The standoff between the Solebury Township Board of Supervisors and New Hope Borough Council over how much New Hope should contribute toward funding Solebury’s Park and Recreation programs continued this week.
Solebury Supervisors at a Feb. 6 meeting passed a resolution that would see New Hope families charged $50 per child/sport registration, up to a maximum of $150 per household. Any child who has already registered in 2018 will not be charged retroactively.
“Last fall, we approached New Hope about the inequities in the way we split the costs for our shared services,” Solebury Supervisor Baum Baicker explained at the meeting. “They cancelled the scheduled follow-up meeting and have not responded to any of our subsequent requests to continue the discussion. We gave notice to New Hope in November that if no new agreement was reached by Jan. 31, 2018, we would need to adopt non-resident fees for our sports programs. The Jan. 31 deadline came and went with not a word from New Hope, so it is time to address this issue.”
Solebury says the fee schedule will apply to “all non-Solebury residents, whether they live in Lambertville, Doylestown, New Hope, or elsewhere.” The new schedule applies to 2018 only, say supervisors, with future fee amounts “dependent upon any cooperation from New Hope.”
Solebury also says New Hope is getting off cheap at only $50/$150.
“I don’t like that the fee schedule I am advocating yields less revenue than any reasonable agreement with New Hope should produce,” Baiker said. “But we must be mindful of the impact on families; by limiting the non-resident fee to $50 per registration and $150 per household, we are doing our best to keep the fees from becoming unduly burdensome.”
Baiker said that Solebury supervisors aren’t trying to discourage New Hope kids from participating in Solebury Township sports programs.
“As we said months ago, it’s up to New Hope to decide if they feel the same way about their kids that we feel about ours. I thus would encourage the parents of New Hope kids who participate in our sports programs to contact their Borough leaders to urge them to cooperate with Solebury to develop a cost-sharing arrangement that is fair to Solebury, New Hope, and the kids from both communities.”
New Hope Borough Council President Alison Kingsley on Friday responded to Solebury’s announcement.
“As promised in public statements made in October of 2017 that the Borough would address the shared services issue in 2018, the NH Borough Council approved the formation of a Borough Shared Services Committee to evaluate our costs of shared services,” said Kingsley. “The committee is now in the fact-finding mode, and once they have fully researched all of the areas of shared service, will issue their findings.”