The atmosphere at Tuesday night’s meeting of New Hope Borough Council was unusually cordial and cooperative, and nothing of great importance was debated, decided or achieved. And maybe that was a good thing, at least this month.
Of course, vigorous political debate and visionary, even controversial, proposals for positive change are part of an ideal political system.
But Tuesday’s meeting moved New Hope forward at a sluggish July pace, providing a welcome counterpoint to the rancorous tone of national political debate and almost daily news of some international outrage.
Borough council unanimously approved the hiring of Cathryn Thomas as borough manager, and the accompanying employment agreement.
They also affirmed the process for filling a council seat being vacated by Cliff Montgomery, naming Bill Scandone, Claire Shaw and Ken Maisel to a selection committee. Although the deadline for applying for the position is July 31, only one application has been submitted thus far.
The selection process is not described in detail in borough ordinance, and council has a great deal of latitude in filling the position, including rejecting any and all applicants, extending the submission deadline, or even just declaring their choice with little or no public input. Council has been unusually transparent thus far in the process, and said they hope to see a bevy of last-minute applications for the position.
Council next considered and approved the submission of the Town/Canal Interface Improvement Project to the Bucks County Open Space Grant Program. Translation: the borough is looking at ways to get $240,000 in county grants to help make the Delaware Canal more “inviting and user friendly.” At this early stage the project sounds like a lot of signage, bike racks, and easements to enable contiguous walking and biking.
Lastly, council authorized borough solicitor T. J. Walsh to advertise a public hearing for August 16 to consider an amendment to the building code ordinance to adopt Pennsylvania Uniformed Construction Code-mandated standards pertaining to “uncertified buildings.” Walsh explained that the standard is being considered for adoption to rationalize the path for uncertified buildings to navigate the application process, not give building or business owners a new burden.
All in all, a relatively low-key, innocuous and congenial gathering that provided an unintended, but welcome, respite from the goings-on in rest of the world.