Board of Supervisors
Minutes of December 21, 2011
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on December 21, 2011 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Robert Ciervo, Vice Chairman Matthew Benchener, Secretary Treasurer Jerry Schenkman and Philip Calabro and Michael Gallagher, members. Also in attendance were: Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.
Call to Order : Dr. Ciervo called the regular meeting to order at 7:35 PM with a moment of silence. An invocation by Reverend Sandra Reed of St. Mark AME Zion Church and the pledge of allegiance followed.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Czajkowski reported that the Roadway Improvement Program payment has been added to the engineer’s report.
Recognition of Volunteer Service: Dr. Ciervo announced that on behalf of the Township, the Board would like to recognize the contributions of two community volunteers who passed away during the last year. He invited the families of Sue Beasley and Mike Piazza to the podium to present plaques as a thank you for the help and support contributed to the Township by Mrs. Beasley and Mr. Piazza. Mr. Piazza served for many years as at Planning Commission member and Mrs. Beasley had been a very long standing member of our Planning Commission and at one time a member of our Park and Recreation Board.
The families of Mr. Piazza and Mrs. Beasley thanked Dr. Ciervo for the recognition.
Dr. Ciervo noted that both Mr. Piazza and Mrs. Beasley always considered all sides of questions and always had the good of the entire community in mind when they discussed the issues and their participation would be greatly missed.
Resident Dennis Fisher noted that this would be Mr. Schenkman’s last official meeting as a Supervisor. He thanked Mr. Schenkman for his many contributions to the Township and for his reasonable voice in times of controversy.
Resident Allen Fidler echoed Mr. Fisher’s comments, thanking Mr. Schenkman also for his very active participation as liaison to the Planning Commission.
Resident Mick Petrucci thanked Mr. Schenkman for his service to the Township. Mr. Petrucci announced Newtown’s First Night celebration on December 31, 2011 beginning at 5:00 PM at Council Rock High School North and ending at 9:30 PM with fireworks at Newtown Middle School. For additional information or to purchase First Night admission buttons, visit www.allaboutnewtown.org. First Night is sponsored by Newtown Corporation, Newtown Business Association, First Federal Bank of Bucks County, Kenderdine Oil, Newtown Athletic Club, Bucks Local News, Shady Brook Farm and First National Bank and Trust of Newtown. Proceeds from the events will be donated to Newtown’s DARE program.
Resident Jen Dix thanked Mr. Schenkman for his service to the Township as Supervisor, especially for his careful consideration of every aspect of questions which came before the Board.
Resident Jay Sensibaugh thanked Mr. Schenkman for his six years of service to the Township, his careful consideration of every issue and for his dedicated participation in the Joint Zoning Council, where he served as treasurer.
Resident Joanne Bintliffe Ritchie thanked Mr. Schenkman for his dedication to his position as Supervisor, for his careful consideration of every issue and for his service to the residents.
Resident John D’Aprile thanked Mr. Schenkman for his years of service to the Township, noting that although he did not always agree with Mr. Schenkman’s position on issues, Mr. Schenkman was always a very nice guy.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. Benchener moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of December 7, 2011. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Schenkman abstaining.
Bills: Mr. Schenkman moved to approve payment of bills totaling $219,986.70. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $454,892.68. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Chairman: On behalf of the Board, Dr. Ciervo presented Mr. Schenkman with a plaque commemorating his six years of service to the Township as Supervisor; he thanked Mr. Schenkman for his dedication to his position.
Mr. Schenkman thanked the Board and the residents for allowing him the honor of service the community. He is proud of the accomplishments of the Board including the preservation of open space, bringing the Veterans Cemetery to the Jointure and the revitalization of Sycamore Street. He wished the Board good luck with its future endeavors.
Mr. Gallagher thanked Mr. Schenkman for the support and guidance when he gave Mr. Gallagher when he came onto the Board. The members have learned from Mr. Schenkman’s reasonable approach to discussion of issues.
Mr. Benchener thanked Mr. Schenkman for his help and support on the Board. Noting that they sometimes had different opinions on certain issues, he has learned from Mr. Schenkman’s reasonable and balanced approach.
Dr. Ciervo added his thanks to Mr. Schenkman for his commitment to the Township and his generosity to the Board. He hoped Mr. Schenkman would continue his involvement with the Township’s committees.
Mr. Calabro thanked Mr. Schenkman for his friendship and support during their time together on the Board. He has often been the voice of reason during contentious Board discussions. It has been an honor to serve with Mr. Schenkman.
Planning Commission: Chairman Allen Fidler thanked Mr. Schenkman for his service to the Planning Commission. Mr. Fidler reported that member Fred Olivari has resigned due to a change in his business travel schedule which will keep him out of town on Tuesdays
At the December 6, 2011 meeting, the Commissionreviewed the Preliminary as Final Plan for Land Development for Newtown Athletic Club, 209 Penns Trail, to remove a one story brick building and to construct an outdoor pool area with changing room and snack bar, a one story 37,167 square foot baseball academy and associated parking and stormwater management. In addition, the plan proposes consolidation of six tax parcels to form a single 18.034 acre parcel. A grass area is to be developed as a practice playing field with lights. The applicant had received the requested variances needed for the project, subject to certain conditions, including that the pool area be limited to 76,600 square feet, that the use E-5 is limited to a snack bar, only and that any lighting for the playing field would still be subject to review and approval by the Supervisors.
The Commission discussed a number of the items listed in our professionals’ review letters and felt that the plan needed to be revised to show compliance before the Commission could recommend that the Supervisors approve the plan as a final plan for land development. The Commission recommended that the Supervisors deny final plan approval, but did recommend preliminary plan approval subject to a number of conditions including that the plans be revised to show compliance with the review letters. There were some concerns about summer weekend traffic counts that our Traffic Engineer would like resolved before final approval. The Commission would like to review the lighting plan for the playing fields before approval. The Applicant has sought a waiver from the requirement to put in sidewalks. The Commission agreed that a waiver should be granted for the Bypass and Penns Trail sides of the site, but would like to consider sidewalks on Pheasant Run, either now, or at some future time when sidewalks are installed at the adjoining parcel. Ms. Fountain had suggested that the Board might want to consider installing the sidewalks on the other side of Pheasant Run, instead, as there are existing sidewalks on a portion of that street.
The Commission discussed the medical uses at the NAC. The application proposes abandoning the medical use in the building which is being demolished. Applicant Jim Worthington indicated that there are some small medical accessory uses in the main building, including medical weight loss and chiropractic services. It might be possible that at some future time, some physical therapy might be offered at the baseball academy for recovering athletes. This might need additional discussion when the project is nearing completion.
The applicant’s engineer indicated that he hopes to submit revisions to the Township by year’s end so that final plan review can be on the Commission’s January 17, 2012 agenda.
At its December 20, 2011 meeting the Commission reviewed an application for a variance for a drive aisle of 18 feet where 25 feet is required for a proposed McDonald’s Restaurant at 2875 South Eagle Road. The project’s engineer, Michael Jeitner, explained that the plan is a standard McDonald’s layout, with 10 foot wide drive through stacking lanes and an 18 foot pass by lane. The stacking lane is painted and there is no physical barrier between the two lanes. All traffic in both lanes will be one-way, only.
The Commission members reviewed the requirements of the Ordinance, which does not differentiate between one-way and two way traffic, requiring drive aisles to be 25 feet, regardless of traffic direction. The members also discussed the history of the Jointure’s intention to allow for certain uses but to permit them only as they will have minimal impact on our business district. This plan has been forced into a small, triangular shaped lot and is very crowded. The members felt the use was too intense for an already very busy area in the shopping center. It was the consensus of the members to recommend that the Supervisors send our solicitor to uphold the Ordinance and oppose the application.
Historic Architectural Review Board
HARB member Bill Mahler explained that the Board lacked a quorum at its December 8, 2011 meeting, however those in attendance were in agreement on the application reviewed. The members not in attendance were polled by telephone/e-mail and they also favored recommendation of certificates of appropriateness. As this is a repair/replacement of a leaking roof, the members did not wish to delay the review.
David DeFrehn for Goodnoe-Gardner, 2 Silo Drive: Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize a certificate of appropriateness as outlined in a memo dated December 12, 2011 for L. Goodnoe-Gardner, 2 Silo Drive. Mr. Benchener seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman suggested that the Board develop a policy regarding votes taken by telephone or e-mail.
Mr. Garton said that as HARB is an advisory Board, it is up to the Supervisors whether to accept recommendations voted by telephone or e-mail.
Mr. Gallagher said that while he agreed with the method of voting in this instance, he favored public meetings.
Resident Shawn Ward, President of the Sycamore Street Community Association said that his organization is supportive of this application.
The motion passed 5-0.
Newtown Racquetball Club, 209 Penns Trail: Mr. Garton advised the Board that the applicant is seeking Preliminary as Final Land Development approval, however, the Planning Commission has recommended Preliminary approval only for this application.
Engineer Luke Teller and Applicant Jim Worthington were in attendance to review this application. Mr. Teller indicated that the applicant is asking for preliminary as final approval for a 41,500 square foot baseball academy building, a 66,000 square foot practice field with lights and a 76,600 square foot swimming pool with snack bar and changing rooms.
Dr. Ciervo said that he has some concern about traffic issues discussed by the Township Traffic Engineer. The traffic study was waived during the NAC’s last expansion project, but he was reluctant to waive the study again.
Mr. Teller said that a study was done with the fitness addition project. The current plan will remove the existing Dunmore building, which is used for a baseball academy. The pool will be used by existing NAC members; there will not be any impact by this application and no change from the study done for the fitness addition. The Township’s traffic engineer had raised questions about the Saturday peak traffic. The applicant did counts last weekend, which will be submitted tomorrow. The initial study for the fitness center included projected counts for the new entrance on Pheasant Run.
Dr. Ciervo said that the last study projected numbers for the Pheasant Run entrance but he would like to see actual numbers with the new entrance in use. He would also like the study to include the possible addition of a medical use to the baseball academy.
Mr. Worthington explained that the Club will not offer summer memberships; the pool will be used by year-round members. He has 3800 member units, which will not change. The number of members cannot change because he will need to accommodate the members indoors as well. The traffic study will show no impact on weekend traffic, as the regular club use usually ends on Saturday by 11:00AM and the pool would open at noon. Mr. Worthington explained that his club membership could not expand if nearby swim clubs closed because he is only offering year round memberships which would include pool use in summer and he cannot accommodate additional members indoors. He reviewed his membership, noting that the club loses about 20% per year, of which 12% are uncontrollable, due to moves out of the area. The membership numbers have stayed steady.
Dr. Ciervo said that even with the same membership, existing members will make more trips in the summer, returning to use the pool.
Mr. Worthington again stressed that the pool would be in use when the health club is not busy; members use the health club early in the morning while the pool would be used during the afternoons.
Mr. Gallagher said that he would prefer waiting until the traffic study information has been provided and the plan has been revised before granting final approval.
Mr. Benchener asked about the Planning Commission’s recommendations on sidewalks.
Ms. Fountain explained that the NAC’s frontage on Pheasant Run does not have sidewalks, nor does the adjoining parcel. There would be a gap between the hotel and the NAC’s sidewalks. There are sidewalks on the other side of the street. That the NAC could connect to.
Mr. Gallagher noted that there is a master plan for the Business Commons streetscape that should be considered.
Mr. Worthington said that he did not object to installing sidewalks on his own property, either now or when sidewalks are added to the adjacent parcel.
Dr. Ciervo asked about the parking stall size and number of spaces.
Mr. Teller said that the plan provides 692 parking spaces, all are 9’ X 18’; a variance had been granted for this. The small parking lot on Penns Trail is being removed.
Mr. Schenkman moved to grant Preliminary Land Development Plan approval for Newtown Racquetball Club for the premises located at Penns Trail being known as Bucks County Tax Parcel Nos. 29-010-137-140 and 29-10-39-1 prepared by Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, comprised of 34 sheets, dated June 24, 2011, with no revisions, along with a Post Construction Stormwater Management Plan Narrative prepared by Langan Engineering, seven supplemental plan sheets prepared by Cairone and Kaupp, Inc., and six supplemental sheets prepared by Innovative Electrical Systems dated June 24, 2011 with no revisions, subject to the following conditions:
1. Subject to the variances granted on January 6, 1994, December 4, 1997, March 5, 1998 and July 3, 2003, January 6, 2011 and December 1 2011, and waivers secured, the Plan shall be revised to comply with the following professional consultants review letters, unless noted otherwise:
A. The September 19, 2011 Review Letter from CKS Engineers , with the following comments:
Paragraph A1 – Applicant shall remove the D-2 medical use with respect to the baseball academy and the existing D-2 medical use shall be added to the plans and the parking calculations adjusted accordingly.
Paragraph 11 – The Board of Supervisors approve the conditional reduction of 71 parking spaces subject to the requirements outlined in Section 1001(g) of the JMZO.
B. The August 29, 2011 Review Letter of Boucher & James, Inc.
C. The September 16, 2011 Review Letter from Gilmore & Associates, Inc., with the comment that a new traffic impact study be secured demonstrating a seasonal operation of the outdoor pool facility as outlined in Paragraph B1 and B2.
D. The August 12, 2011 letter from the Bucks County Planning Commission .
E. The August 5, 2011 Letter from the Fire Marshall.
2. Applicants shall comply with any and all terms and conditions of the variances granted by the Township Zoning Hearing Board on December 1, 2011.
3. Applicant shall secure any and all permits required by all Township, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.
4. If applicable, Applicant shall supply and execute all financial security documents in a form satisfactory to the Board of Supervisors and Township Solicitor.
5. Applicant shall provide a “will serve” or appropriate agreement from the appropriate water and sewer authorities.
6. Applicant shall provide an adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District as to erosion and sediment control.
7. All lighting shall comply with all Township Ordinances (except to the extent any waivers or variances have been granted), and no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties, and a note shall be added to the Plan so indicating.
8. Applicant shall comply with all Stormwater Management Ordinances and the Township Engineer’s recommendations, and Applicant shall execute a Stormwater Management Agreement in a form acceptable to the Township’s professionals.
9. No use shall be permitted which is noxious or offensive to the immediate area by reason of odor, dust, smoke, gas, vibration, illumination or noise or which constitutes a public hazard by fire, explosion or otherwise, and a note shall be added to the Plan so indicating.
10. If applicable, Applicant shall pay a traffic impact fee on the Schedule of Fees of Newtown Township and as assessed by the Township Traffic Engineer.
11. Applicant shall execute a declaration of unilateral restrictions and covenants, and a note should be added to the Plan so indicating.
12. All Township, review and professional fees as required under the Township SALDO shall be paid by Applicant.
13. Developer shall provide sufficient landscape buffering so as to preclude headlights from impinging upon nearby intersections.
14. All signs shall be subject to and comply with Township’s Sign Ordinances.
15. The fee-in-lieu-of-dedication of park and open space area shall be paid in accordance with the Township fee schedule.
16. The property shall be ADA compliant.
In addition, the following eight (8) waiver requests are granted:
2. §522.4.A of the Stormwater Management Ordinance – requiring no excavation or fill with a face steeper than 4:1.
3. §522.4.B of the Stormwater Management Ordinance – requiring the edges of slopes to be a minimum of five (5’) feet from the property lines in order to permit the normal rounding of the edge.
4. §521.5.B of the Stormwater Management Ordinance – requiring the pre-development rate of run-off must to be calculated with “meadow” as the existing condition. It is requested to only use meadow in existing conditions for existing grass areas.
5. Section 514.9 of the SALDO to allow the edge of the parking area to be closer than 20 ft. to the outside wall of the nearest building.
6. Section 531.5 of the SALDO and Z.O. Section 1003.D to allow alternate plant species for buffering and screening than what is listed in these sections.
7. Section 529.3.C of the SALDO to allow alternate plant species for the perimeter of detention basins.
8. Section 530.5 of the SALDO to allow alternate plant species for street trees .
Mr. Benchener seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Calabro asked about the number of parking spaces held in green.
Ms. Fountain noted that 71 parking spaces are being held in reserve.
Dr. Ciervo asked about a condition to require additional traffic impact studies.
Mr. Garton said that the motion requires compliance with the Gilmore and Associates and the Bucks County Planning Commission letters, both of which require traffic studies. He confirmed that the study would be updated to reflect current conditions and the new use.
Mr. Schenkman amended his motion to also require updated traffic impact studies with the current conditions and new use data included. Mr. Benchener amended his second and the motion passed 5-0.
2011 Roadway Improvement Program Pay Estimate #4 (Mr. Benchener stepped away at this point.)
Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize payment of $32,573.33 to Mid-Atlantic Site Contractors for the fourth and final payment of the 2011 roadway improvement program. Mr. Schenkman seconded, and the motion passed 4-0.
(Mr. Benchener returned to the meeting)
Mr. Schenkman noted that there is a second payment for the roadway improvement program for CKS Engineering for $2016.16, being paid from the highway aid fund.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize payment to CKS Engineering in the amount of $2016.16. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Beneficial Bank, 34 South Sycamore Street, Conditional Use: Mr. Garton reminded the Board that the record has been closed in this hearing for a 3200 square foot bank with drive through service. The applicant and the intervenors have submitted Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. The Township must decide to approve or deny the application.
Mr. Gallagher noted that the Board had spent considerable time considering the requirements of Section 1301 B of the Ordinance, particularly that the proposed use is in keeping with the comprehensive plan and in the spirit and intent of the zoning district, that it not be a detriment and that it is suitable to highway safety. He had concerns about the data provided, as the Township’s traffic engineer felt that nearby intersections and driveways, including the 7-Eleven, should have been included in the study. He has concerns about traffic issues. He also noted that the Township has spent many years developing a vision of Sycamore Street as a downtown center, and the applicant did not consider this when planning this building. He is inclined to vote to deny approval.
Mr. Benchener said that he did not feel the plan was in keeping with the spirit of the surrounding district and has not met the requirements of 1301B. Of particular concern to him is that the plan does not fit with the vision of a pedestrian friendly downtown, since the building does not front on Sycamore Street. He also agreed with Mr. Gallagher’s concerns about traffic in the area and additionally he had some concerns about the internal circulation and access points.
Mr. Schenkman said that he agreed with these comments and had concerns that the traffic study did not include the surrounding intersections. He felt the Supervisors had not been provided with the necessary information to make a decision.
Mr. Calabro said that he thinks any use on this lot will cause some congestion. He would like to consider a right in/right out. He also disagreed with the assessment of the internal circulation. Bank parking lots are rarely full and there will not be stacking all the way around. Nobody is in the stacking lane who does not want to be. While he agreed that the orientation is not what the Board had wanted, we currently have an eyesore of an abandoned showroom. Beneficial is one of the oldest original Philadelphia banks. He sees this as an opportunity to bring a business to the Township, to clean up the intersection. He has not heard any suggestions to work with the applicant to make this project work and do something positive. He also pointed out that the intervenor’s traffic engineer is also the engineer for McDonald’s which will be before the Board shortly.
Mr. Benchener said that the nature of this business is vehicular. A business without a drive through would be more pedestrian friendly and would not have the same impact on traffic.
Dr. Ciervo moved to deny conditional use approval for all of the reasons outlined in the Board’s discussion. Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Ward, speaking on behalf of the Sycamore Street Community Association, said that this application plans to place a building similar to a billboard at the entrance to the business district, facing Sycamore Street from Richboro Road. This plan does not fit with the Township’s vision for a pedestrian friendly town center. He also had concerns about possible sign variances should the use be approved.
Mr. D’Aprile said that if the bank is not approved, some other business will be interested in the property and it will not remain an eyesore. The Planning Commission did offer a number of suggestions to improve the plans, but those suggestions were ignored by the applicant.
Mr. Calabro noted that the Acme site remains an eyesore even though there have been approved plans for the site for over six years.
Resident Judith Norkin said that she is very concerned with ever increasing traffic in our business districts. She felt that this applicant had been very reluctant to work with the suggestions made by the Planning Commission.
Mr. Ward noted that a Planning Commission member who is a professional engineer and planner made a number of suggestions to orient the bank with its front entrance on Sycamore Street, but the applicant disregarded these ideas. He said that he strongly opposes this application as it will undo the work of the Township on revitalizing Sycamore Street.
The motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Calabro abstaining.
Amendment to Stormwater Ordinance: Mr. Garton reminded the Board that this amendment to the Stormwater Ordinance, which exempts projects which increase impervious surface by less than 1,000 square feet or which create earth disturbance of less than 5,000 square feet from regulations, was advertised for adoption this evening. Both the Bucks County Planning Commission and the Newtown Township Planning Commission have reviewed and recommended adoption.
Ms. Fountain explained that in May, the Board adopted a stormwater ordinance in May which conforms with Act 167. Both the DEP and Bucks County Planning Commission have agreed to modify the regulations for small projects.
Mr. Gallagher confirmed that large commercial projects would still have to address stormwater management.
Mr. Gallagher moved to adopt Ordinance 2011-O-3. Mr. Benchener seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman asked whether appendix C, which outlines the requirements for mitigation, would be provided to residents.
Ms. Fountain said residents contemplating projects would be provided this information and staff members would be available to help complete required forms. The goal is to make small improvements manageable by homeowners.
The motion passed 5-0.
Liquor License Transfer Fee: Mr. Garton explained that when a liquor license is transferred from another municipality to Newtown Township incurs certain expenses. Other municipalities charge a fee to cover expenses. He has provided a form and fee recommendation modeled after that used in Doylestown Borough, $1,000 fee and $1,000 refundable escrow. The transfer of a liquor license requires a public hearing. The Township should not make a profit on the fee, but the fee should cover the Township’s expenses.
Mr. Schenkman moved to approve the fee and escrow form as drafted by Mr. Garton. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Zoning Hearing Board Application, McDonald’s USA, LLC, 2875 South Eagle Road : Mr. Garton said that the applicant is asking the Zoning Hearing Board for a variance to reduce the width of the drives and parking aisles for a proposed McDonald’s in the Village at Newtown.
Matt Chartre of Bohler Engineering explained that the relief sought is 7 feet along the drive aisle. He showed a plan and reviewed the circulation around the building. The plan is a standard McDonald’s layout. The Township’s ordinance requires a 25 foot width in drive aisles, but does not differentiate between one-way and two-way traffic. The narrower aisle will be for one way traffic and the design encourages cars to stay in lines. The applicant cannot comply with the 25 foot width in two places along the aisle.
Dr. Ciervo asked whether cars coming in from Durham Road would be able to get directly into the drive aisle.
Mr. Chartre said that this would lead to a pick-up window, where cars would be lined up going one way. A driver would circle the building and line up at the entrance to the drive through aisle. The drive through aisle must be close to the building in order to pass money and food.
Dr. Ciervo said he was concerned about pedestrians having to walk in front of cars in drive aisle.
Mr. Chartre pointed out the two entrances, noting that this is a standard design. Those entering the building are accustomed to cars in parking lots. He reviewed the three entrances to the McDonald’s section of the shopping center including the two existing entrances and the proposed Durham Road entrance. These provide options to exit without circulating the building a second time after picking up an order. He noted that one-way driving is standard in McDonald’s for safety in entering and exiting.
Mr. Schenkman said that this is a self-imposed hardship because the applicant has chosen an unusually shaped parcel. He did not think this justified a variance.
Mr. Benchener moved to send the solicitor to oppose this application. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman asked whether it would be necessary to send the solicitor or to allow the Zoning Hearing Board to handle the application as it normally would.
Mr. Gallagher agreed that the Zoning Hearing Board can handle this application but he would like the Board’s concerns to be represented at the hearing.
Resident Judith Norkin, speaking on behalf of Cliveden Homeowners Association, said that she and the Cliveden homeowners are opposed to the application and she urged the Board to send the solicitor. She noted that the original approvals for this shopping center were granted for the entire center and this represents a change to those original approvals.
The motion passed 5-0.
2012 Budget: Mr. Czajkowski said that the budget represents $14,359,662 in revenues and $14,286,898 in expenses, or an operating budget with $10,674,495 in revenues and $10,874,759 in expenses leaving a year-end balance of $852,806. There is no increase in taxes in this budget.
Mr. Benchener said that he has reviewed revenues and expenses from 2010 through 2012 and noted there has been a 0% growth in expenses and a 2% growth in revenue/ By taking a tough stance on expenditures the Township has weathered an economic downturn and is now back on course. The Township has managed to reduce costs and at the end of 2012 the reserve will be at 8%. The Township could sell the cell tower and bring the reserve to 13% and could see some revenue from leases with Newtown Artesian bringing the reserve to 14%. We have budgeted the real estate transfer tax income at $500,000, but that is a very conservative estimate. If the Township returns to a 3% growth rate the reserve will be 17%. We have also budgeted a very low growth in earned income tax receipts. This is a good budget; it has budgeted conservatively on incomes and has reduced discretionary spending.
Dr. Ciervo noted that the 2011 budget anticipated $6.1 million in earned income tax receipts but we are currently at $6.3 million. We are now budgeting to collect less than the 2011 actual receipts. He suggested raising the income tax receipt projection for 2012 to match the 2011 actual receipts.
Mr. Gallagher said that there will now be mandatory withholding of earned income tax by employers, which should increase the collected revenues. He had some concerns with estimating revenues too high because there is also the possibility of higher than anticipated expenditures.
Mr. Schenkman said that the budget is an optimistic balance of revenues against expenses which cannot be predicted; snow removal has been over budget in recent years and the budget does not include possible union arbitration costs.
Mr. Garton noted that the Board could change the revenue numbers but had very little room to change expenditures from the advertised budget.
Mr. Benchener moved to adopt Resolution 2011-R-12, the 2012 budget, as advertised. Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman said that he appreciated Mr. Benchener’s analysis, which was very informative.
The motion passed 3-2, with Messrs. Calabro and Schenkman voting nay.
Mr. Gallagher moved to adopt Resolution 2011-R-13, setting a tax rate of 2.5 mills. Mr. Benchener seconded.
Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo said that the County is proposing a tax increase this year, while the Township has remained consistent for many years.
The motion passed 3-2, with Messrs. Calabro and Schenkman voting nay.
Mr. D’Aprile wished everyone a happy holiday season, especially our service members serving away from home.
Dr. Ciervo said that the Board would remain for an executive session.
The meeting adjourned at 11:00 PM
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary