Red Lion councilman, borough at odds over splash pad operations

David Weissman
York Dispatch

A Red Lion council member recently filed a complaint against the borough regarding its operation of the splash pad at Fairmount Park.

The complaint, submitted by Councilman Nevin Horne to the state Department of Agriculture, alleged the borough was operating the water park without a properly licensed pesticide applicator. He submitted a similar complaint last August.

From left, Brinley Longenburger, 4, of Dover, and Ariana Potts, 4, of Hanover, play on the Splash Pad in Red Lion's Fairmount Park, Monday, July 17, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

Borough manager Dianne Price wrote in an email that Red Lion's public works supervisor, Brett Patterson, had a pesticide applicator's license but needed the sub-category of swimming pools.

Patterson did not respond to an email seeking comment.

After the Department of Agriculture sent the borough a letter requiring a plan for how it would address the licensing issue, Patterson received the necessary certification as of last week, according to Price.

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Price went on to question Horne's motives in submitting the complaint and trying to get the borough fined.

"Councilman Horne did not express concerns to council (during the last meeting)," she wrote in response to questions about the splash pad operations. "Not sure of his agenda in contacting (The York Dispatch) instead of council."

From left, Taylor Potts, 2, of Hanover, and Kensley Longenburger, 3, of Dover, play on the Splash Pad in Red Lion's Fairmount Park, Monday, July 17, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

Horne said he has brought up the issue to other council members and borough staff multiple times.

Horne has butted heads with Price and other council members on numerous issues, and one former council member sued his wife for slander.

Municipal authority members had told Price she couldn't open the splash pad without the applicator's license, but she did it anyway, Horne said.

The splash pad, which contains motion-controlled water features, first opened in 2013.

Price wrote in an email that the borough didn't find out Patterson needed the license until the end of last year.

Keith Kahwajy, superintendent for the municipal authority, said nobody from the authority told Price the borough needed the license because they were not involved in operations of the splash pad.

Horne alleged that Kahwajy and others in the borough are just afraid to say anything against Price because they're afraid they will lose their jobs.

Kahwajy clarified that he does not work for the borough, and Price has no control over his employment.

Horne said he supports operation of the splash pad, but only if it is done correctly.

"These are little kids we're talking about," he said regarding why he submitted his complaints to the state. "If something happens, I don't want anyone to be able to claim ignorance."

Price wrote that the borough has an outside lab test the park's water weekly, as required by the state Department of Health.

"We monitor the pad daily and will close it any time we have a problem," she wrote.

The borough closed the splash pad for a few days recently because a chlorine sensor needed to be replaced, but it has since reopened.

— Reach David Weissman at or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.

— Correction: This article has been corrected to include Keith Kahwajy's title as superintendent of Red Lion municipal authority and an added clarification that Price has no control over his employment.