Even without a Chambersburg Borough Council meeting this week, there’s still a lot going on

October 2 —There are a number of meetings this week in Chambersburg, including the Parking, Traffic and Streetlight committee, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Zoning Hearing Board. 

The next council meeting will be held on October 16. 

The Parking, Traffic and Streetlight committee will meet tonight at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at 100 South Second Street. 

Allen Coffman, borough council president, said, “One of the topics that’s on their list I believe to discuss is parking lots, borough owned parking lots in the downtown area. I don’t know what the dialogue will be with that, but it’s certainly something that they’ve started to look at.”

The discussion isn’t going to be about street parking. It’ll focus on parking lots. 

Coffman said, “That’ll be an interesting discussion. There’s people that rent spaces on those lots and they get permits for it. So the permit is part of the discussion.”

It’s possible not all permits are equal and that may be part of the discussion this evening. 

October 1 through 7 is Public National Gas Week. 

Coffman said, “The reason I mention it is because of the importance of that utility to a lot of people here in Chambersburg. We’re glad that we have it here. It’s certainly an efficient way of heating one’s home or business. So we’re glad to have it. We’re glad to be part of it. I just thought I would mention it because we do have gas customers here in Chambersburg. I was never so glad that we changed over to natural gas. It was nice not to see the oil truck pull up unexpectedly with those large bills and looking at oil prices now, seeing that it looks like it’s going to hit $150 a barrel, it’s bound to have some trickle down with the heating oil prices for those that still use it.”

Fire Chief Dustin Ulrich made a presentation to council last week for budget talks. 

Coffman pointed out, “When they did their last testing for new firefighters, they received 107 applications out of 107, 53 actually showed up for the written test. Thirty-three passed the written test, 25 showed up then for the agility test, and 22 passed the agility test. So the long story short here is you have 107 applications and when you sift through the written in the agility part, there’s 22 people that are actually fit and capable to be a firefighter. That’s less than 25 percent.” 

Are Chambersburg’s tests different from others? 

Coffman said, “I think the tests that they use are standardized tests that they get. With that being said, I would think a lot of municipalities go to the same place for their testing. So I don’t think it’s there, but it’s just interesting. One hundred and seven people pay for the right to take the test, but only 53 started out, so you’re 50% already. It’s just amazing to me.”

Anthony Panasiewicz of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “It’s not the Chambersburg Fire Department. It’s on the applicants.” 

Coffman added, “We are not unique with this. This is a county problem, a state problem, a national problem with firefighters, especially volunteer firefighters. They’re almost non-existent.”

The Chambersburg Police Department open house for the new digs was last week. 

Coffman said, “They’re getting moved in. Should be probably in business by the end of this week, back at their location on Second Street. I think that opening day is either the fourth or the fifth of October for 100 percent operation. But nevertheless, they’re getting close there.”

Chambersburg Police Chief Ron Camacho also made a presentation to the council a week ago about his department. 

Coffman reminded, “We have an accredited police department. There’s only 11 percent of the police departments in Pennsylvania that are accredited, 18 percent throughout the United States. They’re a very small group. They’re they’re easily in the top tier of police departments.”

Panasiewicz said, “When you say Chambersburg’s finest, you really mean Chambersburg’s finest.” 

Coffman continued, “That’s further proved by the officer formal education that’s been a priority with the department. Seventy percent have bachelor’s degrees. The national average is 30 percent. Twenty percent have master’s degrees. The national average is 5 percent. So we’ve got a very formally education police department.” 

In fact, Camacho has a PhD himself. 

Coffman said, “Traffic is the number one complaint that he gets and that I hear about from constituents. But it’s interesting to note that they did studies on three different roads, Mill Road, Stanley Avenue and Stouffer Avenue. All were for the period of about a week to 10 days, somewhere between 2018 and 2020. If you look at those numbers, those numbers in some cases have doubled and almost tripled in some cases. So you can understand what happens through the working week, Monday through Friday. There’s a lot of outside people that come into Chambersburg. A lot.” 

The Glen Street fountain is a little bit behind schedule. 

Coffman said, “Concrete work is supposed to be worked on in October and November, this month and next month of this year. However, the panels that were ordered from a foundry somewhere in Alabama or Mississippi down south aren’t supposed to be here till the end of November of this year. So I guess the long story short is, I’d look for an opening at Glen Street fountain in the spring of 2024.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission and the Zoning Hearing Board will meet on Tuesday. 
For the agendas, click here:  http://www.borough.chambersburg.pa.us/government/meeting-agendas.html