2009-09-03 / Front Page

Ayr Twp. Discusses Fee For PSP Services Bill

New food market renovations fail UCC regulations
By Jean Snyder STAFF WRITER

Ayr Township supervisors discussed the ramifications of a proposed House bill that, if passed, could cost the township more than $300,000 per year. The supervisors discussed the legislation at their regular meeting on Monday night.

House Bill 1500, now being considered in committee, calls for the state to assess a fee to municipalities for the services of the Pennsylvania State Police. The per-capita fee would be levied upon all municipalities that do not have local or regional police coverage. The bill calls for a fee of $52 per person per year for the first year; $104 per person per year for the second year; and $156 per person per year for the third and all subsequent years. With a total population of 1,982 (2000 census figures), third and subsequent years would cost the township $309,192 per year. The bill would levy a similar per-capita fee against most municipalities with part-time local departments that would be $17 for the first year, $34 for the second year and $52 for every subsequent year. This legislation is the latest in a number of similar bills that have been introduced intermittently since the Ridge administration.

Another bill, HB963, would state that only municipalities that provide local police services through a municipal police department, participate in a regional police departments or contract with other municipal or regional police for police services may receive revenue from certain vehicle offenses resulting from state police action. The bill would begin phasing out the portion of state police fine money currently received by municipalities with no local police protection by 20 percent increments over five years. This bill is before the House Judiciary Committee.

Both bills would affect more than 1,200 municipalities in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) has gone on record as opposing the bill and is urging municipalities to do the same. The association has also said that municipalities that are required to pay the fee will not get any more or extra services from the state police as a result of the fee.

Supervisor Chairman Marlin Harr said he didn't see how the bill could pass because it would bankrupt some municipalities and cause most to raise taxes.

The supervisors also received a letter from Commonwealth Code Inspection Services (CCIS) saying that the Save-A-Lot food store project in the old Bi-Lo building is not in compliance with the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) in several areas. The project has been rejected by CCIS until it meets UCC requirements. The rejection letter is the first official acknowledgement that a Save-A-Lot store is planned for the location in Penn's Village, which is owned by Mike Bard. In recent months, both Bard and Save-A-Lot officials have refused to comment on the ongoing rumor that the chain is planning to locate a store here.

The supervisors also reviewed the following information at their meeting, including correspondence from Embarq announcing that Embarq and CenturyTel have merged and will operate as "CenturyLink."

The supervisors announced they will hold a fall bulky item clean-up day on September 26 from 7 a.m. until noon at the township building. It was also announced that the all-day Fulton County annual township convention will be held on October 12 at Pleasant Ridge campground dining hall.

The supervisors also met with their solicitor, Stanley J. Kerlin, and appointed members to the County Tax Collection Committee that will be formed to make decisions on the collection of the earned income taxes in the county's municipalities. Marlin Harr was appointed as the primary voting delegate, and Gary Hopkins and Tom Nesbitt were approved as first and second alternates, respectively. Kerlin explained that an organizational meeting will be held on October 8 and that officers for the committee will be elected at that meeting.

The supervisors were also given copies of the draft of the county's Fulton County Municipal Waste Management Plan revision along with a notice of a 90-day draft plan public review and comment period that runs from August 27-November 25. The plan, if approved, calls for all municipal waste to be hauled to any of eight designated landfills. It also notes that in 2008, all Fulton County municipal waste was hauled to only four landfills - Sandy Run, Mountain View, Cumberland County and Blue Ridge landfills.

During discussion on subdivision requests, the supervisors discussed paving projects planned by JLG Industries. According to correspondence from JLG, the projects are necessary to perform work associated with recent military contracts obtained by the company, and the projects will not alter current stormwater runoff plans at the plant.

The supervisors also discussed a request for waivers from F&M Trust Co. concerning its plans to build an ATM and eventually a branch bank at the corner of Route 522 south and Fulton Drive near the Giant Food Store parking lot. The bank is asking for waivers on curbing, landscape buffer areas and stormwater runoff. The supervisors gave tentative approval of the plans pending the approval of their engineering firm, Keller Engineers.

Also, acting on a request by Jonathan Piper of JWP (the township's sewage enforcement officer), the supervisors appointed Ami Myers as an alternate sewage enforcement officer for the township. Supervisor Hopkins opposed the appointment due to the fact that Myers is employed by JWP while the other two supervisors made the appointment.

During regular business, supervisors awarded a bid for road salt to the lowest bidder, Cargill Deicing, for $80.50 per ton delivered. Last year's price from the same company was $79.25 per ton delivered. Only two bids were received.

The township supervisors meet the last Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the township building.

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