CAPITAL PLANNING COMMITTEE
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 13, 2001
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting December 11, 2001: On motion of James Bowe, seconded by Elaine Gibbs and approved by all members who were present at the November meeting, minutes of the meeting held on November 13, 2001 were approved.
The regular monthly meeting of the Newtown Township Capital Planning Committee met on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 in the meeting room of the Township Administration building.
Members present were Chairman Scott R. Harp; James Bowe, III; Allen R. Fidler III; Elaine M. Gibbs; Richard Fusco and Phil Vance and Township Manager Robert Pelligrino.
CALL TO ORDER:
Chairman Harp called the meeting to order at 8:30 A. M. and introduced Township Manager Mr. Pellegrino to the Committee.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
On motion of Mr. Fidler, seconded by Mr. Vance and approved by all members attending minutes of the meeting held on October 9, 2001 were approved as presented.
FIRE DEPARTMENT PRESENTATION:
Chairman Harp introduced Newtown Fire Association Chief Dennis Forsyth to the group. Mr. Forsyth distributed a five-page financial report to the Committee which he interpreted. It developed equipment and funding needs and replacement goals for the Fire Association through the year 2012.
Chief Forsyth expressed concern by officers and members of the Association of the potential for significantly increased insurance costs in the near future due to the relationship of expenses and liabilities incurred in the recent terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center complex in New York City, the Pentagon Building in Washington, D.C., and the Somerset, Pa., areas.
That incident made apparent that the "first responders" to such attacks would be emergency services personnel, not government employees as might have been assumed prior to such an horrific event. For this reason, he urged the Committee to become continually supportive of the Newtown Township/Borough Emergency Services Department as has been in recent history since the establishment of the Department.
Discussion followed on tax revenue which supports the departments: three mills of tax are the support for revenue from Newtown Township and three mills of tax provide financial support from Newtown Borough. he requested future consideration of an increase of four (4) mills in consideration of purchasing much-needed equipment as the are population increases in relationship to the services provided. The general consensus was that a preferred way of increasing funds was to increase millage rather than a fund drive, since it spreads the support over the entire community.
Chief Forsyth reported that a house fire on November 12th had an
initial response of five volunteers from the community, which would have been
significantly higher (and was a real necessity) if the Township Emergency
Services Department had not had a holiday. Property damage could be a
significant factor depending on the response team at the earliest possible
Chief Forsyth stated that a NFA field truck responded to Bristol Township for 20+ hours last week to assist in a field fire at Silver Lake Park, (extensive due to the drought).
Director Gibbs spoke in favor of discussing the proposal at a Board of Supervisors Work Session in November in preparation for the year 2002 budget.
Chairman Harp stated he would address other Board members about the time-line for a potential increase in millage to benefit the Fire Association and its' work, and ask the Board of Supervisors to consider asking Chief Forsyth to address them at a December 1, 2001 Work Session.
Member Fidler noted that a "lame duck" Board (two members will begin new terms in 2002) might significantly affect subsequent action; it may become a "future" issue.
Chairman Harp thanked Chief Forsyth for his dedication and service to the Newtown Fire Association as well as the Township and Borough.
ELECTRONIC IMAGING SYSTEM
Finance Director Gibbs and member Jim Bowe visited AMS system offices to
review the electronic system in place and reported on the possibility of
developing the system in the Township. Advantages presented were: reduction of
storage space necessary; employees would focus on "proper filing into
categories"; all department could access the system for their particular
information. Mr. Bowe stressed that time would be required to adequately plan
for the development process.
Discussion centered on reviewing a program operating that would not particularly be related to the AMS System for a broader interpretation of the complexity. Mr. Bowe noted that planning and procedures are a vital part of the initial process.
Ms. Gibbs stated n additional employee would be required when the storage facility is relocated to the present public works building.
Concerns expressed were the integrity of the system and acceptable technology of operations. Ms. Gibbs was asked to inquire of AMS Joe Liebel about other sources who use the system.
CAPITAL PLANNING BUDGET PRESENTATION
Member Bowe stated the Capital Planning Budget Presentation to the Board of Supervisors was well-received.
A budget showing revenue compared to expenses was to be provided to Committee members prior to the December 11th meeting for members to review in advance. The Secretary was asked to distribute documents provided by the Finance Department.
Chairman Harp wished all a Happy Thanksgiving holiday.
On motion of member Bowe, seconded by member Fusco, and approved by all present duly adjourned the meeting.
Respectfully submitted: __________________________
Ethel K. Hibbs