Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania

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07-08-2019 - Board of Supervisors Minutes

MINUTES OF MEETING

MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

JULY 8, 2019

  

            At 6:00p.m. Chairman Michael J. Fox called to order the Executive Session. In attendance were Vice-Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera and Supervisor Jeffrey W. McDonnell. Supervisors Tanya C. Bamford and Matthew W. Quigg were absent. Also in attendance was Township Manager Lawrence J. Gregan, and Township Solicitor Frank Bartle, Esquire.

            Chairman Michael J. Fox called the action meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. In attendance were Vice-Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera and Supervisor Jeffrey W. McDonnell. Supervisors Tanya C. Bamford and Matthew W. Quigg were absent. Also in attendance were Township Solicitor Frank Bartle, Esquire, Township Manager Lawrence Gregan, Police Chief Scott Bendig, Director of Fire Services Richard Lesniak, Director of Finance Ami Tarburton, Director of Administration & HR Ann Shade, Assistant to the Township Manager Stacy Crandell, Director of Planning and Zoning Bruce Shoupe, Director of Public Works Kevin Costello, Director of Recreation and Community Center Floyd Shaffer, Director of Information Technology Richard Grier and Public Information Coordinator Kelsey Whalen.  

            Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Chairman Michael J. Fox called for public comment from the audience. There was no public comment.

            Solicitor Frank Bartle, Esquire announced that the Board had met in an executive session prior to this meeting at 6:00 p.m., and discussed several matters including one matter of personnel that had to do with Police Department Vacancies, matters of current or potential ligation including the Police and Fire Union Grievances, Cutler Development, and a Business Tax Refund Appeal. In addition, the Board discussed three zoning hearing board cases including Target 125-145 Witchwood Drive, Mark and Marie Marcelis- 101 Madison Court, and Lokadri and Vijaya Raminani – 59 Douglass Road. Mr. Bartle also announced that the Board met in Executive Session twice since the last meeting on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 and Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 1800 Pennbrook Parkway Lansdale to conduct Township Manager interviews. The interviews ran from 4-8PM on both days. Mr. Bartle stated that these matters are legitimate subjects of executive session pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Law.

            Chairman Michael J. Fox made a motion to approve the minutes of the June 10, 2019 Board of Supervisors meeting, and Vice-Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera seconded the motion. The minutes of the meeting were unanimously approved as submitted.

            Director of Public Works Kevin Costello and Director of Information Technology Rich Grier welcomed new employees to their departments. Mr. Costello welcomed Cameron Briggs who joined the Township on April 22, 2019 as a Laborer in the Public Works Department. Mr. Grier welcomed Wesley Whitaker who joined the Township on June 10, 2019 as a Junior Systems Administrator in the Information Technology Department. Resolution #1 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Vice-Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, welcomed Cameron Briggs to his position of Public Works Laborer and Wesley Whitaker to his position of IT Junior Systems Administrator.

            Police Chief Scott Bendig announced Eric Bittell’s resignation from his position as Police Dispatcher effective Monday, July 22, 2019. Eric was hired on May 18, 2015 and was an integral part of the Police Department Communications. He is leaving to pursue a career in medicine and has taken a full-time position as an Emergency Medical Technician with the Community Ambulance Association of Ambler.   Resolution #2 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Vice-Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, accepted the resignation of Eric Bittell from position as Police Dispatcher with Montgomery Township and take the opportunity to thank him for his commitment to public service during his employment at Montgomery Township.

            Township Manager Lawrence Gregan announced that a vacancy for alternate member currently exists on the Montgomery Township Planning Commission. Township resident Thomas Borghetti has expressed an interest to be appointed to this commission. His appointment would be for a three year term expiring on January 1, 2021. Resolution #3 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Vice-Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, approved the appointment of Thomas Borghetti to the Montgomery Township Planning Commission as an Alternate for a three year term to expire on January 1, 2021.

            Assistant to the Township Manager Stacy Crandell announced that the Township would like to pursue funding through PennDOT’s Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) funding program. The Township has prepared an application to implement Optical Emergency Vehicle Preemption Systems and remove the existing Sonic Emergency Vehicle Preemption Systems for eleven traffic signals along Bethlehem Pike (Route 309). This project is Phase 1 of Township-wide initiative to implement Optical Preemption at all of the Township’s Traffic Signalized Intersections. The Township is seeking $248,919 for this project and the local match would be $46,692.16. The Township previously applied for this funding last year for the same project and received feedback and is resubmitting for funding consideration this year. Resolution #4 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Vice-Chairman Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, authorized the ratification of the grant application to PennDOT for ARLE funding in the amount of $248,919, with the local match being $46,692.16.  

            Director of Finance Ami Tarburton reported that Conrad Siegel Actuaries has provided a draft of the 1/1/19 Actuarial Valuation Report for the Police Pension Plan. As part of the report, Conrad Siegel Actuaries identified two recommendations for changes to the actuarial assumptions and methods to be used in the valuation report. First, a change was recommended to the mortality assumption, noting that the Society of Actuaries has released a new mortality table based solely on public sector data that incorporates future mortality improvements projected generationally. The second recommendation relates to the asset valuation method. Currently, the plan uses the market value of assets as the actuarial value of assets. It was recommended to use a smoothed asset value which would smooth the gains and losses over a five-year period to help reduce the asset value volatility. With acceptance of these two changes, the combination Police and Non- Uniform Pension Plans will have a funding ratio of 94% which is “Not Distressed” under the PA Auditor General’s Municipal Pension Reporting Program. Resolution #5 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, accepted the following changes to the actuarial assumptions for the January 1, 2019 actuarial valuation report as recommended by Conrad Siegel.

 

Prior Assumption

Recommended Assumption

Mortality table

IRS 2017 Static Combined Table for Small Plans

PubS-2010 with generational improvement scale MP-2018

Asset Valuation Method

Market Value of Assets

Five-year Smoothed Value (80-120% corridor)

 

            Director of Fire Services Richard Lesniak requested the Board approve the Montgomery County Emergency Refueling Services Agreement. Under the agreement, the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety (MCDPS) has arranged with several fuel contractors through the County to provide emergency refueling services during large-scale incidents. In the event, that emergency refuel services are needed, the Township and MCDPS will jointly coordinate the delivery of the fuel on scene. Montgomery County will provide the initial payment for the services and the Township must reimburse the County within 60 days of the termination of the incident. Resolution #6 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, granted approval to enter into Memorandum of Agreement with the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety for emergency refueling services at large-scale incidents.

            Director of Fire Services Richard Lesniak reported that on August 16, 2011, the Board of Supervisors authorized VFIS Education, Training and Consulting to perform a Fire Apparatus Assessment of the pumper and aerial apparatus in the Department. VFIS was tasked to evaluate the Township’s existing apparatus, review maintenance records, prepare an apparatus replacement plan, review and suggest improvements to operating guidelines and provide additional recommendations including providing a 20-year replacement program (2011-2031).

            Since the development of the replacement plan in 2011, the Department has experienced a number of significant mechanical issues with Ladder 18 that has resulted in the Township spending funds in excess of the annual budget for vehicle maintenance.

            The Department of Fire Services is recommending the Board of Supervisors enter into a contract with Emergency Vehicle Response (EVR) to assist a committee of career and volunteer firefighters with selecting a manufacturer and design a new aerial apparatus. To accomplish this, the EVR will provide several consulting services including performing an aerial needs assessment, presenting an apparatus purchasing seminar, and assisting with apparatus specifications and participating in acceptance inspections.

            Chairman Michael J. Fox expressed the importance of making sure both career and volunteer firefighters were apart of this process. John Mogensen, a Fire Department of Montgomery Township Volunteer for over 40 years, inquired about the need for the consultant and expressed that the need of the Department was to obtain a truck similar in design to the current Ladder 18 apparatus, which he stated has saved many lives over the years. Chairman Fox stated that he appreciated Mr. Mogensen’s comments but the Board wanted to have a consultant that had experience and was an independent third party to be able to assist in this purchase since it was going cost the Township over a million dollars for this equipment.

            Resolution #7 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, authorized the execution of a contract with Emergency Vehicle Response to perform an aerial needs assessment, provide an apparatus purchasing seminar, and assist with the reviewing specifications and the participation in acceptance inspections at a total cost of $20,000.00.  

            Director of Administration and Human Resources Ann Shade reported on some updates to existing policies and the addition of a new policy. Ms. Shade reported that the following polices were presented for approval:

  • Smoke-Free Environment – this policy has been updated to include additional forms of smoking, such as e-cigarettes, and to specify the addition of signing at designated smoking locations.
  • Expressions of Sympathy – this is a new policy to establish guidelines regarding consistency and acknowledgement surrounding the death of an employee or their immediate family member.
  • Benefits Summary – this policy has been updated to clarify the established premium share, and to provide consistency regarding the definition of a full-time employee, as stated in the Employment Definitions policy (5.1).

            Resolution #8 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, approved the updates to the Smoke-Free Environment and Benefits Summary policies and the addition of the Expressions of Sympathy policy.

            Director of Planning and Zoning Bruce Shoupe reported that the Township received and opened bids for the Ash Tree Forestry Management – Phase VII on May 1, 2019. Twenty-five bid packets were sent out. Five bids were received ranging in costs from $35,314 to $82,825. He recommended the Board reject all bids.  Resolution #9 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, rejected all bids received for the Ash Tree Forestry Management for Phase VII.

            Director of Planning and Zoning Bruce Shoupe requested the release of Maintenance Period Bond for Mark’s Jewelers 975 Bethlehem Pike as recommended by the Township Engineer and Township Landscape Architect. Resolution #10 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, authorized the maintenance period to be ended for Mark’s Jewelers 975 Bethlehem Pike and all maintenance bond will be released contingent upon all Township fees being paid.

            Resolution #11 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, authorized a construction escrow release in the amount of $22,515.50, as recommended by the Township Engineer for 119 Wentworth Drive.

            Resolution #12 made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Candyce Fluehr Chimera and adopted unanimously, authorized a construction escrow release in the amount of $49,520.20, as recommended by the Township Engineer for the 309 Automall Properties, L. P.- Montgomeryville Nissan.

            A motion to approve the payment of bills was made by Chairman Michael J. Fox, seconded by Supervisor Candyce Fluehr Chimera, and adopted unanimously, approved the payment of bills as submitted.

            There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 7:41 p.m.