FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE
TUESDAY APRIL 9, 2002
Minutes of the meeting held on April 9, 2002 were approved by motion of member Dieterle, seconded by member Fidler and approved by all present.
The Newtown Township Financial Planning Commission met on Tuesday, April 9, 2002 in the meeting room of the Newtown Township Municipal Building, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, Pa.
Members present were Chairman Richard Weaver; James A. Bowe, III; Allen R. Fidler, III; Philip Newmuis, Jr.; Elaine M. Gibbs; Robert A. Dieterle. Township Manager Robert Pellegrino was absent due to a family medical emergency. Member Phil Vance was previously excused.
Staff present was Police Chief Martin C. Duffy and Police Business Manager, Jean Tanner; Emergency Services Director Donald A. Harris. Also attending was Stephanie D’Alessio, an intern at Temple University who is studying Public Relations and who was assigned to attend a municipal public meeting, developing a report for credit.
Commission members dialogued with Ms. D’Alessio about her University studies and her interest in municipal government, and interpreted for her the work of the Financial Planning Commission.
Chairman Weaver called the meeting to order at 8:35 A. M.
Minutes of the meeting held on March 12, 2002 were approved on motion of member Bowe, seconded by member Fidler and approved by all present.
Police Department Presentation
Chairman Weaver called on Police Chief Duffy to present a Financial Plan for the future budget of the Police Department for the 2003 year. He requested continuing the allocation of $10,000. in the 2003 Budget for any unforeseen expenses. Chief Duffy expressed concern about upgrades and changes which might be required in the Department with the proposed expansion of the building. He noted that three years ago the radio system was upgraded with a life expectancy of seven years. A matching grant was utilized for this program and, as a new system becomes available, he will work with the Township Technology Department for replacement needs.
Chief Duffy noted, with appreciation, the Supervisors’ support and financial considerations to create a “state of the art” department. He stated that the Township Police Department is probably the best-equipped Department in the County.
Finance Director Gibbs urged the Commission to continue determining capital/operating expenses in budgeting and encouraged “holding funds over from year-to-year, if not used”. She noted that she and Township Manager Pellegrino are developing two budgets: one capital expenses and one for general operating expenses. She noted the Township is currently looking for a person to complete grant applications, which would prove extremely helpful in the Police Department.
Ms. Tanner noted that some grants have 3-year terms and prove to be helpful, supportive and lucratively aid in equipping officers/department. However, some decrease each year.
Chief Duffy noted the Council Rock School Board eliminated one officer from the year 2003 proposed budget in the CR High School, North. The Township Board of Supervisors will consider continuing financial support and the School Board is reconsidering the issues, although there were 44 staff jobs eliminated from the 2003 budget by the District. In a letter of agreement with the School Board written by former Manager Hopkins, the Township agreed a 50% - 50% financial support arrangement for a period of three years.
Recreation Director Bill Wert has a journal available which lists grants available by categories, and will be helpful for applications, but someone needs to volunteer to undertake the application process. Some areas of availability are: vests, uniforms, computers in vehicles and officers working in schools.
Member Bowe suggested hiring a grant writer which may be a future happening. Ms. Gibbs noted a grant writer, as an employee, would be a “crucial person” in several departments. She noted that the Heritage Conservancy has been instrumental in soliciting grants.
Member Fidler questioned the future of the area where the ‘firing range’ is located should the Township grounds be expanded? This firing range is widely used for training by many area departments.
Chairman Weaver thanked the Police Department for dialoguing with the Commission.
Emergency Services Department Presentation
Emergency Services Director Donald A. Harris was introduced to members by Chairman Weaver. He distributed a revised Capital Planning Proposal, dated April 9, 2002, proposing 5 additional radios for Emergency Operations Center and purchase of a Pumper for daytime staff…both for the 2003 Budget. He noted the Pumper might be acquired with the Fire Act Grant. He stated the 2002 Budget allocation of $25, 000. will be used to purchase office furniture for employees as they work in a trailer during expansion/renovation of the present building. He stressed the absolute need for physical fitness training for employees so that they would be ready at all times for any extreme physical requirement in their line of work. Excellent physical fitness is a primary need for emergency performances at all times, since needs/demands may arise without warning, with repeated calls back-to-back.
Mr. Harris explained the differences between: The Newtown Fire Association, The Newtown Emergency Services Department, and the Newtown Ambulance Squad.
He stated that the acquiring of vehicles would be in conjunction with the Police Department through the State, noting a request to replace the Fire Marshal’s Vehicle during the 2004 year. The present vehicle is a 1995 one.
Between 2005 – 2007 there will be a need to maintain the Department on a 24-7 schedule, with 8 additional Firefighters/EMT’s. Demands on the present Association consisting entirely of volunteers impacts seriously on personal time and availability. The NFA solicits and trains youth in programming to encourage interest and potential membership but the youth leave for college, work and/or other secular activities.
He encouraged a plan to NEVER replace the volunteer programs since they are needed to answer alarm system calls, vehicle fires and accidents. But the need to consider employees as staff should be planned as operations increase due to the size and growth of the area. He noted ways in which the Department encourages youth to become involved as they attend Career Night events at the Schools and Colleges nearby.
Mr. Harris added that a ‘training facility/building’ would be an asset since the Bucks County Fire School property has now been taken over by the Bucks County Community College. Bucks County is currently looking at property in Doylestown and Quakertown areas as a regional project, since growth is moving north.
His proposal notes an Emergency Management Mobile Command Vehicle in the budget for the year 2010, but could be moved.
Mr. Harris praised the Township for the support of the only paid Emergency Services Department in Bucks County created by cooperation with the Newtown Fire Association. He praised the employees of the Department and quoted the record response times as the “men hit the street from call time to response time”!
Chairman Weaver thanked Mr. Harris for his presentation and interpretation.
A brief discussion focused on the Township Site Plan which will be discussed by Township Staff at a meeting on April 11th.
Ms. Gibbs noted that she and Manager Pellegrino are establishing a Long Term Financial Plan with Operational Costs included. She noted the Audit for 2001 has been completed with Public Works Department renovations/move and storage building reconstruction not taking place, which had been projected. Transfer taxes exceeded projections which were reflected in the final figures. Revenue receipts due to permits acquired by residents increased, as well.
Scheduled new developments/buildings with related income during the year 2002 will continue to build up reserve funds. She noted that during the 2002 year, there is a $700,000. negative impact to the reserve funds expected.
The Computer Imaging System
Finance Director Gibbs noted that three vendors will soon be reviewed by her and the Technology Department and a visit is planned to the AMS System offices with member Bowe, Chairman Weaver and Manager Pellegrino.
Sycamore Street Project
An up-date on the Sycamore Street Project will be an agenda item at the May meeting via a report from Jim Bowe, a member of the Sycamore Street Committee. The design process is being developed by McMahon & Sons, Inc.
The Commission developed a Mission Statement that was approved at the most recent meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
Business Development Council
Chairman Weaver stated he had attended the Business Development Council meeting and suggested that all businesses attend, with one vote per business on matters.
There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting adjourned at 10 A. M.
Ethel K. Hibbs, Secretary
NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMISSION
May 14, 2002 Township Administration
8:30 A. M. Meeting Room
Members: Richard D. Weaver Elaine M. Gibbs
James A. Bowe, III Robert A. Dieterle
Allen R. Fidler, III Richard Fusco
Philip Newmuis, Jr., Phil Vance
A G E N D A
1. Call to Order
2. Approval of Minutes: April 9, 2002
3. New Business:
a. Technology Department Future Financial Plans: 2003 Budget Requests
b. Parks & Recreation Future Financial Plans: 2003 Budget Requests
c. Capitalization Policy of Fixed Assets: Discussion
4. Old Business:
a. Township Site Plan Up-Date
b. Long Term Financial Plan Up-Date: Township Manager Pellegrino
c. Computer Imaging System Up-Date: Finance Director Gibbs
d. Sycamore Street Project Up-Date: Jim Bowe