By Susan L. Serbin
UPPER PROVIDENCE >> Council convened its first meeting of 2020 three days after reorganization and welcoming two new members.
Kevin Else and Elgin Akarsoy were elected to represent the 2nd and 4th District respectively. They make a Democratic majority, joining Democrat Beth Glassman, 1st District, who will serve as council chair.
Republicans Kathy Heupler, 3rd District, and Ray Wilson, 5th District, complete council. The administration was unchanged as were most township professionals. One exception was Carl Ewald, newly appointed as solicitor. His law firm represents about a dozen county municipalities.
The meeting included committee assignments with some disagreement as to leadership and participation of those positions yet to be completely worked out. Although appointments to committees and commissions were on the agenda, the board tabled those actions. Glassman felt all vacancies and reappointments should be made public in order to give any resident an opportunity to indicate interest in serving which can be made through the township manager’s office.
The agenda was otherwise fairly light. A resolution concerning redistricting, discussed at the start of the session with a public presentation, was also tabled. The document is in support of a citizens’ commission for legislative and congressional redistricting which has been before Pennsylvania legislators for months, and is designed to address gerrymandering throughout the commonwealth. Township council’s passage of the resolution would signal that support important to elected officials and party leaders, but have no specific legal ramification.
The board passed a resolution regarding the Farnum Road stabilization project. The road has been closed at the Crum Creek Road end - and to through traffic - since August 2019 when the deemed no longer safe due to substantial erosion on one periphery.
The township is required by law to file a declaration stating monies taken from the general fund for the project will be reimbursed upon the issuance of General Obligation Notes expected within the next 12 months. According to Manager Greg Lebold, the project cost is not yet exact but in the low to mid-six figure range. The township is expecting a $100,000 grant through a PennDOT program. The township has already incurred costs of about $30,000 for tree removal.
Design work continues with the township commitment to expedite this major project as quickly as feasible.
At the start of the meeting, former 2nd District Councilman Ed McLaughlin was given a plaque and thanks for his service on the board.