This article was funded by LebTown donors as part of our Civic Impact Reporting Project.
The South Londonderry Township Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed on Tuesday to advertise the drafted budget, but with a budget line item added for farmland preservation.
Supervisor Bill Bova had suggested removing funding for farmland preservation and the Lebanon Valley Conservancy, and funding was subsequently removed from the 2024 budget. Last year, this funding totaled $12,000.
Bova argued that he supports farming in the township, but wants to benefit farmers rather than the land they occupy. He said that not only is his family heavily involved in agriculture, he has also spoken with local farmers that do not support farmland conservation.
“I believe we need to look at the lifestyle, and having people farm those farms,” Bova said, explaining that he hopes to find another way to support agriculture in the area.
Bova also expressed irritation with the Lebanon Valley Conservancy, which presented to the township requesting funds without realizing that the township had donated to them this year. Supervisor Jack Custer echoed this sentiment.
However, several members of the community voiced opposition to the subtraction to the budget, emphasizing the importance of farmland in Lebanon County.
Resident Pat Krebs mentioned that many other local municipalities make annual donations toward land preservation.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Custer said that while he agrees with much of Bova’s reasoning, he believes the board should include farmland preservation in the budget and plan to discuss other options.
The township will not be required to make the donations, he said, but this way the community will not be blindsided by the change and will have the opportunity to make their voices heard.
“I think we should at least give these organizations a chance to respond,” he said.
Bova agreed with this short-term solution. An updated version of the drafted budget will be available on South Londonderry’s website before it is put up for adoption Dec. 12. The current draft is available here, but does not include farmland preservation funds.
In other news, the supervisors:
- Unanimously agreed to advertise the revised 2024 meeting schedule.
- Agreed to advertise a bid package for the Lawn Fire Company parking lot, with Custer abstaining.
- Unanimously agreed to Resolution #15-2023 requesting an LSA grant of up to $400,000 for the Mount Gretna sewer line renovation project.
- Unanimously agreed to make several actions concerning municipal hirings.
- Unanimously approved the Sticks & Biscuit 5K event.
- Unanimously agreed to the audit contract with Garcia, Garman, & Shea.
- Unanimously agreed to defer the final land development plan subdivision for Gene Otto to West Cornwall Township, as the majority of his property is located there and nothing major is planned for SLT’s part of the property.
- Unanimously approved a donation plan for the Colebrook Park pavilion.
South Londonderry Township supervisors meet at 27 W. Market St. on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be held Dec. 12. These meetings are open to the public and do not require registration.
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