At Monday night's meeting, Kennett Township supervisors presented their preliminary budget summary, which included the projected 2009 budget estimates and no planned tax increases. In addition, they heard from a full room of about 40 residents on two contentious issues: (1) Cedarcroft Road detours due to the signalization of the routes 82 and 1 intersection and (2) the future use of the eight-acre Turner-Bell meadow near the intersection of Hillendale and Sills Mill Roads.2009 Budget
Chairman Bob Hammaker said that almost all revenue and expenditure estimates for 2009 would be lower than corresponding amounts for 2008. He attributed this decline to the bleak economic outlook nationwide. However, he said, "The 2009 budget calls for no new taxes, and we might even have a small surplus at year's end."
The preliminary budget summary showed blank spaces for several important line items, including revenues for "Capital Reserve" and "Open Space and Recreation" and expenses for "Interfund Transfers" for year-end 2008 and estimated 2009. Because of these holes in the budget, the totals for these time periods could not be viewed as accurate. More accurate information should be available at a later date.
At least two-thirds of the residents attending Monday's meeting came to discuss the modifications being done at the intersection of routes 82 and 1 and Cedarcroft Road. The purpose of the work, whose cost is being borne mostly by East Marlborough Township, is to enhance safety by installing a signal that will better control traffic entering 82 from Route 1 and keep it from backing up into the through lanes of Route 1. traffic from Cedarcroft will be restricted from turning left (north) onto Route 82.
Residents described the inconvenience this restriction causes and the long-term impact various detours will have on other parts of the township due to new traffic patterns and U-turns. In view of the township providing $17,000 for this project, the residents questioned why they had not been given the opportunity to provide input into the engineering study and whether there was still time to start over from scratch.
Supervisor Alan Falcoff said unequivocally, "Because most of the decisions were in the hands of East Marlborough Township and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, we cannot begin again. What we are looking for is a way to go forward from here." Falcoff struck a hopeful note, however, by telling the group that the supervisors had asked the township engineer to develop alternatives to the current design that he believes PennDot would accept and that would allow traffic from Cedarcroft to go north on Route 82.
Falcoff suggested that once such alternatives are in hand, a meeting should occur among the engineer, the residents, and the supervisors to discuss the merits and viability of any of the alternatives and whether to approach PennDot with a proposal. This suggestion elicited general agreement from the residents.
As THE KENNETT PAPER reported last month, the eight-acre Turner-Bell property is for sale and is being eyed by the Southern Chester County Soccer Association as an athletic field. However, the residents of nearby Willow Glen residential development would like the property, which is nearly the last class I meadow remaining in the township, to be preserved as open space.
In an effort to purchase the property and preserve it as open space, the Kennett Township Land Trust requested the Board of Supervisors to provide $375,000 toward such purchase. Land Trust Executive Director Gwen Lacy said that Willow Glen residents would also provide $25,000 toward the land purchase.
At first, the board denied the Trust's request primarily on the basis that the land was overpriced. But when Lacy pointed out during the meeting that a key land appraisal document she had provided to the board was pending revision, the board agreed to revisit the Land Trust's proposal. Supervisor Mike Elling said, "Once we see a new appraisal, we will be glad to recon- Other business
o Auto accident rates in the township continue to nearly mirror last year's rates except on recently improved roads where the rates are much lower.
o Design work for the traffic signal at Hillendale and Route 52 continues and installation is expected in the fall of 2009.
o Falcoff reported no change in the conditions at the oil spill on McFarlan Road-contamination has not migrated to other properties and an oil sheen is still present in the well water at the site of the spill.
o Police work in Kennett Township reached a milestone this month. Police Chief Albert McCarthy responded to more calls (95) than did the state police (94).
o John Haedrich provided an update on the Kennett Pike Bikeway, reporting that cost overruns should be expected because the price of asphalt has skyrocketed. See the township's Web site at www.kennett.pa.us/for a full status report.
o Steve Melton, Chief of the Kennett Fire Co., provided an overview of the company's activities. For more details, go to www.firestation24.com.