NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE

100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940

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

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Minutes for the meeting held on June 28, 2007

 

The regular meeting of the Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Thursday, June 28, 2007 in the meeting room at the Newtown Township Municipal Building.

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

Also present were Township employees Ron Weaver, Director of Inspections and Infrastructure Management; Don Harris, Emergency Services Director; Mike Solomon, Planning & Zoning Director; Gary Crossland, Director of Public Works and John Boyle, Acting Township Manager/Director of Technology.

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Dieterle called the meeting to order at 7:05 P.M.

MINUTES OF MAY 24, 2007:

Mr. Newmuis advised that he had one change to the May minutes. The change is on page three, the second paragraph, it should be Ms. Tanner not Mr. Tanner.

Mr. Fidler advised that he also had one change to the May minutes. The change is on page 7, the eleventh paragraph, Representative Steil’s name was spelt incorrectly.

Mr. Schenkman moved to approve the minutes of May 24, 2007. The motion was seconded by Mr. Newmuis and passed unanimously with one member abstaining (6-0-1).

Mr. Stranford arrived after the minutes were approved.

OLD BUSINESS

Newtown Township Technology Department

Mr. Weaver advised the Committee members with regards to the upgrade of the video loop detection system to a video detection system. He explained how each works.

Mr. Weaver advised the Committee members with regards to the traffic response system and explained how it works.

Mr. Weaver advised the Committee members on the two (2) closed loop systems. He explained how the closed loop system works and advised that they are being monitored.

Mr. Weaver discussed the LEDs and battery backups for the traffic signals.

Mr. Weaver advised the Committee members on the request for the replacement of traffic signals and poles at the intersection of the Newtown Bypass and Newtown Yardley/Lower Silver Lake Roads for approximately $100,000.00.

Mr. Fidler commented with regards to the traffic response system and cross traffic patterns. Mr. Weaver advised with regards to the traffic response system and the Newtown Bypass and cross streets. He advised on discussions with PennDot. He discussed the installation of dual left turning lanes at some intersections.

The Committee members discussed the Planning Commission reviewing Township projects. Mr. Weaver advised the Committee members that PennDot officials are aware of the Township’s concerns with regards to the Newtown Bypass and cross traffic.

Mr. Weaver advised the Committee members with regards to the GIS layers and explained how they work. He discussed the base maps (streets, parcels) and the layers (storm water, sidewalk, Newtown Trail, surrounding Township parcels, water and sewer, signals, zoning).

Mr. Dieterle questioned if the additions to the GIS layers will end. Mr. Weaver advised with regards to the updating of the GIS. He advised that the utility companies are unwilling to share information and that eventually the GIS cost will decrease.

Mr. Fidler commented with regards to the GIS and accident report data. Mr. Weaver advised that accident report data is available to the Police Department and that only they can generate that information. He advised that a link would be needed to put the information on a GIS map.

Mr. Weaver advised that there is discussion with regards to linking AMS with the GIS.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the PA One Call System and the GIS. Mr. Weaver advised the members with regards to the PA One Call System. He discussed the street light maps and a possible layer to the GIS.

Mr. Weaver discussed the work done by Pennoni and Carroll Engineering with regards to the GIS.

Mr. Stranford questioned if GIS work goes out to bid every year. Mr. Weaver advised that the GIS falls under professional services.

The Committee members discussed the GIS cost going down over time.

The Committee members thanked Mr. Weaver for his time.

Municipal Complex

Ms. Gibbs advised the Committee members that the Township has purchased the land from the Archdiocese. She is hopeful that everything would be approved by the end of the year. She advised that the Township has taken a bridge loan and on the funding to pay interest.

Mr. Schenkman advised the members on the meeting with Video Gold with regards to making a recording of the current Municipal facility.

NEW BUSINESS

Department Capital Budget Presentations

Newtown Township Emergency Services Department

Mr. Harris, Emergency Services Director made his presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Newtown Township Emergency Services Department and their 2008 Capital request. The Committee discussed the memorandum received from Don Harris dated June 15, 2007.

Mr. Harris advised the Committee members on the request to replace the fire fighting turnout gear. The cost would be approximately $7,500.00 ($2,500.00 per FF/three (3) sets). He advised that this equipment should be replaced every five (5) years. He also requested one (1) self contained breathing apparatus for approximately $6,000.00.

Mr. Harris advised on the request for a fire prevention trailer, with accessories (i.e., fire extinguisher prop, cooking prop, air compressor, generator, lights) for approximately $10,000.00. He advised that this item was requested in the 2007 budget but he requested the Township to push back the purchase so that the Department could purchase computer software. He advised the Committee members on the new computer software.

Mr. Harris advised on the 2009 request for five (5) additional radios for the Emergency Operation Center. The cost would be approximately $18,500.00. He discussed the Emergency Operation Center and the proposed Municipal Complex.

Mr. Harris advised on the 2009 request for computer systems for the office and vehicles and palm pilots for inspections. The estimated cost for the hardware and software is $46,600.00.

Mr. Harris advised on the request for an Emergency Management Mobile Command vehicle for the year 2016. He advised on the use of the current vehicle and discussed the County’s vehicle.

Mr. Newmuis questioned the cost for an Emergency Management Mobile Command Vehicle. Mr. Harris advised that the approximate cost would be between $100,000.00 and $150,000.00.

Mr. Fidler commented with regards to past minutes discussing Police Services and video detection systems in the vehicles, he questioned if the Emergency Services Department would be interested in a video detection system. Mr. Harris advised that from the Fire Department’s perspective he did not see the need. Mr. Fidler suggested that if the State would be willing to fund the systems why not include the Municipal EMS vehicles as well as the Police.

Mr. Schenkman questioned if the computer system would be operable with the Police Department’s system. Mr. Harris advised that the two systems would probably not be compatible. He advised with regards to accessing the Police Department’s system.

Mr. Harris advised the Committee members with regards to the County’s communication system.

Mr. Schenkman questioned if other municipalities have an Emergency Management Mobile Command Vehicle. Mr. Harris advised with regards to other local municipalities who have Emergency Management Mobile Command Vehicles.

Mr. Stranford commented with regards to the connectability of systems between the Police and Fire Departments. Mr. Harris advised that the County has one (1) system and explained how it works. He advised that the County is broken down into four (4) bands and that Newtown is in the east band. He advised on the tack channels.

Mr. Stranford commented with regards to the software cost and the compatibility between Departments. Mr. Harris advised that he has not seen any software that would be compatible between departments and explained why.

The Committee members thanked Mr. Harris for their time.

Newtown Township Codes Department

Mr. Solomon introduced himself to the Committee members and discussed his past employment history. He advised that at this time he had no Capital request for the Codes Department. He discussed the need for document imaging and the permit fees analysis.

Mr. Boyle commented with regards to the volume of files that the Codes Department needs to be scanned for document imaging.

Mr. Solomon advised the members on a meeting with a document imaging company.

Ms. Gibbs advised on the Township’s storage sites. She discussed the meeting with the document imaging company and the cost to scan documents. She advised on the information in the Doc Star System. She advised on interns scanning the Codes Department’s documents.

Mr. Fidler commented with regards to the Township requiring developers to submit digital plans. Mr. Solomon advised that the Township is requiring commercial builders to submit digital plans but the biggest challenge is with the residential applications.

The Committee members discussed the need to scan past history/documents and how to go about it.

Ms. Gibbs advised that Township employees are able to scan from their computers.

Mr. Fidler suggested that the Township require residential applicants to pay a fee to have their plan scanned when making the application to the Codes Department.

Ms. Gibbs discussed the compatibly between Doc Star and GIS. She advised on the Township’s goals and on her attendance at seminars with regards to imaging.

The Committee members discussed having the scanning of documents done in-house or out sourceing the project.

The Committee members thanked Mr. Solomon for his time.

Newtown Township Public Works Department

Mr. Crossland made his presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Newtown Township Public Works Department and their 2008 Capital request. The Committee members reviewed the memorandum received from Gary Crossland dated June 21, 2007 with regards to the Public Works Department’s 2008 – 2013 Capital Planning Proposals.

Mr. Crossland advised the Committee that the Township has approximately 80 miles of roadway and that each year the Township receives an allocation of approximately $355,000.00 from Liquid Fuel taxes. 20% of those funds or approximately $72,000.00 is put towards the purchase of road related equipment. He discussed the increase cost for blacktop and gasoline. He advised that most of the Township’s roadways are in good shape. He advised that he is looking into micro surfacing rather than milling and repaving. He explained what micro surfacing is.

The Committee members discussed the roads currently proposed for the 2008 resurfacing program for approximately $500,000.00 - $600,000.00 of funding from Liquid Fuels. Mr. Crossland advised that some of the roads might be changed depending on winter conditions.

Mr. Crossland discussed the Township’s equipment.

Mr. Crossland updated the Committee members on the request for the Township to purchase a tar kettle/crack filler unit for approximately $22,000.00 (life expectancy –15 years), having the unit would allow the Township to fill the cracks in the spring and fall.

Mr. Crossland advised on the need to upgrade a medium size dump truck for approximately $85,000.00

Mr. Crossland advised on the request to purchase a craftsman’s van for approximately $45,000.00

Mr. Crossland advised that the dump truck and van could be a lease purchase.

Mr. Crossland advised that the Department did buy a smaller front deck mower this year and that he would like to be able to use the equipment in the winter. He is requesting the purchase of a winter enclosure, heater and snow blower for approximately $6,000.00.

Mr. Crossland advised on the need to replace the Mott Flail Head mower for approximately $15,000.00.

Mr. Crossland advised the Committee members on the Department’s

2009 – 2013 Equipment Replacement Schedule:

  • 2009 – additional medium size dump truck $80,000.00 2010 – replace 1994 International dump truck $130,000.00
  • 2011 – replace 1994 International dump truck $130,000.00
  • 2012 – replace 1995 International dump truck $130,000.00
  • 2013 – replace 1998 back hoe $95,000.00

Mr. Crossland updated the Committee members on the need for relief drivers.

Mr. Crossland updated the Committee members on the renovation work to the Township Complex Buildings. He advised that he is requesting the replacement of the air handlers and the older air conditioning units, one was recently replaced under emergency conditions. The approximate replacement costs are $40,000.00.

Mr. Crossland updated the Committee members on the improvements to the Clark Nature Preserve for approximately $50,000.00 - $60,000.00.

Mr. Crossland updated the Committee members on the request to install an underground irrigation system at the Staples Playing Field for approximately $12,000.00 - $14,000.00.

The Committee members discussed the job that the Public Works Department does with regards to snow plowing.

Mr. Schenkman questioned if the Public Works Department is adequately staffed. Mr. Crossland advised that currently the department is adequately staffed.

The Committee members discussed the Wiltshire Walk development with regards to snow plowing.

The Committee members thanked Mr. Crossland for his time.

Newtown Township Administration/Finance Departments

Ms. Gibbs advised the Committee members that the Administration and Finance Departments currently have no Capital request with the exception of the new Municipal Building.

Skate Park

Mr. Schenkman updated the Committee members with regards to the proposed Skate Park. He commented with regards to the possibility of the Township moving forward and how to budget the cost. The cost is approximately $175,000.00. He discussed the possibility of private funding.

The Committee members discussed other municipalities with skate parks.

Mr. Fidler committee that the Committee needs clear direction from the Board of Supervisors.

The Committee members discussed the locations being proposed and the Skate Park being staffed.

Mr. Schenkman advised that he has not seen a final proposal with regards to the proposed Skate Park.

Ms. Gibbs and Mr. Schenkman advised the Committee on discussions at the June Work Session

The Committee members agreed that more feedback is needed from the Parks & Recreation Committee and the Planning Commission.

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR

Mr. Nejman commented with regards to the broadcast of the Board of Supervisors June 27 th meeting. Mr. Schenkman advised that the Township is looking into the problem.

Mr. Schenkman requested Ms. Gibbs to provide the Committee members with maintenance cost analysis for the current Township buildings. Ms. Gibbs advised that she would provide the Committee with that information. She also discussed the benefits of maintaining the current building.

The Committee members discussed funding the Woll Tract. Ms. Gibbs advised that funding for the Woll Tract is included in the bridge loan.

Mr. Newmuis commented with regards to the Township’s search for a new Manager. Mr. Schenkman advised that the Township has two (2) candidates and that a decision should be made by August 1, 2007.

The Committee members discussed the next meeting date. Ms. Gibbs advised that the Committee would be meeting on September 20, 2007 and that she would have a better idea with regards to the Budget.

The Committee members discussed the Budget presentation to the Board of Supervisors and the Committee’s attendance at that meeting.

Mr. Schenkman advised the Committee members with regards to the June 27, 2007 meeting and hotel discussions. He questioned if the matter was ever discussed before the Committee.

Mr. Schenkman questioned if the Committee has ever had discussions with regards to creating additional income to the Township. Ms. Gibbs advised on the Committee’s past ideas to create additional revenue for the Township. She also commented that the next step be with regards to millage.

The Committee members discussed revenue generators.

The Committee members discussed Newtown and the tourist industry. Mr. Schenkman advised on his attendance at the League of Cities Convention in Scranton, Pennsylvania and the improvements to the area. He advised that next year the Convention would be held in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He commented on the history located in this area. He advised on discussions with representatives from the League of Cities with regards to hosting the Convention in Newtown.

Mr. Fidler advised that he did not hear any of the discussions at last nights Board of Supervisors meeting regarding Homewood Suites, but that he serves on the Business Commons Association Board and their interest in the project. He suggested locating the conference space in the unoccupied office complex located adjacent to the hotel site.

The Committee members discussed the plan being proposed by Homewood Suites.

The Committee members discussed the Zoning Districts competing in the Township.

Mr. Schenkman requested the members to think about Newtown and tourism. He suggested having further discussions on the matter. He advised that he believes that next year is the 325 anniversary of the founding of Newtown.

Mr. Stanford suggested that the Committee have further discussions with regards to generating revenue.

ADJOURMENT

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

The next meeting is scheduled for September 20, 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