East Greenville Borough Council unanimously approved the purchase of a new dump truck Tuesday night – a move that officials said couldn't come at a better time.
The current dump truck has been in use by the borough for 23 years and after experiencing multiple problems in recent months, is unrepairable now, according to Township Manager Jim Fry.
"The body is out of service … The pivot where the lift cylinder is attached is bent in two different directions" and no further repairs will be made, Fry said.
The new 2015 International Dump Truck will be purchased for $114,255 on a seven-year lease with a lessee rate of 3.9 percent. The old truck will be sold for $5,500, which will be used toward the purchase of the new truck. Council has previously said that the money for the truck is included in the budget. The new truck is currently being assembled, and officials expect it to be delivered in about three months.
Although the most recent problems with the dump truck mean it can no longer be used to spread salt on the roadways, Fry said the truck can still be used to plow roads and a smaller borough-owned truck will be used to spread salt for the remainder of the season. The smaller truck was purchased by the county in 2008 and officials say it is in good repair.
In other weather related business, Fry said the borough received 45 tons of road salt last week, about 10 of which must be returned to New Hanover Township. According to Fry, the borough can use between 5 and 25 tons of salt per storm, depending on severity. Because of the borough's salt shortage earlier in the season, the roads crew tried to conserve salt supplies during the last couple of storms, meaning some alleys did not immediately get treated. However, officials believe the new supply will be adequate for the rest of the season.
Council member James Young asked for an update on snow removal efforts on Main Street. According to Fry, some of the snow near The Grand Theater was removed while the borough was renting a skid steer to mill Blaker Drive, which is riddled with potholes.
"It's not great," Fry acknowledged, "but it helped a little bit [to clear the roadway]." He added that the roads crew's priority right now is addressing potholes.
Mayor Ryan Sloyer suggested that council hire an outside consultant to develop a long-term master roads plan for the borough. "I think the roads – especially after this winter – I think we really need to take a step back, spend some good money … to get a plan," he said.
"I don't disagree. The roads are a mess," Huff said. "I think we need a long-term plan."
The rest of council agreed and passed a motion to request a roads study cost estimate from the borough's engineer, Cowan Associates. According to Fry, a similar estimate was obtained about two years ago and the cost of the study was quoted at approximately $10,000.
The bulk of Tuesday's meeting was dedicated to hearing residents' concerns about a proposed overhaul of the borough's handicapped parking ordinance. The new ordinance would provide clearer details about criteria to obtain a space and would require the full council to approve all new applications. Under the current ordinance, the mayor has power to grant the designations.
Third Street resident Matt Strimpel objected to some of the wording in the new ordinance drafted by Solicitor Steven Kramer, saying that it is "very vague" and could be exploited by non-residents to secure coveted parking spots in residential neighborhoods. Strimpel said non-residents who are able to receive a designated spot, particularly those from out of state, are not paying taxes to the borough, which is unfair to taxpayers who are already facing inadequate parking on the streets.
Kramer responded that he "drafted this ordinance thinking about the circumstances in which the taxpayer (borough resident) may not be the disabled person that would necessitate a spot ... We're trying to make reasonable accommodations for people with needs.
"We have limitations on [who can get a spot]," Kramer continued. "We're not just going to start giving everybody handicapped parking designations. We've limited it and made exceptions in very rare cases."
A series of hypothetical scenarios in which a non-resident might need a designated handicapped parking spot were discussed, such as in the case of adult children taking care of elderly parents who live in the area only part of the year.
The hypothetical situations then turned to what Stimpel alleged was current abuse of a handicapped-designated space on his block. Council advised Stimpel to submit evidence of the abuse for borough officials to consider.
Council will vote on whether to advertise the new ordinance during Monday's regularly scheduled meeting at 7:30 p.m. According to Huff and Fry, there are only a handful of designated handicapped spaces in the borough. Fry estimates that the borough receives about two or three requests for spaces each year.
In other news, council voted to remove the no parking signs in front of St. Philip Neri on Sixth Street because they are no longer needed since the school closed. Council will also look at changing the parking ordinance at the location.