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Solebury supervisors prioritize 2020 issues


Prioritizing its 2020 To Do List was on the minds of the Solebury supervisors Jan. 9 as they contemplated everything from preserving open space, to reducing the deer population, to eliminating “New Hope” from some of the township postal addresses.

Township Manager Dennis Carney noted some new owners of large-acreage properties have expressed interest in land preservation options.

He said the township has $1.7 million left in the budget for land preservation, adding now that interest rates are low, it hopes to borrow about $4 million toward the end of the year. He estimated it would cost taxpayers and additional 0.65 of a mill in 2021 municipal taxes.

Dealing with the growing deer population is among the top problems plaguing the township.

Carney said a mailing was sent to 100 homeowners asking that deer hunters be allowed on their properties.

There is a dwindling number of hunters today, he said. “No one has the time anymore.”

The alternative is culling the herd with professional sharpshooters and “that’s not cheap,” Carney said, adding the township tried that in 2008 and it cost $500,000.

Deer “are ruining the environment,” said Supervisor John Francis.

“What’s this place going to look like in 20-30 years?” Supervisor Kevin Morrissey wondered.

On the climate change issue, there is no money in the budget for dealing with it, Chair Mark Baum Baicker said, but suggested the township investigate “municipal aggregation” where municipalities unite to buy energy.

However, he noted, there are no tax benefits for a municipality to install municipal solar panels.

The issue of ZIP codes should be dealt with, according to Morrissey.

Solebury residents with mail boxes have a New Hope 18938 address, while residents with Post Office boxes at the Post Office have a Solebury 18963 address.

“There are Solebury residents who actually think they live in New Hope,” said an exasperated Morrissey.

He suggested the township investigate whether addresses could be all “Solebury” with the use of either ZIP code depending on whether mail is delivered to a home or the Post Office.

Baum Baicker suggested the township look into it.

On the plastic bags issue, local regulations to reduce plastic bags is still stalled because of a state moratorium, Morrissey said. However, there might be voluntary options since he had heard that the new McCaffrey’s in New Hope is banning plastic bags.

As for the New Hope Crushed Stone on Phillips Mill Road, its crushing equipment has been sold and is being moved off site, but there is still no word on what is being planned for that privately owned property, Morrissey said.

Road and traffic goals include improving the traffic flow on Route 202, pursuing grants for its improvement and continuing to push PennDOT on road repairs .

“We’ve got to keep the heat on them,” Baum Baicker said.

The supervisors also want to maintain a positive relationship with New Hope Borough and coordinate with New Hope and the New Hope-Solebury School District on tax issues.

The supervisors want to develop an oversight procedure for the New Hope-Solebury Library. The supervisors contributed $120,000 to the library, the same as last year, in its 2020 budget, but the library had asked for an additional $50,000.