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Solebury Township passes Disaster Emergency Declaration


Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and that’s why only the township manager and the board chairman attended Tuesday’s Solebury supervisors meeting.

The rest of the members were plugged in via speaker phone as the public also was urged to stay away and listen to the proceedings the next day on the township website.

As Solebury attempts to deal with the coronavirus threat, the board passed a Disaster Emergency Declaration for the township.

Effective immediately, it authorizes the township to meet emergencies by hiring temporary workers, rent equipment, buy supplies and materials and enter contracts for public works “without regard to time-consuming procedures and formalities prescribed by law (excepting mandatory constitutional requirements).”

Chair Mark Baum Baicker said due to continuing coronavirus precautions the April 7 supervisors meeting has been canceled, but the April 21 meeting will be held “since there are a number of items we will need to consider. Whether it will be a traditional in-person meeting will depend upon the conditions at the time.”

The township will continue to provide essential services, including police and public works, he said.

“Each night all township buildings will receive a thorough cleaning, including a wipe-down of door handles, surfaces, and areas with which the public may come in contact,” Baum Baicker added.

The board authorized its bond counsel, Jamie Schlesinger of PFM Financial Advisors LLC, to proceed with preparations for a $5 million bond issue for land preservation purposes. The debt is not to exceed $6 million when costs of issuing the bonds, preparation and other documentation is factored in.

The interest on those bonds will be set at a later date, thought to be in April, according to Chair Mark Baum Baicker who has said if rates are unacceptable at that time, the board could choose not to proceed.

In other business the board approved an agreement of sale for a $500,00 conservation easement for 35.72 acres owned by the Manoffs at 3157 Comfort Road.

“So I want to congratulate Amy and Gary Manoff and join the many, many people in this township and elsewhere who wish them the best as they more into the future,” Baum Baicker said.

Following a two-week comment period, if no comments are received, the township manager will execute the documents for the sale.

Among closures due to the coronavirus threat:

• The township will limit public access to the township building until further notice. Residents who need to pick up or drop off a permit, plans or other essential documents must first call the township at 215-297-5656, and a staff member will meet them at the door. The caller will need to provide all the information requested at the time of the call so the staff can have everything prepared before they arrive.

• The township remains fully staffed, with half working at the township building and half working remotely.

• Solebury is ending all sports activities and group use at the township park and its athletic fields and facilities through April 13. After that time, the situation will be reevaluated.

• The township will not be accepting deliveries or allow access to the building for nonessential purposes.

• Advisory committees are canceling all meetings until the end of April. They include: the Environmental Advisory Council, Aquetong Spring Advisory Committee, Historic Architectural Review Board, Planning Commission, Land Preservation Committee, Parks & Recreation Board, and the Solebury Farm Committee.

• The Free Library of New Hope and Solebury is closed through March 29.

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