Police before pool

By on February 15, 2017

Possible state police tax makes supervisors wary of increasing contribution to Lititz pool

Elizabeth Township was asked to commit to donating $2 per capita each year for the next 10 years to support upgrades to the Lititz Springs Pool. Karen Mailen, executive director of the Lititz recCenter, pointed out that the rec has been managing the outdoor pool for the last three years. The 50-year-old pool needs repairs and renovations.

Plans include removing the baby pool and adding a zero-entry feature to the main pool, making it accessible to toddlers and handicapped patrons. Planned upgrades will cost around $4 million.

Mailen asked for the $2 per resident for five years to help with the cost of the upgrades, as well as for the following five years to provide a capital reserve for future upkeep costs. Supervisor Rodney May noted that there are 3,962 residents in Elizabeth Township.

As many as 15 Elizabeth Township families have been pool members in recent years. Mailen added that 200-225 guests per summer were from the township.

Supervisor Chairman Brian Wiker asked for clarification of the amount requested. “We give $5,000 a year to the recCenter. You’re asking for an additional $8,000 a year for 10 years for the pool project?”

Mailen confirmed that amount.

“Given the possible state police $25 per capita charge that we’ve heard in the news, I find it difficult to justify this increase given the low usage from Elizabeth Township residents,” Wiker said. Supervisors Rodney May and Jeff Burkholder agreed.

RecCenter board member and Elizabeth Township property owner Bill Coleman asked the supervisors if the township would be “willing to partner with somebody on a matching basis.”

They might be interested, although Wiker reiterated his point that he finds it “hard to justify funding more into a pool where we have about zero usage.”

Coleman said that banks look at it as a matter of community participation that starts a domino effect of donations.

It’s the amenities such as the pool, the library and the parks “that make a community special and increase property values,” Mailen added.

“I’d be willing to support the project, but that’s too much,” Burkholder said.

Resident Barry Lieberman asked if supervisors had any additional information about the state police possibly charging municipalities that do not have local police a fee of $25 per person.

“It’s been talked about ever since I’ve been a supervisor and nothing ever happens. It’s just talk,” Burkholder said.

Elizabeth Township does not issue a property tax rate for its residents, but supervisors hinted that a tax might have to be implemented if either of the per capita rates become a reality.

Volunteers needed

Two veteran firefighters informed the supervisors that a lack of volunteers continues to be a problem for many fire companies. Chief Jeff Strauss of the Brickerville Fire Department and Chief Shannon Martin of the Penryn Fire Company are both looking for new members, especially those available during daytime hours.

Elizabeth Township doesn’t have high-density population areas or big businesses from which to draw volunteers. To find prospective members, the Brickerville Fire Company will hold an event, The Big Ask, on Saturday, March 4, from 9:30 until 11:30 a.m. Firefighters will go door-to-door in neighborhoods looking for volunteers and checking smoke detectors.

Strauss reported that Brickerville answered 119 calls in 2016; 86 were in the township and 33 were in mutual aid of neighboring fire companies. Major events included a dwelling fire, a tractor-trailer fire, and two traffic fatalities.

Martin reported that Penryn answered 144 calls in 2016, for an average year. Three fires totaled a loss of $31,000, which was “way down” from previous years. Property saved totaled $607,500, for a 95 percent saved rate.

Penryn is currently working to raise funds to replace its 1990 fire engine.

Martin also reported that a number of local fire companies are “chipping in” to cover the cost of firefighter rehab provided on the scene by emergency medical service providers.

Penryn Fire Company’s 2016 fund drive received a 36 percent return, one of the highest in the county, but donations were down by $9,000.

Martin asked supervisors if there was a procedure for reporting hazardous material spills. He noted a sign on West Newport Road instructing residents to call 911 if there is a spill.

That sign is close to a residence (on the Elizabeth Township side of the road) that has about 20 containers for waste oil donations along the road. There is concern that a snowplow or other vehicle could hit the containers and create a hazardous spill.

Burkholder believes the resident is simply unaware and should not be sent a letter of violation of the township code. Supervisors will inform the resident that the containers must be moved to a safe distance from the roadway.

Also, the township received a letter from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission stating that it will begin to fine neighboring property owners who are encroaching onto the turnpike right-of-way. Apparently people are moving or removing the roadside fences and placing buildings, and even water lines, within the right-of-way. The commission will prosecute violators.

In other business:

  • The Brickerville Fire Company responded to eight calls in January. Northwest Emergency Medical Service answered 149 calls in 2016.
  • The zoning officer issued permits for work valued at $304,500.
  • The Lancaster County Drug and Alcohol Task Force made 78 arrests in 2016. It concluded 30 cases from previous years, and had 193 cases under investigation in 27 county municipalities.
  • Supervisors approved a resolution to apply for a Department of Community and Economic Development Municipal Assistance Program grant. The 50 percent matching funding is available for shared services, community planning and floodplain management.
  • Supervisors also agreed to amend the Warwick Emergency Services Commission agreement to add the Rothsville Ambulance and Northwest Emergency Medical Services, as well as one citizen from each represented municipality.
  • After discussion, supervisors decided to require Elizabeth Farms to submit a full plan rather than an abbreviated process for work at its proposed event venue near routes 501 and 76. The board did not want to set a precedent of granting easy waivers to the zoning and/or storm water management plans.
  • Supervisors will accept bids for mowing and fertilizing Elizabeth Township Park for the 2017 season.
  • The next meeting of the board of supervisors will be on Monday, March 13, at 7 p.m.

Community events:

  • The Baron Stiegel Lions Club will hold a buffet breakfast at the Brickerville Fire Hall, 10 Hopeland Road, on Sunday, March 5, from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. The cost is $9.50 for adults; children are half price.
  • The monthly collection of recyclables will be on Saturday, March 7, from 8 a.m. until noon at the municipal building on South View Drive.
  • Penryn Fire Company will hold its 12th annual Mud Sale on March 17 and 18. The auction preview will open at noon on Friday. A grocery and craft auction will be on Friday from 5 until 8 p.m. Saturday’s auctions begin at 8 a.m. Food features include crab cake and oyster sandwiches. For information see penrynfire.com or call 664-2825.
  • A community yard sale will be held in Elizabeth Township Park on April 8.
  • Elizabeth Township Park spring clean-up day will be on April 22. Volunteers are needed.
  • The Brickerville Volunteer Fire Company sponsors Bingo on Tuesday evenings at 7 at the fire hall on Hopeland Road. Come early for supper!

More information is available at elizabethtownship.net and on the Elizabeth Township Facebook page.

Melinda S. Elmer is a freelance reporter who covers the Elizabeth Township municipal beat for the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback at elmermm@dejazzd.com.

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