civic Association, attended by 50 members and guests and held at the St. Davids Golf Club, was called to order by Acting Presidents Julie Lindberg and Mark Werther at 6:45 on April 8, 2011.
The Acting Presidents introduced and welcomed Kenneth Burton, the President of the Mount Pleasant Community Association.
Julie introduced the Executive Committee and explained that our Recording Secretary/Newsletter officer, Stephanie Abbott, is moving and Darcie Milkevitch, will be our new Recording Secretary.
Ann King has offered to chair our Membership Committee, as Bonnie Bennett is also moving. Mark and Julie asked if there were additional nominations from the floor. When there were none, a request was made for a nomination to approve the Executive Committee. The nomination was made and seconded. A vote was taken and the Executive Committee was approved. Thanks were extended to those retiring Board members and Block Captains who have contributed much to the success of the PCA for many years.
The Treasurer’s report stated that the Panhandle Civic Association (PCA) has a $9,200 balance in our emergency fund.
Mark Werther introduced the first of two speakers. Michelle Kichline, who grew up in the Panhandle, is a municipal attorney, and was elected to the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors in 2009. Michelle spoke to us about the following three items that directly related to the PCA.
The Mount Pleasant community has been troubled with misbehavior on the part of students living in rental properties in that neighborhood. The community, with support from the PCA, brought this issue to the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors. A student housing ordinance was enacted last August which requires landlords to register with the township if they are planning to rent their property to students. One of the stipulations is that a property must have at least a 10 foot buffer around the house and that student rentals must not be in too close proximity to each other. Additionally, no more than three students may reside in a single home. The supervisors worked with the area residents and the police to create this ordinance. Residents are urged to contact the police if violations or nuisance behaviors are observed.
The second item was that the PCA recommended that Tredyffrin Township contribute to the newly ordered Radnor Fire Company hi-reach ladder truck. As the Radnor Fire Company is the first responder for the Panhandle, the PCA Executive Committee felt strongly about the necessity of this additional financial support. $15,000 was agreed for this year. (MNW Comment: Based on economic conditions it is unclear if additional funds in 2012 will be forwarded as the request was for $50,000.)
The third item was about the Tredyffrin Planning Commission for the township. Ms. Kichline explained that most Townships rely on their Supervisors for planning project approval. Since 1986, however, Tredyffrin has given that responsibility to the Planning Commission. The belief was and is that members appointed to the Planninng Commission have extended expertise and familiarity with the Planning process and are highly competent to make appropriate decisions. Four Supervisors, Philip Donahue, Michael C. Heaberg, John P. DiBuonaventuro, and Michelle H. Kichline, voted to keep land development decisions with the Planning Commission. Further, a Supervisor liaison will attend all of the Commission meetings and report back to the Board of Supervisors, thus keeping the BOS current on Commission actions.
Our second speaker was Karen Cruickshank, President of the T-E School Board. Karen explained that the funding for public schools has a deficit projected of $10,241,562 million for 2011-2012. This includes an additional $1.6 million reduction from state funding recently announced for this year. The gap has been caused by a decrease in real estate taxes of $1 million and a loss of transfer taxes due to fewer property sales. Additionally, teachers’ pensions have increased and will continue to increase based on State voted approvals. These pensions in recent years have not had commensurate fund appreciation. The School Board has cut programs and staff as well as proposing no salary raises for next year. Karen is asking all sides to share in sacrifices to meet this deficit together. Mark recommended that the Reserve Funds being used to meet the deficit this year should not be depleted in future years as a way to meet a deficit, and asked Karen to give us an update in 3 months.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:10.
The annual PCA social dinner followed, with neighbors enjoying an evening together. Many remarked that they look forward to this every year as it is rare to be able to meet new and old friends in such a nice setting. The dinner of roast beef and salmon is beautifully presented. St. Davids Golf Club was rebuilt several years ago, and we are fortunate to have such a beautiful facility in the Panhandle. It is a favorite spot for special dinners, parties, wedding and holiday affairs, and we thank the Club for making it possible for us to return each year.
PCA Executive Committee
March 2011Panhandle Civic Association Meeting, March 1, 2011
The Panhandle Civic Association held a meeting in the first floor large meeting room at the Tredyffrin Library on March 1, 2011.
To open the meeting, Acting President Julie Lindberg spoke about the election of officers that will take place at our April 8, 2011 meeting and dinner at St. David’s Country Club. The dinner is our main group event for the 2011 year. It has been fun, and a great opportunity to speak in a leisurely fashion with our neighbors. Julie encouraged members of the Panhandle to attend.
In addition to the announcement of the annual meeting and dinner, Julie mentioned that Mark Werther, also acting President and founder, and Julie have been skippering the PCA for more than 30 years in one form or another. They both enjoy the task, but wish others would get involved. The efforts of the PCA have benefitted our community over the years in many ways, especially in cost controls/taxation. In addition to some Executive Committee responsibilities (Membership Chair, Corresponding (?) Secretary), a number of Block Captains who have served for many, many years are now ready for new volunteers to step into those positions.
Following those announcements, Joe Przybylowski, President of the Deepdale Civic Association, was introduced. The Executive Committees of the two community associations have discussed the benefits of combining some PCA activities with the Deepdale organization.
Karen Cruickshank, Chair of the School Board and Captain of the PCA food drive spoke to the group about the serious budget issue the T/E school district (and most local school districts) is facing today. She focused primarily on the almost impossible expenses we will face when the $20 million in reserve funds is utilized in 3 years. The problems are a result of less money from the State for mandated programs and increased pension benefits as enacted by our Legislators in Harrisburg. Karen was asked about the possibility of T/E placing an Earned Income Tax Proposition on the ballot. She indicated that the Board had voted it down for now but it could be considered in the future.
Following Karen’s talk, we were joined by three of our Township Supervisors, John DiBonaventuro, Phil Donahue, and Paul Olson. These three gentlemen comprise the Township Finance Committee. They spoke for an hour guided primarily by a list of pre-issued questions, and then in a question and answer session with the audience. The discussion was moderated by Mark Werther.
Following is our summary of the discussion.
- The Supervisors provided a thoughtful and candid perspective on current issues within the Township. It was interesting to see their interactions as they were not always in agreement. From our point of view, they seem to be taking on more responsibility for understanding the Township Budget themselves, in learning more about the constraints and conditions of said budget, and finally, in actively analyzing the financial planning for the Township.
- The reserve fund remains at $17 million. It is the objective of the Board of Supervisors to utilize as little as possible of this fund to maintain financial ratings while running the Township efficiently, developing economic opportunities to bolster the tax base and to not overburden the population with possible increased taxation. The Finance Committee is still consulting with private citizens on specific issues, but the citizen BAWG group was disbanded after the 2010 budget was adopted. Every possible cost saving recommended by BAWG was implemented. Employee insurance contributions have been increased as part of the new contract negotiations. There has been a concerted effort to focus on Economic Development within the Township this past year in an effort to keep the existing rental properties utilized during the recession and to attract new businesses to fill empty spaces. The Board appears to have been very proactive in this regard.
- There was a brief discussion on the Earned Income Tax as a possible added tax for taxpayers, which, as stated earlier, is not currently under consideration by the School Board. Should the Board institute it in the future, the Township would have a right to a percentage of the new funds raised by the tax. At this time there has been no discussion on the matter.
- Several in the audience expressed their continuing concerns regarding problems with student rentals in the Mt. Pleasant community. John DiBonaventuro asked residents with complaints to contact him personally at the Township to report any violations of the recent agreement with the landlords of these properties.
With many thanks to the Supervisors, the meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm.
PCA Executive Committee
December 2010Panhandle Civic Association Meeting, November 23, 2010
An Executive Board Meeting was held on Nov. 23 in the home of Stephanie Abbott to update the PCA regarding the new Township Budget for 2011 and other issues affecting our residents.
- Association MeetingA Panhandle Civic Association meeting is scheduled for 7:00 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2011 in the first floor meeting room at the Strafford Library. The PCA has the room reserved until 8:30. We have invited some Supervisors to discuss the financial condition of the Township/the 2011 Budget which at this time has a rise in cost of under 2%, and plans for developing the 2012 budget. It is also reported that there is a $17,000,000 reserve fund in place. Additionally, the Supervisors are scheduled to discuss progress made on the identification/control of rental properties delegated for College Students in the Township. The rental property situation has had considerable impact on all property owners in Mt. Pleasant.
Mark Werther is in contact with Joe Przybylowski, President of Deepdale Civic Association. Many of their interests coincide with the Panhandle’s. They have been invited to our March 1 meeting at the Library, along with other local civic associations.
- Township Budget NewsThe T/E School District has postponed action to institute an Earned Income Tax in spite of a projected short fall of over $7,000,000 in their budget. The EIT will be studied further and considered for discussion in 2011. If brought to fruition, the School District could have access to up to ½ of 1 percent of potential income amounting to ½ of approximately $15,000,000. If there were no other participants (i.e. the Township entities) then the School District could absorb all 1% - the $15,000,000. However, both Tredyffrin and Easttown can utilize the other ½%. As a Home Rule Township, Tredyffrin could request additional percentages beyond the 1%.
The Township did consider the EIT but has also chosen not to invoke its use at this time. For more information and the answers to most questions you can access the T/E School District Web site. Under "Home," look for the gray area and click on the fourth paragraph down for : T/E School Board Recommends Further Study of Earned Income Tax - EIT Referendum Question Will Not Appear on May 2011 Primary Election Ballot.
- Support for Local Fire DepartmentsThe PCA is most appreciative of the services of the Radnor Fire and Ambulance Companies. They represent our first responders in the Panhandle and west to New Eagle School Road. Some residents may not know that Radnor also acts as the second and third responders for actions beyond their primary zone in Tredyffrin – as they are the second and third responders in Berwyn and Paoli’s service areas.
Radnor has ordered a new ladder truck at a cost of approximately $950,000. If they had not ordered the truck this year, the 2011 upcharge would have amounted to approximately $40,000. Radnor Township has provided $600,000, plus the value of the sale of the present 17-year-old truck (approximately $125,000). This leaves $225,000 to make-up, finance, etc. The Panhandle and Deepdale Civic Associations strongly supported a capital expenditure from Tredyffrin of the $50,000 requested from the Radnor Fire Company. $15,000 was placed in the 2011 budget for this purpose in addition to $23,000 in operating expense. We have recommended that additional capital funds ($35,000) be designated in the next two years to complete the request. It should be understood that this and all of Radnor’s equipment will be available to first, second, and third response throughout the Township and the Ladder truck will likely be in service for at least 15 years.
Please consider giving fairly and generously to Radnor’s Fire and Ambulance membership campaigns and their fund raising for the new Ladder Truck.
We also wish to commend Berwyn and Paoli Fire Companies and of our surrounding Fire units including Norristown, Swedeland, Upper Merion and Gladwyne for their participation in multiple alarmers, as occurred last summer at a residence with a garage fire on Weadley Road.
- 2011 Annual MeetingThe PCA Board has recommended we continue our Social Dinner/Annual Meeting at The St. David’s Golf Club. Historically, we have had about 60 members enjoy the good food and camaraderie. Neither Kate Stone nor Christine Wright will be able to take charge this year, so we request a few good volunteers to help organize this affair. Any volunteers please contact Julie Lindberg at (610) 687-1023. Save the Date for the meeting - April 8th 2011.
The Executive Committee has voted not to have our Spring Garden and Car Show in 2011. It will be considered for 2012 if we have enough volunteers.
- Block CaptainsThe Executive Committee thanks Bambi Dudley for assuming the Block Captainship from Sally Schul for Area 16, Seaton Ross Road. Our thanks also go to Sally for her many years of service as Block Captain. Block Captains wishing to be replaced live on Box Hill Lane, Rebel Road, Karen Lane, West Weadley Road, and East Upper Gulph. Please call Christine Wright at 610-293-1004 if you are interested in volunteering. Our Block Captains are the heart of our civic association.
- REACT Food DriveKaren Cruikshank conducted another successful REACT food drive in October. The pantry’s shelves were literally empty and the Panhandle’s efforts restocked the shelves to overflowing. Thank you to all of our block captains and residents who participated, and again, many thanks to Karen and her team of volunteers for organizing the drive and ensuring its success. The donations have and will make the lives of 140 families much easier. The REACT FOOD PANTRY is located in the Baptist Church on Valley Forge Road and you can always drop off any donations at most times.
- Townwatch AlertA bulletin was issued in November by the Townwatch group to alert residents about the unauthorized entry into a garage on nearby Highview Drive in Radnor Township. A father returned home Sat. night, Nov. 14 with two children in his car. He took one child to bed and returned for the other to find an intruder in the garage, who fled at high speed in a waiting car with another driver. Another resident heard someone at the door that evening, and one more resident on Hollow Rd. had a garage sensor activate earlier that evening. This is a reminder for all residents to always be aware of anything out of the ordinary in their neighborhoods, and report this to the police. We can all be inactive members of Townwatch and help protect our neighbors. A strange car should never be directly confronted, but their license number reported to the police.
- School Board NewsKaren Cruickshank has been unanimously elected President of the T/E School Board. Karen has the respect of all members of the Board, and that respect was reflected in her election. With complex educational, financial, and contract issues facing the Board, the T/E community should take comfort knowing that Karen, with her hard work, sound judgment, and leadership skills, will be at the helm.
PCA Executive Committee
April 2010Panhandle Civic Association Meeting, March 19, 2010
President Mark Werther opened the 36th Annual Meeting at 6:15 pm on March 19, 2010.
- Election of OfficersThe attached slate was approved. The Association has worked diligently for the community, and has earned high respect for its accomplishments. The Board is very pleased to have many newer residents becoming actively involved as they realize the value the PCA has to this area, and welcome Stephanie Abbott as Recording Secretary.
- Balancing the 2010 BudgetMark recapped the most important issue last year when the Township reserve fund had gone from $14 million to $11 million and the proposed 2009 budget would take the reserve down $3 million more. In response to concerns expressed by the PCA and other civic associations, the Township Supervisors formed a committee of volunteers to review budget items and recommend reductions. Through the Budget Advisory Working Group’s efforts, the Township budget for 2010 was reduced by $3 million and balanced with no increase in taxes, and reductions in 2009 eliminated $2 million in costs. This is an example of cooperation on the part of citizens and government, and all involved deserve our thanks.
- SidewalksWhen Saint David’s Golf Club built a new maintenance building several years ago, Township ordinances required the Club to provide a letter of credit for construction of a sidewalk by the building along Upper Gulph Road. During a Supervisor’s meeting on Jan. 25, Supervisor Olson made a motion to return the letter of credit and excuse the Club from building the sidewalk. Although the motion was passed, it was retracted the following meeting. A subcommittee to re-examine the wants and needs of the community with regard to sidewalks and paths has been created. Information is posted on the Tredyffrin Township website found as a link on the PCA website. http://www.tredyffrin.org/pdf/minutes/bos/bos-2010-2-8.pdf
- FLITEFoundation for Learning in Tredyffrin/Easttown is an organization dedicated to aiding all TE students to reach their potential. It is run by volunteers on donations. Our Executive Committee is impressed with the organization and a link to FLITE’s website has been added to the Panhandle website. http://flite-pa.org/. We urge all residents to become familiar with this group and support it if possible.
- Mt. PleasantDonna Shipman, a PCA block captain who represents Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, discussed problems families in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood are facing as residences are being rented to college students. Trash, noise and unsafe driving practices were cited. There is no clear law to address this issue and as a consequence, residents fear property values will decrease as well as their quality of life. On March 22, 2010, three Township Supervisors, Tredyffrin police officers and members of the Township administration attended a meeting at the First Baptist Church on Upper Gulph Road to discuss the situation with residents. Residents and landlords shared their concerns. After study of adjoining townships’ similar ordinances, the Township hopes to have improved guidelines in place by Sept. 2010. Concern for health and safety issues was also expressed regarding a clear-cut neighborhood property, which is being ignored by the non-resident owner. The Township Code Enforcement officer has been asked to take immediate action.
- REACTKaren Cruickshank spoke about the good work the 2009 PCA food drive accomplished to restock the REACT food pantry. The number of Tredyffrin citizens needing help has tripled this year, and the drive will be held again in September 2010. Thanks to all the block captains for facilitating this drive each year.
- School BoardKevin Buraks and Karen Cruickshank, residents of the Panhandle and members of the School Board, spoke about the budget crisis for schools across the state. Tax revenues are flat and expenses are increasing, including medical insurance costs. The Board has to find ways to close a deficit of $9.25 million for the coming year, and an even larger deficit the following year. A proposed tax increase of no more than 2.9% (the limit allowed) is proposed to partially meet this deficit. The School Board has had to dip into its rainy day fund. Kevin and Karen asked for the public to provide input by attending not only the school board meetings but also the committee meetings. View http://www.tesd.k12.pa.us/, and the budget committee meeting is aired on Comcast Ch. 14, or Verizon Ch. 20.
- TownwatchSeveral residents have expressed willingness to coordinate our Townwatch so weekly patrols could begin soon. Email Brian Richardson firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to volunteer to patrol. At least 50 members are needed, who patrol only twice a year. Patrols ceased three years ago after being active for over 30 years. Townwatch is known to be a significant deterrent to crime, and we ask all residents to be active on their street, and always report suspicious activity or strange cars to the police department.
- Treasurer’s ReportRevenue from the fundraising annual dinner is used to replenish our treasury each year, and covers cost of printing newsletters, postage, etc. The Panhandle Civic Association currently has $9143.03 in the bank, 2009 expenditures were $284.61. We have traditionally kept between $8-10,000 in the account, which gives us stability and the ability to cover attorney fees should we ever need one. (We have been close to this need several times.) In the past, the PCA has donated furniture to the Library, a $3,000 defibrillator for a patrol car to the police department, and funded the Townwatch signs posted throughout the neighborhood.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:45 PM and a social evening of cocktails and dinner followed, attended by 43 residents. Our thanks to the St. Davids Golf Club for providing this local venue to the PCA.
PCA Executive Committee
May 2009Panhandle Civic Association Meeting, January 13, 2009
The January 13 meeting of the PCA was held in the First Baptist Church at Mount Pleasant at 7:30 pm. Special guests were three Tredyffrin Supervisors, Bob Lamina, Judy DiFilippo and Paul Olson, and guests from the Valley Forge Civic Association and the Shand Tract Association. The issue discussed was the $2.4 million deficit in the 2009 Tredyffrin Township budget being offset by the use of reserve funds, and some resident’s belief that the budget should be reduced instead.
The meeting was chaired by Mark Werther, Acting President of the Panhandle Civic Association (PCA).
The Supervisors in attendance fielded questions and comments from the audience of about 35 people.
Most questions elicited responses that were similar to those responses given by the Supervisors at the December 15 Budget meeting.
- Concerns about Reserve FundConcerns about continued depletion of the Reserve Fund to balance the budget, including:
- Rationale for using reserves to balance budgets. It was pointed out that the fund was designed for such use.
- The current size of the reserves is approximately $11 million
- The anticipated fund balance at the end of the coming year is approximately $8 million
- The size of the fund balance at its peak was approximately $14 million
- The supervisors, normally, would have expected the reserves to grow due to income from transfer taxes, but the real estate market is down significantly, resulting in a large drop in transfer tax revenue.
- Concerns about wage freezeConcerns with the Supervisors changing their position on a wage freeze. The Supervisors voted to impose a wage freeze, then voted to rescind that decision. The Supervisors were unwilling to put a firm commitment to an expense reduction of (at least) $100,000 into the budget, but have mandated to the Township Manager that she reduce costs of that amount during the year.
- Additional expense reductionThe question was asked: Would the Supervisors consider adopting additional expense reductions now, even though the budget has been passed. The response was no, but we’re “always looking for ways to reduce expenses.” Also, a Budget Task Force [to be formed] will look for additional expense saving opportunities. The Supervisors are also considering sending a questionnaire to taxpayers asking them to advise on which services taxpayers might be willing to do without.
- Comments from SupervisorsSupervisor comments revealed that some employees receive annual Cost of Living Adjustments, plus "Longevity" pay increases. Also, up until now, some employees have received Township-paid health care insurance coverage for life, paid no health care premiums, and pay a very small co-pay at time of service. This information was not well received by many attendees. It was explained that past salaries were low in comparison to similar jobs elsewhere, and the incentive given was lifetime insurance coverage. Thus, the previous generation was passing costs on to future generations.
- Reserve Fund InvestmentThe supervisors were asked: how are the reserve funds invested? They replied: in very liquid and safe investment vehicles.
- Critical and non-critical budget categoriesThe supervisors were asked: will there be an attempt to divide the budget into two categories: critical and non-critical. They answered, Yes, the Budget Task Force will address this.
- Other comments:
- Supervisors are considering a survey of what the citizens want, and are willing to pay for, in terms of services.
- Because of the amount of preparatory work that had already been done, it would have been difficult to make substantial changes to the budget at the Dec. 15 approval meeting.
- Desire to have more transparency in Township financial matters by posting revenues and expenditures on the web.
- Township needs to do a better job communicating what it does with tax dollars, and also communicating about things like grants that are received and used to pay certain expenses.
- Comments about requiring St. Davids Golf Club to install a sidewalk--and sidewalk expense, in general.
- Comments about perceived unnecessary expenditures on parks.
There was overall an open discussion and the impression was that we have competent people running the Township ….and that they will respond to community requests for more fiscal conservative planning.
The Proposed Financial Task Force will emphasize Zero based budgeting; i.e., identifying “critical services” (e.g. police ) vs. “optional services” (e.g. sidewalks, parks )
The Task Force objectives would be to develop plans accordingly for public review earlier in the year than November, to allow time for public input.
Urgency was emphasized by attendees…since national economic down-turn could last years.
Some interesting township statistics that were discussed at the meeting as follows :
Web site www.tredyfrin.org Population 30,000 in 12,500 houses Number of employees 107 (75 covered under bargaining contracts including 50 police) Roads 144 miles Budget $37 Million Cash Reserve $11M - 12/2008, $8M - 12/2009 …invested in short term cash instruments 2009 Tax Increase 2.4% ($11 average increase per home?) Debt in Bonds $21M Goals Health, Safety and Welfare of people
President Werther thanked the Supervisors for their long and continued service to the Township, and for meeting with the citizens about this important deficit and how to solve it. The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 pm.
My thanks to
John McAllister of the Valley Forge Civic Association
Tom Colman who runs runs FLITE (Foundation for Learning in Tredyffrin/Eastown) to aid our financially disadvantaged children - Flite Web site: www.flite-pa.org.
Barbara Zimmerman, Secretary
Update on The Budget Task Force
At the April 14, 2009 Executive Board meeting, Mark Werther showed an email from Thomas E. Colman, the head of the Tredyffrin Township Budget Advisory Working Group (BAWG). The BAWG has the authority to make 2010 budget decisions and to work on the existing budget as well. The PCA Executive Board pointed out that the Transfer tax has been severely affected by the economic downturn and while other towns have tightened employee hours, Tredyffrin has failed to trim its budget accordingly.
Executive Committee Meeting, January 5, 2009
Attendees: Julie Lindberg, Mark Werther, Bill Pentz, Christine Wright, Barbara Zimmerman, Doug Moore, Tom Frank, Kate Stone, Lee Lantz and Ana Negron.
Guest: Tim Landers, Vice Chair of the Sidewalk, Path and Trails Committee.
The meeting of the Executive Committee was called to order by our Acting President, Julie Lindberg, at 7:10 pm on January 6 at her home.
- Meeting of the Board of SupervisorsJulie and Doug Moore, our Legislative Committee Chair, attended the Jan 5 Meeting at the Township, and requested the Supervisors address the letter the PCA sent to them on Dec. 22 regarding the reduction of the 2009 approved budget. It will be necessary to have follow up at all their bi-monthly meetings requesting progress on reducing spending to avoid using reserve funds to balance the budget.
Three Supervisors have agreed to attend the general meeting we have scheduled for Tuesday, January 13, at the First Baptist Church in Mt. Pleasant., at 7:30 pm. They are Paul Olson, Judy DiFilippo and Bob Lamina. Previously, Mark, Bill Pentz and Julie met with Paul and Bob informally to discuss a reduced budget, and were disappointed to see them vote in favor of increasing taxes and the proposed 2009 budget with plans to use another $2.4 million from reserve funds to balance it.
As Doug Moore was quite ill during December, he has requested we find someone else to attend meetings with him on a regular basis. Lee Lantz has agreed to join him for a while.
Julie has placed two articles in the local newspapers regarding the need for a budget reduction, and she has received some feedback. A questionnaire was attached to the general meeting announcement for residents to register their belief about the need for a budget reduction in 2009, and all so far are in agreement with the Executive Committee that the Township should not be using reserve funds to meet the current projected $2.4 million shortfall.
Mark Werther suggested we keep the following issues before the Supervisors:
- Do not spend money you do not have.
- Balance the budget without taking from the reserve fund.
- Now that we have a $2.4 million deficit, what has been done to reduce spending so that we do not have to eat into our reserve.
As several Supervisor positions may be open for election in 2009, it was suggested we invite candidates to meet with us and explain their platforms.
Doug Moore has been asked to consider joining the Township Citizens Task Force to review the budget for 2010, and he will provided someone with accounting skills accompanies him.
- Annual DinnerOur second annual dinner has been set for Friday, June 5, 2009 at the St. David’s Golf Club. The cost should be the same as last year, and details will be forthcoming from the Social Committee.
- Garden Tour and Car ShowThe PCA annual garden tour will be held on Sunday, 6/7/09. There was some discussion about the late date, and being so close to the Dinner, but earlier dates are hampered by Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Maps and announcements will be handed out at the Annual Dinner. There is no charge to attend.
- Computer CommitteeJulie suggested that Tom Frank, Committee Chair, have someone as a back up if he is occupied and cannot update the website . Tom said we needed someone with HTML expertise and he didn’t feel it possible to have more than one person doing it.
We currently have 140 email addresses registered, approximately 40% of our residents. Mark Werther suggested we solicit the block captains to try and keep up with changes to email addresses. Christine Wright will give Tom the addresses she received during our last Annual Dinner.
Our goal is to be able to communicate with all residents of the Panhandle through email, rather than the time intensive method of distribution through our Block Captains.
- Guest Speaker – Sidewalks, Path and Trails CommitteeTim Landers, co-chair of the committee with Shawn Moyer, gave a briefing on the activities of the Committee. It was set up five years ago as a volunteer advisory board to give proposals to the Supervisors. They meet 4 times a year and the next meeting is at 9 am on January 15 in the Community Room at the Township Building. Several projects have been created, only Phase 1 has been approved.
- Phase 1: Create a sidewalk around Conestoga High School. This is a safety issue and construction will begin this summer. The funding comes from a capital debt loan that has already been borrowed. An application for a federal grant would offset some of the cost. The length of the sidewalk is about one mile.
- Phase 2A: Extend the sidewalk down Irish Road.
- Phase 2B: Extend the sidewalk to Hillside School
- Phase 3: Install sidewalk around Valley Forge Middle School
- Subsequent phases will involve sidewalks for the Library and Parks predicated on feedback from the community and budget constraints, etc.
Tim pointed out that the Township will pay to move fences to build the sidewalk, but currently will not keep the sidewalks cleared and repaired so that is the responsibility of the land owners.
Julie stated that currently a Township ordinance requires that new construction include a sidewalk. Five years ago a PCA questionnaire received a majority NO from residents. While people may want to use sidewalks, they create a liability and maintenance problem for homeowners. Dr. Ana Negron spoke in favor of the need for more safety in walking, particularly on our major through roads, and that they will encourage people of all ages to get more exercise.
The trail program seemed more positive as the idea is to extend the Chester Valley Trail which has federal funds available. This Trail extends from Downingtown to Center City, and will be built in 2009-10.
Mark Werther asked why the cost is so high at $10 per square foot. The total cost for Phases 1 and 2 is $2.4 million. He suggests better consultants could reduce the cost.
He suggested that sidewalks should only be considered in the highest use public areas – schools, libraries, train station – and only when they are covered by substantial grants. Segmented sidewalks to nowhere should not be considered. Sidewalk construction should not be forced onto homeowners.
The present plan could get out of hand and has not considered the burden of maintenance, liability and replacement costs, which are now the responsibility of the owner of the land that the sidewalks cross.
Tom was thanked for giving us his briefing, and for his service to the Township.
- Nominating CommitteeEvery two years we form a committee to propose a slate of officers for election at the Annual Meeting in June. Vice President Bill Pentz has agreed to help form this group and consider a slate of officers. As we currently do not have a president, Julie Tom Cooper and Mark Werther have been sharing the duties as Acting Presidents, and will probably continue this for another year. Meanwhile, it is important for the growth of the PCA that younger residents join the Executive Committee and understand the procedures. We are also lacking a Recording Secretary.
The meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm
Barbara Zimmerman, Secretary
November 2008Quarterly Executive Meeting
Acting President Mark Werther hosted the September 18 meeting at his home, and welcomed our new Vice President, Bill Pentz , to the Executive Committee.
- Panhandle Food DriveSchool board member and Panhandle resident Karen Cruickshank organized the volunteer food drive through the Block Captains to benefit REACT, a Berwyn food distribution organization. The amount of goods collected was astounding and filled the empty coffers of REACT. The PCA thanks Karen for a job well done, and hopes the food drive will be repeated next year. We thank our block captains for their cooperation and contribution to this worthwhile cause.
- Police PatrolsA letter was sent to Police Captain Chambers requesting additional police car patrols of the Panhandle to increase security and police visibility in our neighborhood. There have been several home burglaries during the past few months in the Panhandle.
- TownwatchThe need for reinstituting Townwatch was discussed. It was disbanded due to lack of a coordinator, so if anyone would like to see this worthwhile neighborhood safety program start anew, contact Mark Werther, phone 610-688-8528. During the 30+ years it operated, our crime rate was negligible, but within two years has begun to rise. Even if we don’t have organized patrols, we encourage everyone to practice the method of watching our streets and neighbors’ houses, and noting the presence of strange cars either stopped or patrolling through. Note the license plates of such cars and notify the police department – they welcome our assistance.
- Invitation of Supervisors to attend Panhandle meetingsTwo Supervisors will be invited to each meeting of our Executive Committee Meetings. If one or both cannot attend, it is hoped that two others will take their place. The purpose is to discuss items of concern in an informal basis for no more than ½ hour.
- SidewalksThe Township has in place a Master Plan for sidewalk development. Sidewalks on first look may appear to be a desired improvement, but the Panhandle is concerned that the construction process and cost and liability potential will become burdensome to homeowners.
- Notification DistributionA discussion was held about enlarging the database of the Panhandle e-mail system. The goal is to register as many residents on email as possible so PCA news distribution can be on a timely basis. The list is confidential. The Executive Committee is soliciting ideas on how to improve our distribution. Please visit our website and register, and notify our webmaster of any changes to your address.
- VotingThe Panhandle’s polling location is the Church of the Saviour. It was reported that approximately 1800 people are on the voting list. Lines starting at 7:00 AM were over 500 feet long and residents waited as long as two hours to vote. People left and returned as many as three times. The problem was not the 6 voting booths but rather the check-in process of the registered voters. Mark Werther contacted the Chester County Department of Voter Services and is waiting for a call back from one of the Directors for a discussion on how to remedy this unacceptable process. Nearby areas have only 400 on their list.
- LegislativeDoug Moore, Legislative Committee representative, reported that he would appreciate assistance attending Supervisors meetings and representing the Panhandle. If you can assist Doug, please contact the Acting President. This function is one of our most important as a civic association, and vital to our continued presence in the Township. Meetings are held twice a month on Monday.
- WarningErrors have recently been noted in property assessments. Any resident having work done on their home that requires reassessment should carefully review all of the assessment notice line items for accuracy and request explanations for each item to their satisfaction. It is recommended that you verify the numbers by going through the evaluation with assessors in West Chester.
- Garden Tour and Car ShowThe Panhandle will again present a wonderful garden tour and car show on Sunday, June 7, 2009 from 1:00 PM-4:00 PM rain or shine and of course there is no charge. While we already have a few gardens to join our tour, we are still looking for more lovely gardens or places of interest to show. The gardens need not be perfect, large or completed. As gardeners know, gardens are never done.
Again this year the PCA Garden Tour will feature a fabulous car show! Come see how many of your neighbors own exotic and antique cars. See the Tredyffrin Township's Police Emergency Vehicle. There will be approximately 20 vehicles on Rossiter Lane for your viewing pleasure.
If you or anyone you know would like to participate with a garden, car or something fun to show, please contact Marge Hayward at 610-341-0844 or send an email to Marge at email@example.com. Watch for further information in future newsletters.
- Next Executive MeetingThe next Executive Meeting will be held in mid-January, 2009. The annual dinner will again be held in May, 2009.
Barbara Zimmerman, Secretary
For any comments, please contact: Mark Werther, firstname.lastname@example.org or Barbara Zimmerman, email@example.com
Panhandle Civic Association MemoFrom: Mark Werther, Acting President
Reference: Tredyffrin Budget and Hearings
Doug Moore, our Legislative Committee Chair, delivered the Tredyffrin 2009 Proposed Budget and Commentary to me the week of November 3. I made a cursory review of the material. Note: the following numbers may not be exact but are ‘close’.
Total Proposed Budget $37,000,000. Income $34,000,000. Deficit $3,000,000. Suggested milage increase, 2.18 mils to 2.29 mils (5%), Amount generated $382,000. General Fund reduction/deficit $2,600,000.
The Nov. 17 Supervisors Meeting started at 7:30 pm with about 60 people in the audience. Township Manager Mimi Gleason presented the numbers related to each division of the Budget.
The first time I spoke, I indicted that when the Panhandle started their involvement over 30 years ago, a time would be made available for an informal review of the Budget with staff so that we would have an understanding of the line items. The Hearing format now being utilized and time for review is unacceptable (which I also stated at last year’s hearing). I indicated now was the time for some serious review and adjustments. I had 50 to 80 items that I was interested in reviewing, but felt it was not opportune to stand before the Board and try and complete the task.
Over the next two and one quarter hours at least 20 citizens made comments: many related to the disastrous economy, the need to implement lower health care, benefit packages, longevity raises and Township contributions to retirement.
Collective Bargaining agreements are in place with many employees and there is not much to be done until the agreements are renegotiated.
Supervisor Lamina motioned to reduce the Budget by approximately $200,000 with a ten point plan -- a noble, but minimal effort in forcing reductions in very specific areas. Lengthy discussions followed and his plan was passed. However, $50,000 was added by author-izing two additional police officers, without a clear explanation. This related to ‘full strength’. What full strength of 51 for the Police Department meant was not analyzed, and in my opinion needs to be discussed in depth. The point was also made that the two officers were included at $50,000 for 2009 with the remainder of their salaries to be found somewhere in the Police Budget. Their presence would increase in cost for the following years.
A discussion of Police SWAT representation started with Warren Kampf’s motion to limit to reduce to 9 officers from the present 11 on SWAT assignment. The other cooperating Townships apparently have a maximum of three officers designated as SWAT. I responded by pointing out the Budget shows $9,391,795 under Police and $539,000 in SWAT. The Police Superintendent did not seem to have all the figures for a composite $9,930,795 plus $50,000 budget for a 51-officer department. Later I thought this does not include ‘plant’ and replacement costs for equipment and can only assume we are running a 51 person department at $225,000 per person.
I spoke approximately six times; some of the points made were:
Supervisor DiBuonaventuro suggested the establishment of a Financial Review Board with a 3 – 5 citizen membership. This would start for fiscal 2010.
- The residents of the Township are suffering from the financial condition of the Country.
- It is time for serious review of the whole process and Budget.
- The time frame currently in place for budget review is not conducive to proper analysis by the Supervisors and/or the public.
- We have approximately a $9,000,000 reserve at the end of 2008. We need $3,000,000 in the General Fund to provide operating funds prior to major tax revenue arrivals. This leaves $6,000,000 in reserve less the $2,200,000 required to fill the deficit for 2009.
- The remaining $3.8 million reserve funds will be used up in 2010 and 2011 with the types of deficits and 5% millage hikes suggested, unless the Township addresses a reduction in the budget.
- The proposed $382,000 increase in taxes does not resolve the budget deficit. Balance the Budget first and then, if needed, go the citizens for minor shortfalls.
- The 5% tax hike or Paul Olsen’s suggested lowered % does not resolve our major problem. It should not and cannot be funded by increased taxes on the backs of the residents. Things are going to get worse.
- I was not satisfied with explanations of numbers of Police Officers assigned per shift at or near 202 and the use of and number of unmarked cars on 202. I reiterated (the classic broken record) officers should be in the neighborhoods, not patrolling 202.
- The Board should focus on reducing Capital expenditures across the board in the budget to produce a balanced budget.
The proposed Budget was passed with some reduction on the tax increase but leaving the massive deficit. The final Budget must be passed at the December 15, 2008 Supervisors’ meeting. For those of you that have interest in watching the Hearing, the proceedings are now on Channel One on Comcast on a continual basis. This is a serious budget problem and anyone wanting to take part addressing this is invited to contact me. We are hopeful the Supervisors will take 10% off the budget before it passes on the 15th.
Whereas most residents will see a large reserve fund and feel it easier to meet the 2009 budget shortfall by dipping further into the reserve, we attended the budget hearing last year when the Supervisors approved a $2 million reduction of the reserve. We requested they include us in their 2008 process early enough that we could work to reduce the budget without further depletion of the reserve, and they failed to do so. The result is a repeat of 2007. The planned use of the reserve fund to meet a large budget deficit should end with 2008, and this 2009 deficit should be met with a more realistic reduction now before final approval by the Supervisors on Dec. 15 at the Township building at 1100 Duportail Road in Berwyn, (Chesterbrook). If you wish to contact our representative Supervisor, Paul Olson, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEMO: From Julie Lindberg, Past President PCA
The reserve fund was set up to meet emergency needs, not budget shortfalls in general. A township-wide reassessment of real estate values would tax the homeowners even more. We feel reducing the budget at this time is the only fair solution to Township residents dealing with reduced incomes from the major financial recession across the country.
May 2008Latest Bulletin of Executive Committee, which met on May 30, 2008
The 33rd Annual Meeting of the PCA was held on May 30 at the St. David’s Golf Club with 70 members present, followed by a dinner buffet. A brief business meeting was held updating activities of the committees, and election of officers for the coming year. A roster of officers, board members and committees is attached, with email addresses. All newsletters and activities are now posted on our website, www.panhandlecivic.org. We hope to eliminate manual distribution the newsletters, once all residents have registered their addresses with the webmaster.
- Social Committee
The response to the Annual Banquet was very positive, with the majority of those attending suggesting it be held late spring next year. Another suggestion is to hold an event where children can also attend, as many could not attend the dinner who needed babysitters. The Committee is open to suggestions for other social events during the year, with the possibility of holding a Holiday Reception at the Club for residents in December, possibly on a Sunday afternoon. Contact committee members with your suggestions.
- Garden TourSurround yourself with beauty by joining the Garden Tour Committee. We will meet in July, so be part of the fun by emailing Barb Zimmerman with your name, phone number and email address. The tour is usually held early in May, and the group is seeking offers from residents willing to share their garden. email@example.com
- LegislativeSupervisor Paul Olson is now our Representative to the Board of Supervisors, so all concerns from Panhandle residents should be addressed to him.
Doug Moore continues to watch the Supervisors’ decision to raise taxes again in December. The idea is to slowly raise the taxes rather than have a big increase when the reserve fund can no longer offset increased costs. Doug continues to go alone to Supervisor meetings twice a month, and would welcome the company of others interested in Township affairs. If you have an interest in how the Township functions, call Doug at 610 688-8850 and join him.
- Block CaptainsWe welcome new block captains to Area 4 (Ann Swift), Area 8 (Susan Peterman), Area 13 (Jean Kintisch), and Area 15 (Barbara Nagy-Titi). It is wonderful to have these areas again represented. Area 10, the lower part of Weadley Road, is still lacking a captain. If you are located there and willing to help, please call our new Membership Chairman, Bonnie Bennett. There is also no captain for Mt. Pleasant, Areas 18/21.
- SchoolsKaren Cruickshank, a Panhandle resident newly elected to the School Board, is interested in sponsoring a food drive to benefit REACT, the Berwyn organization that has assisted countless families in the area for over thirty years. If you would like to help in this effort, contact Karen at 610-995-0347. Further information will reach you as plans progress.
- TownwatchSeveral residents spoke during the Annual Meeting of the need to resume patrols by Townwatch, which became inactive a year ago. A coordinator is needed to organize weekly patrols, and conduct a new membership drive to increase the pool of patrol members. If you are interested in being trained for this important service to your community, contact Morrie Kricun at 610-687-3337.
The effectiveness of Townwatch over the past 30 years is obvious in our low crime rate, compared to several burglaries a week prior to its inception in 1975. Each street is asked to have one active member, but all residents in the Panhandle can take part by learning how to protect their neighbors and watch for signs of strangers and/or cars in their streets.
A burglary took place on June 3 on Tiverton Circle in the afternoon with no sign of forced entry, but neighbors later remembered seeing a man in a parked car on the street for two days prior. Anyone who does not have legitimate business in the area should have their license plate number reported to the police (610-644-3221), who welcome this activity and the use of your eyes to combat future break-ins. When challenged, most cars leave the area, and move to an area where they are left alone to learn the routines of family members and when to strike.
- Panhandle DirectoryIf you feel a directory of Panhandle residents would be of use to you, please contact our new vice president, Bill Pentz. Several present at the May 30 dinner have suggested we address this issue again. A list of services offered by teenagers could be included, such as yard work, babysitting, errand running. Such a directory would be restricted to internal use only by local residents, as is our email list.
- Importance of the Civic AssociationThe PCA has been extremely active for over 30 years. Its genesis was a response to the need to communicate with the Township during the installation of sewers. Through communication, members were alerted to problems, and ways they could reduce the cost to a household. Since then, we have addressed: aerial spraying for gypsy moths three times, the widening of Upper Gulph Road by contractors developing Fox Chapel reducing accidents at King of Prussia Road, supported protection of the natural spring which flows into McKaig Nature Park, challenged the raising of taxes in the 1980s three times (each time they had a million dollar surplus due to revenues from Chesterbook development), called attention to a group religious home being established on a local street (which encouraged them to look elsewhere), encouraged the Township to engage a financial planner, sponsored the Townwatch program since its inception, provided legal assistance to residents of Mt. Pleasant as they gained ownership of land and turned a back area into a Township-owned park, donated a defibrillator to the Police Department, a table to the Library, and protested the removal of the Strafford Library to Chesterbrook.
The list of positive results is very long, and no one knows what the next issue we face will be. Many of the founders of the PCA are no longer alive or in the Panhandle, but have left a legacy which needs to be met by a younger generation, and we are pleased to see that happening with the new roster attached to this newsletter.
December 2007Latest Bulletin of Executive Committee, which met on December 5, 2007
In attendance were:
- Doug Moore, our attendee at the township meeting, gave a report about the Quigly Road parking problem. Rather than have permit parking for the residence, it was decided that the first 25-30 feet will have a No Parking sign. While Quigly Road is not part of the Panhandle, it provided a similar solution for Tall Oaks Street who have experienced parking problems with Cabrini students in the Panhandle.
- At the Township meeting, questions were raised about the library funding issues. A public meeting is scheduled for January 8th to discuss the library funding.
There were two main issues for our meeting of December 5th, the tax question and the PCA annual meeting.
- Township MeetingThe proposed 3 mil tax was discussed first. Julie Lindberg received about 10 emails from Panhandle residents on our email list all opposed to the tax increase. The increase would amount to approximately $15 per year for a $200,000 property. If the tax increase passed, it would give the township an additional $240,000. The finances were explained. Currently we have a $10 million reserve. This must be kept in order to maintain our Moody credit rating at its current high level A++. Additionally we have a $4 million reserve beyond the $10 million. Some of the infrastructure in need of repair are 3 bridges, a sewer line on one of these bridges, and our normal township road repair.
On December 17th there will be a township meeting in which a vote will be taken on the budget and tax increase. Several PCA members will attend with Doug Moore.
Doug Moore provided the executive committee with a copy of the budget. The budget is $48.9 million. There was a lengthy discussion of items in the budget resulting in a conclusion that the budget should be better scrutinized. In the past Mark Werther has spoken to Steve Narcini and Warren Kemp about several supervisor management issues.
It was decided that a letter be written by Mark Werther stating that the citizens of the Panhandle would like more time to review the budget and that the citizens who have contacted the executive committee are all against a tax increase. This letter will go to Julie for review and then once completed will go in a letter from the Panhandle Civic Association to the newspaper and to the board of supervisors. The letter will state that we represent the tax payers and the people who have contacted us are unanimously opposed to the tax increase. Additionally the township currently has funds to pay for all items and there should be no tax increase until we have used up the $4 million surplus. We would like to see reduced costs in the budget before raising taxes.
Doug Moore explained that the proposed tax increase is on real estate and is preferable to an earned income tax. Doug further explained that the township wants to give us a small increase over the next few years rather than waiting 3 years and giving us a huge increase. Doug said that the projects in the budget will bring our $4 million reserve down to $2 million and the supervisors are uncomfortable with that drain on the reserve.
Doug goes to the township meetings. He had accompanied Noel Jackson to these meetings and now he goes alone. Julie suggested to Doug that he should contact the PCA when he needs support to attend the meetings. As a more permanent solution, an email will be sent to the PCA requesting a legislative committee to help Doug.
- PCA Annual MeetingThe second major topic of the evening was the PCA Annual Meeting. It was suggested by Julie Lindberg that we combine the meeting with an optional dinner afterward. It is hoped that having a social event will attract the next generation to join the Panhandle Civic Association. After some discussion it was decided that charging $40 for the meeting and dinner would give us $10 per participant as a fundraiser in lieu of collecting annual dues. Our treasury currently stands approximately at $7800. We will pick a Friday night in mid March for the meeting. Tom Cooper volunteered his wife to help Julie Lindberg with the details of the dinner meeting. One of the topics to be discussed at the Annual Meeting is the question of the PCA presidency. Should we continue to rotate the office of the president or should we elect a permanent president?
- Other Discussed TopicsIn addition to the two main issues of the evening, other topics were discussed.
We spent time talking about the need for traffic safety improvement at King of Prussia and Upper Gulph Rd. This still needs action, which may be a simple as additional signage
Also of concern was the management of the township projects and their impact on the budget. Mark Werther's letter will address the following: The township has plenty of money currently. We want to know what is the status of the true reserve. What extras are there in the operating funds that could be eliminated. There is concern about managing projects efficiently, especially the amount of consulting studies proposed. We also have concerns that projects cost more than they should. Finally, the budget lacks information and one month given to review the budget is not enough time to scrutinize it thoroughly.
Barbara Zimmerman, Secretary
January 2007Bulletin of Executive Committee, which met on January 25, 2007
In attendance were:
And our township Supervisor at Large, Warren Kampf
- Treasurer's reportChristine Wright, Treasurer, gave her report and it was accepted as reported.
- Old Business
- LibraryLibrary Funding: Warren explained that the library received $500,000 from the state as part of our capital campaign. $3 million came from the township and the citizens raised another $3 million to give us a total of $6,550,000. This will mean that the library will remain at its present location for another 50 years.
Paige Skelly reported on the efforts of the 17 member “Panhandle Friends of the Library”. This group worked on the final push to complete the Library's capital campaign. From the Panhandle itself, contributions of $65,086 were raised. Areas will be named for the Panhandle Friends of the Library, but one section should be named for the Panhandle Civic Association as we raised some of the funds through our efforts before the Friends were formed. Paige will take the idea of naming one area for the Panhandle Civic Association back to her group. The areas being considered are: the Internet access in the main lobby, the business and copy center, and the children's area self-checkout.
- No PECO meetings were held since our power has been no problem this winter.
- The water pressure has been good.
- Township Building RoofThe township building roof was discussed with Warren Kampf. At the suggestion of Mark Werther, the township has engaged an expert, Dave Schubert, to look at the roof issue. The issue is as follows. The Certainteed shingles on the roof should be good for 20 years. After 10 years these shingles have failed. Dave Schubert and Steve Orsini examined the roof and the shingle problem. Dave indicated that there is a failure of the installed shingles. Certainteed offered to replace all the shingles and to give the township $10,000 which would go towards tearing off the old roof and putting on the new shingles.
Steve Orsini estimates that to put on a new roof would cost $90,000 in labor. The township solicitor is looking at the public proposal for labor and the possibility of rebidding utilizing Certainteed approved contractors. The other question is whether to try and get some of the additional $80,000 from Certainteed.
- Collection of e-mail effortTom Frank received over 100 new e-mail addresses from the block captain's efforts to collect e-mail address.
- New Business
- IntersectionA meeting will be held on January 31 to discus the straightening of the intersection between Upper Gulph Road and King of Prussia Road. The meeting has been called by the township manager, Mimi Gleason.
The township manager is looking for public input about pursuing a change because we have a federal grant of $1.3 million through PennDOT that will disappear if we do not act on straightening the intersection.
The intersection is shared between Radnor Township and Tredyffrin Township. The property on the SW corner is cut in half. The NE corner is Tredyffrin.
Radnor has already rejected the proposal to straighten the intersection in a town meeting. The main objection, every time the proposal comes up, is to having a stop light at the intersection.
- DevelopmentThe township is looking at proposals by various developers on sites around the township. One area is the re-development on the railroad site behind the Paoli station and moving the station to the west. Other sites being discussed is a site near Duffy's, a site near the quarry, and the Daylesford project.
- Committee NamesA review of current committees and their members was discussed. The list was updated to reflect moved or retired committee members. Suggestions of new people to take over relevant committees were made. The Acting President will contact the suggested names to solicit their participation.
- Block CaptainsWe reviewed the current list of block captains.
- Annual MeetingThe Panhandle Civic Association will hold its annual meeting on Wednesday, April 18, 2007. Tom Cooper will contact the Tredyffrin Library and the Baptist Church to inquire about using one of these facilities for the event.
- Events in our AreaA suggestion was made to add to our newsletter a section entitled “To See in Our Area”. This section will hold a list of current shows and events that might be of interest to the residence of the Panhandle.
- Note: A public hearing on an important issueMark Werther brought to our attention a public hearing to be held on Feb. 27, 2007. The School Board will decide on type of income tax rate to include on the ballot question at a special public meeting on March 12, 2007. A full report can be found on www.tesd.net
Lots of problems here folks!! .06% personal income tax utilized to reduce property tax.
- AdjournmentThe meeting was adjourned at 9:45 PM
September 2006Bulletin of Executive Committee, which met on September 28, 2006
September 28 Executive Meeting was attended by: Mark Werther, Noel and Eva Jackson, Julie Lindberg, Tom Cooper; all past presidents; and Tom Frank, Webmaster. Members of the Executive Board currently serve as Designated President on a rotating basis. Tom Cooper will hold the position of Designated President until February 2007, following Mark Werther, who has just served for the past 6 months.
- OilHaly Oil Company issued a price of $2.59 to Panhandle residents. The $2.59 was a community discount. Options offered are pre-pay, a lock in price and a cap. Residents can select Panhandle programs or negotiate on their own.
- SignageThanks to our resident graphics designer Nick Micolucci, signs with PCA logo and web site address will soon be attached to existing TOWNWATCH signs at 8 or 9 entry points to the Panhandle. These signs are intended to remind current Panhandle residents and make aware newcomers of the web site. The web site which will replace PCA newsletters as a means of communication and will be updated periodically, especially as news of interest or importance to area residents become available. We have chosen this mode since most residents have access to the Internet.
- Library FundingThe final push is on for reaching the $6 million goal for the Library renovation/expansion. The PCA Executive Committee has encouraged giving but does not take responsibility for soliciting or collecting donations. Paige Skelly 610-688-6478 is taking the lead in this effort. Any residents wishing to participate or donate, please contact Paige.
- Noel Jackson and Mark Werther attended the first supervisors’ meeting in August. The following items were presented to the Board by Mark Werther:
- PECO EnergyElectric outages continue to affect the area, though less frequently than in the past, thanks to Supervisor Warren Kampf, who assisted in our discussions with PECO officials.
- Verizon CableDispleasure with apparent eminent domain policy of Verizon in installation of equipment was presented. Also covered was the ineffectiveness of the Cable Committee to deal with problem. Claim of Verizon to install as phone company with its protections and then offer cable services concurrently was a problem. Presented also was the question of competition and pricing structures. Supervisor DiFilippo responded that she had attended meetings concerning the competition issues.
- Police Patrols on Route 202Complaint of continued and possibly excessive police presence on 202. The issue according to police is enforcing safety on 202. The Panhandle issue is that police should be in the township patrolling first, especially as we see little police presence in the Panhandle.
- Township Building Roof FailureMark Werther, as architect, has taken an active interest in the fact that the Township Building's roof shingles have deteriorated and need be replaced, even though the building is not very old. Mark expressed concern that no professional evaluation has been made of these and other building defects and raised questions regarding insurance coverage. We have learned in the meantime that bids for shingle replacement are being solicited and that the old shingles will be evaluated at the time of removal. Mark Werther has made further recommendations to supervisor, Mr. Kampf, regarding roofing consultants and related matters.
June 2006Bulletin of Executive Committee, which met on June 6, 2006
- Panhandle Civic Association--Who is in charge and who can attend?The Executive Committee (EC), which includes past presidents but can be joined by anyone who wants to become active in the Association, meets 3-4 times a year and has a rotating leadership. Mark Werther will be chair until September, the time of the next EC meeting, when the next chairperson will be selected.
- Method of Communication with Area CitizensMinutes of the last Executive Meeting (March) were posted on the website. In the future, condensed minutes will be posted in the form of bulletins rather than newsletters or minutes.
- E-mail AddressesSince not as many e-mail addresses as expected were submitted to the website since the last newsletter and the March meeting, block captains will solicit e-mail addresses from residents in their block areas. Please be assured that E-mail addresses will not be posted or otherwise made available to anyone. E-mail addresses are essential for the Executive Committee to communicate with residents. We recommend that the website be accessed periodically for new information.
- Postings to WebsiteAny postings, additions, or changes to the website must be approved by the Executive Committee.
- Panhandle Civic Association Signs with Website AddressSigns with the PCA's website address www.PanhandleCivic.org will soon be attached to each of the existing Townwatch poles in the Panhandle area to call attention to our website
- Strafford Library RenovationBefore and following the March meeting of the PCA, at which the Library fundraisers made a presentation, a number of citizens from the Panhandle made or pledged contributions to the renovation project. The limited funds of the PCA itself do not allow a contribution, but the Executive Committee hopes that citizens recognize the tremendous value of our Library and, therefore, will contribute generously to its renovation.
- Water Pressure in Panhandle and Cable CommitteeAqua PA, our water provider, has again been contacted about the low water pressure in some areas of the Panhandle. Members of the Executive Committee will continue to monitor Cable Committee meetings.
- How to contact the Executive Committee of the PCA?Citizen concerns should be brought to the attention of members of the Executive Committee through the website.
March 21, 2006The PCA meeting of March 21, 2006 was called to order at 7:15 by Mark Werther. Mark opened the meeting by stating that the PCA is in its 32nd year.
Treasurer's ReportThe treasurer reported $9,112.33 in the account. A check for $95.40 was written to Tom Frank, our Web Master, for the Internet host fee. The Treasurer's report was accepted.
Executive Committee MinutesThe Executive Committee minutes of January 2006 meeting were reported in the newsletter and were moved, seconded and accepted as printed.
The Executive Committee proposed the following items which were moved, seconded and accepted as proposed:
There will be no permanent president. The Executive Committee will meet three times per year or as necessary. If any items warrant a general meeting it will be called.
PCA residents will be asked to register their e-mail address on the web site, http://www.PanhandleCivic.org. Newsletters will no longer be delivered, but only available on the web site. PCA signs will be mounted throughout the Panhandle advertising the web site. There will be some expense and effort of getting these signs made and installed. A committee will be formed to accomplish the task. The oval signs will be attached to current poles holding "Townwatch" signs, and will not increase the signage population significantly. Through assessing these poles, we find many of them are missing (after 25 years of service). This, too, will be addressed with the Tredyffrin Townwatch organization.
All communications will be by e-mail. Our web master has assured us that the site is secure and that no e-mail addresses will be available to the outside.
There will be no membership drive for dues as long as the current adequate resources exist, but donations will be requested through the web site.
Block Captains will remain important to each area and will continue to be a resident's link for communication to the PCA. Notices will go out for our meetings 3 times per year via e-mail. Please use the link on the website to contact Tom Frank with any problems.
The Electric Committee met with the electric company to discover the problem with our frequent outages. The PCA is serviced by 3 separate lines, King of Prussia from Wayne, Fox Chapel and Upper Merion line. It is the Upper Merion line that causes the most problems. The electric company is doing tree trimming, which seems to help. Our township supervisor, Warren Kampf, is the main liaison with the electric company. We requested a circuit change to help with the outages but none has happened to date.
The water pressure problem on Weadley Road was helped by having the pressure increased when Mark Werther met with the water company, Aqua.
Town watch is still active and we have had patrols through Christmas.
There is a roofing problem in the township building. Joe Janice and Steve Orsini from the township are working the problem. (?)
Following a discussion about engaging a person to remove leaves for a neighborhood, it was decided that leaf removal will be a personal issue because not everyone in the PCA will need the service.
Haley Oil gave us a group price in years past and we are investigating a similar deal.
New BusinessThe township has a cable TV committee. The PCA will send a representative to the committee meetings. The issue is whether or not to allow Verizon to compete with Comcast in our area.
The Panhandle business meeting was adjourned at 8pm, followed by a Library Capital Campaign update.
Tredyffrin Public Library in StraffordPaul Olson, Rod Ross, and Anne McCollum represented the Capital Campaign Committee for the Renovation and Expansion of the Library, to begin in July. The Library is heavily used (more than 269,000 visitors/year), also for its computers. The renovation/expansion project will cost $6 millions, of which $5.5 million has been received in donations and pledges, (including the Township $3 million matching donation), corporations, organizations, and individuals. (Comcast, which has the exclusive TV cable franchise in the Township, has not made a pledge or donation.) The remaining $500,000 is expected to be raised from the general public, and residents are asked to be as generous as possible. Donations are tax-deductible (501c3) and may be matched by employers. They can be made in the form of cash, securities (stocks), as well as in the form of planned gifts (for details, call Anne McCallum at 610/952-4722) or the Library. The Library can also accept a 3 year pledge. Additionally, the Library is collecting Acme receipts which will add to the funds needed.
AttendeesClose to 30 people attended the meeting.
Recorded by B. Zimmerman
March 2006A Note From The Executive Committee:
The Executive Committee of the PCA met in early January 2006 to review current activities affecting the Panhandle. At issue is how to more efficiently operate the PCA. We are calling a general meeting of the membership on March 21 at the Tredyffrin Library at 7:15pm to vote on the proposed changes. Paul Olson, past Township Supervisor and head of the Library Capital Fund Drive, will be our guest speaker.NEW PROPOSED STRUCTUREThe Executive Committee (EC) is composed of past presidents and current officers. The EC decided that the simplest method of operation is to interact with residents utilizing the Internet. Therefore, several major decisions were approved:
- The operations of the PCA will be controlled by the EC as a group and a formal presidency would not be required at this time.
- The EC will meet 3 times a year or as necessary and provide the Webmaster with input for the website, www.PanhandleCivic.org. These meetings will be posted on the website and are open to all interested residents. Anyone with a registered email address will be notified. Concerns of residents should be directed to the EC through the website. We especially encourage new residents to become involved with our activities and committees.
- The March 21st meeting will allow our membership to vote on these changes. All residents are asked to submit their email address to the website, or to periodically visit the website, if necessary, through friends’ or the Library computers.
- Panhandle Civic Association signs with our website address are proposed to be placed strategically, preferably alongside our Townwatch signs, throughout the Panhandle.
- Instead of a periodic membership drive, the website will solicit donations, especially if our currently adequate resources should dwindle, or if the PCA desires to donate funds to a specific project such as when we purchased a defibrillator for the Police Department. We will ask new and current residents to make voluntary donations of $10 every other year. Block captains will continue to welcome new residents and familiarize them with the PCA and its mission.
- TOWNWATCH will be maintained, with volunteers solicited through the website. Alerts can be issued easily using the website. New volunteers are needed if our area is to remain as safe as it has been since it began 30 years ago. The patrol book and bag were misplaced in late December, so if it was dropped at the wrong house and you wondered what it was, please call Chris Frey at 610 293-0966. Her list of volunteers has dwindled, so call her if you wish to participate.
Since Mark Werther and others founded the PCA in 1974, it has been active in many issues. The starting goals were to change the per foot assessment on sewer installation and to treat the Gypsy Moth infestation.. The PCA’s approach has always been to be pro-active and work positively rather than to simply criticize items with which we disagreed. We have gained the respect of Township officials, and appreciate their valuable support in dealing with other area agencies for the benefit of Panhandle residents.During these past 32 years, we have addressed many other issues, have attended School Board meetings, and are still regularly attending Township meetings. Our representatives have been active in budgetary reviews at both levels. Our watchdog efforts have produced increased financial accountability and control over spending. Our efforts have produced a very high level of tax utilization by the Township, and are the reason why our taxes are lower than many adjacent townships. We also were instrumental in the creation of the position of Township Finance Director.CURRENT TOWNSHIP ISSUESThe Township Building roof is failing, though only 7 years old, along with other building defects. There has been no township response to our inquiry.Frequent power outages in some areas of the Township required major tree trimming to take place, and there have been fewer power outages this winter. The Township designated a Supervisor intermediary to work with the Panhandle Committee on this.Mark Werther has addressed inadequate water pressure in some areas of the Panhandle, and water pressure has been increased by Aqua PA.Slow building inspections need to be addressed with the Township.Problems with leaf removal continue. Waste carriers do remove bagged leaves, but it is recommended we work with neighbors to get the best rate contracts for group clean up.We will continue to investigate rates from oil delivery companies to gain the best discounts for our residents.Respectfully submitted,
Tom Cooper, Noel and Eva Jackson, Julie Lindberg Ann Shaud, Mark Werther
Summer 2003A Note From The President:
In June 2003, I was given the opportunity to become a member of the Panhandle Civic Association (PCA). Since my wife, Abby, and I had recently made the commitment to stay and raise our family in Tredyffrin Township, I felt the need to become more involved in our community. I have always enjoyed getting involved in neighborhood activities and wanted to learn more about the community at large.As the new President of the PCA, I look forward to addressing local civic issues that affect the Panhandle community and Tredyffrin Township. Social interaction is key to a strong and prosperous community. The new board and I, with your help, hope to introduce new social events, maintain our strong voice in civic matters in the township, take advantage of the community buying power of 450 families, and bring our Panhandle community closer together.I am very excited about our future together, and I look forward to serving and meeting you in the months to come.Sincerely,
In Search of Expertise:
- Townwatch Coordinator: Please help keep our neighborhood safe! We are looking for a new coordinator for Town Watch to schedule patrols. We have members who are willing to patrol and assistants ready to help the coordinator, but we still need a coordinator to organize the patrols. Please volunteer by emailing Randy Schwartz.
- Insurance Expert: Are you an insurance guru? Can you answer some questions for the PCA Board regarding liability issues? If so, please volunteer by emailing Randy Schwartz.
- Block Captains: We are looking for Block Captains for Areas 1A and 15. Please see the Officers and Directors page. If you would like to help, please volunteer by emailing Randy Schwartz.
Email Communications: We are collecting email addresses to enable us to alert you to upcoming events (and even transmit this newsletter electronically). If you would like to be included in this data base, please send an email to Tom Frank.Annual Meeting: The PCA's Annual Meeting was held on June 13, 2003. We were fortunate to have both Congressman James Gerlach and State Representative Carol Rubley in attendance. Congressman Gerlach spoke about a number of issues facing the 108th Congress, including such diverse issues as prescription drug coverage for senior citizens (which is being discussed as part of the Medicare Modernization Bill) and the Schuylkill Valley Metro Light Rail System, which would provide transit from Reading through Norristown to Philadelphia. Thanks to everyone who helped make the Annual Meeting a success.Panhandle Map: Many thanks to Nicholas Micolucci who has created a large laminated map of the Panhandle. This map will be displayed at future meetings and is a great asset for the PCA. Nick has also improved the maps for the Block Captains' territories, and we will be distributing these soon.Car Show: Unfortunately, the Panhandle car show fell victim to this spring's lousy weather, but will be re-scheduled.Subdivision Notification: At the PCA Annual Meeting, a resident pointed out, and Township Manager Joseph Janasik confirms, that subdivisions, unlike zoning changes, do not require notification of neighbors. This is consistent with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code. The PCA's legislative representative, Noel Jackson, checked neighboring townships and found that Radnor has an ordinance that requires the landowner asking for a subdivision to notify neighbors within 1000 feet of the tract. Because land suitable for building lots is becoming increasingly scarce, and because subdivisions may become more frequent as a result of this scarcity, the PCA has asked the Township to notify neighbors of subdivisions as a matter of courtesy to help prevent unpleasant surprises and possibly potentially expensive law suits.CORRECTION: In our last newsletter, we incorrectly reported on the circumstances surrounding the William Penn Oak Tree located on Karen Lane. The William Penn Oak Tree is a source of pride to the Panhandle and the township. The design of the new PCA logo was based on the William Penn Oak Tree. We are fortunate to have caring owners who have carefully maintained the tree for the past 20 years and we thank them for their nurturing and diligence.
May 2003On April 22, the Panhandle Civic Association meeting at the Library was well attended, and our thanks to Barbara Zimmerman for serving as secretary and taking the minutes. Tom Cooper gave the Treasurer's Report: our treasury stands at $9,694.28 thanks to a very successful membership drive last year and additional donations. We have nearly recouped the $3,000 for a defibrillator donated to the Police Department last year. We collected membership dues last year from 152 residents.Computer Committee: Tom Frank, Lee Lantz and Nick Micolucci, who created the new Association website, demonstrated the site at the meeting. It is well designed and informative, with links to other associations and township offices. This will serve us well in the future as we improve our communications within the community as well as others who wish to learn about the Panhandle. Log on to www.tredyffrinpanhandle.org, and please refer to it often as it will post the minutes of past meetings and notify you of future events.We would like to acquire a database of residents' email addresses which will enable us to alert you to happenings and future meetings posted on the site. If you would like to be notified, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com so we have a record of your address. We assure you they will be used only to organize our area in a positive way.Garden Tour: A flyer has been delivered to residents detailing our annual free tour on Sunday, June 1, of local gardens. The hours are 12:00 to 4:00, and include several gardens, an antique car exhibit on Derring Dale Road, a flower arranging demonstration and by prior reservation a lecture on growing orchids by our resident judge, Mark Werther. Be sure to join us.Legislative: Noel Jackson and Doug Moore continue to monitor supervisor meetings twice monthly.Streets: Erick Persson is contacting PennDOT about repairs needed on Upper Gulph Road. Any other concerns regarding your roads should be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. A major problem was solved last summer with the repaving of Hollow Road.The question was raised about speeders on Weadly Road. The best thing to do is alert our local police department about this concern. Although local residents are found speeding, the main concern is high speeders late in the evening. Following this meeting, a speed trap was observed on Weadley Road during the daytime. We urge everyone to observe the speed limits.In Pennsylvania, only state police can use radar, thus our police have to resort to clocking cars' speed in order to issue citations. Tredyffrin Township does not approve of unnecessary stop signs or speed bumps.Membership: We welcome Mary Young as Director replacing Trudy Reed who has done a magnificent job these past several years. Trudy updated records and area maps, compiled membership and volunteer lists, and found her own replacement last fall as she is shortly moving from the Panhandle. We owe Trudy a great debt and will miss her. Mary will direct the membership drive this fall, and welcomes new residents.Townwatch: Patrols have ceased this spring as we are lacking anyone to schedule patrols. We have a large list of members willing to patrol, but need a few leaders willing to spend a couple of evenings a month to organize the tours. Some residents remember when we were besieged with constant burglaries and vandalism which led us to establish Townwatch in 1975, which is responsible for keeping our area as safe as it is. But we fear burglaries will return if we don't maintain this vigilance. Please contact Julie Lindberg, 610 687-1023, if you are willing to take on a three month commitment and keep this critical activity in force.School Board: Carol Regan is attending meetings regularly, with nothing urgent to report.Library: Following the successful push last June to keep the Library in Strafford, the Library Board has embarked on a plan to increase the size and services of the Library to meet increasing demand and needs. Our township supervisors have put a cap of $6.2 million on any plan, of which half will be funded by the Township. The other half will need to be raised by the private sector, and a feasibility study has been conducted this spring to determine if this is possible. Anyone interested in helping with this fundraising can contact George Elser, chairman of the Library Board of Trustees.We are indebted to Roseann Siegel for attending meetings all year and keeping us updated on progress. Thus far, no architectural plans have been drawn, but we understand the building can only expand out, not up. We all need to pay attention to this important development in our community as plans unfold.St. David's Golf Club continues to pursue the building of a maintenance building adjacent to Copperbeech Lane homes. Their appeal to the courts and Township is continuing, and should take another six months to reach a conclusion. Local residents hired an attorney to prevent the structure from being built in the current design.Continuation Of Our Association: Every two years we elect new officers at our June Annual Meeting.As our vice president was transferred to another state last summer, the Association needs a new president and vice president, and is actively seeking new and younger leadership. A special executive committee meeting was held on May 7 to determine the future course of the PCA. It was decided that the PCA has functioned well for 28 years, and is vital to our community. It gives us a voice in addressing township issues, fosters cooperation among neighbors, supports Townwatch, and generally contributes to the high quality of life we have come to expect in the Panhandle.We are asking all block captains to discuss our needs with the residents in your area.A Nominating Committee composed of Terry Kirkwood, Chairman, Frances Laird and Tom Cooper was appointed. They would welcome two more members to help in this endeavor, even if not previously active in the group. Please call Terry at 610 254-9292, or email email@example.com, to join this committee if you would like to help the PCA continue its strong role in monitoring Township affairs.If block captains have suggestions to make, please contact Terry or Julie Lindberg at 610 687-1023 (or email firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible.Annual Meeting: On Friday, June 13, at 7:30 pm, we are honored to have our new Congressional Representative, James Gerlach, as our speaker. He is in session during the week, so Friday is our only opportunity to have him join us. He will speak for 45 minutes, take questions, and our election of officers will follow. We are hoping for a wonderful turnout to welcome Rep. Gerlach to the Panhandle, so please mark your calendars and join us as we introduce the Panhandle to our representative.We are pleased to have the availability of the First Baptist Church at 1012 Upper Gulph Road for the meeting, and we congratulate Church members on the groundbreaking for their new sanctuary which will be built this summer. Parking is available at the office building next door, and in the field next to the church. Refreshments will be served.William Penn Oak: When the Karen Lane development was extended twenty years ago, a Penn oak tree was discovered in the path of a planned road. At the request of the PCA, the plan was altered allowing the tree to survive. We subsequently placed a plaque on the tree in memory of Sol Matt, who had been president of the PCA. Later, the Township placed a plaque designating it the oldest tree in Tredyffrin. Barbara Matt has been financially supporting the care of the tree ever since, but is now asking for help in providing this maintenance. We welcome thoughts, and will discuss this June 13.Respectfully submitted,Julie Lindberg, President Executive Committee
May 2002President Julie Lindberg presided over the Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 14, at 7:30 pm at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. She welcomed residents; our guest speaker, Pamela Conti from Orth-Rodgers Associates; and two of our Tredyffrin Township Supervisors, Brooks Keffer, who represents our district, and Paul Olson, who is Supervisor At Large.This newsletter essentially constitutes the minutes of the meeting.The minutes of the previous meeting were approved, and the Treasurer's Report was accepted. We have currently about [on file], including donations from members towards the defibrillator previously given by the PCA to the Tredyffrin Police Department. Membership stands at about 125, which is about 1/4 of the over 400 households to which our newsletters and notices are distributed. If you are interested in joining ($10/household/2 yr) but unaware of who your block captain is, or if a block captain does not know the exact boundaries of his or her area, please contact Membership Chair Mary Young. Mt. Pleasant has its own association (liaison: Jackie Byrd). To answer the question about the boundaries of the Tredyffrin Panhandle, please see the attached map.The following new Board members were elected: Michael Sweeney as Corresponding Secretary; Jennifer Peterson as Recording Secretary/Newsletter Editor, Terry Kirkwood as Treasurer, and Rosemary Blair as Director/Area 3 Block Captain. We still need a few volunteers: Meeting Refreshment Chair (Social) and a Scheduler for Town Watch Car Patrols (essentially a phone activity).The proposed PCA web site is intended to keep residents up to date, but may also be a source of general information (i.e., mission of the PCA). If you have ideas or know of ways to minimize the cost, please contact Lee Lantz.Noel Jackson and Doug Moore (Legislative Committee) regularly cover Township Supervisors meetings and recently attended a meeting by the Strategic Planning Committee, which is to define Tredyffrin Township for the next 10 to 20 years. Supervisors meetings may be viewed on Comcast Channel 2; meeting dates are listed on the Township's website (www. tredyffrin.org).King of Prussia/Upper Gulph Roads intersection: Our guest speaker at the Annual Meeting was Pam Conti who is with Orth-Rodgers Associates, the traffic consultants hired to study the current traffic pattern at the above intersection and to make the necessary recommendations. Ms. Conti asked for and received many comments and suggestions. Orth-Rodgers took the first of several 11-hour traffic counts (from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and will look also at accident data. In addition, the consultants will examine the eligibility rules for "historic" designation for the two houses that might be affected by widening Upper Gulph Road. Orth-Rodgers' preliminary report is expected this summer.Strafford Park Tredyffrin Public Library: A Chesterbrook location as the future home of the library is unacceptable to residents in the Panhandle. A motion opposing the relocation of the library passed unanimously. Chesterbrook may be the geographical center of Tredyffrin Township, but Strafford Park Tredyffrin Public Library is the closest to a town center that we have at this end of the Township. Relocating the library also flies in the face of extensive work done by groups involved in determining Strafford Park Tredyffrin Public Library's needs and fund-raising options (the architectural consultant's report is available at the Information Desk of the Library). Residents are urged to contact the Township Supervisors, who are listed under Boards on the township web site and to attend Supervisors' Meetings to demonstrate our opposition to moving the library. Roseanne Siegel has offered to monitor the meetings.Radnor Fire and Ambulance: Discontinuation of advanced life support (ALS) services out of Paoli Memorial Hospital (Medic 92) by July 7 should not affect us. Medic 92 was a back-up in this area and will be replaced by another provider. ALS care by a paramedic may exceed what an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) can do and may be crucial in a life-threatening or other serious conditions, such as an allergic reaction. This is a reminder that fire and ambulance services are provided to the Panhandle by Radnor Fire and Ambulance, which receives funds from Tredyffrin Township but depends also on the financial support by area residents. We hope you will respond generously to the annual fund drive by the Radnor Fire and Ambulance Company, which is an approved United Way Agency (No. 1180). For more information about the organization, go to www.radnorfirecompany.com/home.htmlEva Jackson
Recording Secretary pro tem
President's LetterWith so many critical issues facing the Panhandle, it is vital to have a fully staffed and active civic association to maintain the quality of life that we so enjoy. The more active we are as citizens, the better we can assist our elected Township boards and officials to achieve that goal. Our Township Boards consist of unpaid volunteers and they need our organized, constructive input to reflect what is best for our Township.Request for information: if anyone has records from the first ten-years of the PCA (such as bylaws, etc.) please notify me. Finally, I am pleased to see new and "younger" members begin a leadership role in the PCA as I begin my second and last year as President.Julie Lindberg
Garden TourPerfect weather encouraged good attendance at our second annual tour. Thanks to those who opened their lovely gardens! Anyone wishing to participate next year should notify Louise Baker.
REMINDERRadnor Fire and Ambulance provides emergency services to the Panhandle and deserves your financial support. Please give generously. EMERGENCIES: DIAL 9-1-1
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