Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Tredyffrin Township 2016 Budget – No Tax Increase! New Steps for Township Building!

Tredyffrin Township supervisors held their last board meeting of 2015. Some of the newsworthy items to report from the meeting:

  1. The supervisors approved the 2016 budget with no tax increase! This is news because the board of supervisors had unanimously approved the 2016 preliminary budget in November with 3.05 percent tax increase. Citing larger than expected dollars from commercial and resident real estate transfer taxes, supervisors will not raise township taxes. (Those same unexpected transfer dollars to the township also affect the economic outlook for the TE School District! I hope that the school board is paying attention.)
  1. The supervisors approved the settlement agreement between Tredyffrin Township and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Malvern resident Stephen Kline spoke in opposition of this agreement, claiming that it is wrong not to hold the Turnpike Commission to the same stormwater standard as required of residents in Tredyffrin Twp. As a resident on Salem Way whose property (and value?) will be affected by the actions of the turnpike, Kline (himself an attorney) stated he will take legal action against the township, supervisors (current and those serving since 2009), the solicitor, township manager, assistant manager and engineer as a result of the agreement. Kline has been a constant at township meetings regarding the turnpike project. (Click here to read the agreement). *** See comment below for clarification from Mr. Kline ***
  1. The supervisors approved Project #15-05, the township front and rear entrance steps rehabilitation project! These was the third time the township had bid the project for the steps and as township manager Bill Martin said last light, guess that the third time was indeed the charm! (Two earlier RFPs regarding the steps project failed due to technical glitches.) The total cost for the rehabilitation project is less than $400K and here’s hoping that the working will be done in the spring. The steps have long been an eyesore for anyone visiting the township building – am glad for this news!

Last night marked the final meeting for three supervisors, Kristen Mayock, John DiBuonaventuro and chairman Mike Heaberg; newly elected supervisors Trip Lukens, Sean Moir and Heather Greenberg will take office on January 4, 2016. The township will particularly miss the financial expertise and time commitment of Mike Heaberg, whose kindness and patience in his leadership style will be hard to replace. Thank you to all who give of their time to elected service.

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  1. Has anyone heard that construction on the townhouses by the shopping center in Chesterbrook has been halted by the township over 3rd floor attics and height of the buildings?? Many folks have deposits on these properties. Could be interesting.

    1. As follow-up, I contacted Greg Lingo, the developer for Parkview at Chesterbrook. According to Greg, the township has not halted construction; stating that there are “no issues” regarding the project.

  2. Thanks, Pattye, for bringing us some glad Christmas tidings!

    CM readers should take a moment to let their friends and neighbors know the debt of gratitude we all owe to Mike Heaberg. His leadership has established the values that guide our township: decisions grounded in data and analysis, complete integrity, responsiveness to the community, and prudent financial management. All of which demonstrated through a colossal investment of his personal time.

    I hope that his successors can continue in those footsteps, and even more that his counterparts at the School Board can absorb the lessons. We have been shown what good local government looks like.

    The zero tax increase comes with a budgeted $825,000 draw down of reserves. Ordinarily this would raise the red flag to the top of the township flagpole, but there’s a comforting five year glidepath to eliminating that cost and more when we become debt free. That’s not to say, though, that contracted compensation increases will not require rate increases in the interim if the tax base and transfer tax increases are not sustained. It’s good to know that the Board and staff are not only thinking this through, but also sharing the thinking with the community.

    It is disappointing that the Turnpike has taken the position that topography and community resistance to taking residential properties for stormwater management systems means that the widening project can not meet all the Township stormwater ordinance standards. Unfortunately their hand seems to be strong enough that they can pull this off. However, as a downstream resident, I take some comfort that at least there is designed to be some management and net improvement. We are depending on the Township to monitor the impact carefully and to hold the Turnpike to its commitments.

    Hooray for the new steps!

    Happy Holidays to all!

    1. Not a problem — glad that things are moving forward with the project. Greg did go on to say, “with the holiday and the inclement weather, I doubt many subcontractors will be there the balance of the week”, in case anyone is curious in the next few days.

  3. Steve Kline contacted me via email for clarification regarding his intentions re the turnpike commission as he does not plan to sue the township, put rather specific individuals.
    From Mr. Kline,

    “I would only ask you to make clear that I did not say I intend to sue Tredyffrin Township. I don’t think that the taxpayers of the Township should pay for the failures of the Board of Supervisors and others, like Solicitor Donahue,Township Engineer, Burgo, and Baumann, whose compensation is paid in part by the taxpaying residents of Tredyffrin Township.”

  4. Kline has no case whatsoever against the township, much less the individuals.

    – The individuals have immunity.
    – The only way for individuals to be liable is if they personally benefited or acted so far outside the bounds of their authority.

    Kline certainly has a lot to be angry about. However, that doesn’t translate into a winning lawsuit.

  5. Congratulations to Tredyffrin Township taxpayers and thank-you to the BOC’s for truly serving the best interests of the citizens you represent.

    On another note, is anyone paying attention to the state budget mess in Harrisburg? I’m confused.

    The yes votes were Reps. Becky Corbin (R-155), Chris Ross (R-158), Tim Hennessey (R-26), Warren Kampf (R-157) and John Lawrence (R-13).

    The no votes were Reps. Dan Truit (R-156), Steve Barrar (R-160), Harry Lewis Jr. (R-74) and Duane Milne (R-167).

    Corbin acknowledged that the pension bill as presented wasn’t everything she was hoping for, but saw it as an opportunity to make progress.

    Local State Reps (clockwise from top left) Steve Barrar, Harry Lewis Jr., Chris Ross and Duane Milne joined another dozen GOP State Reps and all of the House Democrats to revive the $30.8 billion state budget. But as questions about “ghost voting” and where the tax increases would come from, the house adjourned for the holidays without moving any budget proposal forward.

    Observer, you seem like a smart person who understands how things work around here. Could you comment on what is going on in Harrisburg? Thanks.

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