Loans, lights, water dominate borough agenda

Kennett Square Borough Council continued its commitment to improving communication at its meeting on Monday, March 7.

Kennett Borough Councilman Wayne Braffman details how one resident's complaint was addressed.

Kennett Square Borough Councilman Wayne Braffman details how one resident's complaint was addressed.

As an example of the council’s intention to establish "collaborative pathways" with citizens, Councilman Wayne Braffman described how he responded to resident Tony Talamonti’s belief that the borough’s practice of selling bulk water to non-borough businesses was costing the borough money.

At Braffman’s request, Talamonti submitted a proposal, which was then reviewed by the council’s finance committee. After study, the committee concluded that the borough is not losing money on these sales. Moving forward, Borough Manager Joseph C. Scalise said a usage fee for companies will be established, in fairness to residents who pay a usage fee for water. Also, a lock will be placed on the bulk water meter to safeguard its use.

Talamonti has also expressed frustration with the numerous trucks driving through the borough for non-borough-related business. Braffman said that matter is already being addressed by Borough Council. Braffman expressed gratitude to Talamonti for his interest in his community, and Borough Council President Danilo Maffei thanked the finance committee for their “very well-thought-out work.”

Much discussion at the meeting focused on the borough’s state-funded Revolving Loan Fund. The purpose of the fund is to provide economic development stimulus to properties that are challenged to make their properties viable for business use. The fund is designated for business use only, not private residences.

Mary Hutchins, executive director of Historic Kennett Square, discusses the borough's Revolving Loan Fund.

Mary Hutchins, executive director of Historic Kennett Square, discusses the borough's Revolving Loan Fund.

According to borough officials, restaurateur Jack McFadden was the first recipient of the funds – for a restaurant that was never completed at 120 E. State St. – and has recently paid back the loan. The Borough Council can now loan the entire amount to a worthy business or extend several smaller loans. It was agreed that gap-financing is risky, and the borough needs to resolve any ambiguities in the Revolving Loan Fund document.

“Are we headed in the right direction?” Scalise wondered aloud. He expressed his commitment to ensure that the $440,000 fund be managed properly. Toward that end, the council will study protocols of other municipalities.

John Schmid made a presentation on behalf of Energy Solutions, a company approved by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, to administer a new LED lighting program for the borough. His proposal to replace the borough’s street lighting would have many advantages, including cost and energy savings, a more attractive appearance, and a reduction in vandalism and crime. The proposal will be re-visited at the next Borough Council meeting.

During the portion of the evening allotted for residents’ comments, Jean Jims stated her opposition to a new park on the south side of the borough, and John Thomas expressed concern for continued building, which causes increased traffic and stress on the borough sewer system.

“We do not benefit from new development that borders the borough,” Thomas said. He believes the builders should be held accountable for the stress that new development places on the borough.

Resident Charla Watson asked the council to consider giving residents an opportunity to speak again at the end of council meetings, enabling everyone to respond to the discussion that has just taken place. Watson also reminded council there should be a limit on the number of committees a person can serve on and a limit to the number of terms a person can serve. “We need fresh blood, fresh ideas,” she explained.

Several invitations were extended to attendees at the meeting. Mary Hutchins, executive director of Historic Kennett Square, announced “An Evening at the Arts” at Genesis HealthCare, on Friday, April 1, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The art show and sale will feature the work of local and regional artists.

Kennett Square resident Carol Krawczyk, who serves on the Borough Planning Commission and the Kennett Area Regional Planning Commission, invited everyone to a planning meeting at Borough Hall on Tuesday, March 15, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

 

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About Lora B. Englehart

Lora has a passion for art, gardening, yoga, music and dancing. She continues to research the life of locally born abolitionist and 1998 National Women's Hall of Fame inductee Mary Ann Shadd Cary. She is a dedicated community volunteer, working with the American Association of University Women, Wilmington, DE branch (programs chair), Chadds Ford Historical Society (former board member) and Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art. Lora lives in Birmingham Township with her husband Bill and son Brad. Daughter Erika lives in Pittsburgh with husband Bob and baby Wilhelmina. She is a former French, Spanish and ESL teacher, bilingual life insurance underwriter and public relations coordinator for Delaware Art Museum and Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art.

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