Street Paving Project Blindsides Trappe Residents
Five homeowners told they have until September to pay $2500 or more to fix crumbling curbs. Councilman Edwards: "We know it's difficult for homeowners ... we all have financial obligations for the common good."
Trappe resident Sue Leighton is 82 years old and, like many senior citizens, doesn't have a lot of money. Leighton was therefore understandably dismayed to learn last week that the borough expects her to pay thousands of dollars to fix the curbing in front of her First Avenue home by September 1.
"I received a letter last week and I was very upset when I got this letter," Leighton said Tuesday while addressing the Trappe Borough Council at its monthly meeting. "I have no idea how much this is going to cost me. I'm 82 years old and I don't have any income coming in. This hurts big time."
Five letters went out last week to homeowners along First Avenue and College Avenue. The property owners were informed that they needed to repair their curbs or the borough would have them repaired and then bill the owner. This is in advance of the paving project of the two roadways set to begin in the fall.
Mrs. Leighton asked if she could pull out her curbing and pointed out that the school across the street [the Trappe Building, formerly the Perkiomen Valley Middle School] doesn't have curbing.
Engineer John Sartor cited problems with storm water if Mrs. Leighton removed her curb. Mr. Sartor was familiar with Leighton's property and said that only the defective curb would need to be replaced. He estimated this to be about 50% of the property's curb.
"We know it's difficult for homeowners," said Councilman Edwards.
"We're looking at $2500 to $3000 for you to repair your curbs. As
homeowners we all have financial obligations for the common good."
"Most municipalities give people at least a year so they can budget," said
Borough solicitor Dave Onorato. "I strongly suggest that sometime this
summer you (Council) identify the road work coming up and send out letters to residents."
Borough President Fred Schuetz agreed that Council needs to make the public aware of the borough ten-year road priority list.
"We don't have any answers that you want to necessarily hear, Sue," said
Schuetz, "but we appreciate you taking the time to express your concerns.
We'll try to address the issue so in the future we don't have people caught
with short notice."
All Trappe Borough codes, including streets and sidewalks, are available online for the public to view.
Audit report completed
Also during the public forum, CPA Greg Ede presented his audit report to Council.
"Trappe Borough did a very good job budgeting this year," Mr. Ede stated. "For a small municipality, you have a very strong balance sheet.
The Borough has net assets of 2.2 million dollars, with 69% in reserve funds. In
response to a question from Councilman Scholl related to seeking out higher
rates for investments, Mr. Ede said, "You guys probably do the best I've
seen. You really work at it to find the best CD rates".
Council approved the audit report and Borough treasurer Justin Nepo suggested posting the final copy on the Trappe Borough website so the public can view it.
Mr. Manny DeMutis approached Council to request a waiver to his project, the Springhouse Apartments located on Main Street. In 2010, when the apartment development was approved, it came with a prohibition of pets.
"At the time I thought it was a reasonable request," Mr. DeMutis said to
Council members. "What we're now finding is that a lot of the folks coming
to rent our apartments have pets. At this point we're nearing a 100% loss rate
because of the policy."
After discussion, Council requested that Mr. DeMutis's lawyer submit a proposal for a waiver. Council indicated that they would be willing to consider the request if the number and size of pets were limited and if the apartment complex would
provide waste bags and trash cans for residents to use when walking pets. The
issue will be re-visited at the July monthly meeting.
In other business:
Council approved an expenditure of $1600 to repair an outflow pipe on Joan Drive. Council also approved spending up to $1000 to cut down a diseased tree on the Borough Hall property and up to $1600 for shelves for the Borough Hall basement. The previously approved steel door and security window in the Hall will be installed in the next few weeks.
Mayor Connie Peck presented two new Eagle Scouts with certificates at a recent ceremony and has another Eagle Scout ceremony later in June. Mayor Peck praised the organizers for "an awesome job" on this year's Memorial Day parade, sharing that this year's parade was three times larger than last year's.
The Planning Commission is working on updating the flood ordinance and the
recreational vehicle ordinance. Both will be presented to Council at a future
The Borough received three bids for the 5th Avenue sidewalk project, ranging from $62,411.50 to $130,098.80. Council approved the lowest bidder based on engineer John Sartor's recommendation. Work is scheduled to begin in July 2012.
Council reviewed Mr. Sartor's timetable for the College and 1st Avenue paving project and asked if they could get the bid packet at the July Borough meeting to give homeowners like Mrs. Leighton an opportunity to compare their bids with bids the Borough receives. Mr. Sartor said this would not be a problem.
The next Trappe Borough Council meeting is Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 7 pm at Borough Hall. The public is invited to attend.