Citizen Survey on Police Services
Open Through October 31, 2019
For nearly two years Schwenksville Borough Council has been involved in discussions with Lower Frederick Township regarding a partnership that would bring local police services to Schwenksville Borough. The discussions began in part because of increased legislative activity at the state level that seems to be leading towards new requirements that would have municipalities serviced by the State Police pay on a per capita basis for those services. The Borough also is interested in local police services to fill a need for quality of life policing that entails enforcement of Borough “Peace and Good Order” Ordinances, community policing and a stronger presence in the Borough to deter crime and slow down traffic. This initiative was spearheaded by Mayor Joe Giunta.
Last year Lower Frederick Township invited Schwenksville, Perkiomen Township, and Upper Frederick Township to participate in a feasibility study to examine the costs and feasibility of forming a Regional Police Department that would provide 24 hour, seven days a week police coverage to the four municipalities or three of them. The study was funded by a grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development and up to this point there have been no out of pocket costs to the Borough other than legal notices for public meetings. In December this study/report was presented to the public in detail at a public meeting held at the Perkiomen Valley West Middle School conducted by the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development. The Report is available on the Borough’s website at http://schwenksville-pa.org/services/police. The report explains how a regional police agency would be formed, how each municipality would be represented and what powers and authority to vote on all police matters they would have, including the selection of personnel. It outlines two options for a four-municipality Regional Police Department and a three-municipality Police Department (Excluding Perkiomen Township) that would provide 24-7 coverage from a full-service police department to its member municipalities. If all four municipalities joined Schwenksville’s share would be approximately $183,442 per year and if three municipalities joined the cost to Schwenksville Borough would increase to $203,049.00. On a per capita basis, the cost amounts to approximately $132 per person and $147 per person respectively.
On the surface, this proposal seems quite reasonable and that the costs are comparable to other Regional Police Departments as illustrated on page 22 of the Study; but Schwenksville Borough is different from its neighboring townships in many ways including the size of our tax base. Residents would not be billed based on how many people live in their household. Rather, a Real Estate Tax increase for the purpose of funding the Police Services would need to be adopted and due to the small size of our tax base, the increase would be significant. One mill is equal to $1.00 of tax for every $1,000 of assessment. In Schwenksville, one mill of real estate tax brings in approximately $48,500 of revenue. Understanding that it would take a tax increase of between 3.78 mill and 4.19 mill to fund the Regional Policing Options, Schwenksville asked Lower Frederick if they would be willing and able to tailor police services to meet our needs and a budget to be determined. And the answer was yes.
At a public meeting held on May 30, 2019 at the Schwenksville Borough Municipal Annex, Lower Frederick Police Chief Paul Maxey addressed Borough Council and members of the public and reviewed the Regional Police Options as well as two options for purchasing local police services. No proposal has been provided to Schwenksville Borough. Rather, Chief Maxey explained that in Lower Frederick, the cost of a full-time police officer’s salary and benefits is approximately $134,859.00. Therefore, if Schwenksville wanted 40 hours per week (approximately 6 hours per day) of police coverage that’s how much it would cost. If we needed fewer hours per week, it would adjust downward using an hourly rate. He also illustrated that if we went to 80 hours per week of service, the cost of approximately 12 hours per day of coverage, would be greater than a Regional Police Option that would provide 24 hours of coverage. The purpose of this illustration was to suggest, that if we start small, but like the results, it would still be possible to form a regional police agency in the future.
Your opinion matters to us. To calculate the impact the alternatives considered would have on your property please use the chart included below.
|To determine what your tax liability is you take the assessed value of your property and multiply it by the tax rate measured in mills and then divide that product by 1,000. For example, a home assessed at $176,357 multiplied (x) by the current Schwenksville Borough Tax Rate of 6.4 mills divided by (/) 1000 = $1,128.68 in local tax. A 4-mill increase would be calculated $176,357 x 4.0 mill/1000 = $705.43.
· Currently the Borough’s police services are provided by the Pennsylvania State Police Skippack Barracks at no/zero additional charge to Schwenksville Borough or residents.
· Perkiomen Township, Upper Frederick Township also currently utilize the Pennsylvania State Police to provide police services to their communities. Lower Frederick currently has its own Police Department but does not currently provide 24 hour, seven days a week coverage and supplements its coverage with the State Police.
· Pennsylvania State Police provide: Traffic and Vehicle Code Enforcement, response to motor vehicle accidents, 911 Emergency Response, Well-being Checks, Criminal Complaint and Investigatory Services and limited patrol of Borough Streets and the Perkiomen Trail.
· Pennsylvania State Police do not enforce local “Peace and Good Order” ordinances such as noise, loitering, parking, animal, or nuisance ordinances.
· Pennsylvania Legislators have proposed as many as 5 bills that would impose fees on municipalities who do not have a local police department or a full-time local police department for utilizing the Pennsylvania State Police. The fees proposed in the legislation for a Borough of Schwenksville’s size range from $0.00 per person to $25 per person. If one of these bills were to be enacted into law, Schwenksville could be forced to pay up to $34,625, or more depending on the next census, annually to continue being serviced by the Pennsylvania State Police. There would be no change/increase to service with the legislation that has been proposed.
· Pennsylvania State Police Skippack Barracks has 48 Troopers servicing a population of 57,942 for a 0.8 Trooper per 1,000 residents ratio compared to Lower Merion Township that employs 131 Officers to service a population of 58,234 (2.3 ratio) or Abington that employs 92 officers to service a population of 55,623 (1.7 ratio).
· The Four Municipality Regional Option looked at establishing one full-service [patrol coverage to all areas with officers assigned to specific patrol zones, along with Patrol Sergeants, Traffic Officers and a full-time Detective] and full-time (24 hours a day, seven days a week) regional police department, consisting of 18 sworn full-time officers and 2 full-time civilian clerical personal to serve the four combined municipalities with a resident population of 18,897 and a jurisdiction 23.67 square miles in size. Estimated cost to Schwenksville Borough is $183,4442 annually.
· The three Municipality Option looked at establishing one smaller full-time regional department with a population of 9,758 from only three municipalities and a jurisdiction of 18.95 square mile. It would still have specific patrol zones, but would be limited to 10 sworn officers including a detective, a sergeant and a Chief of Police. Estimated cost to Schwenksville Borough is $203,049.00.
· A Regional Police Department would be governed by a Board composed of elected officials representing each of the member municipalities. The governing board would hire a new Chief of Police. The current Lower Frederick Township Police Officers would be offered positions with the Regional Police Department and then the Governing Board would hire additional officers as needed. This Board would be governed and operated independent from any of the member municipalities. Police Coverage would be 24-7.
· Purchasing Police Services would mean the police department would be managed by Lower Frederick Township and Schwenksville would not have a vote or role to play in decisions governing the police department. It would not be 24-7 coverage. State Police would be on call during off hours.
Schwenksville Borough Council invites all Borough residents and property owners of at least 18 years of age, to complete the on-line citizen Survey located at www.schwenksville-pa.org, or to complete the paper survey that is included as an insert a mailed survey mailed mid-September. The survey responses need to be submitted on-line or received at Borough Hall, 140 Main Street, Schwenksville, PA 19473 by October 31, 2019 to be considered.
Please complete the Police Services Survey by October 31, 2019.
The Sunrise Trail Feasibility Study
The Feasibility study commissioned by Montgomery County to analyze the feasibility of constructing a western bicycle and multi-purpose trail has been completed. The study can be viewed here.
For more information visit the County YouTube stations or contact the Montgomery County Planning Commission at 610-278-3722:
Due to the sudden passing of Council Member Todd Larsen, Council welcomed a new Council member on board in July. Fire Marshal and current Planning Commission member Chris Melville was appointed to fill the unexpired term through December 31, 2019. Chris is hoping to gain the Democratic Committee’s endorsement to be on the Ballot in November and will be seeking election to a four year term. Chris has informed Council that he plans to resign from Planning Commission at the end of his term, also December 31, 2019.
In other Council News, Council Member Greg Pocius has announced that he will be moving out of the Borough and will need to resign his positions on Council and the Borough Authority. This move also means his wife Siobhan Pocius will need to resign as Tax Collector. It’s a huge loss to Schwenksville Borough. Greg and Siobhan are very active in our community and have been dedicated volunteers for the Borough for many years. Greg’s final Council Meeting will be August 8th and he will need to resign prior to the sale of his home.
If you are a resident of Schwenksville Borough and are interested in serving on the Planning Commission, the Borough Water & Sewer Authority, Borough Council or another committee, please submit a letter of interest to DarrenRash@Schwenksville-pa.org. There will be openings on other boards and committees as well since Greg and Todd held many positions. Please submit a letter of interest along with your qualifications/professional background. Greg’s background in financial management and team leadership will be missed greatly.
Pennypacker Mills Special Event “In the Good Old Summertime”
Pennypacker Mills is pleased to announce an upcoming event “In the Good Old Summertime” at Pennypacker Mills. It will be Saturday, August 3rd from 11am to 3pm. Please checkout the event flyer for more information.Small Poster (for Summertime)
Regional Policing Study Public Information Meeting
Borough Council authorized the advertisement of the 2019 Budget with a balancing figure of $2,274,490.00 for all funds including the construction fund for proposed renovations at 300 Main Street. The General Fund Operating Budget is balanced at $596,474.00 which is $19,384 higher than in 2018. No tax increase is proposed for 2019 and no new services are being added as of the time the budget is advertised. Residents may submit written comments prior to the December 13, 2018 Council Meeting or are invited to attend the Borough Council Meeting which begins at 7PM at Borough Hall, 140 Main Street, Scwhenksville PA 19473. 2019 Budget Advertised November Budget Message Budget Advertisement for 2019 Budget.
Volunteers for Community Service always welcome
From time to time we have willing volunteers approach us about small projects that they could do to help us keep the Borough looking as nice as possible. We decided that the best way to accommodate those willing volunteers is to keep a list of things that need to be done. Some are routine maintenance that will need to be done regularly, others are small items that need to be repaired. Please note that anyone willing to donate their time and skills will be greatly appreciated. In fact, the Mayor just created a special award to be given out when from time to time he feels a volunteer has really been extraordinary. To volunteer please check out the Community Service Projects that we have identified as needing assistance and fit the work into your schedule when possible. Thank you in advance!
Borough Electronic Sign
Your business or organization can still purchase advertising on the digital sign located in front of 300 Main Street. The Borough took over ownership of the property at 300 Main Street following the merger of Schwenksville Fire Company with Lower Frederick Township Fire Company, has commissioned a new sign to sit on top of the electronic sign and has taken over managing the messaging on the sign. The rates are similar to what was charged by the Fire Company. The proceeds are being earmarked for Park and Activities Committee expenditures.
If you are interested in purchasing advertising space please read the Borough Policy, complete the Application and submit to gail@Schwenksville-pa.org.
THIRD PARTY BUILDING/CODE INSPECTION
As of July 13, 2018, Schwenksville Borough has changed Contractors for Third Party Code Inspection and Plan Review service. The new provider is Castle Valley Consultants Inc. The application forms on our website will remain in effect. The current 2018 Fee Schedule will be in effect until January of 2019. All applications should be submitted to Schwenksville Borough. U&O Applications require payment of the flat fee up front made payable to Schwenksville Borough. All other applications will be reviewed by Castle Valley Consultants and a fee will be calculated and is payable upon receipt of the permit. To schedule an inspection please call Castle Valley Consultants directly at 610-469-8414 and select Option #2. Any questions can be directed to Gail Phillips or Anne Klepfer at Borough Hall or 610-287-7442. The Thursday Office Hour is now in effect. An inspector will be available to take calls or walk ins between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM on Thursdays.
The below files are PDFs and will require you to have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer. If you do not have this program you can download here.
Building Permit Application as of 7_13_18 Use for all Building, Mechanical, Plumbing & Electrical Applications
FOR ALL OTHER PERMIT APPLICATIONS PLEASE USE THE LINKE ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THIS PAGE
Spotted Lantern Fly Quarantine – Schwenksville
Schwenksville Borough was recently notified that it is now under Quarantine for the Spotted Lantern Fly. Last summer the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, confirmed the presence the Spotted Lanternfly in Berks County Pennsylvania, the first detection of this invasive non-native species in the United States. It has now spread to Schwenksville Borough.
Upon determination that the potential impact to Pennsylvania’s agricultural economy and natural resources was great, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued a quarantine with the intent to restrict the movement of the Spotted Lanternfly on November 1, 2014. To date, several municipalities in Berks and Montgomery counties are under a limited movement quarantine as the department and its federal, state, local and non-governmental cooperators develop a strategy to eliminate this pest from the Commonwealth.
The general quarantine restricts movement of any material or object that can spread the pest. This includes firewood or wood products, brush or yard waste, remodeling or construction materials and waste, packing material like boxes, grapevines for decorative purposes or as nursery stock, and any outdoor household articles like lawnmowers, grills, tarps, Kayaks, Canoes and any other equipment, trucks, RVS or vehicles not stored indoors.
Businesses in the general quarantine area need to obtain a Certificate of Limited Permit from the department in order to move articles. Criminal and civil penalties of up to $20,000 and prison time can be imposed for violations by businesses or individuals.
The Spotted Lanternfly, which has no known impacts to human health, is an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It’s an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species which also grow in Pennsylvania.
Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. It often attaches to the bark of Tree of Heaven – sometimes referred to as Paradise Tree – an invasive species similar to Sumac that can be found around parking lots or along tree lines. Adults often cluster in groups and lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs that adhere to flat surfaces including tree bark. Freshly laid egg masses have a grey waxy mud-like coating, while hatched eggs appear as brownish seed-like deposits in four to seven columns about an inch long. Trees attacked by the Spotted Lanternfly will show a grey or black trail of sap down the trunk.
All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to watch for the Spotted Lanternfly and offered the following suggestions :
- If you see eggs: Scrape them off the tree or smooth surface, double bag them and throw them in the garbage, or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.
- If you collect a specimen: Turn the adult specimen or egg mass in to the department’s Entomology Lab for verification. First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container.
- If you take a photo: Submit photo of adults or egg masses to email@example.com.
- If you report a site: Call the Invasive Species report line at 1-866-253-7189 with details of the sighting and your contact information.
While Pennsylvanians can submit suspect eggs to the department headquarters in Harrisburg or to its six regional office locations, county Penn State Extension offices are often a closer, faster option.
For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov and search “lanternfly.”
Schwenksville Borough adopted Ordinance No. 392 updating its wireless communications regulations. The Ordinance amends the Borough’s Zoning Ordinance to update and add definitions and regulations to establish certain general and specific standards relating to the location, placement, construction and maintenance of tower-based and non-tower wireless communications facilities. Ordinance 392_Final.
Have Questions? Have concerns? Want to make a suggestion? Please call Borough staff at 610-287-7442. We are typically staffed 9AM-Noon, 1PM-5PM Monday through Thursday and 9AM-2PM on Fridays. The Third Party Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer [Tom Heisner of Code Inspection Inc.] contracted by Schwenksville Borough has office hours at Borough Hall on Thursdays 9AM-10 AM and can be reached at the number listed above. Code Inspections Inc., is only in the Borough on Tuesday and Thursday Mornings and conducts all building inspections and performs all code inspections on these days. All appointments for inspections can be scheduled by calling 610-287-7442.
There is also a COMPLAINT AND SUGGESTION FORM_ that can be used to lodge a complaint, request a service or to simply make a friendly suggestion or observation. We require the use of the form to help us better keep track of legitimate complaints and process the requests and so that we have a record of our response and can refer back to them when an opportunity arises to address it. It some cases, it helps us to build a file up for use in Code Enforcement Proceedings. Please don’t take offense when we ask you to complete one. The purpose is to make the process transparent, responsive, accountable and productive.
Please also consider signing up for the E-Pathways newsletter. This is the best way to receive accurate information about what’s happening in Schwenksville Borough. You can do this by emailing Gail@Schwenksville-pa.org and providing your email address with a request to be added to the distribution list; or you can simply text the word “SCHWENKY” to 22828 and provide your email address when asked for it.
Modern stormwater management frequently includes the installation of “Best Management Practices” (BMPs). One thing that all BMPs have in common is that they need routine maintenance in order to perform properly. Since many BMPs are installed on private property and the responsibility of private property owners, it is important that property owners be offered advice on BMP Care. The Pennsylvania DEP has prepared a Homeowners Guide to Homeowners Guide to Stormwater BMP Maintenance and has provided additional information and resources for homeowners.
Landscaping with Native Plants
PA Stormwater Best Practices Manual (2006)
Main Street Streetscape Plan & Design Guidelines
Last summer Council held a special Town Meeting to talk about revitalization and public safety in the Borough. Thank you to those of you who took the time to share your thoughts on revitalization and provided constructive suggestions for our consideration.
We are pleased to announce that the Borough has completed and adopted Main Street Streetscape Plan and Design Guidelines to help guide development and improvements along Main Street. And we have already started implementing some of the recommendations –look no further than the beautiful Mural at 350 Main Street painted by artist Teresa Haag.
Residents in attendance also asked us to make Property Maintenance code enforcement a priority. Code enforcement is never an easy or pleasant responsibility, however, we took your comments to heart and are working with a Third Party Inspection company on enforcement. We have updated our Property Maintenance Ordinance and we are working with residents and businesses on compliance.
Borough Association Recognition
Schwenksville Borough is proud to announce that the Schwenksville Newsletter “Pathways” received a First Place Recognition in the Borough News Municipal Newsletter Contest! Winners were selected based on content, presentation and “readability”.
Legal Notices – Uniform Construction Code Amendments
At their November 10th Meeting Borough Council will consider adoption of Ordinance No. 388 Amending the Borough Code that adopts and implements the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code. Building Permits are now needed for all re-roofing projects where 25% or more of the roof is being re-shingled or any portion of the roof is being re-sheaved.
Ordinance No. 383 – Property Maintenance Ordinance View Ordinance View Legal Notice – Adopted 4/14/2016
Sign up for E-newsletter
Schwenksville Borough will endeavor to send out a monthly newsletter electronically. If you are interested in signing up for the newsletter you can do so by sending a text message to 22828 and text the word “SCHWENKY”. You will get a text message response asking you for your email address. September-e-pathways-16-2
Emergency Management Information
Exelon has issued the 2016/2017 emergency planning brochure for individuals that reside within a 10 mile radius of the Limerick Power Plant. You can review the brochure and its important safety information by visiting http://www.exeloncorp.com/locations/Documents/Limerick%20Emergency%20Planning%20Brochure%202016.pdf . Please read the entire brochure, discuss the information with members of your family, and keep the brochure in a convenient place for future use. If you need additional information after reviewing the brochure, please contact your County Emergency Services Department.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved updated Floodplain Maps and has approved floodplain management measures that satisfy the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations. The Borough adopted corresponding floodplain management measures contained in a floodplain management ordinance that meet or exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. Schwenksville Borough is depicted on Panels 113, 114 and 227 of the FEMA Map which can be viewed from the Borough’s Home Page www.schwenksville-pa.org by clicking on the images below. The Best Way to view the maps is to come in to the office at 140 Main Street and view the paper copies of the maps. We do not interpret the maps for you and cannot certify whether or not a property is in the floodplain.
Zika Virus Information
The Montgomery County Health Department has made the following information available to residents. We hope that the information included will assist residents in having situational awareness about this disease event and how it may affect you if you travel to areas where there is suspected or confirmed Zika virus transmission. A comprehensive list of the countries affected may be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) continues to be rapidly changing as the disease event evolves. Information sharing continues through regular distribution methods including the Montgomery County Health Department MCHD Zika Page.
MCHD continues to be available 24/7 for consultation regarding Zika Virus inquiries. Montgomery County Health Department can be contacted at 610-278-5117. For After Hours, Evenings, Weekends and Holidays contact: Montgomery County Police Radio at (610) 275-1222 and ask to speak to the person on-call for the Health Department
Learn More About Your Local Government
A newly updated website, www.lgc.state.pa.us, seeks to connect residents with their local governments and the laws governing them, such as land use, private property issues and municipal taxation. The website, offered by the bipartisan Local Government Commission, facilitates ready access to municipal codes; dozens of frequently cited municipal laws of Pennsylvania; brief summaries of all acts signed into law since 1993, including those vetoed; and updates on recent projects by the commission.
Ways You Can Protect Our Water Supply
When rains come down the storm water flows over roofs, across lawns, and down driveways, sidewalks, and roads before entering stormwater drains. The water entering those drains go directly to our water supply, along with all the dirt, debris, and chemicals it picked up along the way. In Schwenksville Borough, that water could contaminate the Perkiomen Creek and its tributaries. Protect our water and natural areas by helping to reduce the contaminants in our stormwater. Start with the following tips, and visit the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy http://www.perkiomenwatershed.org and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection at http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/water/6008 for more information.
- Use the Montgomery County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program to dispose of hazardous household substances, such as used motor oil, cleaning supplies, and paint.
- Use pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides properly to prevent excess runoff.
- Pick up after pets and dispose of their waste properly. If left in your backyard or at the park, pet waste can be carried into the storm sewer system or a stream by stormwater runoff.
- Instead of washing your car in your driveway, take it to a car wash, where the water is treated and recycled.
Schwenksville Borough operates a municipal storm water system that is permitted by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection. The permit requires that the Borough:
- Continue public education and outreach activities
- Notify and solicit public input/involvement regarding management of the system
- Monitor, test and eliminate illicit discharges from outfalls in the system
- Control construction site stormwater runoff through enforcement of ordinances
- Ensure that all post-construction stormwater improvements in new or re-developed areas are built as designed and are operated and maintained properly
- Implement a pollution prevention program for municipal operations.
For more information or to provide public input please contact the Borough Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org