Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors 

Work Session Minutes

November 15, 2004


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting December 15, 2004. MINUTES OF 11/15/04 WORK SESSION: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 11/15/04 work session. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.


Members Present: Richard Weaver, Chairman; Scott R. Harp, Vice Chairman; Anne Goren, Secretary/Treasurer; Tom Jirele, Member; Raymond “Skip” Goodnoe, Member; Dave Sanders, Solicitor; Robert M. Pellegrino, Township Manager.

Also Present: Elaine Gibbs, Finance Director; Chief Duffy, Newtown Township Police Department; Bill Wert, Parks & Recreation Director; Joel Grosso, Park & Recreation Committee President; Newtown residents Nancy Crescenzo, Ethel Hibbs and Brandon Wind.

Prior to the Call to Order, the Supervisors met in executive session, to discuss salaries and real estate matters.

Call to Order: Chairman Weaver called the meeting to order at 8:07 PM.

2005 Budget

The Supervisors discussed the proposed 2005 Budget. The Supervisors reviewed a memorandum received from Mr. Pellegrino dated November 12, 2004 with regards to possible changes to the proposed 2005 Budget. Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors on his suggestions:

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors he would like direction from the Board for any revisions to the proposed 2005 Budget.

Mr. Goodnoe discussed the Township’s operating deficit; he suggested the Board direct the Township Manager to provide the Supervisors with a balanced budget, not including capital expenditures.

The Supervisors discussed the settlement received from RCN. Mr. Pellegrino advised the monies received were designated to reimburse the General Fund, he suggested the Supervisors allocate some of the settlement money to the budget as a receipt, if the Board would like to present a balanced budget.

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors that unless funds were allocated towards the 2005 Budget, the Township would have to reduce the number of employees to produce a balanced budget for 2005.

Mr. Goodnoe advised he feels the money received from the RCN settlement should be applied towards legal fees.

The Supervisors discussed this year’s revenues and expenses.

The Supervisors discussed applying this year’s surplus revenue towards the 2005 Budget.

Mr. Goodnoe discussed the Township’s expenses and revenues for the past years. He advised that the Board can not continue to budget as if the Township will have a surplus. He also discussed the Township’s proposed upcoming capital expenditures.

Mr. Jirele advised on his feelings with regards to the budget. He advised he was unsure of the idea to allocate the current year’s surplus towards next year’s operating budget. He advised he would not like to see the Township have to reduce the staff. He discussed the Township’s advertising expenses. Mr. Pellegrino advised that category also includes printing expenses. Mr. Jirele made several suggestions to help reduce advertising/printing expenses. He also suggested the Township reduce the contribution amounts to various organizations and events.

The Supervisors discussed the contributions to the Wrightstown Library and the Rescue Squad.

Ms. Goren advised she was in favor of rolling over this year’s surplus cash towards next year’s budget. She suggested possible ways to help reduce the Township’s debt and increase revenue, including having the videotaping for the Township’s televised meeting done in-house by volunteers, changing zoning (losing non resident income tax), borrow money at a lower rate to payoff debt, pursue more grants, sell advertising in Park & Recreation brochure, sell old equipment, and sell advertising on Channel 23.

Mr. Jirele advised he is in favor of Ms. Goren’s ideas for long term solutions.

Mr. Goodnoe commented on last year’s discussion with regards to the budget. He referred to the decreased revenues and increased salaries. Mr. Pellegrino advised for the changes. Mr. Goodnoe questioned the reviewing of fees charged for services. Mr. Pellegrino advised that the Township is reviewing that information now, he suggested the Board make some changes with regards to the fee schedule and that there has not been a fee increase within the past four years. He will provide the Board with recommendations for their consideration at the re-organization meeting.

The Supervisors discussed Mr. Pellegrino’s suggestions to the proposed budget and agreed to defer replacement of the speed board ($9,500 reduction – General Fund) and reduce the contribution to the Wrightstown Library.

The Supervisors discussed the contributions to First Night and the Rescue Squad. Ms. Gibbs advised the Supervisors on the expenses the Township incurs from the Rescue Squad.

The Supervisors discussed the Making a Difference Seminar.

The Supervisors discussed the Public Works Department; a suggestion was make to cut back on mowing. Ms. Gibbs advised the Supervisors on the work being done by the Public Works Department.

The Supervisors discussed the change appropriation for battery backup units and video detection from TSA Fund 2 to Traffic System Capital Fund ($70,000). Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors; the Supervisors discussed the differences between designated and undesignated funds. Mr. Pellegrino advised he would research the matter further and update the Board. The Supervisors agreed to leave this item on the 2005 Budget.

The Supervisors discussed adding appropriation to make closed loop system traffic responsive ($42,000) in the Traffic System Capital Fund. Mr. Jirele questioned if the system is working correctly now. Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors on the system. Mr. Pellegrino advised that Phil Wursta could further update the Board with regards to the system. The Supervisors agreed to leave this item on the 2005 Budget.

Mr. Pellegrino advised he would make the approved changes to proposed 2005 Budget for the next Board of Supervisors Meeting, December 1, 2004. Ms. Goren commented on hanging the budget at the December 1st meeting. Mr. Pellegrino advised that hanging the budget makes it available for public review and changes could still be made up to December 31, 2004.

Mr. Grosso, Parks & Recreation Committee member requested the Board to add an additional $11,500 to the amount budgeted to the Parks & Recreation Fund. Mr. Grosso advised the Supervisors that the additional money would be used to improve the fields and address safety concerns at Chandler Field and Helen Randle Park. Improvements at Chandler Field would include enclosing the middle field’s dugout, re-sod selected fields and replacing the existing storage boxes. Improvements at Helen Randle Park would include enclosing the dugout used by the Little League and replacing the existing storage boxes.

The Supervisors discussed the request made by Mr. Grosso to add an additional $11,500 to the amount budgeted to the Parks & Recreation Fund. The Supervisors agreed to have Mr. Pellegrino add the additional $11,500 to the Parks & Recreation Fund. Mr. Pellegrino requested the Parks & Recreation Committee provide him with a list of their request. Mr. Wert advised he would forward the information to Mr. Pellegrino

Mr. Grosso also commented on funding for Roberts Ridge Park.

Mr. Jirele questioned what is the priority of the Parks & Recreation Committee to finish the Roberts Ridge Park or the Woll Tract. Mr. Grosso advised the Supervisors that he would discuss the matter with the Parks & Recreation Committee and update the Board at a later date. Mr. Grosso advised the Supervisors that the Parks & Recreation Committee would not be meeting again until the next year. Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors that money could be allotted at a later date with a motion from the Board.

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors he would make the recommended changes to the proposed 2005 Budget for Wednesday’s meeting.

Police Policy Manual

The Supervisors reviewed a memorandum from Mr. Pellegrino dated October 15, 2004 with regard to the Police Department Policies and Procedures Manual. Mr. Pellegrino and Chief Duffy updated the Supervisors. Mr. Pellegrino advised the Board that the insurance company has approved the manual. Mr. Sanders advised he felt the manual was very well done; he had one comment with regards to the rank of Lieutenant. He advised that presently there is a Lieutenant on the police force and it’s not mentioned in the manual. Mr. Sanders recommended including the Lieutenant position in the manual and if the Lieutenant position is removed at sometime, then the manual could be amended to removed reference to the Lieutenant. Mr. Jirele questioned the language used in the manual. Mr. Pellegrino advised he and Chief Duffy would further review the manual and make any corrections. Mr. Goodnoe advised he did not see a canine policy section or an organization chart and that the mission statement makes reference to the Salisbury Police Department. Chief Duffy advised that was an oversight and thanked Mr. Goodnoe for bringing it to his attention. Mr. Goodnoe advised he did not see any reference to a Juvenile Officer. Chief Duffy advised at this time there is not designated full-time Juvenile Officer. Mr. Goodnoe advised that he would like to see the changes made to the manual before the Board adopts the manual. Mr. Goodnoe questioned if there was any reference in the manual with regards to the scheduling of court time. Chief Duffy advised the Board with regards to schedules.

The Supervisors agreed to make the changes to the Police Department Policies and Procedures Manual and review further before adopting.

Report on 2005 Minimum Municipal Obligation for Non-Uniformed Employees & Firefighters Pension Plans

The Supervisors reviewed correspondence from Mockenhaupt Benefits Group dated November 1, 2004 with regards to the Newtown Township Non-Uniform Employee’s Pension Plan. Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to the 2005 minimum municipal obligation for Non-Uniformed Employees and Firefighters Pension Plans. Mr. Pellegrino advised that minimum municipal obligation for the Firefighters Pension Plan is $42,107 and that the minimum municipal obligation for Non-Uniformed Employees Pension Plan is $125,376. Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors that no action is needed at this time.

Authorization to Change Investment Manager for Non-Uniformed Pension Plans

The Supervisors reviewed memorandum from Ms. Gibbs dated November 3, 2004 with regards to the Pension Committee recommendations. Mr. Pellegrino and Ms. Gibbs updated the Supervisors with regards to authorization to change Investment Manager for Non-Uniformed Pension Plans. The Pension Committee recommended changing the present equities manager, Laurel Capital Advisors, to Lighthouse Growth Advisors for the Non- Uniformed Employees Pension Plan. The Pension Committee also recommended that the Township hire one money manager, Alliance Bernstein Regent Investment Firm to handle the Firefighters Pension Plan.

Ms. Goren made a motion to follow the recommendations made by the Pension Committee hiring Lighthouse Growth Advisors for the Non-Uniformed Employees Pension Plan and hiring Alliance Bernstein Regent Investment Firm for the Firefighters Pension Plan. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

Mr. Harp advised he would encourage the Township meet with other companies in 2005 to be sure the Township is getting the best they can. Ms. Gibbs advised the Supervisors she would arrange some meetings for 2005.

Other Business

Mr. Wert advised the Supervisors that a Township vendor suggesting the idea of using the Wiggins Field site as a sod farm has approached him. The Supervisors discussed the idea. Mr. Sanders advised on tax laws. Mr. Sanders advised he would research further.

Mr. Grosso also advised the Supervisors that the Parks & Recreation Committee would recommend that the Board approves the request made by the CRNLL to enclose the rear field dugout at Chandler Field with a solid roof and walls, he advised that all work and expenses would be covered by CRNLL.

Mr. Jirele questioned if there were bleachers for all the fields at Chandler Field and Helen Randle Park. Mr. Wert advised that there are six sets of bleachers. The Supervisors discussed purchasing more bleachers.

Adjournment

Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted by:

 

_____________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary