Borough, township sort through issues

March 08, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - There was a general feeling that the group wanted results from its meeting Tuesday, but in the end, every issue was sent to a committee or consultant with no firm direction of how to proceed.

A two-hour joint meeting between the mayor and borough council of Greencastle and the Antrim Township Supervisors yielded talk about important issues in their community: police service, traffic, road maintenance and water and sewer supply.

Out of the meeting, a proposal to link the two municipalities' roads crews was sent to an existing "joint ventures" committee and the feasibility of merging water and sewer authorities was slated for review by a consultant.

Some in attendance at Tuesday's meeting said police service is a "now" problem instead of an upcoming one.

The Greencastle Police Department is on course to lose its only remaining full-time officer, other than the chief. Antrim Township relies on the services of the Pennsylvania State Police, which can create long wait times as officers are dispatched from Chambersburg, Pa.


The officials said Antrim Township could remain with state police, contract for services with a beefed-up Greencastle Police Department or form their own force.

That last option, they said, could be a costly endeavor.

"Our police department is 42 percent of our revenue," Councilman Charles Eckstine said.

He estimated police service costs $105 for each of the approximately 4,000 residents of Greencastle. He reminded the Antrim Township Supervisors they have more than 13,000 residents, creating a $1.3 million price tag to maintain a department, let alone form one.

It would increase taxes five or six times over the current 2-mill rate, Township Supervisor Scott Diffenderfer said.

  • Increased traffic has become a shared problem because although it results from growth in the township, the new residents are creating congestion on borough streets.

"There's a lot of traffic and a small area for it to go through," Diffenderfer said.

Township Supervisor Bob Whitmore said the township is still working on a connector road for Pa. 16, Grindstone Hill Road and Exit 3 of Interstate 81. The group also mentioned the ongoing struggles to clean up the intersection of Pa. 16 and U.S. 11.

The two municipalities could commission a study as a first step in imposing traffic impact fees on developers, but that study alone could cost $1 million, according to Ben Thomas Jr., township manager.

The fees then come with several stipulations attached that often prevent them from effectively being used to maintain existing roads, he said.

  • The joint ventures committee will be asked to review the possibility of joining the two roads crews in a fiscally feasible manner without cutting jobs.

Township Supervisor Curtis Myers said he knows a man who every year watches one snowplow stop at the township/borough line and turn around, with a second coming from the other direction to do the same thing.

"You should be able to melt that kind of stuff together," Myers said.

  • Both the township and borough maintain water and sewer authorities to govern usage.

The township has recently told developers it does not have the capacity to handle additional burden on the water system. Developers have in turn sought water from the borough.

They said they will drill wells if the borough begins denying service.

And without increased support from the Pennsylvania legislature, growth will continue at its current, rapid rate unless, as Diffenderfer joked, "we go down and build the Great Wall of China on the state line."

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