A public hearing for an ordinance establishing a Pedestrian, Bicycle and Safety Advisory Committee (PBSAC) has been carried to the Hopewell Borough Council’s November meeting after changes were raised about the ordinance language and committee’s scope.
The changes and concerns that were raised by council members and Mayor Paul Anzano included a limited scope and focus, an addition to the committee’s scope specifically stating a focus also on a long term study or plan of recommended road safety measures they would propose for the borough, and use of staff professionals.
“I was concerned about their ability to independently incur expenses on behalf of the borough by talking to the borough engineer and talking to whoever would charge us hourly. I wanted them to go through the borough administrator as our Shade Tree does,” Anzano said. “The way the ordinance is written the committee would have the same authority as council to engage the engineer.”
The public hearing for the original ordinance which would establish the advisory committee took place on Oct. 7.
“My current take on the ordinance as currently drafted it is very vague. I think we need to be somewhat specific without tying everyone’s hands about lines in communication and authority,” Councilman David Mackie said.
“I want to make sure the borough administrator is always kept in the loop of whatever is going on particularly if there are discussions happening with any other outside government agencies, because we have had some issues with that in the past with informal discussions.”
According to the ordinance presented on Oct. 7, the committee would research and recommend advice to the Borough Council on areas such as policy and study and collect data, information and opinions on pedestrian bicycle and safety matters.
“Like Shade Tree, but likely with less power. Much more like the Economic Development Committee they would meet and be charged with researching, feeling out from the community, being a sounding board for these issues and reporting back to council,” Councilman Ryan Kennedy said.
The Advisory Committee would also propose initiatives for the promotion of safety in the Borough and submit an annual report to Borough Council.
With the Borough Council tabling the public hearing they will also introduce an alternative ordinance in November.
If established the committee would consist of five members who would be appointed by Anzano. Members of the new PBSAC would be appointed to three-year terms and would be staggered so that a maximum of two terms expire each year.
“What I would not want to do if a committee like this can’t move through an expenditure or something like that our own experience tell us that it will die,” Council President Charles Morehouse said. “It basically needs to have its own head to be able to work and to come before council and be able to present its case. I would suggest to council if we went forward with this ordinance we would have to budget this.”