The State College Borough Council may delay its vote to formally inform the Centre Region Council of Governments of the borough’s intent to withdraw from the code building inspection program, council members said at Friday’s work session meeting.
This issue was first decided in December, and led to council president Don Hahn stepping down as the borough’s Public Safety Representative to the Centre Region Council of Governments.
The vote to inform COG of intent to withdraw was tentatively scheduled for April 1, to which council member Peter Morris objected.
“I don’t feel I’m going to be ready to vote on that this soon,” Morris said. Council member Tom Daubert said he agreed.
Hahn said the council will “proceed accordingly.”
Council also heard reports on police staffing levels from State College Police Chief Tom King.
The State College Police Department successfully responds to calls within a reasonable amount of time at costs under the average for other similarly sized towns, King said.
The police staffing report, prepared and presented by King, compared the State College Police Department to Penn State Police, the Ferguson Township Police Department and the Patton Township Police Department, as well as 11 college towns across the county.
On average, from the time a State College police officer is notified of a priority call — such as a crime in progress or potentially deadly car accident — to the time the officer arrives on scene, it takes 293 seconds or 4.8 minutes, King said. The average response time for all compared departments is 242 seconds, or just over four minutes. The International Association of Chiefs of Police recommends a response time of five minutes or less for priority calls, King said.
King said that in 2012, the cost of each police officer was $146 per resident — 37 percent lower than $201 average of compared departments.
Council also heard reports on the replacement of bleachers and sidewalks at Memorial Field and on the actions of the Centre Tax Agency .
Director of Physical Plant for State for the State College Area School District Ed Poprik said the bleachers, fencing, sidewalks and curbing along Fraser Street will be removed and replaced. The project is expected to begin at the end of this month and finish in late August, Poprik said.
“Because the nature of this work involves replacing sidewalk and curbing… as well as the logistical concerns of moving equipment, we’re requesting to close a portion of Fraser Street,” Poprik said.
While closed, Fraser Street would be open to one way traffic, though the street would be open for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, Poprick said.
State College Director of Public Works Mark Whitfield also gave an update on the Memorial Field sinkhole repairs.
“We really believe if everything goes well, we should be done and out by April,” Whitfield said.
The State College Borough Council intends to vote on the enactment of the CP-3 Zoning District, which has recently been discussed heavily, at their regularly scheduled meeting tonight, Borough Council President Don Hahn said.
Council has extensively discussed the zoning changes, which would alter the zoning provision for commercial areas such as Westerly Parkway Plaza.
“Although we’ve talked about it a lot, I don’t expect a lot of controversy,” council member Peter Morris said.
Though the zoning district changes are likely to pass, the thing to look for is a 3-4 vote, in which case it would be vulnerable to a veto, Hahn said.
There will also be an amendment to the employment agreement between the borough and the borough manager, Tom Fountaine, Morris said.
“He has to be paid and rewarded comparably to other managers of towns that are the same size and have the same problems,” Morris said.
Another item that will be discussed is that of licensing vacation homes in State College, Hahn said. It generated discussion last year and may draw interest again, he said.
After the regular meeting, there will be a work session in which the council will be discussing the point system in greater length, Daubert said. The point system, or the nuisance property ordinance, determines regulations and fines for rental properties in the borough, as previously reported.