Rutledge Borough Council Report
On a night when tornado-like winds struck Swarthmore, most of Rose Valley and much of Wallingford were darkened by power outages, Swarthmore Police Chief Ray Stuflett told the assembled members of Rutledge Borough Council, “You guys are lucky.” In fact there was at least one emergency call from Rutledge for a fire ignited by a lightning strike.
Quick response to fire calls in the area were the subject of a report by Morton-Rutledge Fire Company deputy chief Glen Pitner on a program in which MRFC is participating. Local fire companies — Morton-Rutledge, Swarthmore, Upland, Brookhaven, and Holmes, are rotating coverage on Sundays through Thursdays to ensure that a staffed fire engine is in place at one of those fire houses from 6 to 10 p.m. on those days, providing coverage to an extended area while prioritizing the home community.
Characterizing the program as a team- and morale-building success, Pitner said, “We are building new friendships with the companies we responding with; we’re also getting closer as a company with some of our newer members, and some of the older members are actually coming back” — good news in the context of declining volunteer involvement at fire companies throughout Pennsylvania. Pitner also noted that new members of the fire company can now be involved in its operations immediately, working in administrative in other capacities even if they are not yet firefighters. He noted that councilmembers Lindsay Reed and Jen Mickle recently applied to join the company.
Per Capita Tax to Get the Ax
Council voted unanimously to approve advertising a decision to cease assessing a per capita tax, which, it has concluded, produces two little income to justify the administrative expense for a borough of such modest size. Borough solicitor Christine Reuther described a couple of other tax options which are in use in suburban municipalities, including earned income and business privilege taxes. However, the sense expressed by Reuther and Council President Heidi Sentivan was that only real estate taxes could provide meaningful revenue increases.
In that context, rental fees from the increasingly popular Borough Hall venue provide a welcome source of income for Rutledge. However, there are sometimes unintended consequences and headaches attending rentals for parties and other functions. Sentivan reported receiving a letter from a near neighbor of the facility, complaining about noise following a recent function. At Council’s request, Chief Stufflet (whose Swarthmore department also serves Rutledge) researched records of 911 calls pertaining to the town hall during 2019. There were two, both of which were resolved by police officers simply driving by the hall following after hours noise complaints. He encouraged residents to use the 911 system in the event of similar incidents. President Sentivan noted that there are only a handful of events still rented under the old 11 o’clock end time, under agreements executed preceding a council resolution that functions must end by 10 p.m.
Council member Lindsay Reed reminded citizens that the Saturday night movie — The Princess Bride — will be shown on Saturday, July 27, free of charge and open to all at Triangle Park beginning at 8:30 p.m.