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Dear Point Township Residents,
The Point Township Board of Supervisors are making this preliminary report on our website regarding the Point Township Municipal Building Project. This building project has been openly discussed in many Township meetings over the last several years, but only recently has the opportunity to achieve this goal become a reality. That opportunity came in the form of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, (RACP).
Within this RACP grant process, the Township has always had a specific plan that included public presentation, explanation and feedback. While we are not formally at this step in the process yet, we are releasing a preliminary report in response to some very negative and inaccurate information that has been casting a negative light on what we believe should be viewed as an exciting opportunity for Point Township. This project will resolve many previously identified hazards and deficiencies in the current municipal complex and provide an affordable solution at significant savings to our residents.
First, we would like to provide a brief history regarding the project. Point Township was fortunate enough, through our prior and current State Representatives, Merle Phillips and Linda Culver, respectively, to have been named for an itemization of $500,000 in Harrisburg. This itemization is the first critical step in qualifying for the RACP grant. More recently, as this itemization was set to expire, Rep. Culver re-qualified the Township and helped achieve an increase up to $600,000 that would help account for inflation. The Township applied for RACP in 2018 but was not selected. In 2019, the Township applied again, and Rep. Culver worked diligently to get this money back to the local community. In the final hours of grant recipient selection, the Township had the opportunity to be selected, but money was tight, and we were approved for a $500,000 grant.
Point Township was ready to receive this grant and had a viable project because the Board and the various Township departments have been identifying both the strengths and weaknesses of the Township for many years now. This is a continuous process that includes stakeholders now and into the future. The Township routinely receives complaints and concerns from residents, and we attempt to find practical solutions. One of the most common complaints expressed by residents and businesses is how they have been bounced around from one location to another as they have needed different Township resources. This was a guiding factor in the current project to achieve a ‘one stop government shop’.
The current building was built in the 1950’s, (currently the road department) and had a piece added in the 1970’s, (police, secretary and board room). This current building has many problems, including electrical deficiencies, ADA compliance, roof/snow hazards, regular HVAC failures with pending end of life issues, and insulation problems to name a few. The Township pays an insurance penalty due to the road crew and its associated fuels and chemicals existing in the same structure as Township offices. Moving the road department into its own building will eliminate this hazard and double the available square footage for all other offices.
The project will provide space for the current departments, including the secretary, road department and police department. The project will also incorporate space for other entities that our residents interact with. This includes the sewer department, tax collector, building inspector, code and zoning offices. The sewer and tax offices will include 24/7/365 drive through payment windows for convenience. Bringing the tax collector and sewer department into the building both enhances convenience to residents and provides a cost savings reaching into the future. By providing the tax collector an office, the Board can assess the amount of money paid to the tax collector and make your collected tax dollars go further.
The sewer authority currently exists in a 1960’s temporary job site trailer. This is not a permanent solution and presents substantial problems. The trailer does not provide reasonable space for office functions or records storage. The trailer does not provide a capability to properly store and service valuable equipment. Only through the generosity of those currently involved with the sewer authority are these shortcomings currently being met. This is not a typical arrangement and is not guaranteed into the future. The Authority needs a solution, and while the Township and Authority are two separate entities, cooperation is critical to deliver essential services to the residents at a reasonable cost. This is the logic used in the Authority contributing $200,000 into the Municipal Building Project. In return, the Township will guarantee a 20-year lease to the Authority, working out to about $833/month and includes heating/cooling, lavatory facilities, etc. It is unlikely the Authority could find such an affordable solution, guaranteed for two decades, while maintaining the ‘One Stop Shop’ goal of the municipal building project.
The Township has identified several key issues with the current facility; they include, but are not limited to:
The project is scheduled for completion in 2020. The RACP grant process is progressing forward and we anticipate putting the project out for bid around March of 2020 if possible. We would like to receive bids and get on a builder’s schedule to take advantage of good weather for the project as soon as possible. The project is also specifically designed to work in phases. This allows the Township to stay operational during the process.
We would like to also address some points of view on renovating versus building new and resource conservation. Too often, entire buildings are demolished to be replaced with some ‘Taj Mahal’ facility. This project is being driven by necessity and will be finished modestly so it ‘fits’ our Township. We believe that the current facility lends itself well to renovation. Much of the current facility is ‘money in the bank’ and it would be wasteful to simply abandon it to a landfill. Additionally, moving can be a real pain! For any of us that have moved a residence, imagine the burdens of moving a municipal government while staying operational. Years of consideration and planning have provided a clear direction to make use of as much of what we already have to conserve resources and hold the line on costs.
The Township will continue to provide updates regarding this project.
We feel confident at this point that the building project and many road projects already on the table can be accomplished without any borrowing. The Township will also retain the capability into the foreseeable future to maintain a reasonable road construction and repair schedule.
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