Parkesburg Borough Council Meeting Notes

Even Santa Claus took it on the chin at last night’s Borough Council meeting.  Not to fear though as Jack Norton road to the jolly man’s rescue ensuring Santa’s Christmas Eve tour of Parkesburg will continue.

My notes, including misspellings, misquotes and far too many missed names, are below.



January 16, 2012

7:00 P.M.

Call to Order…………………………………………………. Kathleen Rick

Pledge of Allegiance

Roll Call –

All council people are present including Mayor Hagan, 60 to 70 residents in attendance, “a full house” according to Jack Norton.

Approval of Agenda

Agenda reviewed and approved with a single change by Mel Keen regarding committee reports at the end of the meeting.

Review and Approval of Minutes of the December 19, 2011 Regular Council Meeting and the January 3, 2012 Reorganization Meeting

Minutes reviewed.  Mel Keen mentioned the minutes from the last meeting do not reflect the deferment of the tax discussion until tonight’s meeting.  Solicitor Carnes weighs in saying its not important.  Minutes approved.

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer’s report read by Wendy Keegan.  Councilperson Mel Keen asked about borrowing.  The Borough has b0rrowed $150,000 in a Tax Anticipation Note (Loan)

Approval of Bills

The bills were reviewed and approved by council

Public Comments (Agenda Items Only)

George Evans asked to speak on the West Street Bridge.  He understands the bridge issue better than most as he was on the council when it was shut down.  Evans brought up the issue of what the Borough needed to start the project and was told $180,000 needed.  Asked why that amount and who was founding the project. Funding is coming from three sources according to Jim Thomas; 80% from the federal government, 15% from the state and 5% from Parkesburg.  Jim Thomas said the county is not in on the project; rather the money is coming from the State/PennDot.  Mr. Evans also mentioned the number of retired people in Parkesburg who are going to have their taxes increased who are not going to get anything out of the bridge.  It closed in 1992.  No one has had any inconvenience as a result of the bridge being closed.  Council has a responsibility to take care of the residents of the town, not taking care of their own agenda.  Evans would like to see trails and parks before he would support spending money on the bridge.

Bev Ely, We talk about the budget, we don’t have any money.  Asks if we need all these people on council?  Council Keen says the number of people is dictated by Borough Code.  Wendy Keen stated that most council members give their stipend back to the borough.  Bev Ely continues that we do need help in town.  Look at the streets, sidewalk.  We don’t need a bridge, we need our streets repaired. 

Jack Norton speaks about the bridge, calls it a bridge to nowhere.  Takes issue with Chuck Persch about people moving into the old shopping center lot on the north end of the bridge.  That’s not fair.  The tax increase is a heavy burden for small business people.  The bridge has been out for 20 years.  Suggested the borough do away with policing out side of the borough.

Council Persch took issue with Norton’s statement.  What he said was we were unable to get emergency vehicles to the other side of town.

Mel Keen says that she was on council in 2008 when the bridge first started moving along.  In 2008 a decision was made to move forward.  If we stopped after we decided to go forward we would have lost all fees already paid.

George Evans asked why we had to design the bridge three times.  Mel Keen states the design has changed because the rules and track bed have changes several times.  Each time they change the design needs to be modified.

John Carnes speaks up and states the design has been changed when regulations change.  In addition there have been changes in the bed itself when concrete ties and seamless rails were put in.  All of these things forced changes in the plans.  Carnes suggested they invite the engineer in to make a presentation to council.  The project has moved to the top of the TIPP program at PennDOT and there is a lot of momentum behind the project.

A resident with a store on First Avenue asked what the average resident would pay for the bridge and suggested he Borough run some numbers, illustrate to the residents what the increase would be for each resident.  Asked if the Borough has a guarantee for a fixed amount and time for the bridge project?

Council Persch said that’s what a bid does, is help PennDOT and the Borough would arrive at a price for the project.

We are committed to the bridge, we committed four years ago.

A resident asked where the West State Street bridge is located.  Will there be lights on the bridge.  Whatever happened to the senior home that was planned for that parcel.  The developer couldn’t find someone to build the project at the price point needed to make the project successful.

Terry Thompson lived in the Borough since 1986, this increase will take my tax from $1,200 to $1,500, one of the highest rates in the county.  When I look around I don’t see much that I’m getting for my money, the streets and park are in disrepair.  I don’t think we need the bridge.  The bridge is not going to make a difference.  Its selfish to think we have to pay 25% more for this bridge.  Why is all the sudden is this so important?  I expect all departments to take a 25% cut in costs so we can afford the bridge.  The increase is never going to go away.  This increase is very, very selfish.  Spoke to the police service, how difficult it is to project costs.  Suggested the Borough raise the price of police service to $100 or even $300 an hour.

George Evans spoke again about the bridges.  There are 200 such bridges between Parkesburg and Harrisburg.  We have three of them in less than a mile.  My biggest gripe is the economy.  It’s the economy stupid.  No one has any money.  You are not the only taxing organization.  The school district could raise taxes.  The bridge project is the right project at the wrong time. 

Jack Norton asked you knew four years ago, why didn’t you raise taxes steadily instead of this huge increase?

A resident asked what kind of contingency plans do we have for a project like this?  Is there any provisions in case the project goes over.  John Carnes said PennDot  will manage the project and the project estimate $3.6 million budget.   The Borough’s portion of the project has to sit in the account for the duration of the project, a three season project.  John Carnes states the State Street project gave us a sense of confidence they can manage the project.  Bid the project in November 2012 and break ground in the Spring of 2013.

Public Safety Reports:

Police Chief’s Report. ………………. Brian Sheller

No report, Chief Sheller called away on business

Fire Chief’s Report. …………………. Richard Klingler

Chief Klinger is on a training assignment

Planning Commission/Subdivisions:

  • B.D. Rich L.P. – Bell’s Delites – Motion to approve an extension of review period for sixty (60) days from February 3, 2012 until April 4, 2012

Approved with no discussion

  • Parkesburg Fire Company – Motion to approve an extension of review period for sixty (60) days from February 3, 2012 until April 4, 2012

Approved with no discussion

Unfinished Business

  • Motion to advertise Ordinance No. 498 – An Ordinance of Parkesburg Borough, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Establishing Taxes and Fixing Tax Rates for the Fiscal Year 2012.

Tax rate of 9.55 Mills for general taxation, .45 Mills for the fire company

Council does not plan to change the budget but rather will reallocate money

Council will advertise the budget as a reopened budget and reflect the reallocation


New Business

  • Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2012-01 – A Resolution of the Council of the Borough of Parkesburg, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Authorizing and Approving the Supplemental General Reimbursement Agreement for Federal Aid Project (West Bridge Street Bridge over Amtrak B Agreement 062492)

This agreement raises the amount of final design cost to 650K for final design.  The increase has been approved by PennDOT.  With the design costs we have along with right of way costs, that brings $540,000, $101K, $33K for this phase of the project.  


Department Reports:

Engineer’s Report. ……………………….Mendi Lowe

Zoning Officer’s Report. ……………….. ARRO Consulting

Building Code Official’s Report. ……….John Coldiron

Code Enforcement Officer’s Report. …Robert Hosier

Manager’s Report. ………………….James Thomas

Each council person was given the minutes and action item report from the monthly PennDOT meeting regarding the West State Street project.  Plan is to let the project for bid in November 2012

Our Blue Cross policy is due for a signing for 2012.  Good news is that this year’s plan calls for a 1.64% premium reduction or about $2,400 per year.

Southern Chester Co Baseball has begun signups.  2nd sign up this Saturday.  We’ll schedule a meeting to discuss the use of our fields.

Public Works Report. ………………Melinda Keen

We hauled 117 tons of trash to the landfill with 17 tons of yard waste

Christmas trees should be brought to Minch park without lights or ornaments

Fire Marshal’s Report……………….Raymond Stackhouse

Mayor’s Report……………………… John P. Hagan, II

No formal report this evening, plans to meet with police chief and review police budget.  Will bring the information back to council.

Bridge was a hot item in 1991, there was a shopping center in that part of town.  Times have changed.  Will look into putting the project on hold.  The police budget is driving the budget into the red, Jack Norton was right.  He will meet with the police chief to see what can be done.  Will meet with several people in Harrisburg to see what can be done.

None of the people here on council benefit from a tax increase.

We’ve fought too hard to get on PennDot’s TIPP list.  He has advocated a tax increase of some level every year.  The bottom line this the state’s property tax system is not a fair way of taxing people .  The tax system has to change.

The people on council have the interest of the council at heart

PABA. …………………………………. Eric Jamison

No report

Solicitor’s Report………………….    John S. Carnes, Jr.

Spoke to the amount paid council members

Committee Reports:

Parks & Recreation. ……………….. Kathleen Rick

Progress & Development. ……….. Sharon Wolf

Streets & Property…………………. Melinda Keen

Finance. ……………………………… Charles Persch

Police & Fire.. ………………………. Charles Persch

Library Board Representative. .. Melinda Keen

Public Comments

Cindy Mamerella spoke to the bridge project she understands were too deep into it to back out.  Asked that our tax money not be spent until the money is in our hands.  Questioned police contracts, are we charging enough?  We’re not using part time officers, we assume all the risk.  We are not being compensated enough for the risk to the people of Parkesburg.

George Evans – asked about the .45 millage for the fire company,  is it dedicated?  Yes.  Thought that the 9.55 would be a lot higher.  Also spoke to the hourly rate we charge for police service.

A resident asked about the fines collected by police in the areas we serve, why is there more paid out than is collected.  Chuck Persch said he would look into it.

Harry Reith –spoke in favor of the bridge.  Now is the time to do it.  Also spoke in favor of a regional police force.  The police chief is the best thing that has happened to the borough.  The businesses don’t make it here because we don’t support them.

Debbie Helms – asked about the ad going in the paper regarding the reopening of the budget. Told the call placing the ad would be made in the morning.  The finance committee meeting will be the first Monday of every month.  Asked that the minutes be posted more often to the web site.  

Resident asked if the West Bridge Street goes in what happens to the Culvert Street underpass. Jim Thomas chimed in that additional storm water grates were added two years ago, still not enough.  The resident asked about the train stop.  Jim Thomas said Baker Engineering is designing three different locations/styles.  Once they are done in the next couple of months they will be brought in for review and then a decision will be made.

Jack Norton made the point that the Borough is responsible for the bridge once it is done. 

Another resident asked what are we paying for the new train station.  Zero

Bev Ely, asked about speeding on First Avenue, sometime she walks in front of the vehicles, big trucks to slow them down.  Spoke to the work of Officer Manning and his work responding to a hit and run in front of our house on First Avenue.  Within four hours he had the guy who did it.  Asking that credit be given to the police department.

Resident said the people should vote on what they want done.

A Main Street resident spoke to the room’s acoustics.  On Christmas eve Santa rode around, he thinks it’s a waste of money.  Jack Norton spoke up said the fire trucks need to be driven.  That’s a service.  

Carol with a store on First Avenue stated we have wonderful people in the community.  One of the things we need to get better at is using those people.  Kids need to do community service.  Do something for the community.  Paint the fire hydrants.  Get grants to fund different projects.  We can’t do all of this on our own.  Wants the police to walk the streets, get to know the kids.  That’s the only way vandalism will go down.  We all have to work together to build a better community.

Joanne McGuiness lives on Parke Avenue – who is in charge of paving the streets of Parkesburg?  Lets pave the streets. Jim Thomas stated First Avenue is a state road.  Main Street is well and are the responsibility of the state.

Jack Norton spoke about the challenges of plowing snow in his development.

Council Comments

No council comments 4


2012 Scheduled Committee Meetings (7:00 pm):

  • February 6th
  • March 5th
  • April 2nd
  • May 7th
  • June 4th
  • July 2nd
  • August 6th
  • September 4th (Tuesday)
  • October 1st
  • November 5th
  • December 3rd

2012 Scheduled Council Meetings (7:00 pm):

  • February 20th
  • March 19th
  • April 16th
  • May 21st
  • June 18th
  • July 16th
  • August 20th
  • September 17th
  • October 15th
  • November 19th
  • December 17th


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