FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 16, 2005

7:00 PM


MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 16, 2006: Mr. Vance moved to approve the minutes of February 16, 2006. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously with one member abstaining.


The regular meeting of the Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Thursday, February 16, 2006 in the meeting room of the Township Municipal Building.

Members present were Jerry Schenkman, Elaine Gibbs, Philip Newmuis, Phil Vance, John Stranford and Jennifer Dix. Excused were Robert Dieterle, Allen Fidler and Township Manager Bob Pellegrino.

Also present was Township resident, Bob Conway.

Ms. Goren called the meeting to order at 7:15 P.M.

MINUTES OF JANUARY 19, 2006:

Mr. Newmuis moved to approve the minutes of January 19, 2006. The motion was seconded by Mr. Schenkman and passed unanimously with one member abstaining.

INTRODUCTION OF NEW MEMBER

Mr. Stranford introduced himself to the Committee. He gave a brief history on his background.

OLD BUSINESS

Committee’s Responsibilities

Ms. Gibbs updated the members with regards to discussions with the Board of Supervisors concerning the Committee’s responsibilities. She advised that Mr. Schenkman has not been able to discuss the matter with the Board of Supervisors due to personal matters.

The Committee members discussed the Committee’s Mission Statement. The members were provided a copy of the Mission Statement for their review. Ms. Gibbs advised that the current Mission Statement was drafted by the Committee members and approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2004.

Mr. Newmuis advised the members with regards to the types of transactions that the Committee has been involved with.

PECO Streetlight Fees

Ms. Gibbs advised the members with regards to the PECO resolution and Mr. Conway’s concerns. She explained that currently the Township’s tapping fee is $6.72 per location and that the Township has agreed to pay the fees until 2007. Ms. Gibbs advised the members on discussions with the Township’s Streetlight Consultant, Mr. Ron Smith. She advised that as of now the Township is legally bound to pay the tapping fee and that Mr. Smith has agreed to meet with the Committee on April 20, 2006 to discuss the Township’s options in 2007. Ms. Gibbs advised that Mr. Smith would charge a fee to meet with the Committee.

Mr. Conway commented with regards to the attorney that the Township used for the resolution and the matter not going before the PUC. He also discusses the 1989 Ad- Hoc Streetlight Committee.

The Committee members discussed what the tapping fee is costing the Township per year.

The Committee members discussed the possibility of renegotiating with PECO prior to the 2007 date.

The Committee members discussed the Township’s current cost for electricity.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to energy alternatives. Ms. Gibbs advised she would discuss the matter with Mr. Smith and a Township vendor who may have some information on the matter.

NEW BUSINESS

Financial Monitoring

Mr. Schenkman updated the Committee members with regards to the Financial Monitoring Workbook that was mailed to them for review. He commented with regards to conversations with Mr. Pellegrino. He discussed an Intern who was working for the Township in 2002. He questioned whether the Committee is competent to complete the workbook and if they should.

Mr. Newmuis advised the members on his thoughts with regards to the Financial Monitoring Workbook. He commented with regards to having an Intern review the Township’s information, looking for adverse trends (red flags) to be reviewed further.

Mr. Vance discussed the Township supplying the information.

Ms. Gibbs discussed the Earned Income Tax and the static’s provided by Berkheimer.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to how the Committee would use the information.

Mr. Newmuis suggested having the Intern’s work reviewed by the Township’s Finance Staff and then having any red flags reviewed further by Ms. Gibbs, Mr. Pellegrino or the Committee.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the Committee members and the Intern working together on the project. He suggested having a public presentation once all of the information has been gathered and researched.

Ms. Dix advised the Committee that she has a contact at Bucks County Community College.

Mr. Schenkman and Ms. Gibbs suggested having an Intern from a four (4) year College.

Ms. Gibbs commented with regards to the need to monitor the Township’s cost of services and revenue.

Ms. Dix suggested setting up an excel spreadsheet for the project.

Mr. Stranford commented with regards to identifying the problems.

Mr. Newmuis commented with regards to needing to know what the Intern’s project will be before bringing the Intern in.

Mr. Stranford questioned who developed the workbook. Ms. Gibbs advised the Committee members that the workbook was developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is used through out the state.

Mr. Vance commented with regards to the Committee taking action with any red flags that may appear.

Department’s 2006 Budget Review

Ms. Gibbs advised the members with regards to last year’s schedule for the Department’s Budget Reviews. She advised that this year the Police Department, Emergency Services Department, Technology Department and Parks & Recreation Department would make their presentations on May 18, 2006. The Codes Department, Public Works Department and Administration & Finance Departments would make their presentations on June 15, 2006.

The Committee members discussed how the Department Heads make their presentation.

Ms. Gibbs advised on discussions for purchases over $25,000.00.

Mr. Newmuis advised the members on the value of how the Department Heads make their presentations.

Insurance Review

Mr. Schenkman discussed the number of Insurance policies that the Township currently has. He commented with regards to the policies needing to be reviewed for possible cost reductions. He suggested having the Insurance Companies make a presentation to the Committee.

Ms. Gibbs advised on the Township’s Insurance policies and that the policies are reviewed yearly. She also commented with regards to changes that the Township has made this year.

Ms. Gibbs advised that currently the Township pays 100% of the employees insurance and that the employee has to pay for any dependents.

Mr. Stranford commented with regards to the Township renegotiating the contracts.

Mr. Schenkman questioned if the Committee should be involved with the yearly review. Ms. Gibbs advised she would discuss the matter with Mr. Pellegrino.

The Committee discussed the Union contracts with regards to negotiations.

The Committee discussed the Township’s new negotiating attorney.

The Committee discussed the Township’s post retirement benefits.

The Committee members discussed the different Insurance carriers the Township uses.

Mr. Schenkman advised the members that he is on the Township’s Board of the Labor Relations Committee.

OTHER BUSINESS

The Committee members discussed the Municipal Complex.

The Committee members discussed the current Township building being too small the day it opened.

Ms. Gibbs updated the members with regards to the past plans to develop the Municipal Complex.

The Committee members discussed the past Board of Supervisors not wanting to raise taxes.

The Committee members discussed their PECO bills with regards to the service charge for $5.18.

Mr. Schenkman advised the Committee members with regards to discussions at the February 13, 2006 Work Session regarding the Emergency & Municipal Services Tax. The Supervisors have agreed four (4) to one (1) to advertise the ordinance to raise the tax to $52.00 per year and setting aside funds for the Municipal Complex.

The Committee members discussed the cost that the Township has already spent with regards to developing a Municipal Complex.

The Committee members discussed the Township’s outstanding debt.

The Committee members discussed borrowing the money now for developing a Municipal Complex.

The Committee members discussed drafting documentation regarding the Municipal Complex for the Board of Supervisors to review at a public meeting that would state the Committee’s opinions and recommendations.

The Committee members discussed the $750,000.00 from the RCN Settlement that has been set up in a Reserve Fund for the Woll Tract.

Ms. Gibbs advised the members on the money left in the Township’s General Fund that could be used for the Municipal Complex.

Mr. Vance suggested that when the Township puts out the General Fund in should only show the Operating Budget.

The Committee members discussed the Township’s general operating cost and the policy adopted by the Supervisors.

The Committee members discussed the Budget with regards to public presentation. Ms. Gibbs advised.

The Committee members discussed the Acme site on Sycamore Street with regards to Township cost.

The Committee members discussed the possibility of having a Skate Park within the Township and the insurance cost involved.

The Committee members discussed the cost involved to maintain the Woll Tract.

Mr. Stranford commented with regards to the Committee reviewing Capital Expenses. Ms. Gibbs advised the members with regards to the Township’s Five (5) Year Capital Plan.

Mr. Vance commented with regards to the possibility of the Township hiring a Grant Writer. Mr. Schenkman advised that he forwarded the resume to Mr. Pellegrino.

ADJOURNMENT

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

The next meeting is scheduled for March 16, 2006 at 7 P.M.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

_____________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary