Upcoming Capital Projects, Traffic Improvements – Chambersburg Town Council Meeting Recap

CHAMBERSBURG – Following approval of the consent agenda, as well as an announcement that Jamie Boden has officially been sworn in as a representative of the Fourth Ward, the Council addressed the regular agenda for the 12 February 2024 meeting.

The first discussion, presented in large part by Public Works Director Chuck Nipe, involved authorization to proceed with phase one financing for the Public Works Campus Project. This phase includes full design and land acquisition of properties who volunteer to be bought, but not final approval to proceed with the project itself. Nipe reminded the Council that the existing public works facility is in a state of disrepair, and that a new facility is desperately needed. He went on to describe the current status of the potential Wayne Avenue site, including the fact that four out of seven adjacent properties are interested in selling. Nipe also stressed the current focus on cost reduction, and concluded that the project is on schedule, with sales agreements expected in the near future. Councilmember Chadwick Hare questioned where the money for this project was coming from, showing particular concern for the tax rates of homeowners. Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill acknowledged that if the Campus Project was approved, it would be an expensive endeavor. He also admitted that there was no final financial plan in place at the moment, and that this plan could include an increase in tax rates.

The second discussion regarded authorization to proceed with the first phase of Storm Sewer Utility Capital Improvements Financing, which consists of full design and construction financing for projects to be funded through a debt issuance paid off by existing storm sewer pollution control fees. Deputy Borough Manager Phil Wolgemuth presented a list of the potential upcoming Chambersburg Storm Sewer Utility Bond projects, the most immediate being: the Southgate Shopping Center Storm Sewer System Improvements Project; the S. Fifth St. Storm Sewer System Improvements Project; the Conococheague Creek Floodplain Mitigation Project; and the Industrial Dr. Storm Sewer Improvements Project.

Melissa Hughes of PFM Financial Advisors presented budget and funding options for the projects discussed above, as well as a smaller Electric Utility project. This involved a presentation on two different financing mechanisms (bank loans and bond issues) and a summary of the total funds required for these upcoming capital projects. The purchase of properties as well as the design and engineering portion of the Public Works Campus Project will require approximately $4,250,000, with 1.7 mil being taxable and 2.5 mil being tax-exempt. A bank loan RFP will be sent out to multiple local and regional banks requesting terms and conditions. The agenda for the Council meeting on March 25th would then include an approval of the bank loan sale as well as the creation of a parameters ordinance for the bond sale. At the close of Hughes’s presentation, the Council unanimously approved a Reimbursement Resolution, which started the clock on when they would be able to spend money collected from the sold bond.

Wolgemuth took the stand once again to report on the three new construction plans discussed at the Feb. 6 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Following this, Vice President Thomas Newcomer presented topics covered at the Parking, Traffic, and Street Light Committee meeting on Feb. 5. The Council approved several proposed motions, including the addition of traffic circles on Parkwood Drive and a notification to the state involving traffic improvements on both Lincoln Way and W Loudon Street.