Putting on firefighter gear, stop signs and a county reassessment were topics of discussion at Chambersburg Borough Council last night

June 18 — There weren’t a lot of people at the Chambersburg Borough Council meeting last night, but business was still discussed. 

Scott McNew, of the Chambersburg Fire Department, again extended the invitation to council members to have hands-on experience with the department.  

Allen Coffman, borough council president, said, “I wasn’t expecting to see him there, but he was extending the offer again for council to get involved with seeing what firefighters do, and they have a new date set, September the 21st to do that, and I’m hoping we’ll get much better turnout this time. Quite frankly, I forgot the RSVP date the last time, and I missed it, so they’ve rescheduled, and I’m hoping, let’s say, half of the council will decide that they want to participate in this event.” 

Council members will put on the firefighter gear to get a feel for what it’s like to take on fires in Chambersburg. 

Coffman said, “It was a good start, I think, for the meeting last night.” 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “This is a good idea. This will get council members and anybody else that is associated, I guess, with council, to get you a real good feeling of here’s what the gear is, here’s what we do. Here are the experiences.”

Coffman said, “It’s something I’ve not done before, so I’m kind of looking forward to it. I’d like to get to the top of Tower 1 at 95 feet and see what it looks like from up there.” 

Stop signs on Hollywell Avenue were discussed, particularly the fact that some drivers are ignoring them. 

Coffman said, “There’s a series of stop signs that are on the lower end of Hollywell Avenue, and it was brought up to the Parking, Traffic and Streetlight committee to see if they would remove any of those down through there. Those have been in place, probably, I’m going to say, for at least 10 years, most of them. There was one recent addition, I believe. But the fact that people are not stopping at them for some reason or other does not constitute a reason, in my mind, to remove stop signs. I think what that will yield will be some more interest from our Chambersburg Police Department when people decide they’re going to run those. A lot of people enter town that way and leave town that way at the end of the day, and I think it was the right decision to let things be as they are.”

Council also discussed a proposal to spend about $7,000 for an Erie law firm to take a look at the potential county reassessment. 

Ryan noted, “On one side, you guys can do all the research you want. You can spend $7,000, you can ask other boroughs to chip in a little bit on this. But on the other hand, if you get information either way, hey, they should do a reassessment, or they shouldn’t do a reassessment. None of it really matters, because it’s still up to the county commissioners. So I’m torn either way. Here’s some more information commissioners, and they clearly don’t have the appetite to do that right now.”

Coffman said, “It’s interesting to note that Bob Ziobrowski has openly talked about how he supported that up until the last couple of months, he’s changed his mind on that. So I don’t know, but I think it’s money well spent to see exactly what somebody can do with analyzing the numbers and tell us, where are we? I think we’ll find we’ll have all the support from the other communities that we read off Greencastle, Mercersburg, Mont Alto, Shippensburg, Waynesboro, all of them. We all want to know.” 

Ryan added, “Frankly, you might come away with the funding formula that seems to work here and leave it alone. You might come away with that, too.”

“That’s a possibility,” Coffman agreed. “However, I doubt that it is, but we’ll find out. That’s the reason for doing the study.”

When will the results be seen? 

Coffman said, “They said after we sent the agreement letter, which I actually signed last night, it would be six to eight weeks until we would get the information back. So that would put us right about the end of summer, right about the time we’re really starting to dig into the budget and it would fit right in with looking at numbers.”

Ryan wondered, “What is the success rate of this group? If you’re going to pay them $7,000 and they’ve got the magical formula of numbers and crunching and all the rest, did they come back to you and say, hey, we’re a bunch of people from Erie, and we’ve done these analysis for other boroughs, and this is the result positive or negative? Did anybody ask that question?”

Coffman confirmed, “They have done that. Yes. This is not their first time to embark on a mission like this.”

What’s the success rate? 

Coffman said, “Well, the success rate would be whether the numbers are valid or not. As far as I know, they’ve had a couple of cases where they have been successful where they went to. Whether it ended up in a court case or not, I’m not sure about that, but I have reason to believe that they have been successful in these missions before.”

Council also heard a review of the Parking, Traffic and Streetlight committee meeting. 

Coffman said, “I think one of the other things that came out of the comments from parking traffic at streetlight will be getting people used to the fact that the intersection at Grant and Fifth over at the former TB Woods site will become a four way stop. I don’t know how soon that’s going to happen, but that is certain to cause some people to to take a look at that intersection when they come through there. They will not be used to that at all. There’s sometimes you can come through there that there’s nothing at all that’s odd or bad about that intersection. There’s other times you can hit it and you will sit and wait and wait and wait and wait. So I think we’re going to have a correction to a long lasting problem there.”

When will that happen? 

Coffman said, “I don’t know. It’s been approved now, so it’ll be a matter, I guess, until they construct the signs. They may not do that, though, until the concrete sidewalk for the school has been poured. I think they might be waiting for that part before they actually erect the signs.”

With the heat advisory, does Chambersburg need to worry about the extra stress on the electric grid, especially considering the borough has its own supply? 

Coffman said, “I think things will be fine. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if we might set a new peak here for power consumption sometime, through the remainder of this week, but that’s yet to be seen and that’s monitored, real time, so we’ll know if that happens, really quick.”