December 18 – With 2023 getting ready to wind down, the end of December is always a good time to look back and see what the year has brought us.
In the Chambersburg Borough, 2023 had a lot of events.
The fountain in the center of town finally returned in 2023 after being struck by a vehicle in 2021. The fountain got fixed and had a nice buffing and is back where it belongs.
Allen Coffman, borough council president, said, “While we’re talking about fountains, the Glen Street fountain is coming along very well, too, and that will be ready to open up probably in the spring of 2024. So that one’s coming right along on schedule.”
The reorganization meeting for Chambersburg Council will be January 2.
Coffman explained, “That’s required on that date due to the statutes of the state of Pennsylvania.”
The first Spanish Safe Serve class was held in February this year.
Coffman said, “That’s rather unique, I think. There’s a lot of people in the Spanish community that work in the food industry. It was decided they would do it in-house and they brought an interpreter to come in and do it and that was the first one that was ever done here.”
In March, the Chambersburg Area Municipal Authority met to discuss the Southgate renovation project.
Coffman continued, “We got into April. Planning and Zoning did some rezoning for the area in the Moose Club, which led to a new business coming to town and also jumping to April. We had a $5.2 million grant that came to us to replace old gas lines that were here in Chambersburg, which was a huge grant. I was totally surprised. I didn’t know how much it was going to be. I knew it would be sizable but I never thought it’d be $5.2 million and that’s a non matching. That’s all federal money coming to us to work for us.”
Chambersburg Council lost Larry Hensley in May this year. He passed away early in the month.
Coffman reminded, “It was the day after the primary election in May. So that started a search then for somebody for his replacement, which we worked through that.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “Larry was a great champion of the Chambersburg ambulance and getting people to sign up and subscribe. What a true gift and his work lives on here, having to say goodbye too soon.”
Coffman added, “One of the things that he was big on was the benches and we’re starting to see those benches now in downtown. He was a big fan of let’s put some more benches downtown. People need a place to sit. He’ll be remembered for a long, long time.”
In August, the borough changed their banking provider to F&M Trust.
Coffman said, “By the time we got to September, October and November, we were starting in the budget cycle again. Department presentations at every meeting.”
There were no property tax increases, but fees for electric customers did jump up a little more than 11 percent.
The budget was approved last week.
Coffman said, “The master fee schedule was changed. There was some rezoning of properties done last week. So we’re ready to roll into 2024.”
Three council members – Kathy Leedy, Alice Elia and Sharon Bigler had their last meeting last week. In January, the newly elected members will gather and officers will be decided.
When it comes to being president again, would Coffman like that?
“I’d like to do it,” he said.
Coffman wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.