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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Borough Newsletter – Fall 2005

Jump to: Mayor’s Column, Police Chief Daniel J Kortan, Help Keep Our Creeks Clean, 2005 Road Program, Bulk Pick Up, Borough Operates with No Tax Increase for 2005, Borough Council and Staff Obtain Grants Totaling $734,100, New Poet Laureate Named, Crossing Guards Needed, Successful Parks and Recreation Fundraising Continues, Borough Building and Construction Permit Requirements, TreeVitalize Program

Mayor’s Column By Jayne Young


Summer is almost over, and it has been a busy one for me. Besides my ride on the new fire truck in the 4th of July parade, (thank you Fire Chief Young,) let me share a couple of highlights.

This year’s Helm’s Award winner is former councilman Dick Burke. Along with his many years of service in Borough government, Dick is well known in the borough by families on the sports circuit. He was active in the Boys and Girls Club, the Traveling Soccer program, and the Lansdowne Swim Club. Dick’s legacy is his children’s involvement in the volunteer culture he helped to create. Pictured with Dick are past Helm’s winners, from left: Mayor Jack Rankin, former Council woman Charlene Hennessey, Nancy Runk, Bertha Phillips, and Mary Kay Bowden.
According to Dick, "…great company to be in".

On a hot evening in July, Timothy Jones was welcomed home from his second
deployment in Iraq. To say thank you for Tim’s and his family’s sacrifice his neighbors
prepared a delicious dinner. It was my pleasure to be included along with Councilwoman Ann Hill. You can meet Tim on September 21st at the borough council meeting. He will be
presenting the council with an authentic Iraqi ballot to encourage our residents to Get Out and Vote in our own upcoming November
election.

Now that summer is over let’s all prepare for the Lansdowne Arts Festival and welcome our new poet Laureate, Dan Simpson.

Don’t forget to check out the home page and calendar for all upcoming events.

Police Chief Daniel J Kortan

CRIME:
Lansdowne continues to remain a safe place to live and work. No place is absolutely crime free. We continue to notice that a lot of our lesser crimes are crimes of
opportunity. Many thefts occur from unlocked vehicles, open garages and similar circumstances. Bikes which are stolen are usually left unlocked and/or unattended in public
locations. You can greatly assist the police department by keeping your vehicles, home, garage, etc. locked, and by not leaving items of interest to thieves in plain view. By taking away the temptation, we can reduce these crimes of opportunity.

PARKING:
Recent legislation made it necessary to have all parking
meters certified for accuracy by the Delaware County Department of Weights and Measures. The
Borough has complied with this legislation and all parking meters have been certified for the next 3 years. Parking lot meters are enforced 24 hrs/day except Sundays and Holidays. Street
meters are enforced 8AM — 6PM, Mon. to Wed. and 8AM to 8PM Thurs — Sat.

Don’t forget Overnight Parking Permits expire at the end of each year. You can renew your permit beginning in Mid-October. The annual cost for an overnight
parking permit is $40. A permit is required for parking between 2AM and 6AM on ALL Borough streets. Permits can be purchased or renewed at the Police Station
between 8am and 10pm Monday — Friday. More information on
parking is available on the Police Department web page at www.lansdownepolice.com

A reminder concerning proper parking in the borough:

  • No Parking within 25 ft of a corner or intersection.
  • No Parking within 30 ft of a STOP sign.
  • No Parking within 20 ft of a fire hydrant.
  • No Parking in a location which blocks a driveway.

These particular restrictions, along with others, are universal throughout the state . No special signs or street marking are required to enforce violations although many do exist. Please keep these restrictions in mind when parking in Lansdowne.

SNOW:
Overnight parking enforcement is suspended during periods of snow. This does not mean we cease enforcement until there is NO snow remaining. Enforcement is
suspended while the Borough clears the roadways and people have an opportunity to dig out their cars. Once this is done we resume overnight parking enforcement. Residents and merchants please remember that sidewalks must be cleared of snow and ice within 24 hours of a snow event.

BACK TO SCHOOL:
The Police Department reminds all motorists that school will be back in session the first week of .September. Please obey all speed limits in town, particularly in our school zones. The PA Vehicle Code states that motorists must yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Keep this in mind when approaching .pedestrians — most importantly, our School Crossing Guards and children.

If students are observed walking around town during school hours they may be stopped and required to provide information on why they are not in school. Police will notify the school district of all students who are found off school property during the school day.

CURFEW:
Curfew is 10PM — 5AM Sunday through Thursday and Midnight — 5AM on Friday, Saturday and the eve and day of New Years Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Yom Kippur,Columbus Day (Monday holiday), Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas for children age 16 to 18 For under age 16, the time is 11PM. In addition to the curfew, all Borough Parks and all William Penn School District property is off limits after dark.

Residents are encouraged to join with police and take an active part in protecting our community. If you see or hear anything of a suspicious nature, report it immediately by dialing 9-1-1.

Remember — See It, Hear It, Report It. Working together, we can keep Lansdowne safe and secure.

Help Keep Our Creeks Clean DON’T DUMP!

The State Department of Environmental Protection has a simple rule for what can enter Lansdowne’s municipal storm water system: WATER ONLY! State and federal clean water regulations, which Lansdowne and other municipalities are required to follow, prohibit anything other than water from entering the storm inlets found on most streets in the Borough.

What does this mean for you? Here are some typical examples:

  • After you mow your lawn, don’t blow or rake the clippings into the street. Rain water can wash them into the storm sewer system. Instead, bag them and place them on the curb for pick up by the Borough’s sanitation department on your next pick up day.
  • If you spill a hazardous chemical, such as antifreeze, on your sidewalk or driveway, don’t wash it into the street. Use an absorbent material like kitty litter or rags to clean it up.
  • If you are doing concrete work on your sidewalk, don’t wash excess material into the street or pour it directly into the storm sewer.
  • If you are power washing your home, don’t use detergents if the wash water might enter the storm sewer system.
  • If you are washing your car, try to use a non-toxic detergent and do the washing on the grass.

Making small changes in the things we do every day can make a big difference in the health of our streams and rivers. Thank you for your cooperation!

2005 ROAD PROGRAM

The Borough is set to begin the 2005 road paving program the second week of
September. Here is a list of the effected streets:

  1. Drexel Avenue between Ardmore Avenue and Windermere Avenue;
  2. Runnemede Avenue at Baltimore Avenue (repair along Wachovia Bank)
  3. Greenwood Avenue between Highland Avenue and Wycombe Avenue; and
  4. The intersection of Wycombe Avenue and Union Avenue.

Notices will be sent out to effected residents prior to the start of work and some
temporary road closings can be expected. All work is expected to be completed within two to three weeks depending on the weather. If you have any questions or concerns, call Borough Hall at 610-623-7300 x211.

BULK PICK UP

Bulk pick up is going great! Here are some things to keep in mind so we can better assist you. Don’t forget that you need to schedule a bulk pick up. You will then be given a date and advised when you can place your items on the curb. Only after you have received your pick up date may you place items on the curb. If you’re moving, please call Betsy well in advance to set up dates for bulk. For this to work well we need to know ASAP. This way we can work with you to remove your unwanted items and make a stressful time more pleasant.
Log onto www.lansdowneborough.com and schedule that bulk pick up today. Or if you don’t have access to a computer, call Betsy, at 610-623-7300 x211 . Your bulk pick up appointment is just a phone call or click away.

Borough Operates with No Tax Increase for 2005

Police 30%
Sewer 16%
Trash Collection 11%
Streets 7%

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once said, “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.” Local property taxes are the price we pay for the services that most directly affect our lives, such as police and fire protection, street maintenance, trash collection and sewage disposal. These taxes reflect our decentralized concept of democracy. The connection between the tax and the service is clear and direct.

Your borough council recognizes the significant property tax burden imposed on all the residents and property owners in Lansdowne. The council and borough staff work hard to ensure that you receive good value for your tax dollars. Diligent review of expenses and priorities enabled the council to approve a budget with no tax increase for 2005.

In 2000, Delaware County re-assessed real estate to reflect the then full market value of each property. At that time, the average residence in Lansdowne was valued at $103,900. Based upon this assessment, the average property owner paid the following amounts in 2005:

Borough $852
County $462
School District $3,210 (2004-05)

So, where did your borough tax dollars go? Through the end of June, the most significant
expenditures were on the following services:

  • Sewer rental charged each property connected to the sewers: $3.97 per 1000 gallons of water consumed
  • the general obligation note, series of 2005 (the "participant note") in the aggregate par amount of $1,200,000 and approves certain capital projects
  • 2005 Tax Anticipation Note to Commerce Bank at 2.15%, such Note to expire 6/30/05.

Borough Council and Staff ObtainGrants Totaling $734,100

Like taxpayers everywhere, those in Lansdowne pay many different taxes.

The Borough Council is particularly sensitive to the tax burden. Among other things they have eliminated the occupational privilege tax and have so far declined to enact an
Emergency and Municipal Services Tax. Though legally allowed, the Borough does not charge occupation tax, per capita tax, earned income tax, amusement tax, mechanical
device tax or a mercantile tax.

In order to provide revenue for community services and operations, the Borough relies largely on these taxes and fees collected locally:

  • Borough Property Tax
  • Real Estate Transfer Tax
  • Cable TV Franchise Fees
  • Building Permit and Contractor Registration Fees
  • Trash and Sewer Fees

In addition, the Borough receives a share of taxes collected by others. Some of these sources are:

  • General Municipal Pension Aid
  • Foreign Fire Insurance Premium Tax
  • County Aid for Highways
  • Liquid Fuels (Gasoline) Tax

Delaware County, through county property taxes and other sources, makes grants available through its Renaissance program. The Commonwealth also makes grants available through it’s departments and programs. Finally, private agencies and the Federal government also have grant programs. Many of these programs are funded by your tax dollars.

At the Borough we work hard to get your tax dollars back for services to benefit our residents. Each of these grant programs is available on a competitive basis. Each program has specific criteria for eligibility, and some require a portion of local funding. Presently, multi-municipality programs and planning activities seem to have priority.

This year, the Borough has received or will benefit from grants totaling $734,100. Most of these are multi-municipal efforts. Matching funds required from Lansdowne totaled $39,810. That’s worth repeating: the Borough Council and staff have obtained $734,100 of benefit for a total of $39,810 of your local tax dollars — a 1,844% return. Over half of the local amount ($20,000) will go to the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation for the Main Street Program. In addition to grants already received, further grant applications are pending and planned.

Program Partners Amount Source Lansdowne’s Match
Comprehensive Plan East Lansdowne $43,700 DCED and Delaware Co $2,185
Main Street Program Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation $80,000 DCED $20,000
Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Yeadon $63,200 DCED and Delaware Co $3,000
Zoning Update / Historic Preservation East Lansdowne $51,200 DCED and Delaware Co $2,500
Multi-Municipal Park, Recreation and Open Space Planning William Penn School District and member municipalities $120,000 DCNR and Delaware Co $-0-
Union Avenue Widening Feasibility Study Upper Darby $45,000 DVRPC $5,625
Baltimore Avenue Corridor Revitalization Delaware County and various municipalities $250,000 Wm Penn Foundation and DVRPC and Delaware Co $-0-
Interboro Park Improvements   $60,000 DCNR $-0-
Hoffman Park Stream bank Restoration Delaware County and Darby Creek communities $21,000 Delaware Co Conservation District $6,500
Totals   $734,100   $ 38,810
DCED: Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
DCNR: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
DVRPC: Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

The grants will be used in the following activities:

  • RECYCLING
    Just a reminder that we recycle curbside clear glass, bi-metal/aluminum cans, paper (newspaper, magazines and phone books with cover off , cardboard boxes, etc.). They are to be separated. We just ask that if you have cardboard boxes, please flatten them down and secure them together with twine or tape. Walter starts his recycling day at 7:00 am. Therefore, it is extremely important that your recycling is on your curb BEFORE 7:00 am. This way you don’t run the risk of being skipped. If you don’t have a recycling magnet, you can call and one will be mailed to you, or you can stop by Borough Hall and get one, or go on our website, www.lansdowneborough.com and print out a schedule!
  • TRASH
    We would appreciate any bags of trash that are above and beyond your "normal" garbage to be placed on your curb. (i.e. you did a weekend basement and garage cleanup and you’ve got 3 bags of trash. Just a reminder that SMALL items like a small end table, vacuum cleaner, plastic lawn chair, bar stool (you get the point), can be placed on your CURB the day of your trash for your normal twice a week trash collection.

    Again we can’t stress enough that it’s extremely important to have a lid on your trash can. It deters hungry critters and during the hot days, your food waste will not be in the direct heat/sun. In addition, anything that is placed in the trash can needs to be in a secured plastic bag. NO CARDBOARD BOXES FILLED WITH TRASH. If it rains, the box will get wet and the contents will fall out the bottom. Cardboard is recycling Trash needs to be in the can in a bag, please!

  • FALL LEAF PICK-UP
    Leaf collection runs from Monday, 10/17 through Friday, 12/9. The schedule is weather and leaf volume dependent. The pick up routes are the same as they recycling routes. Your pick-up day is the same as your recycling day but will be the following week. For example if you’re recycling route "1" with a pick up every other Tuesday, then your leaves will be collected on the alternate Tuesday.
    To participate, you are requested to rake leaves ONLY into the street next to the curb. Please do not park on the leaf piles, as we’ll need access to them. Feel free to bag your leaves if you prefer and place them on the curb for pick up. Don’t forget… leaves only. Rocks and sticks will damage the leaf machine. We greatly appreciate your patience and cooperation with leaf pick up.

New Poet Laureate Named

When asked about our new laureate, current Laureate Molly Connors had this to say…
"I can think of several Lansdowne poets who I would have been pleased and proud to have succeed me as poet laureate.

However, I’m thrilled and delighted by the selection of Dan Simpson. I met Dan two years ago when I first assumed the position and immediately recognized him to be a thoughtful and gifted poet utterly committed to the practice of his art. He is not only a writer, he is also a reader and an enthusiastic student/educator/collaborator spokesperson — all invaluable to his work, to the poetry community, and to society at large, and everything one could hope for in a laureate. His accomplishments are too many to mention. But most importantly, his work is complex, rich, and elegantly crafted; his poems feel visceral, honest, and accessible. Whether national or local, poet laureate positions have historically been defined by what the laureate makes of them. I’m excited to see where Dan takes us in his new role."

Poet Daniel Simpson was born blind. He graduated summa cum laude from Muhlenberg College with a B.A. in music and English. He earned his M.A. in English from Penn. Dan is the
author of a memoir, "Ten Years From Home: Life in a School for Blind" and a volume of Poetry, "Acts of Faith". Dan’s poems have appeared in numerous publications. He received a 2003 Fellowship in Literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and currently serves as Access Technology Consultant to the Free Library of Philadelphia. He has lived in
Lansdowne for 12 years and shares space with his hard working dog DeFor.

Crossing Guards Needed

The Police Department is seeking individuals who would like to serve as
Crossing Guards for the 2005-2006 school year.

Applications and additional details are available at the Police Department.

Currently we are in need of substitutes to supplement our regular guards. This is an excellent supplemental income for a retired individual in good health. Call 610-623-0700 and ask for Nancy if interested.

Successful Parks and RecreationFundraising Continues

Lansdowne’s parks and recreation programs were of special concern during the discussion leading up to the 2005 Borough budget. Exclusive of capital improvements to the parks, the Recreation budget increased 21.6% from 2004 to 2005. There is an expected spending increased in almost every area, especially in maintenance and repairs for our parks — that increased from $17,000 to $30,000.

In an effort to operate no tax increase for 2005, a proposed $28,000 for capital
improvements was removed. This was offset by $13,000 that was added to maintenance and repairs. We expected that additional capital improvements would be funded through grants and fundraising.

Several grants have already been received and will benefit our parks. Among them are $60,000 for improvements at Interboro Park, $21,000 for stream bank restoration in
Hoffman Park, and $120,000 for the development of a Multi-Municipal Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan for the municipalities in the school district and the William Penn School District itself.

On August 17, the Borough Council voted to request bids for work to be done in Interboro Park. This work is pursuant to a plan developed by Mr. Bartmann at the request of Councilman Kevin Lee. The plan was based upon community input and reviewed and approved by the Recreation and Park Board. We have already removed the "big toy" from Interboro Park and have begun work to address the standing water in its former location. The new work, paid for by the grant, will include refurbishing the western end of the park, creation of a new nature trail, further remediation of water problems, a more accessible parking lot and entrance on Bartram Avenue, and site preparation for further improvements.

Through the leadership of Councilman Lee, an ad hoc committee has been established to identify and pursue additional fundraising opportunities for all of Lansdowne’s parks.

Borough Building and ConstructionPermit Requirements

Pennsylvania Act 45 of 1999 adopted the International Building Code as the state-wide standard for building construction and occupancy. Exercising a local option to do so, the Lansdowne Borough Council decided to enforce this code locally rather than to have code issues determined by the staff of the Department of Labor and Industry in Harrisburg. A limited degree of flexibility allowed Lansdowne to modify the International Building Code to address local issues.

Under Act 45 ( 403.62), permits are required for certain activities related to residential properties.

Below are some, though not all, the permit requirements and exclusions. The exact permit requirements are contained in the Borough Code (available on-line at www.lansdowneborough.com) or can be obtained from the codes office at Borough Hall (610-623-0700).

A permit can be obtained by the owner or contractor and is required to

  • construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a residential building or
  • erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace an electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system

An emergency repair or replacement of equipment (otherwise requiring a permit) may be made if the applicant calls the Code Office and a permit application is submitted within 24 hours of the repair or replacement.

An ordinary repair does not require a permit.

The following are not ordinary repairs and do require a permit:

  • Cutting away a wall, partition or portion of a wall or exposing the structural framing of a wall not to include minor repairs of holes or punctures in the wall covering.
  • The removal or cutting of any structural beam or load-bearing support or installation of any wall openings requiring the configuration of the structural framing.
  • The removal or change of any required means of egress.
  • The addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical.

Permits are also required for:

  • Fences, driveways and sidewalks
  • Roof replacement over 50 square feet
  • Siding replacement over 100 square feet
  • Repair or replacement of any part of a porch or stoop
  • Additional insulation over 1200 square feet or any blown in-insulation
  • Installation of a deck
  • Repair and replacement of A/C System
  • Window replacement (replacement windows, not glass replacement in an existing window)

There is a fee for a permit. Residential permits are $40.00 for projects with a cost of up to $1,000 plus $20 per additional $1,000. There are additional fees if work is commenced without a permit. Permits must be displayed at the work site.

The permit fees include two inspections by one of the Borough’s code officers. These generally occur during the work and after the work is finished. The inspections are designed to ensure that the work is in compliance with the Borough’s Building Code requirements. Residents are encouraged not to make final payment to a contractor until the final inspection is completed.

A permit is not required for the following construction, replacement or repair:

  • Retaining walls that are not over 24 inches in height measured from the lowest level of grade to the top of the wall unless the wall supports a surcharge.
  • Exterior or interior painting, papering, carpeting, countertop replacements, trim and similar finishing work, not to include the installation of flooring or two or more kitchen or bathroom cabinets, or the installation (rather than replacement) of new countertop assemblies where counters did not previously exist.
  • Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches deep, unless they have some type of motorized pump or re-circulation equipment.
  • Swings and other playground equipment.
  • Accessory to a one- or two-family dwelling.
  • Replacement of glass in any window or door.
  • Replacement of exterior rain water gutters and leaders.
  • Replacement of installed electrically operated equipment such as doorbells and communication systems.
  • Installation of battery-powered smoke detectors that are not connected to the house electrical system.
  • Installation of portable heating, cooking or clothes drying appliances.
  • Installation of portable ventilation appliances.
  • Installation of a portable cooling unit.
  • Installation of a portable evaporative cooler.
  • Refinishing of existing plumbing fixtures.
  • Repair of plumbing leaks that do not include the replacement or removal of pipes and or valves.
  • Clearance of stoppages or clogs in drains.
  • Replacement of faucets or working parts of faucets that does not include the installation of new pipes and or valves.
  • Replacement of a water closet, lavatory or kitchen sink that does not include the installation of new pipes and or valves.
  • Replacement of domestic clothes washers.
  • Replacement of heating, ventilation and air conditioning motors, pumps and fans of the same capacity.
  • Repair and replacement of heating, supply and return piping and radiation elements which do not require rearrangement of the piping system that does not exceed more than 20 linear feet of piping or the replacement of less than two radiator units.
  • Repair and replacement of duct work that does not exceed 10 linear feet of ductwork, nor any repair or replacement of exhaust or intake ducts.
  • Repair and replacement of control devices for heating and air conditioning equipment.
  • Replacement of self or non-venting kitchen range hoods.
  • Replacement of clothes dryers if there is no change in fuel type, location or electrical requirements.
  • Replacement of stoves and ovens if there is no change in fuel type, location or electrical characteristics.

TreeVitalize Program

"The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is today".

Lansdowne is hoping to become a "greener" place by participating in the state’s TreeVitalize Program. This new initiative, to plant trees in older urban communities like Lansdowne, is designed to restore the tree canopy to neighborhoods and other locations where more trees are needed.

We need your help! We already have volunteers signed up to help plant and maintain trees but we need more. All volunteers are invited to participate in a nine hour training course developed by staff from the Pa. Horticultural Society. This course is being offered on weekday evenings at three different locations.

Contact the Lansdowne Parks and Recreation Department at 610-284-1493 for more
information.

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