Mayor Guenst hopes everyone is staying home as much as possible and is staying safe. She stated Montgomery County is consolidating its 425 polling places to 140 polling places due to COVID-19. In Hatboro, the changes are as follows: South 1 will now be voting at Pennypack School and South 2, North 1 and North 2 will be voting at Upper Moreland Intermediate School on 3990 Orangemans Road. She noted these changes in voting locations are necessary to keep voters and poll workers safe.
Mayor Guenst stated Montgomery County is processing applications for mail-in ballots. She added residents can apply for a mail-in ballot at www.votespa.com. Mayor Guenst stated 60% of the residents in Pennsylvania have participated in the Census and noted everyone should participate in the 2020 Census if they have not already. The Census is a very important tool that will help the State, County, and Borough receive funding for years to come.
Mayor Guenst stated St. John’s Church and Lehman Church both have food pantries for residents to utilize. She added the Hatboro Dish offers free meals for the community on Tuesday and Friday evenings. Mayor Guenst stated HatPacks is also working to feed over 300 children each week and are regularly accepting donations.
Mayor Guenst reminded everyone that despite these hard times, our community will come out stronger.
Jen Wilson, President of Hatboro Horsham School Board, stated Hatboro Horsham School District has food being distributed at Keith Valley Middle School on Mondays and Thursdays from 11 AM – 1 PM. She noted this is for any student in the district. President Wilson stated the School Board appointed the new Superintendent of Hatboro Horsham Schools, Doctor Scott Eveslage. She stated the district is very excited for him to start in July. President Wilson stated the School District will be having a Graduation Week beginning May 21st where students can come to the school, walk across the stage, and receive their diploma case in front of families. President Wilson stated the District held a public hearing on Pennypack School and will be making a decision on the fate of the school in June.
Chief James Gardner stated he participated in a conference call with Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency regarding reimbursement for pandemic costs. He stated the Borough will be participating in this program to receive reimbursement for Personal Protective Equipment, enhanced cleaning, etc. Chief Gardner stated the Police Department continues to contact those on the Special Needs Registry regularly. He added if anyone is not on this registry, they can obtain a form on the Borough’s website, www.myhatboro.org, or can call the Police Station at 215-675-2832. Chief Gardner thanked everyone for donating PPE and hand sanitizer to the Emergency Management team and Emergency Personnel. Chief Gardner stated Governor Wolf’s plan to re-open Pennsylvania can be found at www.governor.pa.gov. He added that Montgomery County is still in the Red Phase of this plan, which permits life-sustaining businesses to operate and limits movement to essential travel only. He stated the Borough is unsure as to when we will enter the Yellow Phase; however we are keeping an eye on the situation. Chief Gardner stated the County updates case numbers daily at www.montcopa.org/covid-19. He thanked everyone for their patience during this time.
Borough Manager Diane Hegele stated the Borough continues to honor graduates in Hatboro Horsham on the Borough’s Facebook Page. She stated the Borough has over 40 graduates thus far. She stated anyone who would like to have their graduate featured on the Borough Facebook page can send a photo and a bio to her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manager Hegele stated Borough Hall remains open from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM, Monday through Friday. She stated masks are required for anyone entering a Borough Facility. She added that staff answers phones and handles business after Borough Hall closes at 1:00 PM each day, so residents who cannot visit Borough Hall during the limited hours will be accommodated.
Manager Hegele thanked everyone who has painted and hidden rocks as a part of the Hatboro Hidden Rocks initiative.
Manager Hegele stated the Planning Commission will be holding a virtual meeting to review the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 7:00 PM. She noted this meeting will be streamed on the Borough Facebook page and a copy of the agenda is on www.myhatboro.org.
Manager Hegele stated Borough Council will be meeting virtually on Monday, May 18, 2020 at 7:00 PM. She added this meeting will be live streamed on the Borough Facebook Page and residents will be able to participate in public comment via Zoom. These details on how to participate as well as a copy of the agenda will be posted to www.myhatboro.org and the Borough’s Facebook Page.
Manager Hegele stated Public Works continues to take preventative measures to ensure employees are safe while collecting trash, recycling, and yard waste. She stated Public Works continues the one-day per week trash collection schedule and recently reintroduced bulk trash collection. Manager Hegele stated Public Works will be closed on Monday, May 25, 2020 in observance of Memorial Day. As a result, there will be a special trash, recycling, and yard waste collection day for residents with Monday collection ONLY on Wednesday, May 27th. Affected residents will receive a flyer at their home and the information is posted to www.myhatboro.org and the Borough Facebook page.
Manager Hegele stated Borough Council extended the due date for Business Privilege Tax to July 15, 2020. She stated questions about BPT can be directed to Tax Collector April Mount at 215-675-4040. She announced the Montgomery County Commissioners are releasing more Montco Strong grants to small businesses. She stated information on these grants can be found on the Borough Facebook Page and www.myhatboro.org.
Mayor Guenst gave an update on behalf of State Representative Tom Murt. Mayor Guenst stated Governor Wolf loosened restrictions for 24 counties in the north-western parts of Pennsylvania. Mayor Guenst stated these counties have low-capita case counts. Mayor Guenst stated the House of Representatives has been meeting again to discuss bills and other matters regarding the pandemic. Mayor Guenst stated House Bill 2455 was approved that will require Governors to review state-wide testing capacity and issue a plan to test PA’s emergency personnel, healthcare workers, and other vulnerable populations and to ease testing requirements. This bill will also empower county and local health departments to facilitate testing. Mayor Guenst stated the House of Representatives also assessed the mental health issues imposed on residents and introduced two bills accordingly. House Bill 1439 will require insurers to assure that mental health coverage is equal to other benefits. House Bill 1696 will require insurers to file an annual report detailing mental health compliance. House Bill 2463 will require state agencies to answer questions and respond to right to know requests during emergency declarations. Mayor Guenst stated legislation was approved that prevents pandemic aid from being subject to state or local income taxes. Mayor Guenst stated drivers licenses, learners permits, and ID cards are being extended through June 30, 2020 due to COVID-19 and that anyone can renew these items online at www.dmv.pa.gov. She stated the department of conservation is also considering the opening of state parks and noted that state parks, campgrounds, and facilities in counties entering the yellow phase will be open on May 15th. Mayor Guenst stated a program to decontaminate respirators for healthcare professionals and emergency personnel is now available and that this program will allow the reuse of N-95 respirator masks up to 20 times.
Mayor Guenst thanked everyone at the Hatboro Dish for their work to help the community through free meals. She stated these are trying and unpredictable, but Hatboro will get through it. She stated residents can email Mayor Guenst, Council, and Staff with any questions and that email addresses can be found at www.myhatboro.org.