Written by Dan Miller
Nearly seven in 10 registered voters throughout the greater Middletown area voted in the Nov. 8 general election, according to figures provided by the Dauphin County Bureau of Elections and Voter Registration.
The precinct-by-precinct numbers provided by the county to the Press And Journal are unofficial and do not include absentee votes, said Gerald Feaser, director of the county elections office.
The average turnout for all polling locations throughout Highspire, Hummelstown, Middletown, Royalton, Steelton and Londonderry and Lower Swatara townships was 67.7 percent, according to the county figures.
Feaser said he did not have precinct-by-precinct numbers for comparison to the 2012 presidential election.
However, it is likely that the 67.7 percent average turnout for this area was far higher than the turnout for 2012.
In 2012, Feaser was quoted in PennLive as saying that the countywide turnout for the 2012 presidential election was 45.41 percent. He was also quoted as saying that the county turnout for the 2014 gubernatorial election was 45.49 percent.
The 67.7 percent turnout in this area for the 2016 election exceeded the turnout nationwide for each of the past four presidential elections going back to 2000, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.
The nationwide turnout in 2012 was 57.5 percent, according to the center. It was 62.3 percent in 2008, 60.4 percent in 2004, and 54.2 percent in 2000, according to the center.
The Dauphin County turnout for the 2000 presidential election was 52.7, according to a database published online by Allegheny College.
If there was a prize given for the municipality in the greater Middletown area with the highest turnout, it would go to Londonderry Township — with combined voter turnout of 75.5 percent throughout the township’s three precincts.
Londonderry also boasted the precinct with the highest turnout in the greater Middletown area — the 1st Precinct with 79 percent.
Turnout was lowest in Steelton, with a total of 58.3 across six polling locations.
However, Steelton’s 1st Ward was among the highest of all precincts in the area, with turnout of 76 percent.
Otherwise, here’s how voters in this area turned out for the election on Nov. 8, according to the unofficial county figures:
1st Precinct — 64 percent
2nd Precinct — 59 percent
Total — 61.3 percent
1st Precinct — 67 percent
2nd Precinct — 74 percent
Total — 71.5 percent
1st Ward, 1st Precinct — 61 percent
1st Ward, 2nd Precinct — 59 percent
2nd Ward, 1st Precinct — 67 percent
2nd Ward, 2nd Precinct — 58 percent
3rd Ward, 1st Precinct — 71 percent
3rd Ward, 2nd Precinct — 69 percent
Total — 63.7 percent
1st Ward — 68 percent
2nd Ward — 75 percent
Total — 72.4 percent
1st Ward — 76 percent
2nd Ward, 1st Precinct — 53 percent
2nd Ward, 2nd Precinct — 59 percent
3rd Ward, 1st Precinct — 50 percent
3rd Ward, 2nd Precinct — 57 percent
4th Ward — 59 percent
Total — 58.3 percent
1st Precinct — 79 percent
2nd Precinct — 76 percent
3rd Precinct — 70 percent
Total — 75.5
1st Precinct — 77 percent
2nd Precinct — 78 percent
3rd Precinct — 62 percent
4th Precinct — 74 percent
Total — 71.8 percent
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 November 2016 15:22
Written by Dan Miller
Middletown is still looking to convert all its streetlights to more energy-efficient LED bulbs, but the job will take longer than originally planned.
Just a few weeks ago it looked as if council was ready to approve taking out a $490,000 bank loan so The Efficiency Network (TEN) of Pittsburgh could convert all of the borough’s 708 street lights to LED — light-emitting diode — bulbs by the end of 2016.
But council has now signed on to a new plan proposed by Public Works Director Greg Wilsbach calling for the borough’s own public works crew to do the conversion completely in-house.
That will save a considerable amount of money — $248,000 for the borough to buy the bulbs and do the conversion, vs. the $476,730 estimate provided by TEN.
But instead of getting the conversion done this year, Wilsbach hopes that borough crews can have the job done by early to mid-summer 2017, Wilsbach told council during its second meeting to discuss the proposed 2017 budget on Nov. 3.
Wilsbach is also proposing the borough apply some of the savings from doing the conversion in-house toward a separate, but related project — installing new “historic” style streetlights along Emaus Street from just east of Union Street westward to where the proposed West Emaus Street extended is to connect with the new Amtrak train station to be built along West Main Street.
The vintage streetlights will complement nicely plans to reopen the historic Elks Theatre, and will continue the theme set by the downtown streetscape, Wilsbach said.
The historic streetlights would be the same as the three that were installed in front of the Municipal Building at 60 W. Emaus St. a few years ago, Wilsbach said.
The project would also include fixing up sidewalk along Emaus to Wood Street.
The extended West Emaus Street is to serve as “our gateway into downtown for the college (Penn State Harrisburg) so you do want to dress it up,” Wilsbach told the Press And Journal. Nearly all of the work can be done in-house, except for some digging and trenching.
The historic streetlight project would cost the borough about $125,000, which when added to the estimated cost of doing the LED conversion in-house would total about $373,000 — still more than $100,000 less than the $476,730 that the borough would have paid TEN, Wilsbach said.
Installing the historic streetlights will be done in tandem with replacing the bulbs throughout all the streetlights, Wilsbach said. The historic streetlight project may take a little longer to allow for engineering, bidding, and outside contracting but generally Wilsbach hopes that the historic streetlights can be in place by roughly summer 2017.
The borough converting the streetlights will include all the bells and whistles that the town was to get by TEN doing the job — such as new software that allows for remotely increasing or decreasing lighting at any streetlight anywhere in the borough at any time.
Besides saving money, Wilsbach said an added benefit of doing the job in-house is that it will allow borough public works employees to trouble-shoot any actual or potential problems involving streetlights and utility poles.
That’s especially relevant in Middletown, where the borough is responsible for providing electricity to businesses and residents.
“When you change a streetlight and are doing a little bit of pole maintenance, that’s when you start finding problems, then you address the problems to keep people’s power going,” Wilsbach said. “I’m sure we will find issues that (will prevent) future outages for customers, and that’s great.”
Under the original plan, TEN had guaranteed annual estimated energy savings of $31,219 from converting the streetlights to LED that would cover the borough’s cost of financing the project.
The guaranteed savings would have enabled the borough to pay off the $490,000 bank note by 2030, Council President Ben Kapenstein had said.
Council still plans to borrow the money to do the conversion — and the historic streetlight project — in house, but the payback can now be a lot quicker, Wilsbach said.
“After nine years the project pays for itself. After nine years you can look at (the energy savings) as money in the bank.”
Kapenstein said the borough’s only obligation to TEN was having the company do an audit of the borough’s existing streetlights for $2,500, which has already been done.
The audit “was the first step where (TEN) came in and looked at all of the lights so that they could put together their analysis,” Kapenstein said. “No other agreements were signed. Therefore, at this point, we are able to bring the project in house.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 November 2016 15:17
Reminder - the Middletown Industrial and Commercial Development Authority is to meet at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The borough council meeting is to follow at 7 p.m.
BOROUGH COUNCIL MEETING – November 15, 2016
Call to Order – 7 PM
Pledge of Allegiance
Public Comment on Agenda Items
1. Approve Meeting Minutes – November 1, 2016
2. Approval of Bills
4. Adopt Resolution No. 2016-26 Fund Balance Policy
5. Adopt 2017 Tentative Budget
6. Authorize Advertisement of Ordinance No. 1333 – 2017 Real Estate Tax Rate
7. Approve Investment Services Manager
8. Approve IT Services
9. Ratify Emaus Street Water Line Additional Cost of $4,000.
10. Approve Response to RACP Grant Award Letter
Note – General public comment will be limited to 4 minutes per speaker
Last Updated on Monday, 14 November 2016 15:17
Written by Jason Maddux
A car was stolen at the Hardee's restaurant in Middletown at about 6 p.m. Sunday.
The incident started inside the store when a pair of suspects approached a customer and stole her wallet and keys from her. They then went into the parking area and stole her car, The man threatened to shoot the victim if she did not let him take the car, according to police.
The male suspect is white, 35 to 40 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall with sandy hair and wearing a green hoodie and blue jeans.
The female suspect is white, 20 to 30 years old, 5 feet 2 inches tall with dirty blonde hair in a pony tail wearing a gray sweatshirt and jeans.
The vehicle is a gray 2007 Dodge Durango with PA registration ECF1453. It was last seen westound on Main Street.
Anyone with information about the suspects or vehicle should contact Middletown Police at 558-6900.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 November 2016 08:48
Written by Eric Wise
Although the two signs showing the Middletown raiders mascot have been removed from the sides of the new Middletown Area High School Building, they will be back soon enough, school officials said.
“They were created incorrectly,” said Jody Zorbaugh, district communications specialist. “It was just not quite the design that was specified.”
The district will not have to pay for the repairs or tweaks to the design because the manufacturer failed to fabricate the signs specified under contract.
After the signs are corrected, the blue raider and the gray raider will return to the sides of the building that drivers have already become accustomed to seeing while driving on Route 441 past the school.
“We received word that the Raiders should be reinstalled shortly,” Zorbaugh said.
The raider signs and the “Home of the Raiders” sign were gifts to the new school from the district’s alumni association.
Last Updated on Friday, 11 November 2016 12:48