Bucks County Herald

Committee formed to discuss Solebury-New Hope cost sharing

BIRGITTA WOLFE

New Hope has agreed to talk about paying its share for use of Solebury Township’s sports fields and recreation facilities.

During this budget season, the township cried foul when it was pointed out that New Hope pays 59 cents per capita while Solebury residents pay $15 per capita for the accommodations.

The township has said it was prepared to cancel a 2007 agreement that allowed New Hope to pay $1,500 a year while Solebury taxpayers paid $127,000 a year. That would have put the payment burden on individual New Hope families.

On Oct. 3, the township unanimously approved naming three members to the newly created New Hope-Solebury Shared Services Committee.

New Hope Borough Council met Monday and named its three members to that committee, said Solebury Supervisor Chairman Kevin Morrissey.

The idea of a joint committee was worked out in a series of meetings by Morrissey and New Hope Council President Alison Kingsley, among others.

Solebury named Township Manager Dennis Carney and Supervisors Helen Tai and Mark Baum Baicker as its representatives.

The committee’s first meeting was slated for this week, with Parks and Recreation being the first topic.

Initially, that was to be the only topic, but Baum Baicker pointed out that the two municipalities share other services such as the Free Library of New Hope and Solebury, and fire and ambulance services – with contributions determined differently for each service.

“We need to reach agreement on the conceptual basis of how we share expenses, and apply that same concept to all areas.

“Does it make sense to split the cost for the library based on usage and for ambulance and emergency services based on population numbers? I would submit that it does not,” Baum Baicker said.

His proposal to add the other services to the new committee’s agenda was added to the original motion passed by the supervisors.

Solebury wants the process to be done by Nov. 9 which is when the 2018 budget needs to be done.

The new committee will identify the areas of concern, collect all of the current data as it relates to all shared services with input from the directors and experts of each area as it is reviewed, and identify the ancillary expenses associated with each. Once completed the committee will evaluate the findings and present its findings along with recommendations to the two governing boards.

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