By Carla Lucas, Correspondent
The Monday, November 15 Board of Supervisors’ meeting featured the preliminary 2011 budget, the passing of two ordinances, the annual report from the Bayard Taylor Library, and the monthly public safety and road reports. But it was during the public comment portion of the meeting with a discussion of the defeated referendum to add two new supervisors that may bring the biggest changes to Kennett Township’s operations.
The Board unveiled the 2011 preliminary budget with revenues of $4,275,138 and expenditures of $4,025,690. There will be no tax increase for 2011 under this preliminary budget. Highlights include purchasing a new truck, a sewer line expansion in the Five-Points area, and the installation of a traffic blinking signal. The supervisors are projecting a $249,000 surplus for 2010.
Chairman Allan Falcoff reported the accident statistics for September with 146 accidents year-to-date, an increase of 11.5 percent from last year. September had 13 accidents, none on Kaolin Road or Rosedale Road, one at the Hillendale/McFarland intersection and two on Route 1
A blinking red/yellow light was ordered for the intersection of McFarlan and Rosedale roads. It will blink yellow on Rosedale and red on McFarlan. This is the final safety upgrade to this intersection, which had been the scene of numerous accidents.
Road crew issues over the month included improving drainage on Rosedale Road and Bayard Road with the installation of inlets and inlet piping, the final mowing for 2011, and preparations for winter including clearing out area drains and equipment maintenance.
Township Secretary Lisa Moore announced that she, the Road Master and the Chief of Police are available to attend any Home Owner Association meetings to discuss township concerns. Call her for further details.
Two ordinances were passed. The first amended the subdivision and land development plans ordinance to require preliminary and final plans be filed for review at least 10 days before being placed on a township agenda for a public vote. The second ordinance is one mandated from the county to switch to Keystone Collections for earned income tax collection. The supervisors made it very clear they would have preferred to stay with Berkheimer Associates and are apprehensive of a smooth transition to the new agency.
The Board received its annual Bayard Taylor Library update. Representing the library were Donna Murray, director, Susan McDonnell, Bayard Taylor Library’s board president, and Nancy Cohen one of Kennett Township’s representatives to the board. In 2010 all eight municipalities in Bayard Taylor’s service area supported the library financially accounting for 50 percent of its operating funds. Murray thanked Kennett Township for its support and stated use of the library by Kennett Township residents increased in 2010. Kennett Township residents were the top users at the library with 2,700 card-carrying members checking out over 25,000 items to date.
McDonnell updated the supervisors on the future building project to expand the library. The site would be the lot at the corner of Willow and State roads with plans to build a new 23,000 sq. ft. facility on two levels. The partnership with the library, Kennett Area YMCA, Anson B. Nixon Park, and Kennett Square Borough called the Kennett Area Community Development Gateway Project is now a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. The Gateway Project includes the library, a parking garage and other infrastructure projects on the east side of the Borough. McDonnell projected at least three to five years before the funding is in place to make the project a reality.
“Were we disappointed? Yes we were,” said Bill Hewton during the Public Comment portion of the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors meeting about the defeated referendum to add two more supervisors to the board as he brought the issues of the bi-partisan campaign to add two supervisors before the board one more time. He reminded the board that only 400 votes separated the decision. “Please pay attention to the 1,435 people that spoke to add two supervisors,” he asked.
Falcoff responded, “We understand 40 percent of the people opted for five supervisors and we are willing to meet with people who have constructive suggestions.”
Supervisor Michael Elling asked Hewton to give specific suggestions on ways the Board could improve its operations.
First, Hewton suggested the Board give residents the opportunity to review new ordinances and resolutions before voting on them. Moore clarified the position and asked if a new ordinance was introduced at one meeting then tabled for voting until the next meeting would that allow residents time to review the documents. Hewton said it would.
Next Hewton brought up issues with the Wednesday afternoon work sessions. He asked they be moved to later in the day—maybe 3 or 4 p.m.—so more residents who work could attend. He also asked that no voting take place at work sessions except for emergency situations. The lack of information on the work session minutes was addressed by another member in attendance. Moore agreed and said she would include more details of the agenda items on future minutes and that she would post theminutes as draft minutes so residents could see what expired at the meetings quicker than once the minutes were approved and posted after the monthly board meeting. Moore asked if this would increase the Township’s transparency and those in attendance agreed it would.
Hewton once again asked the Board to start working with an established land trust that does work in southern Chester County and not create a new one. The supervisors responded it was their intention as made clear at previous board meetings. They had given up on the idea of creating a new land trust because of the five-years-in-operation requirement before it could receive grants.
Finally, a minor issue that Hewton said is more irritating than anything else is the new security at the Township Office. Those who serve on township committees and commissions have previously had total access to the offices and files stored at the Township Office and they don’t understand the new locked doors and having to be “buzzed” in. Kennett Township Police Chief Albert McCarthy addressed the issue saying he recommended this action to prevent unauthorized people from just walking through the building when there was limited staff around. He said previously the Township’s documents and files were at risk for an unauthorized person to walk off with them.
Moore ended the discussion by suggesting the Board review the suggestions and report at a later meeting what changes, if any, would be made.
Resident Margot Taylor-Chalfonte added, “It’s time to put the boxing gloves away. We all have different ideas and different styles. It’s time to find common ground and move forward.”