South Middleton Township supervisors Monday unanimously passed a tentative 2018 municipal budget that would introduce a road tax earmarked for township road maintenance and repairs.
The township’s budget includes total proposed expenditures of $7,036,870, with road spending proposed to increase by 35 percent next year. Next year’s municipal revenues are expected to total $7,039,024, which includes an estimated $654,000 collected from a proposed 0.35-mill road tax levied on properties within the township.
“There’s a number of challenges our township has been facing over the past several years,” Township Manager Cory Adams said. “We’ve had an increasing number of roads built in the township, and the incoming revenue has been insufficient to cover this. We hope to implement what will be a modest tax that will help to maintain our roads, which is a basic government function and something that will benefit everyone.”
South Middleton property owners already pay a 0.25-mill fire tax each year, Adams said. For the new tax as proposed, property owners assessed at $200,000 would be billed $120 annually in fire and road taxes next year, Adams said.
South Middleton has no general real estate tax.
Township supervisor Rick Reighard said during a presentation at Monday’s meeting that South Middleton has 150 miles of roads. For now, 114 miles are owned and maintained by the township, but officials anticipate that countless more streets will pop up in the area within the next 10 years or so. In 2014, South Middleton’s population edged over 15,000 for the first time, and by all indications, it will continue to grow.
“In the past decade, the township has taken on 40 different road dedications,” Reighard said. “About 2,000 additional dwelling units have been approved or proposed to be built in the township over the next 10 years.”
Several other factors are contributing to the need for a road tax, Reighard said. In recent years, the township has received less revenue from liquid fuel taxes due to the general public driving more fuel-efficient or electric vehicles. The cost of winter road maintenance also continues to increase with harsher winters in the area. Even a recent widening of the Panama Canal has brought more traffic to the area, with many commercial vehicles using the area’s I-81 corridor to reach the Atlantic Ocean via the Chesapeake Bay.
The township is proposing to spend around $1 million in road upgrades and improvements, including $400,000 to replace bridges on Petersburg Road and on Zion Road. Walnut Bottom Road is scheduled for widening in areas, along with resurfacing and tar and chip applications. Officials also plan to install sidewall or replace sidewalks, crosswalks and other traffic-calming measures in the village of Boiling Springs.
“The township is in a new era now,” Reighard said. “We have over 15,000 people living here. There are lots of things going on here commercially and residentially.”
South Middleton’s proposed budget is available for public review for 20 days before final adoption. Township supervisors are scheduled to finalize next year’s fiscal plan on Dec. 14.
Carlisle Police Chief Taro Landis was inspired by a man who gained wisdom after losing most everything in life.
The two were chatting along a street in town when the man told Landis: “I used to sell drugs and the cops used to chase me all over.”
That decision, that lifestyle choice took away his wife, his children and his home. It could have been the end, but it wasn’t. The man was alive to share his story.
“It got me thinking,” Landis told a crowd of about 60 local residents Monday. “If that message could get out to some of the youth, maybe we would not have some of the problems.”
For Taro, the town hall meeting at Borough Hall was a call to action — a challenge for the concerned men of Carlisle “to step in and step up” in the hope of making a difference in the lives of troubled youths.
The chief guided the audience through an hourlong process where residents were encouraged to share views and brainstorm ideas on how to provide positive male role models to boys and girls who all too often grow up without a father figure at home.
Those gathered represented a broad spectrum of Carlisle, including civic organizations, local churches, neighborhood and community advocacy groups and the local school district. While most were men, there were a few women at what could be the first in a series of public meetings.
Taro asked participants for contact information. His hope is to develop a network to put structure and momentum behind the energy he felt in the room. Follow-up ideas included forming either a steering committee or a mayor’s commission tasked specifically with reaching out to youths.
“We can bring this together,” the chief said, adding that Carlisle already has “good people doing good things” such as feeding the hungry through Project SHARE or putting up the homeless overnight in local churches.
Much of the focus Monday was channeling youths to already existing after-school programs and the prospect of developing a mentorship program.
Carlisle native Gary Anthony Stackfield said he survived a difficult upbringing to become an ordained minister. His mother was a heroin addict while his father was a drug dealer who frequently spent time in jail.
While Stackfield spoke highly of a possible mentorship program, he posed questions on where it should be located within town and how it would be funded. Above all, there has to be volunteers willing to work hard to help the children find their self-worth, he said.
“We need to meet the kids where they are at,” Stackfield said. “The best gift you can give anyone is time and commitment. If you don’t have time and commitment, they [youths] are not going to take it seriously.”
Fred Jackson grew up in Carlisle at a time when the elementary schools in town all worked together within their grades levels to provide youth programs. Today, schools seem to operate separately within their neighborhoods at a time Carlisle needs to do more collectively to address crime and other social issues.
“I hope that we can connect the dots to make positive decisions and work together,” Jackson said before meeting. “It cannot be done by one group. We need everybody on every corner to help.”
Jackson suggested opening up program centers throughout Carlisle. He is a leader with the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church that started its own after-school program.
“At this point, any ideas would benefit the community,” said James O’Neal of West Pennsboro Township, a retired state police trooper with close ties to Carlisle.
“No one organization or one person can do it by themselves,” O’Neal said before the meeting. “Many people have to combine their efforts.”
Over the years, Carlisle has changed as outsiders have moved in with no relationship to the town. The result has been an infiltration of the criminal element into some of its neighborhoods, O’Neal said.
Dave Harper was raised in Carlisle by a single mother. His family received food stamps and welfare while the children were eligible for free and reduced lunches.
“The community took us under their wing,” Harper said, recalling how people encouraged him over the years to overcome his situation and learn from the experience.
Today Harper works as a teacher at a prison for boys and as the night instructor for an alternative education program offered at Carlisle High School. “Society has fragmented,” Harper said. “That makes it harder. But we are here and we are all in this together [so] it can be resolved.”
The key is to work the problems from many perspectives but with the same goal, Harper said.
Preston Stackfield, the cousin of Gary Anthony Stackfield and a community ambassador for the Carlisle Community Coalition, said that while it is great to have programs, success stories and messages that warn youths of poor choices, the goal should be to connect with youths and to establish relationships built on trust.
“I just can’t preach you a product,” Preston Stackfield said. “I have to get to know you before I can make a recommendation. You have to have a back-and-forth meaningful conversation or you are not going to have a buy-in [by a youth]. You have to make a connection with them first.”
Walter Bond is principal of Wilson Middle School, which hosts Girl Power, an after-school program geared toward female students. He invites civic organizations to come in and provide a program for boys at the school.
“The guys are yearning for attention,” said Bond, adding that few men are drawn to teaching positions in public education. It is not unusual for Carlisle-area students to go all the way through the eighth grade without having a single male role model in a classroom.
“By middle school, it can be tough for us to build relationships,” Bond said. “Their walls are up. … It takes time and a lot of consistency.”
The timing is actually good for the Carlisle community to launch an effort to help youths, said Rick Coplen, a Carlisle Area School Board member.
“Schools can be a centerpiece,” Coplen said. “We’re about to do a new strategic plan and hire a new superintendent. There are a lot of great programs. We have to find ways to tie them together, to fund and to fuel them.”
While the town hall meeting was geared to men, several women showed up to offer their insight.
Gail Parker said there are many families where older children are raising younger children. She felt the purpose of the community effort could be lost if the support that is offered does not carry over into the home.
Parker suggested Carlisle develop parenting classes or a parenting guild tasked with providing information to families. Landis said such classes could be coordinated through Hope Station, which already has something similar in place.
Carlisle area men came out in force Monday to take up the challenge of making a difference in the lives of troubled youth.
Carlisle Police Chief Taro Landis guided an audience of about 60 local residents through an hour-long town hall meeting designed to share views, brainstorm ideas and start a community conversation.
Those gathered represented a broad spectrum of Carlisle, including civic organizations, local churches, neighborhood and community advocacy groups and the local school district. While most were men, there were a few women.
Much of the focus was on how to provide positive male role models to youths who grow up without a father active in their lives.
There were ideas presented on ways to better channel youth to already existing programs, along with the possibility of starting a mentorship program using volunteers screened by background checks. An overriding theme was how to make programs more relatable to youth.
Carlisle native Gary Anthony Stackfield came from a rough upbringing to become an ordained minister. “We need to meet the kids where they are at,” he said. “The best gift we can give them is time and commitment. If they don’t have that, they are not going to take it seriously.”
The end result of Monday’s meeting was the start of a network Landis wants to develop to put structure and momentum behind the energy he said he felt in the room. Follow-up ideas include forming a steering committee that reports to Landis and Mayor Tim Scott or maybe start a mayor’s commission specifically tasked with reaching out to youth.
Check back to Cumberlink.com and to The Sentinel’s Wednesday edition for more information.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the things for which we are most thankful. For many, it’s also a time to lend a helping hand.
The CenturyLink Turkey Trot, a 5K run/walk held in Carlisle for the past 16 years, benefits the Carlisle Family YMCA.
This year’s race will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday on Thanksgiving, starting and ending at the YMCA, 311 S. West St., with a route through the neighborhood.
Online registration ends at 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, but race-day registration will be offered from 7 to 8 a.m.
Jay Cattron, race director and physical and membership director at the YMCA, said the race is the organization’s largest one-day fundraiser with proceeds “supporting its mission and programs for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.”
“It brings in a significant amount of money, which goes back to the community through scholarship funding,” Cattron said.
According to Cattron, the YMCA offers a variety of programs for adults and children, including child care, swim lessons, sports, camps and membership, and last year, with money from both the CenturyLink Turkey Trot and United Way contributions, was able to award $270,000 in scholarships to area residents.
“We never turn anyone away, regardless of their ability to pay,” he said.
Cattron said the CenturyLink Turkey Trot is an example of the great community spirit that exists in Carlisle.
“We average about 2,900 participants each year,” he said. “The record is more than 3,100.”
In addition, a food drive for Project SHARE is held during the race, and Cattron said “there is always a lot of participation.”
This year, Project SHARE has a need for shelf-stable hams and turkeys, and every person who donates will have his name entered in a drawing for prizes.
“A lot of folks may not be (YMCA) members, but they feel part of the Y family because they support the Y through events like this,” Cattron said.
“We definitely appreciate and are thankful for all the sponsors, participants, staff and volunteers who make this such a huge success. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible for us to do all the good in the community that we do. At the end of the day, it’s all about the community and education and programs for healthy living.”
A Turkey Trot is also a Thanksgiving tradition in Shippensburg.
At 8:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning participants will gather in Memorial Park for the ninth annual run/walk to benefit King’s Kettle Food Pantry in Shippensburg. The 5K route will be through the park and around the middle and high schools and Volvo Construction Equipment.
Lori Pomeroy, who coordinates the race along with Heather Swartz, said about 340 people have already registered, but most sign up Wednesday and Thursday.
“Last year, we had over 700,” she said. “We have registration the night before (the race), and we always get a lot of people then.”
Registration will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Knute’s Pub and Grill, 15 W. King St., Shippensburg, and race-day registration will be held from 7:15 to 8:15 a.m. Thursday morning.
Pomeroy said the weather fails to keep people away, which is a testament to Shippensburg’s community spirit.
“We’ve had years where it’s rained and years where it’s snowed, and they still come,” she said. “It’s a family tradition for a lot of people. We get a lot of registrations for four, five and six family members. That’s what I like about it.”
Pomeroy credits the success of the event to the participants, as well as business sponsors, which this year totals nearly a dozen, and Timber Hill Timing, which times the race.
“Many people in Shippensburg rely on King’s Kettle,” she said. “We’re happy that we’re able to serve and do something that’s helping him (King’s Kettle manager J.R. Wells) so he can help the community.”
Multiple fire crews responded to a garage fire in North Middleton Township Monday night that resulted in the total loss of a home.
Crews were called to the 800 block of Pheasant Drive around 9:04 p.m. By the time North Middleton Fire Department arrived on the scene, the fire had already spread to the home, according to a post on the North Middleton Township Volunteer Fire Company Facebook page. The Facebook post said all occupants of the home made it out safely and were uninjured.
Northeast Fire & Rescue, Upper Allen, Monroe, Washington, Hampden, New Kingstown, Shermans Dale, Citizen-Mount Holly, Carlisle Barracks, North Middleton, Union, Carlisle Fire & Rescue, Friendship Hose fire companies responded to the fire.
“The officers and members of North Middleton Fire Co. send our thoughts and prayers to the family,” the post reads on the North Middleton Township Volunteer Fire Company Facebook page. “We don’t like seeing this especially during the holiday season. Great work done by all departments together. A special shout out to Hampden Township Volunteer FD for covering the township while crews operated on scene and assisting with clean up when crews returned.”
Will and Natasha Caston lived at the home along with their three sons. Friends have set up a gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/help-the-caston-family-recover to help raise money for the family.
“Last night Will, Natasha and their three boys house burned down,” a post on the gofundme page reads. “Their home and car are a total loss. While insurance will help with some costs, that takes time. With Thanksgiving this week, and Christmas just around the corner our friends need funds to begin rebuilding their lives.
“Thank you for any assistance you can offer.”