General News

Information provided by Suburban Realtors Alliance

Voter registration deadline is Oct. 5

Did you know that you can now register to vote online? Pennsylvania recently launched a website to make the voter registration process quick and easy. The new site, available in English or Spanish, also allows currently registered voters to make updates to their voter record, such as a change of name, address or party affiliation. The deadline to register or make updates prior to the municipal general election is October 5, 2015.

Realtors® help CFPB Director Cordray unveil ‘Know Before You Owe’
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray today joined National Association of Realtors® 2015 First Vice President-Elect Elizabeth Mendenhall to highlight the agency’s Know Before You Owe initiative in advance of upcoming changes to the mortgage closing process. The CFPB rolled out a set of online tools to help consumers get better acquainted with what the Know Before You Owe initiative means for them. As part of this initiative, the Truth in Lending Act – Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure rule, or TRID, will integrate existing closing disclosures with new requirements from the Dodd-Frank Act. The new tools released today are intended to improve consumers understanding of the mortgage process, aid in comparison shopping and help prevent surprises at the closing table. Rule changes associated with Know Before You Owe go into effect October 3. “Realtors® play an important role in keeping consumers educated about changes in the home buying process, and that includes rules related to the Know Before You Owe initiative,” said Mendenhall. “The journey to homeownership begins with Realtors®, and CFPB’s new online tools are a great resource for agents to help clients shop for a mortgage and prepare for the changes coming their way.” The toolkit offers a guide to the new mortgage closing forms, a closing factsheet, a disclosure timeline and educational videos to assist consumers. Realtors® across the country have worked through the summer to educate themselves on rule changes related to Know Before You Owe so they can continue providing expert advice to clients when the new rules go into effect.
Source:; 9/17/2015

Rep. Costello forms conservation caucus
Following in his predecessor’s footsteps, U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello recently took steps to focus attention on land conservation measures across the country. Joining with a fellow congressman from Chester County, U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, and two Democratic congressmen, Costello (R-6th), of West Chester formed the bipartisan Land Conservation Caucus. The caucus will focus on fostering conversation about federal policies – both active and proposed – that would impact public access to open space and federal lands, Costello said in a news release. One particular area of focus will be on the strong partnerships developed through federal, competitive grant programs with local land conservation organizations. “In Southeastern Pennsylvania, the conservation and security of public lands like the Susquehanna and Delaware River Basins, the Schuylkill River National Heritage Area, the Highlands, and the Valley Forge National Historic Park is a top priority of mine,” Costello said. “Preserving these lands so that future generations can enjoy them is a priority.”
Source: Daily Times; 9/15/2015

Bucks County

Dublin Borough requires private sewer lateral inspection at resale
Dublin Borough recently passed an ordinance that requires all properties within the borough that sell or transfer to have a video inspection of the private sewer lateral submitted, along with a permit form, to the borough for review. The ordinance, which was passed in response to a consent order from the PA Department of Environmental Protection, applies to any properties that sell or transfer on or after Sept. 14, 2015. The ordinance also calls for regular inspections of private sewer laterals when the borough is working on main sewer lines throughout the municipality. The video inspection must be completed by a licensed plumber or inspector along with an inspection form available from the borough. There is a $25 permit fee payable to Dublin Borough for the review and certification of the sewer lateral report. Click here for the Dublin Borough website.

Perkasie Borough landlords speak out against rental ordinance
A large number of local landlords attended a recent Borough of Perkasie council meeting to speak out against a proposed ordinance that would create a mandatory registration and inspection program for rental properties. Many of the local property owners expressed concern that the program would place a potentially expensive government burden on their shoulders while allowing bad landlords to continue ignoring property maintenance requirements. “The good landlords will continue to be the good landlords, write you your checks, follow your rules,” said Tom Skiffington, owner of RE/MAX 440 in Perkasie. “The bad landlords will continue to be bad landlords.” Skiffington and other property owners in attendance suggested that the borough focus on enforcing its already existing property maintenance ordinance before creating a burdensome new program.
Source: Perkasie News Herald; 9/24/2015

Public hearing on proposed Falls hazardous waste facility set for Sept. 30
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold a public hearing on Sept. 30 to gather testimony about a planned liquid hazardous waste treatment plan in Falls Township. The public hearing on the Phase 1 application for the Elcon Recycling Services plant will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Sheraton Bucks County Hotel at 400 Oxford Valley Rd. in Falls, according to DEP spokeswoman Virginia Cain. Israeli-based Elcon is proposing to build the plant on a 33-acre site at 100 Dean Sievers Place in the Keystone Industrial Port Complex. The plant, which would treat liquid waste from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, would be situated on the old U.S. Steel site and would be located about a half-mile from the Delaware River. This is Elcon’s second attempt to receive Phase 1 approval for the project. During this first phase of the application process, the DEP is charged with examining a handful of issues and determining whether the plant would be built on wetlands or within the flood-of-record area. In addition to public testimony during the hearing, DEP representatives will also gather written comment about the proposal between Sept. 30 and Oct. 14. Written comments should be sent to: Hazardous Waste Facility Sitting Team Leader, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 2 E. Main St., Norristown, PA 19401. DEP plans to rule on the application by Nov. 19.
Source: The Intelligencer; 9/17/2015

Upper Makefield considering 2-mill tax cut for 2016
Upper Makefield supervisors will consider a preliminary budget for 2016 that includes a property tax decrease of 2 mills, or $130 for a resident with a property assessed at the township average of $65,168. A 2-mill decrease would result in a property tax millage of 9.8525 mills, or $642 for the average property owner. If the preliminary budget is approved, the supervisors are tentatively scheduled to vote on finalizing the 2016 budget at the board’s Oct. 20 meeting. If the cut goes through, it will mark the second straight year board members have cut taxes. There was a 1-mill decrease this year that amounted to about $65 in savings for the average homeowner.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 9/20/2015