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Local Government – Morrisville Borough

Morrisville Council Adopts 2020 Budget Unanimously

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For the final time as currently comprised, Morrisville Borough Council met and approved the 2020 budget Monday night.

The proposed 7.1 million dollar budget was passed unanimously by council, and includes no property tax raises, borough officials maintain.

Prior to the election, there was serious debate about when council would take up the public part of the process of vetting the boroughs finances and hashing out costs for the new year.

Borough Manager Scott Mitchell when asked about one good and one bad thing about the 2020 budget said, “”The good thing is. We didn’t raise taxes. The bad thing is. We didn’t raise taxes”

Mitchell explained Morrisville is faced with a budget dilemma if cuts or new income streams are not created or found in the very near future.
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“Costs went up, yet income stayed flat,” he said about the last year. There are three options here, he said. Council can raise taxes, cut staffing, or find a way to create new income streams to solve the flattening income issue for the borough.

The new council when it takes over in January can, if they want to reopen the budget, he said otherwise “massive cuts” to staffing will be needed, he said.

Increasing costs like those for the fire fund, with a projected increase of about $20,000 the Police Chiefs annual cost of living increase which is part of his contract, of about $3,300.00, are examples throughout the budget where needed services have increased.

The new council has until February 15 to reopen the 2020 fiscal plan, in order to make changes and or adjustments.

Council passed the budget unanimously 8-0 Monday.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Morrisville Borough

Morrisville Swears in New Chief of Police, Invites Public to Meet and Greet with New Department Leader

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Morrisville Borough swore in its new Chief of Police Monday, Mayor Gary Wallace announced.

A social media post from Wallace highlighted the official ceremony with which will be followed with a ceremonial event open to the public on July 16 at Borough Hall, 7 p.m. .

Wallace addressing borough residents said:

Today, I had the immense pleasure of swearing in our new Police Chief, Rich Ciampa. Chief Ciampa comes to us with an impressive 25 years of law enforcement leadership, and we are confident that he will bring positive changes to our department.

Chief Ciampa’s experience, dedication, and fresh perspective are exactly what our community needs at this pivotal moment. His gesture towards the public on his very first day made a profound impression on everyone on the council. His commitment to transparency, community engagement, and effective policing is a testament to the bright future we envision for Morrisville.

Credit: Submitted

Our borough has experienced many changes in recent months, but amidst these transformations, I have witnessed a growing sense of positive energy and confidence within our community. This new chapter presents an incredible opportunity for us to come together and build a stronger, safer, and more united Morrisville. I am super excited to work with Chief Ciampa on making Morrisville Borough a safe and collaborative community.

Let’s welcome Chief Ciampa with open arms and support him as he takes on this important role. Together, we can achieve great things and ensure a thriving community for all.

I also want to invite all residents to join us on Tuesday, July 16th, at 7 PM at Morrisville Borough Hall for the ceremonial swearing-in of Chief Ciampa. It will be a wonderful opportunity to come together and show our support for our new Police Chief.

The announcement was met with congratulations and welcomes by the Morrisville community.

Credit: Submitted

 

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Human Interest - Bristol Borough

Developer Discussed Vision for Vacant Manor Park Elementary School

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After standing vacant for over a decade, will Manor Park Elementary School be redeveloped? If the contract purchaser can get all his approvals from the borough, the site may undergo a redevelopment like 101 Washington Street project but it will take time.

The contract purchaser, Kevin Romano, of the Manor Park Elementary School and its land, presented his  vision for the use of the building and land at the previous meeting of the Morrisville Council meeting.

Romano and an attorney at Begley, Carlin and Mandy appeared before Council to discuss the future vision of the site. The attorney offered  apologies for not attending previous meetings to discuss the matter.  The application may appear confusing but there are a lot of  moving pieces especially to the relief they are requesting and he felt appropriate to be at this meeting and discuss the vision, said the attorney.

The school which is on approximately 1.7 acres has remained vacant for over a decade. The building itself is a little over 14,560 square footage. The attorney’s understanding is the school district previously had the site under contract but the deal fell apart because the former proposed developer could not secure financing. The proposal by Romano and the attorney is labeled as a “mixed use commercial building,” similar to the 101 Washington Street building that Romano operates. Speaking of the future plans, the attorney touched on many legal aspects of the application. He said that they have done what they could in the terms of requiring minimal relief.

Credit: Lower Bucks Source

Romano is the owner of 101 Washington St. in Morrisville and the Bach building in Philadelphia. He said, he has been in the development and redevelopment industry for over 20 years, the last six or seven years he has been focused on the creative redevelopment/reuse of existing structures, sometimes homes but mostly businesses.

Romano’s vision is to be similar to 101 Washington St and wants the school site to be part of the community, not a standalone. He has proven to have success in Morrisville and if they are allowed by zoning to have the same structuring of relief that 101 Washington St was granted, then the new site at the former school will also be successful.

The entire purpose of this presentation was to explain their future plans since it is different than most applications to zoning. The attorney wanted the borough to understand the vision going into the application.

The former Manor Park Elementary School in Morrisville was constructed in 1975 and closed in the late 1980s. It was then used for pre-kindergarten programs for many years.

Credit: Lower Bucks Source

Presented by Romano was information on the Bach Building in South Philadelphia. A former high school spanning 350,000 square feet was in worse shape than Manor Park Elementary. It now houses 220 tenants, there is practically no vacancy. To name a few types of businesses within the building are a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, and bike shop.

Speaking on the the 101 Washington St. building that was bought in 2020 or 2021, Romano said,  that it houses approximately 26-27 tenants who all have different hours of business. Some of the tenants are a couple photographers,  wedding/event planner, tech shop, and several estheticians.

Romano also said, “…Our sort of bread and butter quite frankly is taking buildings that most people don’t really know what to do with and finding a kind of a creative use for them…”

“…For buildings like this to kind of have someone want to breathe life back into them you know it’s a fair amount of risk quite frankly and like to take  that risk me or anyone else needs a little bit of flexibility in the zoning….”

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Morrisville Borough

Morrisville Boro Fire Company’s Seeks Use of Safety Enhancements, Knox Box Program

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“Safety of the citizens of Morrisville and our firefighters is most important to us,” said Fire Chief John Weiss as he spoke to the Morrisville Borough Council at their June meeting about the fire department’s safety improvements including the Knox Box program.

Introduced by former fire chief and currently handling Emergency Management, Matt Wiedenhaefer, Weiss presented an update on the enhancements to fire inspections and investigations, including the Knox Box program.

Weiss said the 100% volunteer fire company respond to an average of 500 calls annually. Most important to the fire company is “the safety of the town’s citizens.” Weiss has been a member for 22 years and during the years, he has “seen his share of unsafe conditions because a proactive fire inspection program was not in place.”

In association with the Code Enforcement Officer/Fire Marshal Barry Isett, the borough has an “avenue” to lessen and possibly eliminate unsafe conditions by implementing a proactive in-person fire inspection program. The unsafe conditions are now caught and corrected during the annual fire inspections. The Fire Protection Systems, which had not been inspected in many years, are now properly maintained and certified. The Emergency Contacts which had not been updated in years are now current with the dispatch center and will benefit all first responders.

Morrisville Borough Fire Chief John Weiss at the June Council Meeting Credit: YouTube screengrab

The Knox Box program, a program that has been requested for decades, is now implemented. The program allows for quick entry and reduces the need  to damage property. The boxes are very secure, and the fire department invested $8,000 of their own funds to “obtain key securers and software to protect the Knox Box keys from being in the wrong hands.”

Each key is locked in its own “key secure.” A key can only be removed by a member who has access to the secure and an unique code assigned to them. The software tracks all activity including who and when of the key removal.

In conclusion, Weiss spoke of  multiple interactions on a weekly basis with the fire inspector and fire marshal. They update Weiss on the active enforcements and the progress of compliance and Weiss updates the officials on any found unsafe conditions. The officials then work towards restoring safety.

About Knox Box

Trusted by thousands of fire and law enforcement agencies for over 40 years, Knox Rapid Access Solutions have provided first responders with immediate access into secure buildings, campuses, residences and commercial properties when it matters most. Removing barriers to entry reduces injuries to responders and minimizes property damage. That’s the power of the Knox rapid access system, according to the Knox Box website.

Click her for more information on Knox Box.

 

Note: If you’re a Morrisville Borough resident who thinks there’s a story out there not being covered feel free to send tips to lbsbdm20@gmail.com with the who, what, when , where, why and how! 

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