Township in Perry County pondering future of municipal building, seeking taxpayer opinions

PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa. --- The township municipal building has sat on a hill on the 100 block of Municipal Building Road for over 90 years.

Starting as a schoolhouse, Board of Supervisors chairman Joseph Landis said it's been used as a the township municipal building for about 40 of those years.

Now, he says the building is showing its age.

He said a problem is coming forward following an assessment of roof repairs.

He said their one estimate for repairs of the rubber roofing comes at a cost of $118,000.

His concern is what's underneath the roofing, pointing to damage concerns for the wood planking and evidence of leaking in spots around the building.

“Unfortunately, the estimate at [$118,000] looks as if it’s going to increase and how much more, we don’t know until the work gets done," said Landis.

He believes the question is spend the money on the current building? Or build a new one?

He points to other issues within the building, such as leak damage on walls, the ceiling, mold in some parts, antiquated restroom and electrical system falling out of code as problems that will "inevitably" need to be resolved.

He believes building a new township office will end up being cheaper than renovating the current building, unless a better offer comes along.

“When you look at the financing that’s available, the interest rates that are available, and the amount of work that’s going to have to be done in this building, I don’t see where that’s going to happen. I don’t see where it’s really going to be to our advantage to redo this building," said Landis.

Board Supervisor Jesse Boyer III mostly agrees with Landis, pointing to the building serving as the designated emergency shelter if something serious happens.

He says the current building is not efficient for utilities and leaving the property onto Route 272 is dangerous because of line of sight issues.

He said he "feels it can be done" to create a new building for the township without increases taxes.

Board Supervisor Henry Holman III disagrees with his colleagues.

He believes the building should be renovated, saying it's the "best way" for the community and holds a nice view.

He does not think the issues within the building are "as bad" as some people think and sees them as "fixable."

He does not see creating a new municipal building as an option and believes the renovations can be done cheaply without a tax increase, as long as a long-term plan is in place.

FOX43 spoke with eight people who live in Penn Township:

  • Two people said they want to see the current building renovated.
  • One person said they'd support the cheapest available solution.
  • Three people said they want to see the most cost-effective solution that provides an appropriately sized government office without causing a tax increase.
  • Two people said they wanted to see more information regarding the cost and plan before making a decision.

Landis said they want the taxpayers to be involved in the decision and want to gauge their thoughts on a solution.

He said a spot on the regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting for Wednesday, August 28 at 7 p.m. is saved for discussion about the municipal building.

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