FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE

MINUTES OF THE MEETING ON THURSDAY JUNE 15, 2005

7:00 PM


The regular meeting of the Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Thursday, June 15, 2006 in the meeting room of the Township Municipal Building.

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

Also present were Township employees Chief Duffy; Don Harris, Emergency Services Director; Ron Weaver, Technology Director; Bill Wert, Parks & Recreation Director and John Boyle, Assistant to the Township Manager.

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schenkman called the meeting to order at 7:13 P.M.

MINUTES OF APRIL 20, 2006:

Mr. Vance moved to approve the minutes of April 20, 2006. The motion was seconded by Mr. Fidler and passed unanimously (6-0).

Mr. Stranford arrived after the approval of the April minutes.

NEW BUSINESS

2007 Capital Budget Presentations

Newtown Township Police Department

Chief Duffy made his presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Newtown Township Police Department and their 2007 Capital request. The Committee members discussed the memorandum received from Chief Duffy dated June 5, 2006.

Chief Duffy advised that within the next three (3) to five (5) years the Police Department may need to replace thirty-two (32) portable radios at approximately $4,400.00 each for a total cost of $140,800.00. Batteries for the portable radios will also need to be purchased, Chief Duffy suggested purchasing fifty (50) batteries for approximately $150.00 each for a total cost of $7,500.00. Three (3) new “bank charges” would also need to purchased for the portable radios for a total cost of approximately $3,000.00. The total cost for the portable radios and necessary accessories is approximately $151,300.00. Chief Duffy commented with regards to the County radio system and if the County changes their system the Township will need to also change their system.

Chief Duffy recommended that the radios in the patrol vehicles be replaced at the same time as the portable radios. He advised that currently the Township hastwenty-four (24) mobile radios for the patrol vehicles. The estimated cost to replace the mobile radios at this time is $91,200.00.

Mr. Vance questioned the need for two (2) radios. Chief Duffy advised that the portable radio is carried with the officer while on duty and the mobile radio is used by the officer while in the patrol vehicle.

Mr. Vance questioned the number of police officers within the Township. Chief Duffy advised that currently the Township has twenty-nine (29) officers, but he believes that the department will top out at thirty-two (32) police officers.

Chief Duffy advised the Committee members on the laptop computers the Township officers use in the patrol vehicles. He advised that these computers will need to be replaced in the future, he suggested to start replacing in three (3) years. He estimated future cost of each unit to be approximately $7,000.00 each and suggested purchasing seven (7) units.

Mr. Vance questioned the number of patrol vehicles the department has. Chief Duffy advised that the department has twenty (20) patrol vehicles.

The Committee members discussed purchasing three (3) patrol vehicles a year.

Chief Duffy advised on the uses of the department’s vehicles. He also advised that patrol cars are sold once the department retires them.

Chief Duffy updated the members with regards to the Township’s truck safety details.

The Committee members discussed the scales used in the truck safety details.

Chief Duffy advised that currently the Township has three (3) sets of truck scales and they are all in good shape. He suggested that within the next five (5) years that the Township spends approximately $15,000.00 to update the equipment.

The Committee members discussed the portable radios.

Ms. Gibbs questioned if all of the portable radios needed to be purchase at once. Chief Duffy commented with regards to possible financing that may be available.

Mr. Fidler commented with regards to having a mobile radio in each vehicle and each officer carrying a portable radio. Chief Duffy advised that the portable radios do not have the range of a mobile radio.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the County changing the radio system. Chief Duffy was unsure if and when the change would take effect. Mr. Harris also advised with regards to the County radio system.

Mr. Vance questioned if the police officers need the portable radio when they are off duty. Chief Duffy advised that the portable radios do not go home with the officer, they stay at the police department.

Mr. Vance questioned how many vehicles are on the road at any given time. Chief Duffy advised that at any given time there may be five (5) patrol vehicles on the road.

Mr. Vance suggested having less portable radios. Chief Duffy advised on why the Township needs the number of portable radios.

The Committee members discussed possible alternatives for the Township’s radio system.

Mr. Harris advised the Committee members on why the radio system is necessary for communications with each other and other police departments or EMS personal.

Chief Duffy advised the Committee members on the Township radio within the patrol vehicles used for Township business by all departments in the Township with radio availability. (This radio does not connect with the County radio system.)

Chief Duffy advised that the officers have one (1) portable radio, two (2) radios within the vehicle (County system and Township system) and a laptop computer.

The Committee members discussed the use of cell phones. Chief Duffy advised that not all of the police officers have cell phones.

Chief Duffy advised the Committee members with regards to the radio room and reception within the Township.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the total cost of Chief Duffy’s Budget and the time frame for replacing equipment.

Chief Duffy advised that at this time the Township’s radios are in good shape.

Mr. Weaver suggested that the Township replace two (2) or three (3) laptop computers next year. He explained how the system works and advised that it works for all states. He also advised on the added safety to the officers because of the laptop computer system and the ability to access information quickly.

Mr. Weaver advised on his feelings with regards to the County radio system and his belief that more information will be transmitted via data terminals.

The Committee members discussed communications between Counties.

Ms. Gibbs advised the Committee members with regards to the Township’s five (5) year plan.

Mr. Fidler commented with regards to the current five (5) year plan and calculating for inflation.

The Committee members thanked Chief Duffy for his time.

Newtown Emergency Services Department

Don Harris, Emergency Services Director made his presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Newtown Emergency Services Department and their 2007 Capital request. The Committee members discussed the memorandum received from Mr. Harris dated June 15, 2006.

Mr. Harris advised on the request for five (5) additional radios for the Emergency Operation Center. The cost would be approximately $18,500.00. Mr. Harris advised that the Township could put this item on hold until the Municipal Complex expansion is complete. These radios would be based at the Emergency Operation Center.

The Committee members discussed the use of the bus for an Emergency Operation Center. Mr. Harris advised on use of the bus where the emergency is taking place and the need for an Emergency Operation Center.

Mr. Harris advised on the request to replace the fire fighting turnout gear. The cost would be approximately $42,611.00 ($2,185.00 per FF/two (2) sets). He advised that this cost will come out of the Capital Operating Budget.

Mr. Vance questioned the number of employees in the Emergency Services Department. Mr. Harris advised that there are eight (8) paid employees plus himself.

Mr. Harris advised on the request for a fire prevention trailer, with basic accessories (i.e., fire extinguisher prop, gas fired cooking prop, air compressor, generator, lights) for approximately $10,000.00. He discussed the fire prevention program offered to the community. He discussed the size of the trailer and the use of the equipment.

The Committee members discussed the availability of grants for the fire prevention trailer.

The Committee members discussed the possibility of offering the fire prevention program to other municipalities for a charge.

Mr. Harris advised on the request for computer systems for the office and vehicles and palm pilots for inspections for the year 2008. The estimated cost for the hardware and software is $46,600.00.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the size of a palm pilot being to small and suggested looking into a larger piece of equipment.

Ms. Gibbs questioned the number of units included in the $46,600.00.

Mr. Harris advised he would look into the number of units included in the $46,600.00.

Ms. Gibbs advised that the Emergency Services Department not only fights fires but also inspect properties within the Township and the Borough.

Mr. Harris advised on the request for an Emergency Management Mobile Command vehicle for the year 2016. He advised that the current vehicle is in good shape for now.

Ms. Gibbs questioned the age of the current vehicle. Mr. Harris advised that the current bus in a 1984.

Mr. Newmuis commented with regards to technology and the equipment needed. Mr. Harris advised with regards to technology. He also commented with regards to the new equipment being compatible with the Township’s current equipment.

The Committee members discussed the Township’s compatibility between equipment and departments.

The Committee members discussed the tracking of false alarms. Mr. Harris advised with regards to the tracking of false alarms.

The Committee members thanked Mr. Harris for his time.

Newtown Township Technology Department

Ron Weaver, Technology Director made his presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Technology Department and their 2007 Capital request. The Committee members reviewed memorandums from the Technology Department dated May 15, 2006.

Mr. Weaver advised the Committee members with regards to the additional GIS layers and map updates. Members were able to review the newest map located in the lower level of the Township building. He advised on Township maps for sale at the Township building.

The Committee members discussed the funds requested for the additional GIS layers and map updates for $30,000.00. Mr. Weaver advised on the collection of data, the additional GIS layers and map updates.

The Committee members discussed the funds requested for the replacement of a third of the Township’s computer hardware for approximately $30,000.00.

The Committee members discussed the funds requested for upgrading traffic signal bulbs to LEDs for $15,000.00. Mr. Weaver advised that the project is 60% complete. He discussed the Township’s savings with regards to electric fees and the life of the LEDs.

Mr. Fidler questioned the preemptive activators for emergency service vehicles. Mr. Weaver advised that project is complete.

The Committee members discussed the funds requested to upgrade the vehicle loop detection system to a video detection system for $35,000.00. Mr. Weaver advised that currently the Township has six (6) video detection systems and they are working well.

Mr. Weaver advised the Committee members with regards to problems with the Township’s current video booth. He discussed the need to replace and add equipment to the current video booth.

Mr. Newmuis questioned the upgrade or need to replace servers and the local network. Mr. Weaver advised that all the buildings are connected with fiber but within the building are wire connections. He discussed the current conditions of the servers. He discussed the information being scanned into the Township’s computer system called Dock Star.

Ms. Gibbs advised that all of the Township’s Ordinances, Resolutions, Deeds of Dedication have been scanned into Dock Star. She also advised on what is currently being scanned into Dock Star.

Mr. Weaver advised that the information scanned into Dock Star can be accessed from any of the Township’s computers.

Mr. Boyle advised the Committee members on his use of Dock Star.

Mr. Fidler commented on the need for Codes to be able to access information easily and quickly with regards to property files.

Mr. Weaver advised that it is the Township’s plan to scan in the Administration information, Financial information and then Codes for property files.

The Committee discussed the information being scanned into Dock Star through the Police Department.

Ms. Gibbs advised that the Township copiers can scan information and on the wide format scanner for plans.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to traffic items being on the Technology Department’s Budget vs. the Public Works Department. Mr. Weaver advised.

Mr. Schenkman questioned approvals needs by PennDot with regards to traffic items. Mr. Weaver advised on the changes and approvals with regards to PennDot.

The Committee members thanked Mr. Weaver for his time.

Newtown Township Parks & Recreation Department

Bill Wert, Parks & Recreation Director made his presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Parks & Recreation Department and their 2007 Capital request. The Committee members reviewed a memorandum from the Mr. Wert dated June 15, 2006.

Mr. Wert advised the Committee members that as of this date the Parks and Recreation Department has not received any Recreation Impact Fees and many of the 2006 projects have been put on hold. He advised that the Township was able to purchased two (2) storage trailers for the storage of the Parks and Recreation Department’s Summer Camp supplies. He advised that the camp runs for six (6) weeks and discussed camp registration.

Mr. Vance questioned the purchase of a storage shed for Chandler Fields. Mr. Wert advised that the storage shed was requested by the Little League and has not been purchase as of yet.

The Committee members discussed the 2006 Budget request being unfunded.

The Committee members discussed the projected 2006 Recreation Impact Fees.

Mr. Wert advised that three (3) of the items on the 2006 Budget have happened – fenced dugout and bleacher improvement to Helen Randle Park and the purchase of two (2) storage trailers for the Summer Camp program.

Mr. Wert advised the Committee members with regards to the Woll Tract and grants that the Township is looking into. He also advised on other associations/organizations looking into grants.

Ms. Gibbs advised that the Supervisors have set aside funds for the construction of the Woll Tract.

The Committee members discussed the Public Works equipment charged to the Parks and Recreation Department.

The Committee members discussed the long range capital needs for Parks and Recreation within the community.

The Committee members discussed the demand that the community puts on the Parks and Recreation Department.

The Committee members discussed traditional funding of Parks and Recreation projects in the future and strategies for the Township.

The Committee members discussed the cost involved with the upkeep of the parks.

The Committee members discussed the Township’s need for recreation space.

The Committee members discussed the School District and the possible use of the Preston House. Mr. Schenkman advised the members on discussions that the Supervisors have had with the School District regarding the matter. Mr. Wert advised the Committee members on discussions he has had with Mr. Klein.

The Committee members thanked Mr. Wert for his time.

Newtown Township Codes Department

Ms. Gibbs advised the Committee members that Mr. Harwood has retired from the Township so he would not be making a presentation to the Committee, but he did provide the Committee a memorandum of the request for the Codes Department.

The Committee members reviewed the memorandum from Mr. Harwood dated June 7, 2006. Ms. Gibbs advised the Committee members with regards to the request made regarding the computer program and upgrades. She advised on discussions with AMS with regards to the Codes Department.

Public Works

Ms. Gibbs advised the Committee members that Mr. Crossland’s presentation would be delayed until the July meeting.

Administration/Finance

Ms. Gibbs advised the Committee members on the needs of the Administration and Finance Departments. She advised on the work being done this summer by interns. She discussed construction changes to the Township building for the Administration Department. She advised that the main need of the Administration and Finance Departments is a new building to provide more room.

OLD BUSINESS

Municipal Complex Expansion

Mr. Schenkman advised the Committee members with regards to discussions that the Supervisors have had with regards to the Municipal Complex.

The Committee members discussed purchasing the land from the Archdiocese.

The Committee members discussed the deferred maintenance cost to the Township by not moving forward with the Municipal Complex expansion.

The Committee members discussed the underground tanks located on the Township’s property.

The Committee members discussed starting the process of borrowing the money for the Municipal Complex expansion.

The Committee members discussed ways to inform the public on the need to expand the current Municipal Complex. Some members suggested having an open house for the public.

The Committee members discussed increasing taxes.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to presenting alternatives with regards to the Municipal Complex expansion.

Mr. Schenkman suggested having a professional handle the production of an informational video to show the public the current conditions of the Municipal Complex.

Mr. Fidler suggested that the Township establish a task force committee with regards to the Municipal Complex expansion.

Mr. Schenkman advised the Committee members on discussions he has had with Mr. Pellegrino regarding the matter.

The Committee members discussed strategies (outlining the problems, possible alternative locations).

The Committee members agreed to discuss the Municipal Complex expansion further at the next meeting. Members were provided copies of the plan in their June packet.

Reorganization: Nominate Chairperson/Vice-Chairperson

Mr. Schenkman updated the Committee members with regards to discussions regarding nominating a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson for the Committee.

Mr. Schenkman suggested nominating Mr. Newmuis as the Chairperson. Mr. Newmuis advised that at this time he can not accept the nomination.

Ms. Gibbs suggested nominating Mr. Fidler as the Chairperson. Mr. Fidler advised that he is not interested in being the Chairperson, but he would consider being the Vice-Chairperson.

Mr. Stranford advised that at this time he does not feel he would be the best Chairperson for the Committee.

Ms. Dix also advised that she does not feel she would be the best Chairperson for the Committee.

The Committee members discussed nominating Mr. Dieterle for Chairperson.

The Committee members agreed to discuss the matter further at next month’s meeting.

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR

ADJOURNMENT

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

The next meeting is scheduled for July 20, 2006 at 7 P.M.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

_____________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary