Hampton readies for new year, approves several actions

Monday, December 30, 2019 | 12:01 AM

Hampton Township Council welcomes the incoming year with setting the first meeting dates of 2020 and approving several actions. Township Council voted at its Dec. 18 to hold its annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. and its first agenda meeting of the year on Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Both will be held at the Council Chambers on McCully Road in the administration building. Council will be joined by new members Martha Hunkele and Joe Dougherty. The council also made some recent decisions regarding police department, truck purchases and a Windmont Farms development at its recent December voting meeting. A part-time Police Officer Eligibility List was approved, as requested by Hampton Township Chief of Police Tom Vulakovich who said they are presently short an officer and need the list approved to hire another. The list provides officers eligible to move forward in the interviewing process. The detailed hiring process also includes a physical test, a written exam, and an oral exam. Along with a background check, they pick the top scorers out of those, said Vulakovich in an earlier interview. And it includes a thorough background check and interviewing process. Council also voted and approved the purchase of two Department of Community Services trucks for 2020, to be funded from the 2020 Capital Improvement Fund Budget. Kevin Flannery, director of the Department of Community Services, said it was a good idea to approve now because there’s been a 16-month timeframe from ordering to delivery. He noted a truck that was ordered in January 2019 is still due to arrive in February. Ordering as soon as the 2020 township budget is approved, which happened at council’s Dec. 18 meeting, they hope to get it by next fall, he said. “‘I’m trying to get trucks the year you paid the money,” he said. “I’d like to see it be here before the end of year 2020 … and in service by December.” The cost is $180,000 for both of the 1-ton trucks, and Flannery said they will not go over what was budgeted for them. The trucks are purchased through the PA COSTARS contract. COSTARS is a cooperative purchasing program through the state Department of General Services, which is “able to leverage contracts established by DGS to cost-effectively and efficiently identify suppliers with whom to do business,” according to the COSTARS website. Lochner said purchasing through COSTARS is not the problem in the delay. “The problem is that the manufacturer of the truck chassis is backed-up with orders and can only produce product so fast — thus the lag time in delivery,” he said. The Windmont Farms Final Planned Residential Development also reached final approval. The PRD will contain 69 total units consisting of 40 single-family homes, 28 duplex units and is to be located at the intersection of S. Pioneer and W. Hardies roads. Residents should also be aware that West Bardonner Road, from South Pioneer Road to Manor Oak Lane, will be closed from Jan. 6 to Feb. 5, weather dependent, according to Flannery. The closure is for Emergency Slope Stabilization Work and Youngblood Contracting will be performing the emergency repairs to stabilize some 250 feet of West Bardonner Road. The recent December meeting was the final meeting for councilpersons Richard Dunlap and Sherry Neugebauer who both finished their terms. Dunlap has been on the council for 16 years and Neugebauer for eight. Dunlap said he will be 80 in April and will be spending more time in Florida. “It is time for me to move on and for younger people to move in,” said Dunlap. Dunlap, for one, enjoyed seeing long-range projects come to fruition, including renovation of ball fields at the park and the swimming pool, and construction of the community center. He’s also been involved in the planning stages of the total renovation the Water Pollution Control Plant. His main challenges as a board member mainly dealt with the constraints imposed on the township by federal and state laws and regulations. Recent examples include having to approve a small non-tower wireless communications structure on Haberlein Road; and planning for unfunded mandates directed by the state, such as the recent storm water management requirements by the state Department of Environmental Protection. “In fact, council’s actions are greatly limited by any number of state and federal laws,” he said. “I may not have always made everyone happy, but I always tried my best to do what I thought was best for Hampton Township. I want to thank the voters of Hampton for affording me with the opportunity.” He said he’s impressed with the knowledge of the residents when it comes to important issues. “It never ceased to amaze me when we had public hearings on something and our residents would show up very informed and very much engaged in the issues and the governing process. That is the way it is supposed to work, since elected Councilmen are simply acting as representatives of the residents,” he said. Sherri Neugebauer’s rewarding experiences includes the beginning of renovating the Route 8 corridor and watching the area grow more vibrant with new businesses partnering with the community. “I have enjoyed my time as a public servant for the community I live,” said Neugebauer.