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Elizabethtown Borough Takes Less Risky Financing Option for Public Works Garage

The Elizabethtown Borough Council decided to go with a less risky borrowing option for financing $2.8 million for the soon-to-be-built public works garage.

Chris Gibbons of Concord Public Finance presented the results of bank loan requests for proposals to council members at their meeting on Thursday, Nov. 1, and said the best proposals were from TD Bank and Adams County National Bank. TD Bank had a lower interest rate, but included several conditions that made it risky for the borough.

“How much risk does the borough want to take?” Gibbons asked.

Gibbons said a proposal from TD Bank could save the borough $35,000 in interest over the life of the 20-year loan, but there would be a penalty for paying the loan off early, effectively meaning the borough would not be able to refinance it. Also, the borough would be on the hook for changes to tax laws. These risks could cost considerably more than the $35,000 in interest savings, he said. Council members instead voted unanimously for a slightly higher rate from Adams County National Bank that did not have those risks.

The cost to build the garage is about $3.7 million; part of the cost is coming from the borough’s capital reserve fund and the rest is being borrowed.

In another matter, councilors voted unanimously to reject an application for a ground floor dwelling unit in a building at 213 N. Market St., which is in the central business district. Applicants Ronald E. Wenger of Mount Joy and Ashton K. Wenger of Columbia proposed dividing the vacant commercial space most recently used as a barbershop into a 535-square-foot commercial space and a 390-square-foot residential space. The Wengers initially applied for the conditional use in September, but council members decided to continue the hearing until the Nov. 1 meeting. At the Nov. 1 meeting, the Wengers acknowledged that they had made no attempt to find a commercial tenant for the whole space. Solicitor Josele Cleary said the burden is on the applicant to show that the space cannot be used for commercial purposes and that there is adequate off-street parking.

“Council gave you an opportunity to go back and look at the ordinance and come back with more evidence tonight and you didn’t,” Cleary said.

Also, councilors voted unanimously to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Elizabethtown Police Officers Association for a change to 12-hour shifts from the current eight-hour shifts. In an interview after the meeting, Police Chief Ed Cunningham said he believed eight-hour shifts had been in place for about 10 years and there had been 12-hour shifts before that. When asked why the move to eight-hour shifts was made in the first place, Cunningham said he did not know since he had only worked in Elizabethtown since January.

Cunningham said during the meeting that the police presence at the previous evening’s trick-or-treating went quite well.

“We ran out of light sticks too soon and I ate too many Skittles,” Cunningham said, adding that police would order more light sticks next year. The sticks create a glowing light when bent; police give them to children on Halloween as a safety measure to make them more visible to drivers.

Councilors voted unanimously to approve the low bid of $155,000 for a dewatering press at the wastewater treatment plant and $44,992 for traffic signal pre-emption devices at four intersections. The dewatering press is used to wring out water from sludge. The pre-emption devices are all at Market Street intersections that currently do not allow emergency vehicles to pre-empt the traffic lights in all directions, but will after the new devices are installed. They are at the intersections with Linden Avenue, Willow Street, Arch Street and Maytown Avenue.

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