Mayor Guenst began the Virtual Town Hall Meeting at 6:30 PM.
Mayor Guenst reported that there were 94 new cases added to the County’s total cases of COVID-19 and there are still no confirmed cases in Hatboro. Mayor Guenst applauded Hatboro residents for being diligent and observing the Governor’s ordered closures. She noted that while times are hard, residents need to look after one another and help when we can. Mayor Guenst stated many local restaurants are still open as follows: Amy’s Pizzeria, Artifact Brewing, Bernie’s, Crooked Eye Brewing, Daddypop’s, Gallo Tropical, Hatboro Dish, Hatboro Pizza, TNT Diner, Hatboro Beverage, Joe’s Pizza, Lochel’s Bakery, Luhv Food, McDonald’s, Ming’s Chinese, Nonno’s Bakery, Nutz About Popcorn, Primo’s Hoagies, Quig’s Pizzeria Grille, Stutz Candy, Sam’s Pizza nd Bistro, Silvio’s Deli, and Wawa.
Mayor Guenst stated the Borough’s emergency operations team, Police Department, Public Works, and Administration are all extremely prepared.
State Representative Tom Murt thanked Council and Borough Staff for their hard work in protecting and informing the residents of Hatboro during this difficult time. State Representative Murt announced that there is a COVID-19 testing site in Upper Dublin Township that tests daily between 10 AM and 6 PM. He stated residents can register to be tested at www.montcopa.org/covid-19. He stated the National Guard has been called to active duty, many of which are helping with testing at Temple Ambler. He thanked everyone serving in the National Guard for their duty. State Representative Murt stated the Coronavirus continues to spread with over 1,100 cases in the State of Pennsylvania. He reminded everyone to stay calm and stay home as much as possible. He encouraged residents to continue to help loved ones and check on neighbors.
State Representative Murt reminded non-life sustaining businesses that they must remain closed until further notice. He added businesses can view a list of criteria for business classifications online. He stated there are two loan programs available to local businesses during this time. The first loan is the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program which provides up to $100,000 in working capital to businesses at a 0% interest rate. He stated this loan is available at a first come, first served basis to businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Representative Murt has noted that Unemployment applications are extremely high at the moment and that a helpful tutorial on how to apply for Unemployment is on his website. He stated the state has cancelled all PSSA testing for schools for this year. He stated that the State and Federal income tax deadlines have been changed from April 15th to July 15th. He stated the deadline for elderly and disabled persons now have until December 31st to apply for the property tax rebate program which his office can assist with. He stated the Federal enforcement date for Real ID has been extended to a later date to be determined soon. He stated the department of aging will be extending their reimbursement program for prescriptions and that participants can have their primary pharmacy contact PACE at 1-800-835-8040. This program will also allow elderly to receive home delivery of prescriptions from their pharmacies.
State Representative Murt stated his district offices are currently closed but that phone calls and emails are monitored constantly and that residents can call 215-674-3755 or his cell phone number at 215-208-4220 for assistance. He encouraged residents to obtain information about COVID-19 from reputable sources.
State Representative Murt stated that the Pennsylvania Primary election will be taking place on June 2, 2020 and stated that some polling places may need to be changed or merged as a result of the date change. State Representative Murt stated he contacted Governor Wolf who is very cooperative with helping those struggling with addictions or mental health disabilities. Representative Murt stated he asked Governor Wolf to support insurance companies providing coverage for tele-health and video support for patients with addictions and mental disabilities as these methods are the only option at this time.
Representative Murt reminded that businesses can request a waiver to remain open from the Governor’s Office by emailing RA-DCexemption@pa.gov. He noted the Wolf administration is working very hard to assure that the state’s economy continues flourishing, but at the same time everyone remains safe.
Mayor Guenst stated that with the Primary Election delayed, people will have plenty of time to register for a write-in ballot at www.votespa.com.
Council Vice President Stockton stated there will be a Council Meeting taking place on Tuesday, March 31st at 7:00 PM. He stated that 4 Council members will be present at the meeting to practice social distancing and the other 3 councilpersons and borough staff will phone-into the meeting. He noted that the Borough will attempt to stream this meeting; however, due to logistics, the meeting may need to be recorded and released after the meeting takes place. He noted the Borough will release information on future meetings on the Borough’s website and facebook pages.
Vice President Stockton stated in order to limit exposure of Borough employees and residents, the Borough will be implementing a one day per week trash collection schedule effective Monday, March 30th as follows:
- Residents with a Monday recycling collection will have trash collected only on Mondays
- Residents with a Tuesday recycling collection will have trash collected only on Tuesdays
- Residents with a Thursday recycling collection will have trash collected only on Thursdays
- Residents with a Friday recycling collection will have trash collected only on Fridays
Vice President Stockton noted recycling pickup will not be affected by this new schedule and that questions can be directed to Borough Hall at 215-443-9100.
Vice President Stockton encouraged everyone to participate in the 2020 Census. He stated this Census is very important and will help obtain funding for Montgomery County and Hatboro in the future.
Borough Manager Hegele stated Borough Hall is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM and the Tax Office is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Manager Hegele stated there is a new lockbox outside of Borough Hall where residents can drop off paperwork and other items after Borough Hall is closed. She noted this box is checked daily by Borough staff. Manager Hegele reminded everyone that there is also a lockbox in the lobby of Borough Hall for residents to drop off tax payments and that receipts will be mailed to residents. Manager Hegele stated Borough Hall phones will be answered Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and that staff is available by email as well. Manager Hegele stated the Borough continues to update the Borough’s Website, Facebook Page and the new COVID-19 Information website with daily updates for residents. Manager Hegele stated that the Borough’s parks remain open and that everyone visiting must practice social distancing. She added that the basketball courts and playground equipment are closed until further notice. Manager Hegele thanked residents in advance for their cooperation while the Borough implements the one day per week trash collection schedule. Manager Hegele stated the Upper Moreland Hatboro Joint Sewer Authority, PECO, AQUA, Verizon, and Comcast are willing to work with customers who may not be able to make payments due to the COVID-19 outbreak if these persons were in good standing prior to the virus. She noted they have a willingness to work with customers and will not be shutting off service due to late payments. Manager Hegele stated that the April 7th deadline for the property tax discount period has been extended to May 31, 2020. Manager Hegele stated that the Union Library is working hard to offer digital content to patrons. Manager Hegele encouraged everyone to like and follow the Borough of Hatboro’s Facebook Page. Manager Hegele thanked Borough Staff and Borough Council for working hard during this time and reminded everyone to stay home and stay safe.
Second Alarmers Rescue Squad Deputy Chief Ken Davidson stated SARS had their department tested for COVID-19; however, everyone came back negative and their remain fully staffed. Chief Davidson stated SARS continues to get Personal Protective Equipment daily to assure there are stocked. Chief Davidson reminds everyone to use caution while calling 9-1-1 and to relay an honest health history to personnel so they are aware of any possible COVID-19 exposure. Chief Davidson thanked Hatboro Dish for offering meals to staff, a flooring company for donating N-95 masks, Home Depot/CVS for setting aside essential supplies, and noted they will thank everyone formally online. Chief Davidson noted SARS has a coloring page online for children to do while at home. He thanked everyone for their cooperation and reminded everyone to stay safe and stay home.
Chief James Gardner reported that Police, Fire, and EMS are operating at full service. He stated emergency personnel is fully stocked and supplied with personal protective equipment. Chief Gardner thanked the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety for keeping municipalities highly informed. Chief Gardner thanked Renu Laboratories in Warminster for donating hand sanitizer to the Police Department. Chief Gardner reminded everyone to practice social distancing and reminded businesses that are non-life sustaining to remain closed. Chief Gardner stated scams and frauds, specifically against the elderly, are high during this time. He stated there is information from the federal trade commission on how to identify COVID-19 scams going around. Chief Gardner stated robo-calls should be hung up on immediately and should not be interacted with. Chief Gardner reminded everyone to ignore advertisements online for COVID-19 test kits, vaccines, etc. Chief Gadner reminded everyone to fact-check information and encouraged residents to know who they are buying from. Chief Gardner also reminded people not to respond to text messages from the IRS as these messages are false and not to click on links from untrusted sources as these could install malware on your devices. Chief Gardner reminded everyone to visit www.montcopa.org/covid-19 as the County provides excellent updates on COVID-19 daily as well as informational resources. Chief Gardner stated residents should not make donations in the form of cash or gift cards from non-reputable persons. Chief Gardner stated the Borough of Hatboro is in good shape and thanked everyone for their cooperation at this time.
A resident asked how residents can make donations of hand sanitizer to emergency personnel. Chief Gardner stated Montgomery County Department of Public Safety is handling donations. Chief Davidson stated that anything home-made or made outside of an FDA approval will need proof of scientific testing. Chief Davidson stated residents can make a donation of commercial hand sanitizer to Second Alarmers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Chief Gardner stated Montgomery County also has a hotline residents can call for information and donation information at 610-631-3000.
A resident asked what happens if they see a non-essential business open. Chief Gardner stated residents can call Montgomery County at 610-631-3000 or call the Hatboro Police Department at 215-675-2832. He noted that businesses who are non-life sustaining should close to protect their own health and the health of the community.
A resident asked if they can still visit the parks if the playgrounds are closed. Chief Gardner said residents can absolutely utilize the parks. He noted that walking is a very healthy activity and that anyone wishing to visit the parks should practice social distancing and refrain from congregating in large groups.
A resident asked if yard waste is affected by the new trash schedule. Chief Gardner stated yard waste will not be collected during this time and that bulk pickup will not be taking place either. Chief Gardner stated these measures are being taken to protect Borough staff.
A resident asked if the Borough is performing Use & Occupancy Inspections. Chief Gardner stated the Borough will be performing U&O inspections during this time.
Mayor Guenst concluded by stating the Borough will hold virtual town hall meetings weekly. She stated if residents need anything, they can contact the Borough. She stated the Borough will get through these difficult times and that residents need to stick together.