The February Warminster Board of Supervisors meeting didn’t have many significant agenda items, but two definitely stood out. First, there was a Conditional Use hearing for the property at 435 York Rd (The old Beauty School) to use that property as a medical marijuana dispensary. Also, there was the awarding of a bid for the milling and paving work to be done in 2021.
Medical Marijuana Dispensary First, we’ll share what we learned about the dispensary. Due to technical issues with the court reporter, after about five minutes the supervisors decided to entertain additional public comment. There was only one person who spoke at this time, but we’ll get to that a little later. After a total of about ten minutes, they were able to get the court reporter on the phone so he could swear in the participants. It was excrusiating to watch them fumble along with the technology. Anyway, here are some things we learned about this dispensary.
Business Hours – Hours of operation will be Monday thru Saturday, 9:00AM – 8:00PM, Sunday, 10:00AM – 5:00PM
Jobs – A total of 20 employees working various shifts. These employees include management, dispensary employees, medical professionals and security. These would all be new tax paying jobs for Warminster
Customer Volume – Expecting about 200 patients per day. The busiest time of the week is generally Friday (payday), with no more than 20 patients on the property at any given time.
Customers – Patients must be a state registered patient of the medical marijuana program. They must show there medical marijuana ID card to get in the building and once in the building they must show another picture ID to access the dispensary area. This is NOT a place where anyone can just walk in off the street and purchase marijuana.
Medical Professional – A medical professional must be on site at all times. This company uses a certified pharmacist. If the Pharmacist is not available on a given day and the company cannot get another, they will close for that day.
Security – This site is expected to be as secure as a bank, and even more secure in some respects. The entire building, inside and out, will include high def cameras with no blind spots. The delivery of the products will be done from a secured inside loading area, and a security guard will be on the premises at all time.
There’s not much more to say about this business. It’s always a good thing when an abandoned building is repurposed as a new tax paying business.
Milling and Paving So, it seems as though the township will contract to have over 22 miles of roads paved in 2021. This is more than 6 times the amount of roads that are paved in a single year. The majority of this $4.2 million project is being paid for using the 2021 bond issue that we’ll be paying for over the next 20 years. Board Chairman, Ken Hayes said that this is a great time to borrow money for improvements. He said private businesses are doing that now as well as homeowners. But, the reality is that this is a maintenance operations, NOT a capital project. To use the homeowner analogy, it’s like a homeowner taking a second mortgage to paint their house, or fix a leaky roof.
The township received four bids for the milling and paving project, and each bid was announced. to quote the Interim Township Manager, the bids that were received were as follows.
James D Morrisey Inc’s bid “Three point seven one six seven Oh nine point two five”
Allan Myers LP’s bid “Four point two million seven….three two five eight point nine seven”
Joseph Sucher and Sons’ bid “Four point..ah…six three one nine five two point nine three”
General Asphalt’s bid “Four point….nine five eight seven six five point nine four”
We’re not sure if these were codes or whether payment will be in dollars, bitcoin or Jack’s magic beans. There’s no requirement that the township manager be the most articulate person in the room, but when your favorite words are “um” and “ah”, and you struggle to get through nearly every sentence, you end up sounding like someone who just woke up, rolled out of bed and hasn’t had their first cup of coffee yet. Due to the fact that we don’t have a the official “McCauley to English Translation Guide”, we’ll make some assumptions about what was said, and just as important, what was not said.
It was mentioned that the total cost of the milling and paving would be $4,241,709.25, with some of the costs being paid for by the WMA as part of their “retrenching project”. What wasn’t clear was whether this was the total project cost or just the township’s portion after WMA’s portion of this project is paid. We’ll try to back into those numbers. It was mentioned that the township will use $2,991,000 from the $12 million bond issue for 2021. Using the 2021 township budget, we’ll just assume that the $2.991 million will come from Capital Reserve Expenses for “Public Works” ($2.5 million) and “Capital Engineering” ($400,000). These two amount total $2,900,000. We weren’t told where the additional $91,000 would come from, but we’re sure it’ll be moved from some other budgeted expense. In addition, it was mentioned that the township would use $750,000 from the “liquid fuels fund” (we assume this is the Highway Aid fund that is primarily funded by the liquid fuels tax received from the state.) That’s a total of $3,741,000 for the township. The assumption here is that the WMA will be paying the remaining $500,709.25 of the cost for this project. Again, because this wasn’t clearly atriculated by the Interim Township Manager and none of the supervisors questioned it, we had to make several assumptions.
Let’s do some basic math regarding the $750,000 that will be used from the Highway Aid Fund. The Interim Manager mentioned that after using this $750,000, there would still be $250,000 remaining in the “Liquid Fuels Fund Balance” (Highway Aid Fund). As per the 2019 financial audit, the Highway Aid Fund had a fund balance of $194,143 at the end of 2019. Based on the 2021 budget, the Highwayu Aid fund was expected to have a $107,950 surplus in 2020 and a $628,689 surplus for 2021. That’s a total of $930,782. If you take $750,000 from that fund to be used for the milling and paving project, you’re left with $180,782, not $250,000. But, we’re sure this is just details that we don’t need to know about because $250,000 sounds like such a better number. Also, we’ve had 2 snow events so far in 2021, with the first event being a mess, with the township needing to pay overtime to the Public Works team to clean up for the contractor who didn’t perform as well as expected. There could possibly be 2 or 3 more events this year, depleting the Highway Aid fund even more. So, that $250,000 that was mentioned as the Highway Aid Fund balance could very well be significantly less than expected by the end of 2021.
Finally, as previously mentioned, one citizen showed up at the township building to provide public comment about township committee assignments for 2021. She accused the supervisors of playing politics with committee assignments and appointing people of one party and removing people from other the other party from certain committees. We don’t know if this is true or not, but it certainally appeared that way during the reorganization meeting in early January.