FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE
TUESDAY JANUARY 18, 2005
MINUTES OF JANUARY 18, 2005: Mr. Vance moved to approve the minutes of January 18, 2005. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 in the meeting room of the Newtown Township Administration Building.
Members present were Ann Goren, Allen Fidler, III; Phil Vance and Elaine Gibbs. Also attending were Robert Pellegrino and John O'Bolye, Township Manager and Township Assistant to the Manager, respectively; members of the Board of Supervisors Richard Weaver and Raymond W. "Skip" Goodnoe.
Chairman Goren called the meeting to order at 8 A.M.
Minutes of the meeting held on October 22, 2004 were duly approved with member Fidler abstaining due to absence at that meeting.
New Business: Chairman Goren noted receipt of a memo from Township Manager Pellegrino and Finance Director Gibbs dated December 6, 2004 wherein there were suggestions for increased revenue sources: 1. Increase the OPTax. 2. Implementation of a registration and licensing fee of all contractors in the amount of $25. (Currently electrical and plumber contractors are required to apply for approval). In addition, a fee of $100. for ALL contractors who register would be fixed as an annual fee. 3. A Certificate of Occupancy inspection report requirement on re-sales of properties.
Member Fidler noted that the OPTax would be difficult to track since many young persons have more than one job during a given period of time and the first payroll check now deducts $10. An employee would need to track and prove to a second employer that the deduction had been taken out of his/her first paycheck on the year. It was noted that there would be no need for additional township employees in the implementation of this suggestion,
Home improvement, air conditioning/heating, pool installations, shed installations are some of the various contractors who would be included. Mr. Fidler stated that if a permit would be required a license should be required as well.
Discussion centered on the Re-sale Inspections program: Presently about 700 transfers annually are recorded in the Township. no additional staff would be required to provide for reinspections since the Emergency Services Department now conducts annual commercial/business transactions. A $100. fee would provide an additional $70,000. revenue if enacted. Emergency Services Director Don Harris had stated that reinspections would include fire prevention and electrical systems inspections; the seller would be required to pay the inspection fee. A question was raised regarding second-story decks; septic and water (well) systems which the County now requires. Supervisor Weaver stated a concern and support for the Reinspection since many newer homes in the Township are presently passing the 25-year age.
Manager Pellegrino stated he has proposed a revised Fee Schedule for the Board of Supervisors to consider adopting in February, 2005 which will increase revenue somewhat.
Finance Director Gibbs noted the concern regarding Escrow Fees at the present time do not adequately cover costs involved; i.e., planner/consultant, engineer and legal services. Administrative fees are added and sometimes are inadequate.
Privilege of the Floor
Member Vance stated a review of the document submitted late in 2004 regarding bond loans and rates reflected a needed tax increase of 3 1/2 mills for repayment over a term. In using funds for both land acquisition and proposed building a projected cost would determine the extent of the borrowed amount. He cautioned about criticism from the residents if borrowing was excessive. He suggested setting aside 'rainy day funds' in the budget with the excess going into a Building fund if not spent. He urged further discussion of borrowing matters being an agenda item for the Financial Planning Committee.
Manager Pellegrino discussed borrowing/rates/pay-back amounts. Finance Director Gibbs spoke about a Tax Anticipation Loan, payable at the end of the "borrowed" year. Finance Director Gibbs and Manager Pellegrino discussed the time frame of 'when to borrow' and consideration of fluctuating interest rates.
It was stated that there could be "no new building" without "new taxes", which needed to be stated in the report (minutes) of this meeting. A good plan would be to buy additional acreage (land) at the present time regardless of the building plans.
Member Fidler stated that additional land is only needed if the Board of Supervisors both plan and complete a building project! Planning and building an improved facility would support tax increase by residents in the community.
Chairman Goren asked about the possibility of continuing building/expansion plans if the Archdiocese would not sell land to the Township?
Manager Pellegrino noted that the Wiggins Tract Loan would be re-paid by 2008, the budget structure will change at that time and that a Construction Period, if approved & begun, would consume a two-year period of time.
Meeting dates and times
Board of Supervisors Chairman Weaver inquired of members a consensus regarding possibly moving the meetings to evening? He stated the Financial Planning Committee would be the most important Committee over the next five-year time and the importance of fully-attended meetings. Following an indication of when the meeting room would be available for evening meetings, Ms. Gibbs will advise the secretary of such information who will then distribute a mailing to members for accord.
There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was duly adjourned.
Ethel K. Hibbs, Secretary