5-5-2021 Regular Meeting Recap
Blog/Post By: Mary Hancock
Last Wednesday Aspinwall Borough Council met for a Regular Meeting. As you may know, Council meetings have been taking place via Zoom due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The biggest news this week sprang from the closing of the Aspinwall Comprehensive Plan Survey and the potential for in-person meetings later this year.
Over the course of April, Borough Council requested that Aspinwall residents go online to complete a Comprehensive Plan Survey which would be used to create a roadmap for Aspinwall’s future. Within the survey, residents were asked to voice their opinion, their ideas, and even their complaints about the community. After about a month of efforts encouraging residents to make their voices heard, the survey is closed.
David Borland, Councilmember and Chair of the Planning Committee, has taken the lead on this effort between working with the community, encouraging the community to voice their opinions, and working diligently alongside the Borough’s facilitator and consultant, Pashek+MTR.
According to Borland, 627 residents completed the survey and the consultant was ecstatic about the results. This response rate related to Aspinwall’s population is about 23%. Aspinwall’s response rate surpassed other municipalities like Bell Acres, who had a 14% response rate, and Hampton Township, who had a 5% response rate.
Throughout the meeting, Councilmembers continuously thanked the somewhat humble Borland for his “tremendous effort.” According to Council President, Tim McLaughlin, a study like this was “talked about but never done.”
According to Borland, currently, Pashek+MTR is compiling the results and tabulating the data. Borland and the consultant hope to have a report by June for the residents. There will be a public session (outdoors) for the community regarding the plan tentatively set for July 2021.
The survey was created and implemented through the help of Pashek+MTR. According their website, Pashek+MTR is a “landscape architecture and community planning studio” that has pioneered a model for Implementable Comprehensive Plans. With regard to Aspinwall, the Project is divided into two phases. During the first phase the consultant will focus on community and leadership input and ideas, and in the second phase the consultant will work with community leadership to develop a realistic action plan for Aspinwall. Overall Borland is enthusiastic about the future of Aspinwall. For more info check out AspinwallPlan.com.
In Other News:
Councilmembers have begun a discussion with their Solicitor regarding the feasibility to return to in-person “face to face” meetings. After some discussion, Council hopes to meet in person as early as August 2021. When meetings return to the in-person forum, community members will still be required to wear face masks. Before any change, Council will advertise the move from Zoom back to in-person. It is unclear at this time whether or not the Zoom feature will still be provided to persons who cannot attend or are still uncomfortable meeting in person. Council will monitor the feasibility of in-person meetings moving forward.
Tim McLaughlin announced potential plans to digitize older borough documents. According to Borough Council, Aspinwall is ahead of the game on this front as they have already had their ordinances and resolutions from 1900 to today available online.
Borough Manager Melissa Lang O’Malley reminded community members that the new garbage hauler will start service on May 19th, 2021, which will change the new pick-up day to Wednesdays.
Mayor Noro is continuing to monitor speeding in the Borough alongside the police department.
Councilmember Marcia Cooper is working to create a tax credit for volunteer firemen and women as well as the emergency medical department. She hopes to get a general outline to Council so that she may move to have it passed in June.
Councilmember Heth Turnquist provided Council with the Treasurer’s Report for April 2021 and requested members review the bill payment list.
Councilmember Lara Voytko, Chair of the Infrastructure Committee, announced that paving had been completed in Aspinwall last week. She hopes to schedule additional rebricking projects for August with funds available.
Councilmember David Brown is working with the Shade Tree Commission and the Solicitor to create a Declaration in Aspinwall Borough regarding the value of trees to the Aspinwall community.
Councilmember Jeff Harris announced that the Story Walk from Cooper Siegal Library was open.
Of note, Towne Drug in Aspinwall, PA will also be having a Moderna Vaccine Event on May 15, 2021. This event is open to both residents and non-residents and no appointment will be required. After speaking with a representative of Towne Drug, they are requesting that all persons bring their insurance card with them. Anyone interested can call for further details or changes.