News Letter

Bucks County News Letter

JULY 2017
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Bucks
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Penndel to consider sewer lateral inspection ordinance on July 3

Penndel Borough Council will hold a meeting to consider and possibly adopt an ordinance providing for the inspection and possible replacement of private sewer laterals. The meeting will be held on Monday, July 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the borough office, 300 Bellevue Avenue. The proposed ordinance will provide for the inspection and possible replacement of private sewer laterals in certain situations: upon transfer of title of the property to which the private sewer lateral is connected; when the conveyance line to which the private sewer service lateral is replaced or repaired; or upon inspection of the sanitary sewer system by the borough, its personnel or its authorized agents. The purpose of the proposed ordinance is to eliminate the introduction of prohibited waters into the sanitary sewer system, and to provide inspection criteria and penalties for violation of the ordinance. A copy of the full text of the ordinance may be examined at Penndel borough office during normal business hours.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 6/23/2017

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Taxes steady in Pennridge School District
The Pennridge School District board unanimously approved a 2017-18 budget that holds the line on property taxes for the first time in five years. The $133.1 million budget is $2 million higher than the current year’s budget and calls for using $337,000 from the fund balance to offset the difference between expenses and revenues. According to Sean Daubert, district business manager, much of the increase in expenses over the past five years has been due to the increased rates in the Public School Employees’ Retirement System. Daubert said, “Really in the last five years, that rate’s probably gone from somewhere about 10 percent to over 30 percent.” The tax rate will remain at 135.2555 mills, so a resident with a home assessed at $30,769 will pay $4,162 in real estate taxes. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
Source: The Intelligencer; 6/22/2017

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Solebury Township seeks candidates for supervisor vacancy
Solebury Township Supervisor Jim Searing announced his resignation from the board effective June 30.  Electors of Solebury Township who have resided in the township continuously for at least one year and who are interested in appointment to fill the board vacancy should submit a letter of interest with a resume by July 13 to Township Manager Dennis H. Carney. Letters can be delivered to the Solebury Township Municipal Building, 3092 Sugan Road, Solebury, PA, 18963, or mailed to PO Box 139, Solebury, PA, 18963. The appointment will be made at the regular meeting scheduled on July 18, which will take place at 7 p.m. at the township Building. The appointed successor will hold the office of supervisor until January 1, 2018.
Source: Solebury Township & Bucks County Herald; 6/22/2017

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Doylestown Borough accepting stewardship award nominations 
Nominations for the Mayor’s Property Stewardship Award are being accepted by the Doylestown Economic Advisory Board through Tuesday, Aug. 15. According to the borough: “Stewardship of residential or commercial properties may include, but is not limited to reconstruction, repainting of buildings, and repair of deteriorated conditions, involving structures, including fences and walls.” Nomination for the Stewardship Award will be accepted from community members, the Doylestown Historical Society, and the Borough’s Historical and Architectural Review Board (HARB). The Economic Development Advisory Board will make the selection. Those submitting nominations should include the property address, owner address, contact information for person or group nominating the property (name, address, email and telephone number) and narrative about the property to jdavis@doylestownborough.net or by mail to Borough Hall, 57 W. Court St., Doylestown, PA, 18901.
Source: Doylestown Borough; 6/26/2017

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Philadelphia
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On deadline, Philly City Council reaches consensus on Rebuild
A year after Philadelphia City Council passed a tax on sweetened beverages, it gave approval to a core initiative the tax receipts would pay for — a significant reshaping of Philadelphia’s parks, recreation centers, and libraries known as Rebuild. “This will be a wonderful program,” President Darrell L. Clarke said. “We’re looking forward — I know I am — to the first groundbreaking as soon as possible.” That could happen as soon as this year, according to Mayor Kenney’s office. Over the next six or more years, Rebuild could touch from 150 to 200 individual sites, including facilities that have fallen into deep disrepair because of budget constraints. Improvements will range from face-lifts to the construction of new buildings. The $500 million project is a pillar of Kenney’s anti-poverty agenda and has been pitched as a path to finally diversifying the city’s building trades. With approval from the council, the city is cleared to take out the first of three $100 million bonds. Approximately $8 million in city money has been set aside for the project, meaning work can start before the borrowing.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 6/16/2017

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Council bill would mandate affordable units in every development
In the five years since Philadelphia introduced a zoning incentive to encourage developers to incorporate reduced-price units into their projects, private builders have produced a mere 15 affordable apartments. The program nearly collapsed last year when a development company had a change of heart after its building was completed — with five more floors than would have been permitted without their stated intent to provide affordable housing. Most developers don’t even bother with the bonus anymore. Now, City Council members want to try a different approach to creating affordable housing. A bill introduced would require that every major development, whether housing or rentals, include reduced-priced units. Ten percent of the units would have to be priced for the working poor. The goal is to cushion the impact of gentrification in neighborhoods where house prices are rising rapidly. To compensate developers for renting or selling their units at below-market prices, the bill would allow them to construct buildings that are taller and denser than Philadelphia’s zoning code normally allows. In some areas, they would be able to increase the number of permitted units by as much as 50 percent. Only projects with more than nine units would be subject to the affordable-housing mandate. A hearing on the bill will be held in the fall. Such zoning incentives are known as inclusionary housing bonuses, and they have becoming increasingly common in New York, San Francisco and other cities where stratospheric prices have made it difficult for low-wage workers to find housing. Unlike those places, Philadelphia remains relatively affordable overall, despite dramatic spikes in some neighborhoods.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 6/22/2017

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JUNE 2017
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BUCKS
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Taxes increase in Quakertown Community School District
The Quakertown Community School District board approved a $109.2 million spending plan for 2017-18 that includes a 2.9 percent property tax increase. The district’s tax rate will increase to 157.77 mills. A mill is a tax of $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value, so the total school tax bill for a property assessed at the district average of $26,308 will be $4,150, which is $117 more than this year. The state’s property tax law, Act 1, allows most districts to raise taxes 2.5 percent this year without seeking exceptions from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Quakertown’s index is 2.9 percent because of the district’s high poverty rate of 31 percent. Other Bucks County school districts with a higher index include Bristol Borough, Bristol Township and Morrisville. The budget requires the use of $3.15 million from district savings to balance.
Source: The Intelligencer; 6/5/2017

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NJDEP turns down PennEast pipeline application
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that PennEast’s application for gas pipeline permits to the state agency is incomplete. NJDEP said the application was “determined to be administratively deficient” in part because “the applicant has yet to gain access to a significant portion of the proposed right of way in New Jersey.” The proposed 110-mile-long, 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline includes approximately 39 miles in New Jersey. It would cross the Delaware River at Durham Township in Bucks County. PennEast has 30 days from the issuance of the deficiency letter to reply to the NJDEP with the required information.
Source: Bucks County Herald; 6/1/2017

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Lower Makefield supervisors approve scaled-back athletic complex
After hearing more than four hours of public comment, Lower Makefield Township supervisors voted unanimously to approve a slightly scaled-back athletic complex for the 32.6-acre Snipes tract. The supervisors voted unanimously last spring to move forward with land development plans calling for the construction of three large multi-purpose sports fields, a smaller soccer field, along with a concession stand, restrooms, pavilion and a 900-square-yard skateboard park. On May 30, the supervisors eliminated the skate park from the plan and added a natural trail that will encircle the fields to make the project more palatable to neighbors. Residents of the area expressed strong concern over traffic and lighting. The board also heard from representatives from the township’s athletic groups that will directly benefit from the new facilities. The land was purchased by the township in 2000 with the intent of one day using it for active recreation. Construction could begin as early as August.
Source: Bucks Local News.com; 6/5/2017

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Bristol Borough celebrates Deluxe makeover
Bristol Borough’s makeover as winner of the nationwide Small Business Revolution marketing contest will be celebrated Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11. Residents and visitors are invited to take part in two nights of festivities. On Saturday, a video shoot will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the intersection of Mill and Radcliffe streets, where a drone camera will take crowd views of the closing festivities. Bill Pezza, president of Raising the Bar, the civic organization that organized Bristol’s participation in the contest, said that local restaurants will hold outdoor cafés and street performers will add to the festivities. On Sunday, people are invited to gather at the wharf starting at 5:30 p.m. for filming of the “Big Goodbye”—the closing ceremony as town officials and business owners say farewell to Bristol’s sponsor, the business marketing firm Deluxe. The purpose of the Small Business Revolution project is to show how important small businesses are to the American economy and the country’s communities. Click here for more about Bristol Borough’s win.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 6/5/2017