CAPITAL PLANNING COMMITTEE

TUESDAY DECEMBER 11, 2001


APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Minutes of the meeting of December 11, 2001: On motion of member Fusco, seconded by member Fidler and approved by all members present, minutes of the December 11, 2001 meeting were approved as presented.


The regular meeting of the Capital Planning Committee was held on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 in the meeting room of the Newtown Township Municipal Building.

At the request of Chairman Scott R. Harp, member Phil Vance conducted the meeting. He called the meeting to order at 8:30 P.M. with the following members present: James A. Bowe, III; Allen R. Fidler, III; Elaine M. Gibbs; Richard Fusco; and Township Manager Robert Pellegrino. Richard Weaver, a member of the Board of Supervisors and Judy Setar, Administrative Assistant to the Manager were also present.

Minutes approved

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.

Old Business

Member Gibbs reported that the 2002 Budget had been hung by action of the Board of Supervisors on November 12, 2001, with minor changes made by the Board.

Discussion focused on items in the proposed budget relating to insurance costs, proposed capital expenditures and costs associated with Newtown Trail, for which Newtown Township expects to support 20% of the total costs.

Note: The Newtown Fire Association is expecting to come before the Board of Supervisors at a Work Session in January, 2002 to discuss increasing the millage in the 2003 budget. The 2002 budget allocated for the Fire Association Fund will be $80,000 as in the recent past years.

A discussion centered on the proposed use of the present Acme building as either a community center or a storage facility. The condition of the building merits serious consideration by the Board of Supervisors and insurance coverage details are being procured. Manager Pellegrino reported that the present discussion is centered on using the facility for storage of records.

Since the present township insurance company has denied fire insurance coverage for the vacant building, insurance coverage is being sought. The question was asked: "Could the township (Board of Supervisors) turn the lease back to Acme Markets?" Mr. Fidler suggested a dialogue might be initiated with Acme Markets to return the building to the 'primary tenant' .....to which Manager Pellegrino replied: "The Township is responsible for the property at the present time."

Supervisor Weaver stated that Solicitor Harris advised the Board of Supervisors to secure a lease rather than any other entity acquiring a lease on the property.

Also the topic of the YMCA establishing a complex/program in the township was discussed.

Member Bowe inquired if the Debt Program might be re-structured at this time. He will reconfigure the debt/decisions with the following considerations:

1. leave debt "status quo"

2. restructure debt

pay-down after 2004

3. borrow, refinance & increase revenue to continue payments.

A quick analysis by Committee members noted that some professional services in the 2001 budget had extensively exceeded projections according to the October, 2001 financial report. Is the 2002 professional services budget anticipated to increase substantially? Finance Director Gibbs answered affirmatively.

Note: the miscellaneous line item had increased 500% over budget and will be addressed by including items separately, in order to trail expenses more accurately. Ms. Gibbs stated the funds expended were primarily office supply expenses, and will be "broken-out" in the budget for 2002. She noted a new line item is for legal expenses for the new manager. She stated she plans to set out "Contingency Accounts" differently in the 2002 budget and will so advise department heads in the township structure.

Manager Pellegrino stated he would prefer developing a "5-year projection" budget as being more fiscally responsible; also setting down capital projects on a 5 - 10 year projection. He and Finance Director Gibbs will work on this concept in consultation with department heads.

Member Fidler cautioned the Committee about some businesses 'down-sizing' and the reflection of less income via the earned income tax assessment, which is a significant source of revenue for the budget.

Manager Pellegrino noted that a report recently received from tax collection agency, Berkheimer & Associates, Inc., showed the average income in the township was $50,000.

Sycamore Street Expenditures

Member Vance asked about expenses relating to the project of Sycamore Street reconstruction. Manager Pellegrino will discuss the anticipated payments from PaDOT at an up-coming meeting with Andrew Warren (PaDOT), noting the township may need to borrow funds on a short-term basis if payments must be made in advance of reimbursement. No bid preparations have yet been completed by PaDOT for work other than the utility work which is nearly completed.

Member Vance asked about a matter discussed during the most recent Board of Supervisor's meeting relating to the proposed construction of a skate park in the township. He understood that Newtown Athletic Club owner, Jim Worthington, had offered land to the township for the construction. Supervisor Weaver has looked at several options where one might be built and all are being reviewed by the Supervisors.

Budget, 2002 & Manager Pellegrino

Manager Pellegrino noted he shared the concerns of the Finance Director and would analyze the proposed budget, considering details to include clarifying sources of revenue and long-range capital plans.

Finance Director Gibbs stated the primary needs of the Township would be the expansion of the administration building; reconstruction of the pole barn for the public works department; a serious need for a storage building and police headquarters. renovation. She noted the responsibility of prioritizing these would be by action of the Board of Supervisors.

Member Fidler advised that the centrality of operations is optimum and should be seriously considered by the Supervisors. He suggested consideration of the Acme Market site as a police department headquarters with the possibility of condemning it in the interest of "public good."

Mr. Fidler suggested an architects' rendering of maintaining every department on one site might be reconsidered at this time, prior to final decisions, since that plan might not be the best.

Next Meeting

It was determined that a January, 2002 meeting of the Capital Planning Committee would not be necessary.

Therefore, the next meeting of the Capital Planning Committee will be held on Tuesday, February 12, 2002 at 8:30 AM.

Members stated the Capital Planning Committee should only be concerned with matters relating to capital planning and the process would include re-educating department heads as they prepare their budgets/needs, etc. The Board of Supervisors will be asked to provide direction in these matters, so that the Committee does not become a micro-management arena. Further directives in these matters will be proposed by conversation between Manager Pellegrino, Finance Director Gibbs and Capital Planning Chairman Harp.

Adjournment

There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was duly adjourned.

 

Respectfully submitted: __________________________
                                              Ethel K. Hibbs