Recognizing a drastic increase in business associated with the gas drilling industry as well as the accompanying growth in development, Chartiers Township supervisors want to stay proactive in planning what is best for the township and securing its financial future.
The supervisors have created a new position of community development coordinator that will be filled by current township Manager Sam Stockton. The board is now seeking applicants for township manager, a position that will focus on developing a financial plan for the township’s future and increasing communication with township residents.
“Sam has a background in community development,” said Rich Metzler, chairman of the township board of supervisors. “He will focus on working with the zoning hearing board and the planning commission and represent the township at their meetings.”
“We want to be proactive as opposed to being reactive in how best to grow the township,” he added. “Over the last year, we’ve adopted new construction standards, updated the private residential ordinance and adopted the county’s storm water management regulations.”
Stockton also will be responsible for determining what ordinances need updates and will handle enforcement. Harold Ivery, the township’s current zoning and code enforcement officer, will be hired as a consultant to do inspections and permit work.
“We adopted a new comprehensive plan a year and a half ago that is already out of date,” Metzler added. “It doesn’t even address the oil and gas industry.”
The township manager, in developing the financial plan, will take into consideration the best use for Act 13 money from the statewide gas impact fee as well as local slots money. The township also gets a fee based on tonnage dumped at the Waste Management landfill.
“We have to determine the best way to use this money in the long run,” Metzler said. “The funding could go away.”
Although the figure has not been finalized, Metzler said the township could receive in the range of $600,000 to $700,000 from Act 13. The fire department, Chartiers-Houston Library and township parks and recreation board have all asked for financial assistance for different projects.
The board wants to form a park committee to develop parks in the township. The board will include a representative of the Chartiers-Houston School Board, township and library board to develop a master plan for parks in township.
The initial focus will be developing a parklet on the former Pine Lawn property adjacent to the library. Metzler said there is a donor interested in helping with the project if the township would provide a local match.
There is also a large area to be developed for a park on Ullom Road.
“That is a unique property because of the rural location,” Metzler said. “That property could lend itself to trails for horseback riding and all-terrain vehicles. Access to Chartiers Creek cold also be improved for a fishing area. But that would be down the road.”
Metzler expects Stockton to move into the new position in January. The board is accepting applications and resumes for the township manager position until Wednesday. “We couldn’t have done this without Sam’s full support,” Metzler said.
The supervisors will hold a budget meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, followed at 4:30 p.m. by the regular meeting. During that meeting, the board is expected to approve a tentative budget that holds the line on property taxes at 9 mills.