Board of Supervisors 6/4/19 Meeting Update

Hello again everyone.  I’m Dan Wood and I’m here once again to provide you with a summary of our last Board of Supervisors’ meeting that took place on 6/4/19.

Pebble Ridge/Woodridge Sewer Project Update

The meeting started with a presentation from John Butler of Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority (BCWSA).  For those unaware, BCWSA is the firm that was tasked with the construction and operation of the sewer system being installed.  Mr. Butler informed the board, that despite setbacks in drilling due to unexpected rock formations, the section of the sewer crossing Almshouse Road by Neshaminy creek was completed.  Over the next 4-6 weeks, the line will be extended up the valley behind Militia Hill Road and will enter the neighborhood at Shady Brook Circle. Mr. Butler also promised that he would provide the Township with regular updates on Friday to be posted to the township website.  

One of our residents asked when area residents would be able to hook into the system.  Mr. Butler said that as soon as they have sufficient pipe in front of a resident’s home, they will be allowed to tie in if they so choose to.  If residents wish to know more, Mr. Butler urged them to contact him at the BCWSA via their website, www.bcwsa.net.

Website Redesign

Our special project coordinator, Anderea Susten made a presentation to the board on the planned update to the Township’s website.  The current website was created in 2010 and is lacking in some features, such as analytics and user feedback gathering and could use a streamlined navigation system to help our residents find the information they need.  The Board of Supervisors had previously budgeted $10,000 for a redesign and voted to approve the company New Concepts Online to be the developer hired to do the work.

As a software engineer, I’m excited to see our website updated to be more helpful to our residents and easier to navigate and find the information they need. As the township goes through the redesign, I’m excited to offer my skills and experience in web design wherever I can to help the process and build a tool we’ll be able to use for several years to come.

Committee Updates – Traffic Advisory and Bicentennial

We also had two updates tonight from some of our township committees.  First up was the Traffic Advisory Committee. They discussed how they’ve managed speeds on Pebble Hill Road without having to spend money on studies and the installation of the pedestrian crosswalk on Lower State road at the Wells Road intersection.  Going forward, they plan to address issues they’ve received regarding speeding on Rogers Road as well as evaluating their system for handling feedback from residents.

Next up was the Bicentennial Committee.  They were tasked with overseeing all the events and coordination for Doylestown Township’s bicentennial celebration last year.  Since the Bicentennial is over, they have dissolved. But during the years they were active, they were responsible for many events, including the 2018 Gala Event, the Memorial Day Parade float, the new flag contest for the township, supporting the fireworks show in 2018, and working with the Environmental Advisory Council to throw a garden party and plant over 200 new trees across Central Park.  They accomplished even more than that.

I want to thank both committees for their hard work over the past year. While the Board of Supervisors makes the ultimate decisions, they wouldn’t be able to do their jobs effectively without the countless hours our residents volunteer on these committees.  I especially want to thank all the members of the Bicentennial Committee that made last year’s bicentennial even more memorable with all the great events they put together.

Roads Update

Our Director of Operations, Dave Tomko, gave an update on our roads and asset management program.  We’ve begun the process of migrating all of our data on roads and traffic assets to a piece of software called CSDatum to help us better manage the state of our infrastructure.  

I welcome Mr. Tomko’s initiative on this.  Our road maintenance has been managed by one person using a pencil and a pad of paper for far too long.  I look forward to the opportunity to help Mr. Tomko with improving our infrastructure and working with residents to address the basic needs of our community.

Required Water Hookup for Residents

Last meeting, current supervisor Rick Colello proposed an ordinance that would require homeowners with access to public water to hook up to public water on the sale of their home.  This would currently impact about 300 current residents.

Mr. Colello’s proposal was brought up again tonight and was voted on to begin the ordinance process.  The vote to proceed passed 4-1, with supervisor Jen Herring being the lone dissenting voice. Ms. Herring’s concern was that we are forcing residents into mandatory hookups without proper data about the suggested water problems.  Barabra Lyons also voiced concerns, but voted to allow the process to proceed. The next steps will involve a drafting of the proposed ordinance and eventually a public hearing, open to the community and the 300 residents directly impacted.

Both Connor OHanlon and I share concerns about this proposed ordinance.  As things stand now, I am against it. While I take the safety and security of drinking water very seriously, no one has presented any data suggesting there is a public health risk to residents using well water in Doylestown.  I think it is extremely irresponsible to force our residents to pay approx. $9000 to hook into public water to solve a problem that may not exist. The only evidence of a public health concern presented at this point has been hearsay and baseless speculation.  

In addition, some of these are residents have had the opportunity to hook up to public water for years, but have chosen not to for various reasons.  Some of them live on my old street of Woodridge Drive. I remember having conversations that it was nice to have public water there in case of an emergency, but their well water was suiting their needs for now, so they felt no reason to hook up.  Except for extreme cases, I believe this should be a decision left up to the individual homeowner.

I have many more thoughts on this subject.  For now, I will wait to see the language in the proposed ordinance before I make a final decision on where I stand on it.  But at the moment, I am concerned that we are placing an undue burden on our residents without doing the proper research into what is best for them.

That wraps up my summary for today.  Please let us know if you have any additional thoughts and concerns.  And if you want to watch the whole meeting for yourself, you can find it on the township website: http://doylestownpa.iqm2.com/Citizens/Calendar.aspx

The next Township meeting will be on July 18th at 5:00 PM.  See you there!