Board of Supervisors Work Session
Minutes of February 17, 2010
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on February 17, 2010 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Michael Gallagher, Vice Chairman Robert Ciervo, Secretary/Treasurer Matthew Benchener, Philip Calabro and Jerry Schenkman, members. Also present were Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.
Members of the audience included: Ed Murphy: Don Marshall: John Parry, First National Bank; Joe Garvey, Rock Softball; Kevin O’Shea, Newtown Little League; Kathy Pawlenko, Township Park and Recreation Director; John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager; Chief Pasqualini, Police Department; Joint Traffic Committee members Joanne Bintliff-Ritchie and Timothy Szwedo; Financial Planning Committee member John Stranford. Township residents John D’Aprile, Jay Sensibaugh, Joel Grosso, Bill Reading, Glenn Seibert.
Call to Order: Chairman Gallagher called the meeting to order at 7:39 P.M.
After calling the meeting to order Chairman Gallagher resigned as the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. He apologized to the Township residents and Police Department for his actions during a recent traffic incident. Vice Chairman Ciervo continued running the meeting and requested any community comments at this time.
Mrs. Bintliff-Ritchie commented on the wonderful job that the Public Works Department is doing when it comes to clearing the Township’s roadways over the past several storms. She discussed some private roadways within the Township that were not adequately plowed. Mr. Czajkowski advised that the Township had contacted property owners who did not adequately plow. Supervisor Schenkman commented on protecting the Township’s interest and suggested that the Township send out correspondence to property owners who are not doing a good job clearing the snow. Vice Chairman Ciervo discussed the actions that the Township can take regarding snow clearing on private roadways and parking lots and agreed that correspondence should be sent to property owners.
Approval of Bills List
February 10, 2010
Supervisor Benchener moved to authorize payment of bill totaling $312,684.80. Supervisor Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Supervisor Benchener moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $173,321.81. Supervisor Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Possible sale of Deluca Property (St. Andrew’s Preschool on Sycamore Street)
Mr. Murphy and Mr. Marshall updated the Supervisors on the possible sale of the Deluca Property (St. Andrew’s Preschool on Sycamore Street) to the First National Bank and Trust Company of Newtown. Mr. Marshall reported that the agreement of sale is contingent on tonight’s discussion and that the bank is looking for the Township’s approval to use the site as a parking area for the bank at this time. The site has a total of 80 parking spaces and the bank would use 60 spaces. He did not believe there would be any zoning issues and reported that currently there is no timeframe for development of the property. He commented on the agreement between Deluca and the bank to have an agreement with St. Andrew’s Church allowing them to continue using the parking area. Mr. Murphy reported on discussions that have taken place with Monsignor Piccard regarding the church continuing to use the parking area. Supervisor Benchener commented on the initial plan having the bank use 60 parking spaces and asked if the parking lot needs any maintenance. Mr. Marshall advised that if any work if needed in the parking area it would be done. Mr. Murphy reported that the school has been demolished and that grading of the site would be completed once the weather permits. The Supervisors discussed possible future development of the site. Supervisor Schenkman reported that he is okay with First National Bank using the parking area and feels that purchasing the property is a good investment for the bank. Vice Chairman Ciervo asked about the Earned Income Tax once there is a building on the site. Mr. Marshall and Mr. Parry reported that money collected for Earned Income Tax would go to the Township. Mr. Marshall and Mr. Murphy thanked the Supervisors for their time.
Helen Randle Park/Woll Tract – Rock Softball/Newtown Little League – Field Swap
Mr. Garvey and Mr. O’Shea updated the Supervisors on the proposed Helen Randle Park/Woll Tract field swap. The leagues would like the softball field proposed for the Woll Tract switched out for an existing baseball field located at Helen Randle Park. If the switch were to occur Helen Randle’s fields would be primarily softball and the fields at the Woll Tract would be primarily baseball. The teams reported on how the swap would benefit both organizations. Mr. Garvey reported that the Township has neglected the needs for the girls’ fields in the past. He commented on scheduling the fields for usage. He advised that Rock Softball agreed that lights for the fields at Helen Randle would not be requested at this time, but could be requested in the future and that there is no documentation stating that the lights are not allowed at that location. He also reported on the damage to the girls’ fields in 2009 and commented that the league needs cooperation with the Township to keep the fields in good shape. Vice Chairman Ciervo commented on the cost to convert the two fields being approximately $9,000.00. Mr. Czajkowski reported that the fields at the Woll Tract would not be ready to use for at least 1½ years. Supervisor Benchener requested the breakdown of the cost to convert the fields. Mr. Czajkowski estimated the cost breakdown to be 60% (Woll)/40% (Helen Randle). Mr. Garvey and Mr. O’Shea reported on the cost to refurbish a softball field being approximately $4,000.00.
Mr. Garvey discussed the condition of the fields and the equipment being used to maintain fields. Supervisor Benchener asked how many families are involved with the leagues. Mr. Garvey and Mr. O’Shea advised that approximately 800 families in the two leagues. Supervisor Benchener reported that he is in favor of allowing the swapping of the two fields, but does not feel that the funding for the swap should come from the Township. He proposed that the leagues pass the cost of the swap onto the families rather then burden the taxpayers. Mr. O’Shea asked who should be paying for the maintenance to the fields. Supervisor Benchener responded that the leagues should be covering those cost. He discussed the Boards’ review of the 2010 Budget and items cut from the budget. Vice Chairman Ciervo commented on the Township increasing the field usage fees and feels that the Township should cover the cost of the field swap. Supervisor Benchener commented that the field usage fees were scheduled to increase regardless of the swap. Supervisor Gallagher commented on the leagues already paying field usage fees and contributing in the maintenance of the fields and then the Township requesting them to cover the cost of the field swap. Mr. O’Shea and Mr. Garvey reported on the investments that both leagues have made to the fields. Mr. Garvey commented on the fees paid to the Township and the services rendered. He asked about funding that was in past budgets for maintenance to the fields no longer being in the 2010 Budget. The Supervisors agreed that they would not be voting on this matter tonight. Supervisor Calabro commented on the matter being discussed at the December 7, 2009 Work Session, Mr. O’Shea implying that the league would cover the cost for the field swap and needing to hear from Rock Softball on the matter. Mr. O’Shea reported that if it came to that, the league would attempt to raise the money. He discussed the money that the league has spent in the past to maintain the fields. Supervisor Calabro asked if the Township were to cover the cost where it would come from. Mr. Czajkowski reported that the money would come from the Park & Recreation Capital Fund and that this project was not budgeted for in 2010. He suggested that if the Board wished they could take the money from the Township’s General Fund. Supervisor Calabro advised that he would like to see the swap happen and that he has no problem with taking the money from the Township’s Contribution Fund. The Supervisors discussed using money from the Woll Tract Fund to cover the cost of the swap incurred at the Woll Tract. Supervisor Calabro commented on past budget discussions by the Board, not funding the library and some of the Supervisors not having a problem funding the cost of the field swap. Mr. Garvey reported that Rock Softball was approached by CRLL to make the swap and that if Rock Softball has to pay then they do not want the swapping of the fields. He commented on the money that was to be invested into the girls’ fields being taken out of the budget. Supervisor Benchener requested having the Township’s Public Works Director research the maintenance cost savings if the swap happens. Supervisor Schenkman suggested that a short-term solution be that the Township provides the funding for the field swap at this time and recoups the money in the future through fees. Mr. Garvey suggested that the Township establish a philosophy/mission statement with regards to maintaining the sports fields. Supervisor Schenkman agreed that is a discussion that should take place in the future. Vice Chairman Ciervo thanked Mr. O’Shea and Mr. Garvey for their time and advised that a decision regarding the swap would be made at the next Supervisor’s meeting. Supervisor Schenkman asked who is responsible for the maintenance of the fields and suggested that a discussion take place between the leagues and the Directors of the Township’s Park & Recreation and Public Works Departments. The Supervisors requested the leagues to provide them with a document stating the maintenance responsibilities that the leagues feel they should provide. They also agreed to discuss field maintenance responsibilities at another meeting. The Supervisors thanked Mr. O’Shea and Mr. Garvey for their time.
2010 Goals/Vision for Joint Traffic Committee
Joint Traffic Committee members Joanne Bintliff-Ritchie and Timothy Szwedo presented the Supervisors with the proposed 2010 goals/vision for the Committee. The Supervisors were provided a document for their review. Mr. Szwedo reported that the document was presented to Borough Council on February 9, 2010, he read the document to the Board. Mrs. Bintliff-Ritchie advised that the Committee is looking for support and approval of the goals/vision for 2010. She requested that the Supervisors also consider authorizing the 3-member panel representing Newtown Township to act as an independent Traffic Committee for review of traffic issues that only apply to the Township. She discussed the possibility of the Township starting a Transportation Committee or incorporating those tasks into the Traffic Committee’s charge. The Supervisors discussed the Committee’s proposed 2010 goals/vision and the suggestion for the Township to have an independent Traffic Committee. Supervisor Gallagher advised that he feels that the proposed goals and mission statement are dead on for what the Board was thinking when the Committee was established. He commented on the goal pertaining to the Committee coordinating with the Township’s Planning Commission. Mrs. Bintliff-Ritchie and Mr. Szwedo emphasized the importance of the Committee getting involved in the review process at an early stage if their recommendations are going to be considered. Supervisor Gallagher suggested appointing a member from the Committee to the Township’s Planning Commission as a liaison. Supervisor Schenkman suggested that the Committee meet with the Township’s Traffic Engineer to become better informed. The Supervisors agreed that the Committee should have a liaison to the Planning Commission.
Supervisor Gallagher commented on the goal that pertains to the improving the pedestrian and bike links between the Township and Borough and that goal needing an action item. The Supervisors discussed the suggestion to create a Township Transportation Committee. Supervisor Schenkman suggested that the Traffic Committee begin developing ideas and report back to the Board. He also suggested that members of the Committee attend other meetings such as Newtown 21 Century Voice and the Newtown Creek Coalition. Mrs. Bintliff-Ritchie reported that two members of the Committee are members of the Newtown Creek Coalition. Supervisor Benchener reported on his concerns regarding Committee volunteers having great ideas that go nowhere. Supervisor Calabro asked why there was no Committee representative from the Borough here tonight for the presentation. Mrs. Bintliff-Ritchie reported that a representative from the Borough made the presentation to Borough Council. Supervisor Calabro commented on having representative from the Borough in attendance so that the Township can hear the Borough’s concerns. Mrs. Bintliff-Ritchie reported that the Committee would work up a design plan for what an independent Township Traffic Committee would look like and present it to the Board. The Supervisors thanked Mrs. Bintliff-Ritchie and Mr. Szwedo for their time.
2010 Goals/Vision for Financial Planning Committee
Financial Planning Committee member John Stranford presented the Supervisors with the proposed 2010 goals/vision for the Committee. The Committee’s proposed goals include the following:
Mr. Stranford advised that the above goals were discussed with Mr. Czajkowski at a prior meeting. He reported that other areas the Committee is proposing to focus on include benchmarking and union contracts with regards to salaries, vacations and healthcare cost and that the members would like feedback from the Board. Vice Chairman Ciervo advised that he would like to see the Committee report to the Board on a monthly basis. Mr. Stranford reported on the Committee’s targets for their next meeting. Supervisor Benchener suggested that the variance report be combined with the one page executive summary. Supervisor Schenkman asked if the Committee has someone familiar with labor economics when it comes to the benchmarking. Mr. Stranford advised that he has some information with regards to benefits data. Supervisor Gallagher reported on discussions at the last Financial Planning Committee meeting with regards to working with Bucks County Association of Township Officials (BCATO) and other municipalities. The Supervisors thanked Mr. Stranford for his time.
Mr. Czajkowski reported on the Township’s attendance at the grand opening of the new hotel in the business commons. Supervisor Ciervo reported that he believes an open house is scheduled.Other Business
Mr. Sensibaugh advised that on March 2, 2010 at 7 P.M. the Newtown Creek Coalition Visioning presentation would take place at Chancellor Center. He requested the Supervisors to post the meeting information on the Township’s web site. Mr. Czajkowski requested Mr. Sensibaugh to email him the information.
Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:22 P.M.
Once the meeting adjourned the Supervisors met in Executive Session.