NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE

100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940

Internet: http://www.twp.newtown.pa.us

******************************************************************************************************

Minutes for the meeting held on May 24, 2007

 

The regular meeting of the Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Thursday, May 24, 2007 in the conference room of the Newtown Township Fire House.

Members present were Jerry Schenkman, Elaine Gibbs, Philip Newmuis, Jennifer Dix, Robert Dieterle, John Stranford, John Nejman, Angela Evans and Wade F. Suthard. Excused was Allen Fidler.

Also present were Township employees Chief Duffy and Jean Tanner, Police Department; John Boyle, Acting Township Manager/Director of Technology and Bill Wert, Parks & Recreation Director.

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Stranford called the meeting to order at 7:06 P.M.

MINUTES OF MARCH 8, 2007:

Mr. Schenkman advised that he had one change to the March minutes. The change is on page three, the first paragraph, George J. Donovan AIA & Associates would be the architect for the project not the engineer.

Mr. Stranford moved to approve the minutes of March 8, 2007. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously (7-0).

Ms. Dix and Mr. Suthard arrived after the minutes were approved.

NEW BUSINESS

Department 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 2008 Capital request. The Committee members reviewed the memorandum received from Chief Duffy dated May 16, 2007.

Chief Duffy advised the Committee members that within the next three (3) to five (5) years the Police Department will need to replace thirty-two (32) portable radios at approximately $4,400.00 each for a total cost of $144,000.00. He commented with regards to the possibility of the County changing the radio system and advised that the Township should plan for that happening sometime in the future.

Chief Duffy advised the Committee members with regards to the laptop computers the Township officers’ use in the patrol vehicles. He advised that the department has moved forward and are in the process of purchasing four (4) new units, but will need to acquire six (6) additional computers. The purchase price with installation is approximately $7,000.00 each for a total cost of $42,000.00. In the past this expense has been included in the Technology Department Budget. Ms. Tanner advised on how the system works, that the computers will stay in the patrol vehicles and that the department currently has six (6) automobile computers. Chief Duffy advised that the computers fall under a state contract so no bidding is required and on the additional features that could be purchased in the future.

Chief Duffy advised the Committee members with regards to the Township’s truck scales and suggested that within the next five (5) years that the Township spends approximately $20,000.00 to update the equipment.

Chief Duffy commented with regards to the police officers being provided with the newest and most effective equipment. He advised that the Police Department has purchased two (2) Taser units and that next year he would like to purchase twenty-six (26) additional units. The purchase price is approximately $400.00 per unit for a total cost of $22,000.00. He advised on how the Taser works, that currently two (2) officers are trained as instructors and that an officer must be trained to use the Taser.

Ms. Gibbs commented with regards to the purchase of the portable radios for $144,000.00, she questioned if that would be over a five (5) year period. Chief Duffy advised that the purchasing time could be longer than five (5) years.

Chief Duffy advised the Committee members on work done by Detective Jason Harris with regards to fraud cases and possible funds for the Township.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the portable radios and installing video recorders in the vehicles. Chief Duffy advised that he would be in favor of installing video recorders in the vehicles. Mr. Schenkman questioned why the Chief has not made that request. Chief Duffy advised that he would look into the installation of video recorders in the vehicles and update the Committee.

Chief Duffy commented with regards to expanding the Police Departments K-9 unit, he advised that the dogs are getting older and that the Township currently has one (1) bomb dog and one (1) drug dog. He would like to bring in another bomb dog. Ms. Tanner advised on an organization that would train the dog and give it to the Township. Chief Duffy advised that the Police Department has produced a video of the dogs working and would like to show it to the Supervisors at a Work Session.

Mr. Newmuis questioned how old the police dogs are now. Chief Duffy and Ms. Tanner advised that the current dogs are approximately six (6) years old. Chief Duffy advised that he would like to bring on two (2) additional dogs now.

Chief Duffy advised that the proposed Municipal Complex Expansion plans for four (4) dog pens.

Ms. Tanner advised on the yearly cost to the Township for the dogs. She advised that the expense is in the actual purchase of the dog. She discussed the dogs’ monthly training and advised that if it is a narcotics dog that the County will reimburse the Township for the training cost. She also discussed possible reimbursement from Homeland Security.

Chief Duffy and Ms. Tanner advised on the value to the Township having a K-9 unit. Chief Duffy advised that he would like the Township to have two (2) patrol dogs (drugs/tracking) and one (1) bomb dog.

The Committee members discussed the local township’s that have police dogs.

Mr. Newmuis questioned the approximate cost to purchase a dog. Chief Duffy advised that he did not have that information available at this time, a packet was being put together.

Chief Duffy advised that the dog that Ms. Tanner is referring to would be given to the Township, but that may not happen due to the fact that the Police Department does not have approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Ms. Tanner advised the members with regards to the Gifted Animals Performing (GAP) Program and how it works.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the truck scales and questioned if all police departments have them. Chief Duffy advised that not all police departments have the truck scales and that Newtown Township has the best program in the County. Mr. Schenkman questioned if the Police Department receives calls from other police departments requesting help. Chief Duffy advised that the Police Department does receive calls requesting help. Mr. Schenkman suggested renting the service to other police departments.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the laptop computers being in the Technology Department budget. Ms. Tanner advised that the laptop computers are in the Technology Department’s budget but she and Chief Duffy discussed them because they have more detailed information.

Chief Duffy thanked the Committee members for their time. He advised on the Township’s DARE Program and encouraged the Township to keep the program going. Ms. Gibbs commented on the grant money received for the program. Ms. Tanner advised on donations received for the program.

The Committee members thanked Chief Duffy and Ms. Tanner for their time.

Newtown Township Technology Department

John Boyle made his presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Newtown Township Technology Department and their 2008 Capital request. The Committee members reviewed the memorandum received from John Boyle dated May 17, 2007.

Mr. Boyle updated the members with regard to the funds requested for the replacement of a third of the Township’s computer hardware for approximately $30,000.00.

Mr. Boyle updated the members with regards to the funds requested for the Police Department’s six (6) Mobile Data Terminals for approximately $42,000.00.

Mr. Boyle updated the members with regards to the funds requested for the additional GIS layers and map updates for $30,000.00. He advised that the $30,000.00 would be for annual updates.

Mr. Boyle updated the members with regards to the funds requested to upgrade the vehicle loop detection system to a video detection system for $35,000.00. He advised that per Ron Weaver this part of the Bypass was not done this past year. He discussed the Traffic System Area (TSA) locations and advised that he needs to have discussions with Ms. Gibbs and Mr. Weaver with regards to the matter. Ms. Gibbs advised the members with regards to the Traffic System Area Funds and the Traffic System Capital Funds.

Mr. Boyle updated the members on the items being requested over the next one (1) to five (5) years.

Mr. Newmuis commented with regards to the mobile data terminals and the update to the status of the Technology Department.

The Committee members discussed the status of the County upgrading the radio system.

Mr. Dieterle commented with regards to the funds for the GIS layers; he questioned the cost and whom the work is done by. Mr. Boyle advised that the Township is part of a Consortium of Municipalities and advised on discussions to create a GIS Consortium. Ms. Gibbs advised that the GIS work is done by Carroll Engineers. The Committee members discussed the yearly cost. Ms. Gibbs advised with regards to the Storm Water Management layer needing to be up to date. Ms. Gibbs advised the members that she would review the invoices for 2006 & 2005, once she has completed the review she would email the information to the members.

Ms. Dix commented with regards to the video loop detection system.

The Committee members discussed why the video detection project is being delayed. Mr. Boyle advised that per Mr. Weaver – PennDot will be moving forward soon. The members discussed how a closed loop system works.

Mr. Boyle advised the members on the audit of technology systems and discussions with the President of HPT. He advised that the Township is looking into putting a disaster recovery system in the Firehouse.

Mr. Boyle took the members on a tour of the Technology Department.

The Committee members thanked Mr. Boyle for his time.

Newtown Township Parks & Recreation Department

Bill Wert made his presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Newtown Township Parks & Recreation Department and their 2008 Capital request. The Committee members reviewed the memorandum received from Bill Wert with regards to the Parks & Recreation Department’s 2007 – 2012 Capital Improvement Program.

Mr. Wert advised the Committee members with regards to the Clark Nature Center. He advised that the $50,000.00 for deer fencing of the rhododendron garden is being carried over from 2007 and that the Township is waiting to complete the Natural Resource Management Plan. He advised that he is pleased to announce that the Township won’t be spending $45,000.00 for the Natural Resource Management Plan, two things have occurred. The Township has been in contact with Heritage Conservancy and they will do the work for approximately $9,000.00 and the Township received a grant for $12,000.00 from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Tree Vitalize Program, the remaining $3,000.00 will be used for the implementation of the Natural Resource Management Plan. Mr. Wert commented on the possibility of the remaining $3,000.00 being applied to the cost of the deer fencing.

Mr. Wert advised the Committee members with regards to the development of the Woll Property. He discussed the engineering and design work being done by Gilmore & Associates, Inc.

Mr. Wert advised the Committee members with regards to the Helen Randle Park. He advised that the original playground was built in 1990, he discussed the replacement of the playground for approximately $15,000.00. He advised that the pavilion and the maintenance building were built in 1990, he discussed the replacement of the roofing for the pavilion and the maintenance building for approximately $8,000.00. He discussed the bleacher improvements and advised that the new bleachers would have railings, the approximate cost for bleachers is $12,000.00. He discussed the paving of the parking lot, concession area and the widening of the trail for approximately $75,000.00.

Mr. Wert advised the Committee members on the Chandler Fields. He discussed the painting of the restroom facilities for approximately $5,000.00 and the bleacher improvements for approximately $12,000.00.

Mr. Wert advised the Committee members on the equipment request. He discussed the purchase of a Ford Explorer to replace a Chevy pickup truck; the approximate cost is $25,000.00. He also discussed the purchase of irrigation equipment for approximately $10,000.00 and explained how it works.

Mr. Wert advised the Committee members on the Carl Sedia Park. He commented on discussions that the Parks & Recreation Committee has had with regards to improving the park. He discussed the removal of the exercise stations and the installation of a playground for approximately $5,000.00. He discussed maintenance to the Gazebo for approximately $5,000.00. He discussed the resurfacing of the walking trail for approximately $10,000.00.

Mr. Wert updated the Committee members with regards to the Township opening a Skate Park. He advised that the matter will be discussed at a Board of Supervisors Work Session and discussed possible locations.

The Committee members discussed the time line to open a Skate Park if the Board of Supervisors approved it.

Jerry Schenkman updated the members with regards to the presentations made to the Board of Supervisors regarding a Skate Park.

Mr. Wert advised the members on local municipalities that have skate parks. He discussed lawsuits and injuries and advised on discussions with the Township’s Insurance carrier.

Mr. Schenkman suggested having other municipalities at the Board of Supervisors Work Session to discuss the pros and cons of having a Skate Park.

Ms. Dix commented with regards to the $5,414,000.00 for the Woll Tract. Mr. Wert advised that figure is based off of the conceptual plan that the Supervisors and the Park & Recreation Board have worked off of for the past three (3) years. He advised that Pickering Corts & Summerson was the engineering firm that worked on the Master Plan and this budget reflects that Master Plan. He advised that currently Gilmore & Associates are working on the design and engineering and they should have more accurate figures.

The members discussed the facilities that would be located in the park and the possibility of cutting cost by eliminating items. Mr. Wert advised on his feelings with regards to eliminating items from the park and that most of the cost is related to moving the earth.

The members discussed the possibility of the cost to develop the Woll tract increasing.

Mr. Stranford commented with regards to the improvements at Roberts Ridge Park. Mr. Wert advised that the majority of the renovation work was done by volunteers and through donations.

Ms. Gibbs advised the members on the value of the improvements to Roberts Ridge Park.

The members discussed the grand opening of the park. Mr. Wert advised the members that Governor Rendell will attend a ribbon cutting ceremony for the park.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to restroom facilities at Roberts Ridge Park. Mr. Wert advised the members on the options with regards to building restroom facilities at the park.

Ms. Gibbs advised the members that the money for the majority of these projects come from the Recreation Impact Fees with the exception of the Woll Tract.

Mr. Wert advised the members on the cost breakdown with regards to Recreation Impact Fees.

Mr. Stanford commented with regards to Helen Randle Park field improvements and wash outs. Mr. Wert advised that the problem is being addressed.

Mr. Schenkman suggested moving the bleacher improvements up to the year 2007. Mr. Wert advised that he would speak with Ms. Gibbs regarding moving the replacement up to this year and that there are seven (7) to be replaced.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the request for a Ford Explorer, he advised that he would like to see the Township purchase green vehicles. Mr. Wert advised the members that he too would be in favor of a green vehicle but they are not on State Contract. He advised on how the State Contract works.

The members discussed encouraging the State to go out and recommend bids on hybrid vehicles. Ms. Gibbs suggested contacting Representatives Tomlinson and Steil with regards to hybrid vehicles and State Contracts.

Mr. Schenkman suggested looking into a donation from a hybrid dealer.

The Committee members discussed E85 vehicles.

The Committee members discussed the Township going out to bid for a vehicle. Mr. Wert advised the members that he would look into going out to bid for a vehicle.

Mr. Schenkman advised Mr. Wert that he really likes the format of his presentation. Mr. Wert advised that he would like to take credit but the former Township Manager created the format.

The Committee members discussed the balance of the cost for the Woll Tract. Mr. Schenkman updated the members on what information he has with regards to the financing of the Woll Tract.

The Committee members thanked Mr. Wert for his time.

OLD BUSINESS

Update on the Municipal Complex Expansion

Mr. Schenkman updated the members with regards to the Municipal Complex Expansion. He advised that the closing for the purchase of the property from the Archdiocese should be happening in the next few weeks. He discussed the bridge loan.

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR

Mr. Schenkman suggested requesting all of the department heads to conform to the format used by the Parks & Recreation Director in future budget presentations. Ms. Gibbs advised that the format may not work for all departments, but it could be requested.

ADJOURMENT

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

The next meeting is scheduled for June 28, 2007 at 7 P.M. The meeting will be held in the meeting room at the Township Municipal Building.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Christy Holley, Recording Secretary