- Story Ideas
- Send Corrections
The Exeter Township Board of Supervisors last week accepted the single bid it received for replacement of trees being removed at Reading Country Club.
Township administrator Troy Bingaman told the board Jan. 14 that while six to eight bid packets were originally picked up, only one bid was received - from Buddie’s Nursery in Exeter.
The board voted 3-2 to accept the bid for $118,500 to purchase and plant American Red Maple trees at the country club. Bingaman said the bid is about $20,000 more than the original estimate.
The plan calls for replacing 44 trees in total, but Brian Ahrens, Reading Country Club superintendent, said 18-20 were planned for replacement in 2013.
The trees were determined by a certified arborist to be in need of replacement due to deterioration and possible hazards to golfers and country club property. The arborist report indicated that 10 trees were in need of “immediate removal” and another eight needed to come out “in the near future.”
A variety of sizes are being purchased and planted, with trunk diameters ranging from 4.5-inches to 8-inches. The specifications of the proposal calls for:
Six, 8 inch trees at a cost of $4250 each, totaling $25,500
18, 5.5 inch trees at a cost $2,500 each, totaling $45,000
20, 4.5 inch trees at a cost of $2,400 each, totaling $48,000
“I’m disappointed we didn’t get more bids from other individuals. If all those people picked up bid sheets and didn’t return them it’s kind of disappointing. Now we’re stuck in that we don’t have any room to maneuver,” said board chairman Donald Wilson.
Vice-chairman Gary Lloyd questioned whether the trees that have already been removed were healthier than the arborist’s report had indicated. Township Highway Superintendent Clarence Hamm, whose crews are doing the tree removal, said they didn’t appear to be in bad shape.
“What I was asked to do was get a certified arborist. I did that, and I didn’t know the guy,” said Ahrens. “My goal was to find someone I never met before to tell me about the trees.”
When Ahrens was asked by supervisor Jeff Bukowsi whether he thought the trees were healthy, he said they were all “showing signs” of damage.
“They were beginning to come down. I had seen rot in almost every single tree that came down. The trees I was concerned about that I’m still concerned about that still stand, there’s not much left of them. When you’re the guy on the property cleaning them up and you’re cleaning them up more and more often over the past few years, that’s where I was concerned.”
Ahrens said that the larger, 8-inch trees will be placed where the traffic is heavier, along the driveway and closer to the clubhouse and first fairway, an area Ahrens said he is most concerned about.
Bukowski said Ahrens did what the board had asked of him.
“You were asked to get an arborist, you did. They gave us an opinion. We relied on that and we can beat ourselves up or second guess it all we want, but I don’t see a reason to do that, unless you want to have someone come out to give a second opinion on the trees that are left. I do like the fact that somebody in the township took the time to bid on it,” he said. Bukowski added that not all of the $118,500, which comes out of the tree fund established with the construction of the Exeter Commons Shopping Center, will be spent in 2013.
In other business:
The Exeter Township Volunteer Fire Department has received a SAFER grant from FEMA for $416,000 over two years.
Deputy Fire Chief Christopher Jordan said the grant provides $208,000 per year for three full-time employees for the department: a fire chief, fire inspector and training officer.
Jordan said in his discussions with FEMA, it appears the department has latitude when it comes to the positions.
“We can create the job descriptions. The only requirement is that they work full-time hours, are qualified firefighters with medical certification and are available at the fire station when we get calls,” he said.
Jordan said there is no matching requirement, with no commitment for the third year or anything after.
“If you hire these people, they need to be hired with understanding that you’re not sure about the third year,” Wilson cautioned.
Any extension beyond the two-years, if additional funding is not available from FEMA would need to be approved by the board.
The grant follows the recent award of $100,000 to the department for a different program.
The Exeter police department is getting close to a local option for use of a firing range for training. Chief Christopher Neidert told the board that he is getting closer to an agreement with University Rifle Club, located on Schoffers Road in the township. Neidert said there are still a few details to finalize, but he expects the agreement will be ready to go in time for the department to begin their training schedule.
After some discussion, the board approved a measure setting the compensation level for the township tax collector for the 2014-17 term. Bingaman said the compensation must be set prior to the election of a new tax collector. That position is currently held by Charles I. Diamond, who is up for re-election in 2013.
Currently, the tax collector receives $0.95 for every real estate and per capita bill he collects. After discussion, the board voted to approve no increase in the first year, then a $0.05 increase in year two, and no increase in the third and fourth year of the term.
Under the measure, the tax collector would see the compensation level remain at $0.95 for 2014 increase to $1.00 per bill collected in 2015, where it would remain until the end of the next term.