Perkasie Borough’s Electric Stays On; Sends Mutual Aid to Lansdale

Perkasie, Pa. – Sometimes the anticipation of a storm ends up causing more anxiety and headaches than the actual weather event. That was not the case with the snow and ice storm that rolled through the area on a Tuesday night and Wednesday of the first few days of February. With heavy snow already covering the trees, several more inches of snow was predicted, followed by a thick coating of slick ice and eventually stronger winds.

“Winter storms like this one really test our infrastructure and staff,” stated Jim Purcell, Council Vice President and Chairman of the Borough’s Public Utility and Public Works Committees.  “The Borough’s crew spends all year preparing for weather events that challenge the system. Regular, proactive maintenance to the infrastructure is the key to success.  Our Electric Department has an aggressive tree trimming program as well. Because the Borough’s Electric Utility is owned by the municipality – the residents – we have the ability to control the integrity of it.”

Power outages wreaked havoc across both Bucks and Montgomery Counties, while very little happened to the Borough’s system. Some flickering of lights in one neighborhood, service ripped off a house in another, but the power stayed on.  The Department is responsible for maintaining two square miles of electric infrastructure. 

“The Borough Council always takes time every year to listen to the Department Heads and make sure our critical infrastructure and equipment are maintained and in good working order,” said Jim Ryder, Perkasie Borough Council President. “If the Borough equipment or infrastructure fails, it’s going to have a big impact on the residents and businesses.  We know that if the power goes out, the businesses cannot open, and residents may not have heat or air conditioning. Their living conditions will quickly deteriorate.  We want our residents to feel safe and enjoy the quality of life they have in Perkasie. And we want our businesses to succeed, and they can’t do that if the power is off. 

Perkasie is unique among Pennsylvania municipalities. They are one of only thirty-five communities to own and operate their own electric utility for the benefit of the community. As a municipal-owned utility, the Borough is part of a mutual aid network that allows the Borough to provide or receive help.

“The Borough has always owned the electric utility and has had hand-shake agreements to provide mutual aid for many years,” stated Harold Stone, the Electric Department Superintendent. “We as a nation have learned that having mutual aid agreements in place are critical when a disaster strikes. And it’s not just with your neighbors, but with communities even farther away. When you have those larger scale disasters that impact half of the state, you need resources in areas that are not a part of that disaster to bring in manpower and resources.”

The most recent ice and snow storm brought Perkasie’s linemen down to Lansdale Borough, in Montgomery County. Not only are they helping a neighboring electric utility, but the crew is gaining valuable experience that can be used in future disaster situations.

“It’s hard to practice for these situations when the suns out and your customers power is turned on,” continued Stone. “It’s when the weather conditions are not favorable, and there is pressure from the loss of power … that’s when you can really put your skills to the test. The crew must work together with a team, and sometimes that team consists of linemen that they’ve never worked with before. They have to trust each other to get the job done, the power back on, and do it safely so everyone gets to go home to their own family when it’s all over.”

The Borough’s Electric Department evolved from a desire to improve street lighting. It began with the installation of a generator which supplied electricity for the street lights. The first electric power plant was constructed in 1900 at a cost of $11,500. The demand for power grew rapidly, and the decision was made in 1947 to retain a distribution system. It was at this time that the first agreement was made with PP & L to supply wholesale power to Perkasie Borough. A modern substation was built in 1995 and is being used today to distribute electricity to the Borough.

The Perkasie Electric Department consists of four skilled linemen, a foreman, and a Superintendent.

 

Perkasie Borough Council Reduces Building Fees to Encourage Economic Development

Resolution 2014-2 | 2014 Fee Schedule

Perkasie, Pa. – In a move initiated by Council Member Matt Aigeldinger, Perkasie Borough elected officials sent a loud and clear message to residents, business owners, and developers welcoming improvements, growth and development in the town. At their meeting on Monday, January 20th, the nine-member Borough Council voted unanimously to approve a new fee schedule for 2014 that cuts many building, zoning, and subdivision & land development fees by 50% for the remainder of the year.

All of the fees included in the reduction are listed on the Borough’s website. Building and construction fees for residential construction, additions, garages, and accessory buildings, including demolition and roof permits, have been cut in half.  Electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits were also reduced. 

“Reducing the fees will allow current property owners and businesses to complete necessary repairs to their home for less money,” stated Jim Ryder, President of Perkasie Borough Council. “And by making those improvements to their property, it will help increase the value of their property and that of the rest of the neighborhood and ultimately the Borough. Perkasie is a great town to live in and do business.”

Fees related to non-residential development and subdivisions will also see a 50% reduction, although those associated with professional review will continue at the same rate.

“We’re creating an ideal situation for current and new businesses or all sizes, and investors.  It’s really like having a sign that says ‘Open for Business’ in Perkasie,” said Council Member Matt Aigeldinger.  “We have a few unique parcels in town that would be a great opportunity for development or redevelopment. This move will provide an incentive for businesses to move forward with their plans to renovate an existing building or build new on an empty lot.”

At the turn of the century, Perkasie was the hub of commerce and has a rich history of providing unique manufacturing services to the rest of the nation. Baseballs were hand sewn by the locals for many years right in town, along with the manufacturing of cigars.  There were dairies, and two brick factories and hosiery that made ladies’ undergarments.  The rich architecture of the past is still in place all around town and provides something outside the ordinary for residents and businesses to consider.

“I’ve been here for 40 years and would love to see a new, vibrant Town Center,” stated Council Vice-President Jim Purcell. “Reducing the fees associated with building and land development is going to make it more affordable for homeowners to make needed repairs to their homes or even move forward with additions that they’ve been dreaming about. We’re all excited to see what happens in Perkasie over the next 12 months.” 

More information on the fees can be found on the Borough’s website (click here) or by calling the Borough at (215) 257-5065.

Resolution 2014-2 | 2014 Fee Schedule

Bucks County Announces Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling Dates

What do you do with household hazardous wastes in your home when it is necessary to dispose of them? Your waste hauler does not want hazardous waste mixed in with your household trash nor does he want any liquids for that matter. Therefore, you may have begun to wonder what is the proper way to dispose of this material. If so, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program is for you.

The intent of the program is to provide an environmentally responsible way to dispose of hazardous materials and to provide residents with information on how to produce less hazardous waste in the future. For example: when purchasing products that may be hazardous, only buy enough material for the intended purpose, or be sure, as a DIY auto mechanic, that you regularly take your used motor oil to auto service centers that are willing to accept it.

The collection program consists of at least twenty-five collection days scheduled throughout southeastern Pennsylvania of which five are scheduled in Bucks County. At the five collection events being held in Bucks County, old Computer Systems and any size TV’s are also being accepted from residents.

The dates in Bucks County are:

                          April 20, 2013

                          Truman High School-Bristol School District

                          3001 Green Lane, Bristol Township

                          June 10, 2013

                          Upper Bucks County Area Vo-Tech School

                          3115 Ridge Road - Bedminster Township

                          July 27, 2013

                          Central Bucks School District –South High School Campus

                          1100 Folly Road – Warrington Township

                          August 24, 2013

                          Bucks County Technical High School

                          610 Wistar Road - Bristol Township

                          September 14, 2013

                          Quakertown Area Community High School

                          600 Park Avenue - Quakertown Borough

Residents may bring up to 25 gallons or 225 pounds of material to the collection event. Acceptable materials include, in part: Pesticides - Chlordane, DDT, Malathion, and Sevin; Toxics - photographic chemicals, mercury, pool chemicals, weed killers, paint remover; Flammables - kerosene, gasoline, oil-based paints, paint thinner; Caustics - household lye, ammonia-based products, oven cleaner; Lead-acid batteries, household batteries (rechargeable, lithium or button-type only). 

Do not bring: LATEX PAINT, appliances, biological waste, explosives, radioactive waste, or tires.

Guidelines for safely transporting household hazardous waste to the collection sites include:

§   Place all materials securely in a box, to prevent spilling.

§   Keep all products in their original containers with labels intact.

§   Keep all caps and lids on tight.

§   Wrap leaking containers in newspaper and place in a plastic container for transport.

§   Do not mix materials.

§   Do not leave loaded vehicle in a hot unventilated area for prolonged periods.

§   Do not smoke near the chemicals.

The program is for residents only; no material will be accepted from businesses, industry or institutions.

There will also be an electronics only event in September to help residents dispose of electronic items that a new Pennsylvania law, the Covered Devices Recycling Act, has banned from normal disposal.

                          September 28, 2013 ONLY ELECTRONICS WILL BE ACCEPTED

                          Lower Makefield Corporate Center - South

770 Township Line Road - 2/10 mile south of Stony Hill Road

Lower Makefield Township

This is a regional program as the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia are working together to make the program more convenient to the residents in southeastern Pennsylvania. As a result, the residents of Bucks County are welcome to take their household hazardous waste or electronics to one of the neighboring county collection events if that date or location is more convenient. The dates and information phone numbers will be distributed when it becomes available. Please verify the details of the Non-Bucks events; some may be only taking paints or only taking TVs. All collections are held on Saturday’s from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. unless noted otherwise, rain or shine.

Click here to visit the Borough's Household Hazardous Waste recycling page.

Questions about the new Electronics Recycling Law?  Click here for more information.

Girl Scout Daisy Troop Visits Perkasie Recycling Center

On March 28, 2013, local Girl Scout Daisy Troop 2762 based out of the West Rockhill Elementary School visited the Borough's Public Works facility to learn about recycling!

Spring Leaf Collection to Begin April 15th

Perkasie Borough will again perform a Borough wide curbside pickup of leaves. Similar to the fall leaf collection carried out by the Public Works department, this pick up will start the week of April 15, 2013.

All residents interested in participating should have their leaves raked to the curb by 7:30 AM Monday April 15th.  Borough crews will make one trip thru the Borough and there will be no call backs for leaves placed out after Monday, April 15th. Borough crews will make one pass through the Borough following established routes.    

Residents are reminded to have leaves placed curbside and not blocking storm drains.  Grass clippings and sticks will not be picked up by Borough crews and will be left curbside for the residents to dispose of correctly.  Residents may also be fined if unacceptable material is deposited on the street as per Ordinance # 108-1. 

Residents are also reminded that they may drop off yard waste on the first Saturday of every month at the Borough Recycling Center located at 311 S. 9th St.  This drop off begins at 7:30 AM and ends promptly at 3:30 PM.  No late arrivals permitted.  Leaves and other yard waste being brought in for this drop off must be either in cans or plastic bags for dumping or paper bags.  No material may be dropped off in plastic bags.  This free service is for Perkasie Borough residents only and no contractors are allowed.  Proof of Borough residency may be required and must be shown if asked.

Anyone with questions is welcome to call 215-257-5065 for further information.

Perkasie Pride Award Nominations Now Being Accepted

The "Perkasie Pride Award" was established by the Mayor and Borough Council to recognize up to three properties within the Borough (one in each ward) that have made a significant contribution to beautifying the town.  The improvements, restoration and-or beautification recognized by the award do not necessarily have to occur within the calendar year that the award is given.

Any person may nominate a building or property for consideration for the Award by contacting the Mayor, any Council member or the Borough Office at 215-257-5065.  Such nominations should be received by the Borough, along with a brief paragraph describing the improvements. Awards will be made at Pennridge Community Day, on July 7, 2013.  It is asked that nominees include any historical information about the buildings so that information can be preserved for the record.

Borough Council will select 3 properties to receive plaques.  Once nominated, a property would remain in nomination for subsequent years.

The Mayor and Council will award a wall plaque suitable for outdoor display.  This plaque is approximately 7 inches in diameter and contains the words "PERKASIE PRIDE AWARD", the date the award is given and is embossed with the Perkasie Hickory Nut Tree.  The plaque also shows the year the building was constructed.

Click here to read the program guidelines.

Click here for the application.

Perkasie Borough Takes First Step to Initiate New Power Supply Master Plan Recommendation
New Power Purchases for 2016 and Beyond Will Lower Annual Wholesale Costs Over $2 Million

Released December 18, 2012

On June 18, 2012, the Perkasie Borough Council approved its first Power Supply Master Plan, which will serve as a guide for the amount of future wholesale power needs, the diversity of power supplies, and the timing of such purchases over multiple years. Breaking with the previous method of purchasing 5 years of wholesale power all at once, the Borough will now buy power from a variety of sources, in carefully determined blocks, depending on annual, monthly, daily, and hourly needs. Purchases, per the plan, will be made anywhere from 1 year in advance to over 4 years in advance to avoid the last minute need to buy at market prices, which may be too high.

The Council wasted little time in beginning the implementation of the plan, and on November 19, 2012 authorized the Borough Manager and Power Supply Consultant, GDS Associates, to purchase 3 additional blocks of power for the future years. The contracts were complete in the following week for three separate electric products. The first product purchased was for monthly power purchases in the years 2014 and 2015 to “round off” the borough’s current needs that vary by month of the year. The price from Exelon was $39.24 per megawatt hour (MWH). The next product secured was for daily power needs in the years 2016 and 2017 from Next Era Energy at the price of $43.70 per MWH. The last product was for weekday power needs from Next Era Energy at a price of $55.94 per MWH.

Altogether these last two purchases comprise about 59 percent of the Borough’s needs for 2016 and 2017 with only 20 percent left to purchase in the next two years. Assuming that the last remaining segment can be purchased at currently forecasted market prices over the next three years, the wholesale costs to the borough for its power supply needs for these two years, 2016 and 2017, will drop significantly, resulting in over $2 million in annual savings to the borough and its ratepayers. 

While too early to say precisely, Borough Manager, Dan Olpere, predicted that retail rates to customers would drop by 2016 and by at least double digit percentages. It all depends on a number of other cost factors in the borough and events that take place in the next three years. If other power cost savings can be achieved, it is possible that smaller price reductions could occur before 2016. Our goal for a number of years has been to be more competitive with the rates surrounding private utility companies, such as PECO and PPL. This most recent purchase at a very competitive rate goes a long way toward achieving that goal.

 

Press Release on Brining Roads

When a winter storm is approaching the question is often asked,” What are those white lines all over the road?’  The answer is- Salt Brine.  The brine is used by the Borough of Perkasie to enhance its snow removal and winter road maintenance  operations.  This brine application is considered anti-icing and has been in use throughout the snow belt for many years and has proved itself to be a valuable weapon in the snow fighter's arsenal.

Anti-icing differs significantly from de-icing because brine is applied BEFORE precipitation to prevent the formulation or development of bonded snow and ice to the road surface.  It is a proactive approach to snow fighting and is often the first in a series of strategies employed for a winter storm.  By applying freezing point depressant materials before a storm it is possible to prevent the bond from forming between the pavement and the snow or ice.  Research has shown that timely applications of anti-icing materials can cut the cost of maintaining a safe road surface by 90% compared to traditional de-icing.

Anti-icing has many advantages; it returns the road surface to normal faster, it reduces airborne dust and salt particulates, it helps to jumpstart the melting process when rock salt is applied to the road, brine sticks to the road surface and is not easily blown off the road by wind or traffic, crews can begin treatment in advance of a storm, it increases the efficiency of the entire snow fighting plan and it also minimizes environmental concerns.

The brine solution that Perkasie Borough uses is made from a combination of sodium chloride {rock salt} and water which creates a liquid salt.  This brine mixture is effective to -6*F and is a proven anti-icing agent. When mixed, the resulting brine solution should be approximately 23%NaCl.

  Perkasie Borough has the capability of making 1200 gals of brine in its on site tank.  Using the same salt that is applied to the road after snow begins to fall Borough crews add water to the tank and as the water is pumped thru the salt a brine mixture begins to form.

 After the brine is mixed it is pumped into a truck mounted spray unit which is capable of holding approximately 200 gallons. Using controls mounted in the cab the driver can spray the brine as he travels the almost 30 miles of Borough roads that must be treated. It takes approximately 5 hours and 1200 gallons of brine mixture to treat the Borough roads.

  This addition the Perkasie Borough Winter Road Maintenance program has been a valuable asset to the Public Works Dept. as it continues to improve and become a more cost effective program.

Skate Park Construction Completed - Park Now Open

After several years of research, fundraising, and approvals, the Borough's skate park will move back to its original location inside the fenced-in area.

Several risk factors initiated the move, which has also been supported by some of the park users.  The old linear configuration of the park posed a risk because users could collide when travelling over some of the structures.  A new layout that directs most of the traffic in a parallel direction will help minimize that risk.  The park also currently lays in the flood plain and, at times, has been covered in water from the nearby East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek.  The raised asphalt inside the fenced in area will keep it above the moving water and also prevent the structure from being carried away during heavy flooding.

People who frequently visit Lenape Park to walk, ride bikes, or use the Dog Park should be mindful of the kids entering the park while driving through the area.  In time, the Borough plans to remove the barricades and curbing from the parking lot and reopen the old skate park area to traffic. 

On behalf of the Borough crews and Council, we thank you for your patience while we worked to provide a safe place for the children and teenagers in town to use their skateboards, scooters and bicycles.  Please click here to read more about the park including the park rules and regulations.

Borough Crews Work Hard to Minimize the Impact of Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was a historic event in Perkasie, knocking out power to the entire Borough for the first time in the Department’s recent history.  At around 9:00 pm on Monday, the Borough went dark as the storm heightened.

A Timeline of Events

The Borough’s electric system fared well throughout the day Monday, until a tree snapped a primary pole that brought power directly from the Borough’s substation into town.  Borough crews were able to reroute the circuit with minimal downtime.  The first significant sign of trouble came around 6:45 pm when one of the two major feeds that provide power to the Borough from PPL lines went down.  However, the Borough’s service was not interrupted because it is designed to be redundant and run off of one feed line when necessary.

At 7:03 pm, the Callowhill primary line at 9th Street and Vine Street that services 1/3 of the Borough was brought down by a tree.  Electric was temporarily restored, but lost again at 8:30 pm. 

By late Monday evening, utility crews across the state were brought to a halt.  The high winds prevented the use of bucket trucks and essentially all restoration efforts were halted.  Crews focused on barricading dangerous areas and eliminating public health issues.  And by 9:00 pm Monday evening, the other 2/3rds of the Borough went dark when the second feed line from PPL failed. 

At 4:19 am, PPL was able to energize the Borough’s substation.  The Electric Superintendent took immediate action, sending a crew of Borough linemen to scout out circuit problems around the Borough.  This allowed them to identify and correct connection problems before the lines were energized.  At 5:12 am, the Borough’s Electric Department began slowly turning sections of the town back on.  By 10 am Tuesday, 2/3rds of the town had power. 

Crews then turned their attention to the primary at 9th & Vine Streets.  They completed the repair work just after Noon Tuesday, and that section of town saw their lights flicker on and then off again around 12:40 pm.  While the line had been restored, it was quickly overloaded – this is a common problem in these circumstances.  When the power went out the night before, residents had their lights turned on, sump pumps plugged in, water heaters running, and other electric appliances drawing current.  So when power returned, those same appliances quickly overloaded the system.  This section of town was then slowly turned on over the next hour to prevent another overload.

Before 2:00 pm on Tuesday, power had been restored to all but 25-30 homes in the Borough.  The remainder of the outages was isolated instances of down wires that had been safely coiled but needed repair.  By 8:00 pm Wednesday, all homes but one had power.  

The Borough crews consider issues that endanger public safety and serve the largest number of residents and businesses to be the highest priority, and continue to work until they all had been restored. 

Service Continued During the Storm

In Perkasie, flooding was a big concern when preparing for the storm.  However, preliminary reports show that the Borough may have only had a little over two inches of rainfall.  The Borough’s dedicated Public Works Department was on stand-by throughout the night, helping keep inlets clear and setting up barricades as needed.  Using the Borough’s arsenal of heavy equipment and skilled equipment operators, back hoes and front end loaders accompanied chainsaws around the Borough as the Public Works Department cleared trees from the roadways to eliminate public safety issues quickly and limit road closures.

By Wednesday, even the Borough’s extensive trail system had been cleared for use.  Downed trees still lay in the park, and the Public Works Department plans to wait for the soft ground to harden before bringing in heavy equipment to clear the debris. 

Refuse was collected Monday and Tuesday, as scheduled, despite the heavy winds and rain.  Because many people on Tuesday’s route did not set their trash out due to the high winds, the Public Works Department again collected refuse from Tuesday’s route on Wednesday, along with their regular Wednesday collection.  Trash collection in Perkasie was not interrupted by the storm.

Free Disposal for Borough Residents

Perkasie will hold a free yard waste drop-off event will be held on Saturday, November 3rd from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Borough’s Recycling Center to collect debris.  Bundled branches will be collected as usual on Wednesday, November 7th and continue until all debris has been collected.  Residents should call the Borough offices (215-257-5065) to get put on the collection list at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled collection day. Tree branches must be cut in lengths of less than 4 feet, and then bundled with twine in bundles no larger than 18 inches in diameter.  The cut ends of the bundles should face the curb for quick pick up by the Borough crews.

The Borough resumed curbside leaf collection on Wednesday, October 31st.  Residents are reminded to rake their leaves to the curb for pick up and to be careful not to include rocks, large sticks or other debris in the pile that would damage the large vacuums that the department uses to collect the leaves. In areas where there are no curbs please be sure to have the leaves raked to within 5 feet of the roadway edge to make the collection process as efficient as possible.

Communication throughout the Storm

The Borough’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was active for 31 straight hours as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  It was the operations headquarters for the Police Department, Fire Department, Public Works, Electric and Administration of the Borough.  All communications with local forces and Bucks County radio room took place from that office, which is equipped with television, Internet (including digital TV antenna backup and air cards for laptops and smartphones), and a weather station.  

The EOC staff was routinely in touch with the Borough’s professional answering service during the nighttime hours and dedicated staff members during the day to determine problem areas (outages, wires down, trees down, etc) and communicate that information to Borough crews.  The Perkasie Regional Authority was on stand-by for additional assistance and equipment throughout the storm event.

The Borough also had tentative mutual aid plans in place through electric cooperative American Municipal Power (AMP) that would allow the Borough to utilize other municipal utility companies as far away as Wisconsin to assist if the worst case scenario developed.

The volunteer fire department in the borough was staffed for 20 hours straight through the storm. 

The Borough utilized an in-house listed of medically dependent customers and staff members contacted them directly to see if they needed assistance.  The Borough was also in touch with Grandview Hospital for availability.

The dedicated staff members worked hard throughout the storm immediately afterwards to ensure that the Borough would be safe for Trick-or-Treating on the scheduled day, Wednesday, October 31st.

Perkasie Borough may have been the only municipality in Bucks County that had all roads opened and all power restored by late Wednesday evening.

 

 
 
 
 

Perkasie Borough
620 West Chestnut Street
P.O. Box 96
Perkasie, PA 18944

Phone | 215.257.5065
Fax | 215.257.6875

Menlo Aquatics Center | 215.453.7126