March, who has served as a councilwoman for the past 10 years, also resigned as the chairman of the Borough's Parks and Recreation Committee.
By Barbra Davis:
The resignation was effective immediately.
Council President Tom Hess, who had personally received the letter, said, "March was not happy with the way things go.'
While he didn't like seeing her resign, and he tried to talk her out of the decision, she was adamant. "I feel she did a fine job for council, but I don't think we have any choice but to accept (her resignation),' he said.
The Vacancy Board was asked to find a replacement for March by the next meeting. In her letter, March has suggested that her replacement be someone who lives on Main Street so the representation would be similar. Since March's resignation also leaves the Parks and Recreation Committee with only one member, new Councilman Gil Bielefeld was asked to take on the job. He agreed.
Councilman Merle Stoltzfus reported for the Traffic Calming Committee. He contacted Chester County regarding the Tier Two process, which helps with funding of projects to slow traffic in local municipalities. They sent a copy of the new regulations. "It's 75 percent county funding if we qualify,' Stoltzfus reported, "and here is no reason we shouldn't. It's new and there are not many applying for it.' Stoltzfus added that his committee will communicate their information to the Caernarvon (Lancaster) committee, but the problem is they are a different county, so they can't apply for the same grants.
Stoltzfus also called the county regarding the need for a tax collector. They sent him a copy of the borough code, which says when a vacancy exists, and 30 days pass with no one volunteering to fill the position, the borough, county and school will each collect their portion of the taxes through their respective treasurers. Since the school already collects its own taxes, and the borough has none to collect, council decided not to appoint anyone.
Several appointments were made to borough committees. Historical Commission: Jeff Shurr and Jim Clark's terms are expiring, and Susan Bishop has asked to be relieved of her duties. Shurr agreed to take over Bishop's remaining year, and Bets Witwer and Joe Sullivan were added to the Commission. Planning Commission: Clarence Fick and Dave Stoltzfus are willing to serve until 2005. Municipal Authority: Floyd Janelle will serve another term. Zoning Hearing Board: members will remain the same. Memorial Committee: members will remain the same. Communications: Carly Stoltzfus is going to college, but no replacement was named.
Reporting for the Municipal Authority, Lindy Fick said the borough's engineering firm, Spotts, Stevens and McCoy, is bringing the Act 537 report to a close. It should be in to the DEP by May. The firm is also checking with Berks County regarding the possibility of using the Gary Stoltzfus farm for drip irrigation. Fick also stated the authority is "trying to enhance our water to a better grade.' Although current output is in compliance with DEP regulations, the requirements get stricter all the time.
Hess questioned Fick regarding future plans for the Jacobs property by the authority. Fick replied, "The soil engineers say the ground will only take 25,000 gallons a day. We need 125,000 gallons, so it won't work.'
Since a decision needs to made on purchasing the property, Hess asked, "If we could get 50 percent paid for parks, would we want it?'
Stoltzfus replied that, "If someone else used it, they would have to designate 40 percent anyway, so the difference would not be worth the cost.' He actually believes the 25,000 gallon estimate is "a very conservative estimate,' and thinks at least two-thirds of the property is well-drained. Several other council people agreed that they heard the 25,000 gallon figure was a minimum, not the maximum, drainage. Council decided to let the decision about purchasing the property ride until more information is forthcoming.
The Planning Commission recommended that council OK an application McEwen described as, "Summerfield lot 126, a piece of land annexed out of the open space... not in the Homeowners' Association. Speaking for the Planning Commission, McEwen said the plan "was more or less approved when phase five was initiated.' Basically, the lot was enlarged so it would not be land-locked but would have access to South Pine Street. All engineering questions had been addressed, and the borough engineer had signed off on the plan. Council voted to approve.
McEwen told council that he had been contacted by the Chester County Boy Scouts, and asked if there were any community projects they could work on. Scouts are given age-appropriate activities, and a supervisor is always present. Council agreed to submit a list of projects they would like to see done. The borough manager also noted that bulk pick-ups for the year will be April 20 and Oct. 12.
Elverson resident Gretchen Shannon appeared in person to repeat questions asked in a letter to council last month. Stating she didn't think her letter was formally addressed, she asked the same questions regarding some wells recently drilled in the area of the municipal authority. "What regulations govern them?' she asked. Stoltzfus replied that there was only one well, and it would serve as a production well for the municipal authority. He stated that Elverson is on the division of two watersheds: the Susquehanna and Delaware. The Delaware River Basin Authority complained that Elverson's production well is on their side, but all the discharge is on the Susquehanna side. The new well is located where it is because it is the only place that would be on the Susquehanna side and not polluted.
Stoltzfus continued, "We work with the DEP on this.' To Shannon's question, "What about the effect on the wetlands?' Stoltzfus replied, that is also covered by DEP regulations, as are endangered species. He also noted that a test of the Shannon well had been made during a pump down of the production well, and results should be available within a week or two.
In conclusion, Shannon personally thanked Celeste March for her efforts over the years.