FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE
TUESDAY AUGUST 17, 2004
Approval of Minutes: On motion of member Vance, seconded by member Tirpak and approved by all members present, minutes of the previous meeting were approved as submitted.
The Newtown Township Financial Committee met on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 in the meeting room of the Township Municipal Building, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, Pa.
Members present were Allen Fidler, Sarita Tirpak, Phil Vance, Elaine Gibbs, Ann Goren, Richard Weaver, Robert Pellegrino. Assistant to the Manger John O'Boyle and resident Gail Laughlin attended.
Chairman Goren called the meeting to order.
On motion of member Vance, seconded by member Fidler and approved by all members present minutes of the meeting held on July 20, 2004 were approved as presented.
Chairman Goren introduced LeRoy D. Kline, Jr.; Darren J. Asper and Daniel J. Kennedy who represent the Delta Development Group, Inc. Mr. Kline stated he had met and dialogued with Ms. Goren at the recent PSATS meeting in Hershey, Pa.
Ms. Goren had requested that Finance Director Elaine Gibbs send financial information to the Group so that they could review the Township financial plans and come prepared to address possible solutions to the expected loss in revenue in the future, adversely affecting the budget.
Mr. Kline, Mr. Asper and Mr. Kennedy expressed praise for the ways in which the Township has planned, financially, for long-term and short-term expenditures compared to anticipated revenues.
Mr. Kline distributed information for members to consider what plans/programs are available through the Delta Development Group, Inc., which might financially support certain areas of the budget. He stated that there is an un-precedented amount of money available, via grants, other applications, etc., to which the Township might avail itself. He noted some funds are available for a three-or-four-year period of time.
The representatives stated that the Growing Greener Project will be on the Legislative agenda and might possibly be 'tapped' for support of some portion of the Recreation Program. They also noted that the future Capital Project (new construction) could be aided by some of the funds available, more specifically for support of including Emergency Services Program Space (technology/security programs). Too, they suggested some funds might be accessed for shared municipal services, to which Mr. Fidler explained the Jointure to them.
The Representatives suggested inviting Senator Spector &/or Santorum to a meeting to dialogue and gain their support.
Mr. Asper addressed an Infrastructure Improvement Program and possible funding support. Criteria would be considered appropriately.
Ms. Goren noted that some re-zoning might be required in order to increase revenue and encourage further development or re-development. Mr. Kennedy noted that a review of properties and changes of use might help to create a higher tax revenue: possibly a TND. He referenced the possibility of supporting the building of a Giant Food Store in the township.
Suggestions were summarized by the representatives:
- Complete an energy audit (Street lights and all utilities)
- Piggy-back on State Contract Purchases (Already done by Police Chief).
(Cooperate with neighboring townships)
- Develop alternatives for consulting services and contracted services.
- Shared Municipal Services gets positive results in cost-savings.
Note: the representatives thought there were no areas in the budget which were "Out-of-wack" in the 3-years of Township Budgets as submitted to them.
The next step is to identify political realities and develop long-range fiscal plans. A Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis could be done by the Delta Development Group, inc., if requested.
Mr. Pellegrino stated that he would review possible grants for the municipal building project and the recreation program and consider what some zoning recommendations might help support the future budgets.
The Land Use Assumptions Report, prepared by Mike Frank of the Heritage Conservancy was distributed to members and will be made available to members absent from this meeting. Of particular interest should be Tables 10 & 7 on page 15....
Mr. Fidler interpreted, to the representatives, the ways in which the Jointure plans in 1983 were set down; Ms. Goren interpreted how Wrightstown and Upper Makefield Townships work together with Newtown to help alleviate traffic woes and other impacts.
The representatives referred to a TIF... Tax Increment Financing program which might be investigated as a help to the business areas/developers. Suggested businesses which availed themselves of the TIF program: Robinson Town Center, Pittsburgh and Gabella's, Hellertown.
The Representatives might be invited to attend a future Work Session of the Board of Supervisors during the Budget sessions so that the public might hear ideas and possibilities, as well as the support to the Budget/Financing which would be helpful.
Manager Pellegrino stated a possible 1% increase in millage would carry the Township for another 5 years; the Supervisors favor no tax increase at this time; it would take a 2-3 millage increase to support bonds for a building program. Ms. Goren noted that she promotes additional taxes and the EIT with less traffic.
There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was duly adjourned.
Ethel K. Hibbs, Secretary