CAPITAL PLANNING COMMITTEE

TUESDAY JUNE 12, 2001


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting JULY 10, 2001: On motion of Mr. Vance, seconded by Mr. Fidler, with all members voting approval, the minutes of the June 12, 2001 were approved with one minor spelling correction.


In Attendance: Scott Harp, Chairman, Thomas Harwood, Interim-Manager, Elaine M. Gibbs, Finance Director, Allen Fidler, III, Richard Fusco, James A. Bowe, III,  Philip Newmuis, Jr., William Wert, Parks & Recreation Director 

CALL TO ORDER:  

Chairman Harp called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Minutes of the meeting held on May 8, 2001 were approved on motion of Allen Fidler, seconded by Phil Vance and approved by all members present, with one minor spelling correction.

Chairman Harp related that he and Finance Director Gibbs had met with all department chairpersons in the Township, discussing the relationships between revenue and expenses compared to budget for the current year and were pleased that each one is maintaining expenses appropriately.

NEW BUSINESS:

Parks & Recreation Bill Wert distributed a packet: "Newtown Parks & Recreation 2002 & Beyond" as the Department Capital Planning Presentation for the year 2002. He reviewed the information, stressing the variety of programs being offered, goals which have been achieved in the past and ones begin accomplished at the present time, as well as future goals.  Goal #3 is: Make the Recreation Department Component Self-sufficient, which is a continuing effort. "At the end of the year 2001 the achievement in this area is hoped to be 90%", stated Bill, as he reviewed the document with the Committee. Commenting on Goal #2: "Participation" Bill stated the hope of the Department is to surpass the year 2000 participation in programs.

Director Wert expressed the Department and Recreation Board major concern as being space limitations. Using the facilities of the Council Rock School District in the Township was often frustrating, since frequently programs were "bumped" if space was required by the District. Many times, these cancellations were announced with very short notice to the Department. Director Wert stated that some of these problems would be alleviated when the Township acquires its' own facility and can control scheduling of actives.

The School District had presented a "Facility Usage Form" recently which has been reviewed by the Recreation Board. Fees assessed for various uses would be extremely costly, which Director Wert indicated would "shut down" the Recreation Department, since total annual rentals would exceed $200,000.00.

The Recreation Board is composing a letter to the School District (Board) relating the serious concerns related to the proposal and plans to request an exemption to the policies or to have no policies requirement to Newtown Township, with the Township asking for special consideration of the face that there are four (4) School facilities operating within the geographic limits of the Township which heavily impacts services related to them and should be considered as an additional impact on taxpayers in the Township.

Consideration might be rendered by the School District (Board) as it is reminded of the Preston Property agreement and the leverage extended by Newtown Township. The expenditure of +$250,000.00 in the acquisition of the property, which was subsequently deeded over to the Council Rock School District, completely diminished the allocation in the 2001 budget designated for beginning improvements to Roberts Ridge.

Member Allen Fidler reminded the Committee that the School District should comply with all procedures in its' arrangements with consumers; and perhaps a "no fee" policy but "compliance unconditionally protects checks and balances" in all arrangements. He reiterated that there is "little leverage in negotiations when Newtown Township has only one School Board member to speak for it". He urged partnering and dialogue would help.

Member Bob Dieterle suggested a dialogue with the School District reminding them of their commitment to the townships within the District.

Director Wert said that School District (Board) plans are not set down at the present time for future usage and scheduling of events, thus making it difficult to make firm commitments to Newtown Township as it schedules events/plans.

Chairman Harp asked: "Who is the most important person to speak to?" He suggested a discussion with local building principals would be most helpful and will pursue this with Director Wert.

A brief discussion followed about the possible acquisition of the present Acme Store building, which is being pursued with the Board of Supervisors. The suggestion is to lease the property for a period of seven years and continue planning to build a Township Recreation facility on property situated on Wrights Road.

Director Wert announced that there will be $250,000.00 allocated in the budget for the year 2002 for continuing plans for the development of Roberts Ridge and will enhance facilities which might then be considered in planning activities for township residents. In the township budget for the year 2003 there will need to be an additional allocation for continued progress in the development of Roberts Ridge.

Director Wert announced that trees planted at Roberts Ridge and elsewhere in Newtown Township recreational/open space areas will be funded by grant monies and will not impact the township allocations.

Installation and progress on Trail #1 was discussed. It will terminate at the Lockheed-Martin property.

Director Wert updated the Committee on information contained in the recently completed Comprehensive Plan by Lord, Anderson, Worrell & Barnett, Inc. as it relates to Open Spaces and Parks in the Township. He expressed a concern in the recent finding that there is no easement between the Newtown Elementary School property and the Woll Tract. The Agreements in the Woll Tract acquisition documents does not provide evidence of access across School property.

Director Wert announced Recreation Board plans recently addressed by forming a task force headed by Dick Weaver to consider plans for the development of a skate board park on township facilities. The Capital Planning Committee concern is the initial cost of preparation and on-going insurance rates.

OLD BUSINESS:  

Chairman Harp thanked Director Wert for his extensive presentation and stated that the Community Center Task Force would be making a presentation to the Board of Supervisors at the Work Session scheduled for June 25, 2001.

Finance Director Gibbs stated that $250,000.00 for the development of Roberts Ridge is included in the Township Budget for 2001. Mr. Newmuis asked for a time-line and analysis of the plans at the present time.

REPORTS: 

Finance Director Gibbs stated a presentation from the Administration/Finance Department was scheduled for the agenda of the Capital Planning Committee meeting scheduled for July 10, 2001. Also, Chairman Harp and she will provide an analysis by departments in the township of projections, priorities and achievements.

The Municipal Building Expansion Committee will delay further reports and/or updates pending the appointment of a permanent Manager by the Board of Supervisors, expected prior to the close of the 2001 year. 

The Municipal Building Expansion Committee will delay further reports and/or updates pending the appointment of a permanent Manager by the Board of Supervisors, expected prior to the close of the 2001 year.

Finance Director Gibbs stated that an update on the Optic System by Technology Department employee, Ron Weaver, would be included on the July agenda.

ADJOURNMENT:  

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:50 am with Chairman Harp wishing all members a happy Fourth of July, and reminding them of the First Fourth on the Seventh Celebration in the Township and Borough.

 

Respectfully submitted: __________________________
                                              Ethel K. Hibbs