FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 21, 2004


DRAFT - SUBJECT TO AMENDMENT BY FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE UNTIL APPROVED


The Newtown Township Financial Committee met on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 in the meeting room of the Township Municipal Building, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, Pa.

Members present were Allen Fidler, Sarita Tirpak, Phil Vance, Ann Goren, Robert Pellegrino, Phil Newmuis and Ryan O'Keefe. Assistant to the Manager John O'Boye attended.

The meeting was called to order at 8:05 A. M. and on motion of member Vance, seconded by member Tirpak and approved by all members present, minutes of the previous meeting were approved as submitted.

Township Manager Pellegrino distributed copies of the Proposed 2005 Budget Projections for the General Fund. He noted this was a rough draft, having used assumptions in some categories which may be altered when final figures/expenditures are included later in the year.

In Local Tax Enabling Act Taxes the Earned Income Tax for Non-Residents may not be reflected in accuracy when total amounts are received form businesses.

He noted that an impact to the projected figures would be significantly changed if a Building Project is begun during the years of present projections. He stated that a 4% increase must be included for salaries/benefits, etc., due to presently-approved union contracts which so designate the increases for a period of time covered by said contracts. He noted the severe increase in medical benefits costs had a serious impact on future costs to the Township.

A brief discussion followed relating to fuel tax revenue and its' affect on Highway-Aid funded projections for support, using those revenues.

A brief discussion centered on the use of one mill of income presently assessed for Debt Service when it would no longer be needed due to the planned pay-off of the Wiggins Tract agreements. Present millage is 4 1/2 in the Debt Service budget and Manager Pellegrino will suggest to the Board of Supervisors that the one millage be applied in the future budget to the Recreation Fund.

Discussion centered on future costs which will impact the budgets: development of the Woll Tract and/or new building construction. Either one or both expenditures will seriously affect budgets in the future. Perhaps only one might be seriously considered when funding is considered and more facts become reality.

Member Vance suggested a wise plan might be to increase millage by 1% at this time in lieu of assessing a larger millage at one time in the future when building or developing recreational fields become issues. Manager Pellegrino has indicated he would not advise the Board of Supervisors to increase millage in 2005.

Manager Pellegrino was asked to include an additional column to the projections so that percentages of increase/decrease could be reflected. This would enable the Board of Supervisors to better comprehend:  Earned Income Tax
                                                                                                Medical Benefits
                                                                                                Maintenance of Parks/Open Space, etc.,
                                                                                                        (Not capital projections)

A brief discussion focused on the expenditures of the Maintenance Department costs to maintain Park facilities: consider out-sourcing mowing/maintenance costs? Comparison of seasonal employees (who receive no added benefits) compared to out-sourcing expenses was a negative finding: It would probably cost more to out-source this responsibility.

Member O'Keefe suggested consideration be given by the Board of Supervisors to secure estimates of floating bonds today to use tomorrow when rates will surely be higher. Member Fidler noted that the present time is the best time to increase the tax base to residents, providing them with the education and understanding of township projections into the future as they compare projected amenities to new provisions for all township residents use on a long-term basis.

Perhaps a chart indicating a comparison of costs of borrowing now to a future time would be helpful. A glimpse into borrowing in 2008 or 2009 would be helpful as the Board of Supervisors must consider a future plan of action.

Chairman Goren stated that the development of residences, compared to commercial buildings was that the income tax and property tax are retained in the Township. Opposition to residential development would be the serious impact to the school district. The Board of Supervisors should discuss "how to use growth and expansion appropriately".

Further development in communities surrounding Newtown Township have a serious impact on traffic in the Township. Could Impact Fees be shared which would support rising costs of addressing the influx and impact?

Future meetings for 2004: The November and December meetings of the Financial Planning Committee will be cancelled for 2004. The October meeting will consider comments and suggestions by members who will have studied the Proposed document. Members were urged to attend with written suggestions so that a memo to the Board of Supervisors could be developed as they consider adoption of the Projected Budget for 2005 - 2009.

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

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

____________________
Ethel K. Hibbs, Secretary

 

THE NEXT MEETING OF THE FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE HAS BEEN RE-SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22ND.

If you are unable to attend this important meeting, please notify Chairman Goren.