CPD Looking to Hire, Borough Service Agreements – Chambersburg Borough Council Recap

CHAMBERSBURG – A period of public comment began the Monday night, 13 May 2024, Borough Council meeting. Scott McNew, President of the Greater Chambersburg Area Paid Fire Fighters Association, appeared before the Council once again to provide an update on their Fire Ops 101 program. The program, originally planned for June 1, 2024, has officially been postponed due to a lack of RSVPs submitted by county officials. President Allen Coffman assured McNew that he would RSVP to attend the program at a determined later date.

The consent agenda was unanimously approved. Following this, the Council authorized the Chambersburg Police Department to submit a grant funding request to the office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ hiring program. The application will be submitted via a two-step process, due on June 6 and June 12 respectively. About $156 million is available for funding, with each award supporting up to 75% of an officer’s entry-level salary and fringe benefits for three years. If provided, these grant funds will allow the Chambersburg Police Department to hire one additional community police officer in order to assist with the increased number of calls the department has experienced over the past few years and prevent officer burnout.

The Council went on to approve two professional service agreements. The first agreement permitted Maher Duessel, a regional CPA firm in Harrisburg, PA, to assist the Finance Department with their grant management process. According to Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill, the department can easily handle day-to-day accounting, but the sheer abundance of grants currently in the Borough’s possession requires an outside source to manage the bookkeeping and ensure that these funds are being spent accurately. The second agreement allowed ARRO Engineering of Lancaster, PA to conduct a review of the water system chemical mixing process at the Borough Water Plant in Fayetteville, PA. The study will focus on the chemical feed process related to fluoride, taking into account associated history and permits as well as potential alternative methods for implementing fluoride into the drinking water. Former Borough Council member Kathy Leedy expressed concerns that the study would result in the Borough taking fluoride out of the water system, though Coffman assured her that the review would be purely technical in nature and would not discuss the health implications behind the mineral itself.

Deputy Borough Manager Phil Wolgemuth provided the Council with an update regarding matters discussed at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on May 7. The primary topic of discussion involved proposed amendments to the Zoning Code that would facilitate the prohibition of incompatible uses in the Downtown area. Some suggestions include: no buildings with less than two inhabitable floors; no residential uses on the first floor, with the exception of townhouse single family residential use; no social clubs, pool halls, arcades, or other inconsistent land uses; and more consistent sign regulations. According to Wolgemuth, the Commission did not agree with the entire list. They plan to take the summer to consider amendments further and reopen the discussion in September. The next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting will occur on June 4.

Outside of the official agenda, Coffman announced that Chambersburg Gas Superintendent John Leary had received an award for outstanding service from the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia, and promised that the Council would honor him with an official advertisement. Coffman also revealed a monetary endowment of about $5.5 million that will go toward replacing old cast iron gas lines in the Borough. The meeting concluded with a referral to the Parking, Traffic, and Street Light Committee by Councilmember Chadwick Hare involving the possible removal of two stop signs along Hollywell Avenue.