Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

Minutes of September 15, 2008

 

Members Present: Tom Jirele, Chairman; Robert Ciervo, Vice Chairman; Michael Gallagher, Secretary/Treasurer; Jerry Schenkman, Member; Phil Calabro, Member; Jennifer McGrath, Solicitor; Michele Fountain, Engineer and Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager.

Also Present: J. Swerk, Newtown Ambulance Squad, Don Smith, Newtown Ambulance Squad; Dick Weaver, Newtown Corporation; Chief Pasqualini; John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager; Karen Katz; Bill Sterling.

Call to Order: Chairman Jirele called the meeting to order at 7:34 P.M.

Community Comments: There were not comments from the community at this time.

Discussion

Newtown Ambulance Squad – Finance discussion

Dr. Ciervo updated the Supervisors on why this matter is being discussed tonight.

It was stated that the Township funded $90,000.00 to the squad in 2008.

The Supervisors discussed the squad’s fuel allowance.

The Supervisors began discussions on how to fund the Ambulance Squad in the future.

Mr. Swerk discussed the squad’s goal with regards to funding and advised that the squad has a budget of 3 million dollars per year. He discussed the $90,000.00 received from the Township. He advised that the squad has a fund drive every year. He reported on the payments received from Medicare and insurance carriers.

Chairman Jirele questioned what happens when an insurance company doesn’t pay or when treating an uninsured patient. Mr. Swerk and Mr. Smith reported with regards to insurance companies not paying and treating uninsured patients.

The Supervisors discussed the number of calls for uninsured patients or when a patient does not pay.

Mr. Swerk and Mr. Smith reported on the revenue that the squad receives.

The Supervisors discussed the increased cost of fuel.

Mr. Swerk and Mr. Smith reported on the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) regulations and non-emergency transport.

The Supervisors discussed local areas serviced by the Ambulance Squad

The Supervisors discussed submitting a rate increase application to the PUC.

Mr. Smith reported that approximately 75% of the calls are non-emergency. He advised on the two phases – emergency calls and non-emergency calls. He reported on the collection of funds due.

Mr. Swerk advised that the Newtown Ambulance Squad is the largest non-profit squad in the area.

Mr. Calabro commented on the squad’s total budget being 3 million dollars per year. He questioned the number of employees. Mr. Swerk advised that there are approximately 35 full time employees and 35 part time employees. Mr. Calabro questioned if the squad is running how it should. Mr. Swerk discussed the need for better cash flow and the fuel budget. Mr. Czajkowski reported that $35,000.00 was budgeted for fuel, that the remainder of the $90,000.00 was for insurance and an allowance that was paid through out the year.

The Supervisors discussed the contribution received from the Borough and Upper Makefield.

Chairman Jirele advised that the decisions needing to be made are:

#1 – What to do this year?

#2 – Start discussions for a long term plan.

Mr. Smith reported on the cost cutting that the squad has done.

The Supervisors discussed the Township millage and a possible increase.

The Supervisors discussed the Local Services Tax.

Dr. Ciervo suggested funding the squad through the LST.

Chairman Jirele commented that if the Township raises their contribution shouldn’t the Borough and Upper Makefield also increase their contributions.

Mr. Schenkman suggested that the Township contact the other municipalities to discuss their contributions.

The Supervisors discussed the number of dwellings in each municipality that the squad services. Mr. Swerk advised that he could provide the Supervisors with that information.

Mr. Schenkman suggested that further discussion take place before making a decision at a televised meeting.

Mr. Czajkowski advised that he would contact Upper Makefield’s Township Manager to discuss the matter.

The Supervisors agreed to continue to allow the squad to fuel up at the Municipal Complex.

Dr. Ciervo commented with regards to having a plan for the long term funding of the squad.

Mr. Swerk and Mr. Smith thanked the Supervisors for taking the time to discuss the matter.

The Supervisors thanked Mr. Swerk and Mr. Smith for their time.

Newtown Corporation Update – Dick Weaver

Mr. Weaver updated the Supervisors with regards to the Newtown Corporation. He advised that the five (5) year state sponsored program has ended and what is needed to continue. He reported on the changes to the corporation, the areas of success and the corporation’s goals. He requested the Board to consider continuing their financial support of the corporation.

Chairman Jirele questioned if the Borough has made a commitment. Mr. Weaver reported that the Borough has not said yes or no, but they have put money in their budget and would like to see the bylaws.

The Supervisors discussed the bylaws needing approval by the Borough and Township.

Mr. Schenkman questioned the economic condition in the Borough and Township. Mr. Weaver reported on the Township’s status with regards to the economy. He discussed the success of businesses in the Township and Borough.

The Supervisors discussed the success of programs sponsored by Newtown Corporation like Aha Fridays.

Mr. Calabro reported on Newtown Corporation getting more Borough and Township businesses involved.

The Supervisors discussed having a parking structure in the Borough/Township.

The Supervisors discussed traffic in the Borough and Township.

The Supervisors discussed the Newtown Creek Coalition.

The Supervisors discussed the Retailers Association becoming part of Newtown Corporation.

Mr. Gallagher questioned what the Board could do to promote business in the Township. Mr. Weaver advised that the Township is a very attractive area for businesses.

The Supervisors discussed enticing large corporations to come to Newtown.

Dr. Ciervo commented on the Newtown Corporation with regards to economic development. He reported on past discussions with Ms. Ortwein and advised that he has not received any response. He questioned the corporation’s involvement with Pitcairn property. Mr. Weaver reported on the Newtown Corporation’s involvement with that property. Dr. Ciervo questioned what has been done in 2008 to bring in businesses and what are the future plans. Mr. Weaver reported on what has been done in 2008 and the future plans.

The Supervisors discussed the vacant office space in the Newtown Commons.

The Supervisors discussed areas to focus on in the future.

Dr. Ciervo questioned the proposed change to the bylaws and how that will effect the appointment of board members to the Newtown Corporation. Mr. Weaver advised that Newtown Corporation would appoint board members. Currently one members is from Borough Council and one member is from the Township Board of Supervisors.

The Supervisors discussed their concerns with regards to the Newtown Corporation appointing board members.

Chairman Jirele discussed the joint meeting that took place in April.

The Supervisors thanked Mr. Weaver for his time.

Police Department Update – Chief Pasqualini

Chief Pasqualini updated the Supervisors with regards to the Police Department and discussed the talent of his staff. He reported that the authorized staff includes twenty-eight (28) positions and that he is requesting a total of thirty (30) positions. He discussed the elimination of the Captain’s position. He advised that he would like to create a Traffic Safety Unit that would include two (2) dedicated full time Officers, a motorcycle and an unmarked car. He discussed the accreditation program and the policies still needing to be addressed. He reported on the changes he has made to the Department.

Dr. Ciervo requested that once staffing is finalized that the Supervisors receive a written plan with regards to traffic safety and the neighborhoods being patrolled. Chief Pasqualini advised on his goals for the Department and that he could provide that information at a later date.

Dr. Ciervo suggested that Chief Pasqualini meet with the HOA presidents to discuss areas for concern with regards to traffic safety.

The Supervisors discussed the purpose of an unmarked car.

Chief Pasqualini reported that his organization plan calls for five (5) staff on a shift – one (1) Sergeant and four (4) Officers.

The Supervisors discussed assigned patrol areas and bicycle patrol.

The Supervisors discussed the bargaining unit with regards to the Corporal position.

The Supervisors discussed the Department’s proposed table of organization.

The Supervisors discussed school issues and incidents at the high school. Chief Pasqualini advised on discussions with the School Resource Officer.

Chairman Jirele questioned how the Township could help with regards to enforcement in the schools. Chief Pasqualini advised that he feels that the Township has been very supportive and on his meeting with the School Board and the Superintendent. He discussed scenarios that the school does or does not need to contact the Police.

Chief reported that the Department would no longer have a K-9 program and that they have partnered with Middletown and Lower Makefield Townships.

Chief Pasqualini and Mr. Czajkowski discussed the proposed building plans for the Police Department and reported on what has been eliminated from the plan.

The Supervisors discussed the proposed plan with regards to accreditation. Chief Pasqualini advised that what he is currently being proposed does meet the requirements for accreditation.

The Supervisors discussed the possible removal of the training room that is being proposed.

Chairman Jirele suggested that the Supervisors review the revised plan being proposed and have further discussion at a later date.

The Supervisors discussed purchasing a motorcycle for the Department. Chief Pasqualini advised that he is looking for approval to purchase the motorcycle now and that the Department currently has the funds. The Supervisors discussed the cost for motorcycle training. Chief Pasqualini advised that training could begin in October and that he would provide the Supervisors with information for their review.

The Supervisors requested that the Department’s 2009 Capital Budget request be included in their next packet.

Chairman Jirele advised that he likes the structure of the department, feels that it is a great first step and favors the Traffic Safety Unit.

The Supervisors thanked Chief Pasqualini for his time.

Open Space Discussion

Chairman Jirele updated the Supervisors with regards to open space. He discussed the upcoming referendum and Mr. Calabro’s concerns with getting information out to the public. He suggested way to educate the public.

The Supervisors discussed the work being done by the Open Space Committee and the possibility of publishing information on the website.

Chairman Jirele questioned if the Board has an interest in spending money to educate the public.

Dr. Ciervo advised that he feels that the ballot question should be made public and information should be provided stating what it means if the referendum passes.

The Supervisors discussed what Upper Makefield did with regards to open space.

Mr. Calabro discussed the need to complete the process and advised on his concerns.

Mr. Schenkman commented on getting information out to the public.

The Supervisors discussed how to get the information to the residents.

The Supervisors discussed the mailing that Upper Makefield sent out to residents and suggested getting a copy of that mailer.

Mr. Czajkowski advised with regards to the open space questionnaire done by Upper Makefield.

Chairman Jirele suggested getting prices for a mailing and for producing a five (5) minute video. He also suggested that the Township set aside money for advertising to make the public aware of the referendum.

Old Business

New Business

General Discussion

Chairman Jirele requested that the Board receive copies of the Departments’ 2009 Capital Budget request, as they are available, so that they may begin discussions.

Community Comments

Ms. Katz advised that she is a member of the Newtown Business and Special Organization and a resident of the Township for twenty-one (21) years. She commented on what is being proposed for the Acme site and requested that the Township reopen up discussions to the public. She discussed the changes to the Township and feels that the Township should step back and allow the public to speak. The Supervisors advised that

McGrath is scheduled to make a presentation for the Acme site on October 6, 2008 and that currently the site is zoned Town Commercial. Mr. Czajkowski discussed the property owner’s rights. Mr. Schenkman suggested that Ms. Katz appear at the public meetings where the matter is being discussed and voice her suggestions. Ms. Katz advised that if the public is concerned they can email newacmeconcerns@gmail.com.

Mr. Sterling commented on his concerns with regards to open space.

Adjournment

Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:21 P.M.

 

Respectfully Submitted:
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary

 

Attest:

Joseph S. Czajkowski, Township Manager


Tom Jirele, Chairman

Robert Ciervo, Vice-Chairman

Michael Gallagher, Secretary/Treasurer

Philip Calabro, Member

Jerry Schenkman, Member