Board of Supervisors
Minutes of January 11, 2012
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on January 11, 2012 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Michael Gallagher, Vice Chairman Matthew Benchener, Secretary Treasurer Ryan Gallagher and Philip Calabro and Robert Ciervo, members. Also in attendance were: Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.
Call to Order : Mr. M. Gallagher called the meeting to order with a moment of silence. This was followed by an invocation by Pastor Christopher Edwards of Northampton Presbyterian Church and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Czajkowski said that the Police Report would follow special actions on the agenda.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that as Judge Donald Nasshorn had not yet arrived, he would continue with the agenda, and the special action administering the oath of office to four new police corporals would be tabled until the Judge arrived. He noted that the order of the agenda has also been changed; the solicitor’s and engineer’s reports have been moved earlier in the agenda. While there will still be two public comment opportunities for non-agenda items, it is possible that the solicitor and engineer may no longer be in attendance at the second public comment.
Resident Jay Sensibaugh congratulated the Board on passing a balanced budget for 2012. He noted that the budget shows a 2011 reserve fund balance of $1,052,570. He said that last year’s professional audit showed a discrepancy between the 2010 year-end budgeted and actual balance. He hoped this would not be the case again this year. He urged the Board to comply with requirements to complete the audit in a timely fashion by the first of March.
Mr. M. Gallagher reported that the elected auditors met on January 4, 2012.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Planning Commission: Dr. Ciervo moved to appoint Ted Chleboski to the Planning Commission to complete the unexpired term of Michael Iapalucci (2013). Mr. Benchener second.
Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo noted that Mr. Chleboski has been a resident for many years and is a professional engineer with experience in the public sector. Mr. Chleboski will be a good fit for the Planning Commission.
The motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Calabro voting nay.
Police Report: Police Chief Henry Pasqualini reported that the Department had responded to 983 calls in December, including 2 burglaries, 1 robbery attempt, 31 theft investigations and 30 suspicious circumstances. He reminded residents to report any unusual circumstances around their homes and businesses. Some of these reports have helped to prevent or solve crimes. He will submit an annual report to the Board in late March.
Consideration of an Interfund Loan Resolution: Mr. Czajkowski explained that as the municipal complex bond payment is paid primarily from real estate taxes which generally are not received by the Township until May or June each year and the payment of $202,869.38 is due in February, he suggested that a loan from the TSA 2 funds would cover the payment. Once tax payments are received, the funds would be paid back.
Mr. Garton said that such loans are permissible if the loan is repaid within the budget year, is approved by the Board of Supervisors at a public meeting and memorialized by resolution and if the fund from which the loan is made would have accrued interest, the loan must be repaid with interest. It is his understanding that the TSA funds are not earning interest at this time.
Mr. Benchener moved to adopt Resolution 2012-R-6, authorizing the temporary loan of funds from the transportation service area fund to the debt service fund for the purpose of paying the installment due. Dr. Ciervo seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Calabro asked whether there is any money available in the debt service fund.
Mr. Czajkowski said that there is some money but not the full amount needed. In the past there has been enough in the account to make the payment. The other debt had payment due in June, but the municipal complex debt payments have been moved to February by the bank. The tax bills are not sent out until spring and payments do not come until May or June. The earlier bond was retired in 2009. Some municipalities take tax anticipation notes from banks to cover this kind of payment.
Mr. Benchener noted that a tax anticipation note would cost money in interest; this seems the best option.
Dr. Ciervo said that the Township is still receiving 2011 earned income tax payments. There might be sufficient money in the general fund before the payment is due. The budget had been very conservative in its estimate of earned income tax. If the loan is necessary, it would be repaid very quickly.
Mr. Sensibaugh asked how much the loan amount is, noting that it was his understanding that the general fund balance was over $1 million. He questioned the legality of using TSA funds for other than traffic improvements, noting that municipal facilities improvements are specifically mentioned as prohibited uses of TSA funds.
Mr. Czajkowski said that the TSA funds are not being used right now whereas the general fund is needed for other ongoing expenses.
Mr. Garton said that the TSA funds will be loaned temporarily and paid back, which is permitted.
The motion passed 4-1.
Promotional Swearing in of New Corporals: Chief Pasqualini said that he was proud to announce promotion to Corporal of four Police Officers. Daniel Bell, who has been on the force since 1995, has served as a member of the highway unit, fire arms instructor, bicycle officer, former detective and Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) member. Robert Lupinetti joined the force in 1997 and is a field training officer, Vice President of the PBA, SERT member, bicycle officer and former detective. Paul Deppi joined the force in 1998, is an EMT and first aid trainer, MCSAP (truck) Officer, a member of the major incident response team and a bicycle officer. Christian Joseph joined the force in 2006 after servin on the New Hope Borough and Northampton Township Police Departments and is a field training officer.
Judge Nasshorn admitted the oath of office to Corporals Bell, Lupinetti, Deppi and Joseph.
Mr. Gallagher congratulated the Corporals on behalf of the Township.
Chief Pasqualini thanked the Board for its support during the process.
Manager’s Report Continued
IRS Mileage Reimbursement Rate: Mr. Benchener moved to adopt the IRS mileage rate of 0.555 per mile for business miles driven. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to Dr. Ciervo’s questions, Mr. Czajkowski said that this is the IRS standard deduction for work related travel. This is the same rate as last year.
The motion passed 5-0
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. Benchener moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of December 21, 2011. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. R. Gallagher abstaining.
Dr. Ciervo moved to approve the minutes of the special meeting of January 3, 2012. Mr. Benchener seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. R. Gallagher abstaining.
Dr. Ciervo moved to approve the minutes of the organization meeting of January 3, 2012. Mr. Benchener seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. M. Gallagher noted that the appointment of Township building inspectors should read “following 60 days-notice to the current building inspectors.”
Dr. Ciervo noted a typo on page 5, item k should read, “motion: Dr. Ciervo.”
Dr. Ciervo amended his motion to accept the corrections. Mr. Benchener amended his second and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Calabro confirmed that the minutes whould show that Mr. R. Gallagher abstained from voting on the December 21, 2011 and January 3, 2012 special meeting minutes, as he had not yet taken office.
Bills: Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve payment of bills totaling $366,947.70. Mr. Benchener seconded and the motion passed 5-0
Mr. R. Gallagher moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $189,753.78. Mr. Benchener seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Calabro said that he wished to thank everyone who participated in the November elections and for the voters’ continued faith and support. He represents all of the residents and looks forward to working with the new Board member for the next six years.
Mr. R. Gallagher also thanked the voters for their support. He congratulated Mr. Calabro on his re-election and said that he also looks forward to working together for the residents of Newtown.
Dr. Ciervo said that the Township is a member of PSATS, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, an organization which lobbies the state legislature in the interests of municipalities, large and small, throughout the state. Last year a number of bills were brought up to the legislature dealing with prevailing wage, something the Board has discussed in the past. These bills were not voted on during the 2011 legislative session, but will probably come up again. House Bill 1329 seeks to increase the ceiling at which municipalities must use the bidding process and prevailing wage. The ceiling has been $25,000 since 1961, with the proposed raise to $185,000. The Township has already seen firsthand some difficulties with bidding of relatively small projects, like the skate park pad. The proposed higher ceiling would enable municipalities to negotiate better contracts on small projects. House Bill 1271 proposes to clarify some of the language dealing with maintenance under the prevailing wage and House Bill 1191 allows each municipality to determine for itself whether to comply with prevailing wages. He asked the Board to study these bills and possibly adopt a resolution supporting the bills in order to show support for PSATS’ efforts.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that he would permit some discussion but would prefer to table any action until this has appeared on an advertised agenda. He suggested that perhaps PSATS has sample resolutions the Board could consider in future discussion.
Mr. M.Gallagher noted that there are a few other matters he would like to add to future agendas, including a review of the administrative conditional use procedure, a review of the Township’s various depositories, the telecommunications committee and a meeting of the traffic impact advisory committee. Perhaps a traffic impact advisory committee meeting could be scheduled for 7:00 PM, immediately before a regular meeting, since all of the Board members are on that committee.
Mr. Garton noted that many public entities ask for RFP’s when reviewing their banking relationships.
Mr. M. Gallagher asked Mr. Czajkowski to find out about a proposed closing of the Centre Avenue Bridge.
Mr. Sensibaugh asked how much money is in the general fund, and whether it is below the needed $202,000 to pay the debt service.
Mr. Czajkowski said that after payment of this bills list there is about $300,000.
Dr. Ciervo asked if this bills list was for 2012 bills only.
Mr. Czajkowski said that some bills are for 2011 and would be back dated to last year’s budget.
Mr. Garton announced that the Board had met in executive session prior to the start of this meeting to discuss matters of real estate.
Mr. M. Gallagher announced that the Board would remain for an executive session to discuss matters of personnel.The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary