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 January 24, 2008

 

The regular meeting of the Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Thursday, January 24, 2008 in the meeting room at the Newtown Township Municipal Building.

Members present were Robert Dieterle, Elaine Gibbs, John Stranford, John Nejman, Brian Wilson, Glenn Beasley, Mike Gallagher and Jim McCrane. Excused were Philip Newmuis and Michelle Goldberg.

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Stranford called the meeting to order at 7:04 P.M.

INTRODUCTION OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

Mr. Stranford introduced himself to the Committee members, he advised that he is a health and welfare benefits consultant for a company based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, he is a resident of Newtown, has been a member of the Committee since 2006 and was the Committee Chairman in 2006.

Ms. Gibbs introduced herself to the Committee members, she advised that she is the Township’s Finance Director, has been employed by the Township and on the Committee since 1999.

Ms. Holley introduced herself to the Committee members, she advised that she has been employed as a recording secretary for the Township since 2001.

Mr. Dieterle introduced himself to the Committee members, he advised that he is one of the Committee’s original members, he has been a resident for nineteen years and he is employed in the engineering/construction management business.

Mr. Gallagher introduced himself to the Committee members, he advised that he is a new Township Supervisor and is employed as a computer programmer in Yardley, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Nejman introduced himself to the Committee members, he advised that he is employed by NCB Management (a collection agency) and that he has been on the Committee for two years.

Mr. Wilson introduced himself to the Committee members, he advised that he is an accounting manager/financial analysis for a tree trimming company, he has lived in the Township since 1996 and has two children.

Mr. Beasley introduced himself to the Committee members, he advised that he is retired, he worked for a large chemical company for thirty years, has lived in the Township for thirty years, he discussed his children and grandchildren.

Mr. McCrane introduced himself to the Committee members, he advised that he has lived in the Township for twenty years and he is in the investment business. He discussed his experience with investments and budgeting.

MINUTES OF OCTOBER 18, 2007:

Mr. Dieterle moved to approve the minutes of October 18, 2007. The motion was seconded by Ms. Gibbs and passed unanimously with six members abstaining (2-0-6).

NEW BUSINESS

Review Mission Statement

Ms. Gibbs advised the members on how the Committee was developed. She discussed the Township’s past financial problems and the FIMTAF Committee.

The Committee members discussed the Mission Statement.

Mr. Gallagher read the statement aloud and advised that he agrees with the statement, but would like to increase the time period that the Committee reviews the Township’s operating revenues and expenditures. He advised the members that the Board of Supervisors would like the Committee to make reports before them. He suggested four possible areas for the Committee to review.

  1. Debt – Additional Debt
  2. Enhance Revenue/Increase Revenue
  3. Capital Planning (Woll Tract/Municipal Complex Expansion/Open Space & Land Preservation)
  4. Evaluate Cost

Ms. Gibbs discussed the Budget with regards to Schedule J and page 8 of the Letter of Transmittal.

The members discussed Mr. Gallagher’s suggestions for the Committee to review.

The members discussed Mr. Gallagher’s recommendation to increase the time period that is reviewed by the Committee.

Mr. Gallagher discussed a forecasting software package; he will email the information to the members.

The members agreed that the Mission Statement does not need to be changed, but that the Committee should give quarterly reports to the Board of Supervisors.

Reorganization of the Committee

The Committee members discussed the reorganization of the Committee.

Mr. Dieterle made a motion to nominate Mr. Beasley as Chairman of the Committee. The motion was seconded by Ms. Gibbs and passed unanimously (8-0).

Mr. Dieterle made a motion to nominate Mr. Wilson as Vice Chairman of the Committee. The motion was seconded by Ms. Gibbs and passed unanimously (8-0).

Discuss meeting dates for 2008

The Committee members discussed the February meeting’s date and agreed to meet on Tuesday, February 19 th at 7:00 P.M. The Recording Secretary advised that she would make arrangements for a meeting place. The members requested the Recording Secretary to advise Mr. Newmuis and Ms. Goldberg of the meeting date.

OLD BUSINESS

Municipal Complex Discussion

Mr. Dieterle commented with regards to the proposed Municipal Complex Expansion and the Board of Supervisors; he questioned the Boards’ position. Mr. Gallagher updated the members with regards to the Boards’ position on the expansion of the Municipal Complex, he advised that the project may be done in increments.

The Committee members discussed the cost involved with doing nothing and the cost involved with doing the project in increments.

The Committee members discussed the status of the Municipal Complex Expansion and the Committee’s involvement with the project.

The Committee members discussed the work being done by the architect.

Mr. Beasley suggested that a subcommittee be set up to discussed the expansion of the Municipal Complex.

The Committee members discussed the bond.

Ms. Gibbs advised on the Township Manager meeting with an organization called PFM.

Mr. Dieterle commented on the Board needing to give the Committee direction with regards to their plan and how they would like the Committee to proceed.

Ms. Gibbs advised the members with regards to the purchase of land from the Archdiocese and Mr. Levine’s (Parks and Recreation Committee) involvement.

Ms. Gibbs advised the members on the various plans that have been done with regards to the expansion.

Mr. Gallagher discussed the Committee making a presentation to the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Dieterle suggested that before making the presentation that the Committee draft a list of points and put together a cost ramification.

Mr. McCrane suggested meeting with the Board of Supervisors at a Work Session and once the Committee has some guidance having a formal meeting at a televised meeting.

Mr. Dieterle commented on the cost increase due to delaying the project. He discussed the overall cost of the project.

Mr. Stranford discussed Mr. Schenkman visiting the departments and advising on the working conditions of employees.

Mr. Dieterle discussed the cost of the project and increases due to delaying the project. He requested Ms. Gibbs provide him with cost information for the project. Ms. Gibbs advised that she would gather information for Mr. Dieterle and Mr. Dieterle would prepare a cost analysis.

Ms. Gibbs advised the members that the bid package should be ready in March.

Mr. McCrane requested Ms. Gibbs to provide him with the financial presentation with regards to financing the building. Ms. Gibbs advised that she would provide Mr. McCrane with that information.

The Committee members discussed the building with regards to LEED Certification. Mr. Gallagher advised that the former Board agreed to go for the Silver Certification.

The Committee members discussed taxes.

The Committee members discussed the working conditions of the existing Municipal Complex.

The Committee members discussed how to sell the Municipal Complex expansion to the public.

The Committee members discussed reviewing the plans to assure that the Township is not over doing it. Mr. Dieterle commented on calculating the square footage per person. Ms. Gibbs advised that Mr. Pellegrino had performed calculations and that she would find that information and provide it to the Committee. Ms. Gibbs advised that the Township did tour other Municipalities to gather information. Ms. Gibbs advised that she would put together a package for the next meeting with regards to the Municipal Complex Expansion.

Mr. Dieterle advised that he would draft an outline for what the Committee needs and email that information to Ms. Gibbs.

Ms. Gibbs discussed the video that Mr. Schenkman wanted to do. She suggested that Mr. Gallagher contact Mr. Schenkman to check on the status.

Ms. Gibbs advised the members that she would forward Mr. Dieterle information with regards to cost estimates and Mr. McCrane information with regards to finance information.

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR

Ms. Gibbs advised the Committee members with regards to the Township’s tax history and the current taxes. She advised that the Township does not have a Real Estate Tax for general operation purposes, the Township does have an Earned Income Tax. She discussed the Emergency & Municipal Services Tax changing its name to Local Services Tax being $52.00 per year ($5.00 goes to Council Rock School District), which would be taken out gradually over the course of the year. She advised on Budget discussions that took place at the January 23, 2008 Board of Supervisors meeting with regards to the Local Services Tax. She advised on the Township’s loan payoffs that will take place this year. She advised on her experience with regards to government budgets. She recommended that the members read the transmittal letter in the beginning the Budget. She discussed the Township’s General Operating Fund and Capital Projects Fund. She advised on the Department’s budget presentations. She discussed the Recreation Capital and advised that it is an impact fee paid by developers. She discussed the Recreation Impact Fund and park maintenance. She discussed the Woll Tract Fund. She discussed the Traffic System Area 1 (TSA1) and the Traffic System Area 2 (TSA2) Funds and advised on how that money can be used. She discussed the Traffic Systems Capital Fund and advised on how that money can be used. She advised that the Township has three Pensions Funds – police, non-uniform and firefighters. She discussed the MMO Fund and explained how it works.

Mr. McCrane commented on the Pension Funds. He advised that he has two concerns, first that there could be a short fall in the earnings and secondly the benefits themselves are discounted at a lower discount rate leading to a higher present value of the benefits which could create a greater short fall. He discussed the current trends and possible effects to the funds. Ms. Gibbs advised the members on a change that was made, which increased the payment.

Ms. Gibbs advised the Committee members on the IROP plan for police officers and explained how the plans work.

Ms. Gibbs advised the members that the Pension Committee is meeting on February 12 th, at 8:30 A.M. She invited the members to attend the meeting and advised that she would notify them of the meeting place.

Mr. Stranford commented on his experience with the Committee over the past two years and suggested the Committee being more vocal with the Board of Supervisors.

Ms. Gibbs advised the members on past recommendations/presentations that the Committee has made to the Board of Supervisors.

The Committee members discussed the registration fee that a contractor pays.

Mr. McCrane commented on the Committee needing guidance from the Board of Supervisors.

The Committee members discussed grants.

The Committee members discussed the Open Space and Land Preservation Funds. Mr. Gallagher advised on the Boards’ feeling with regards to Open Space and Land Preservation. He advised on two areas that the Township is interested in.

The Committee members discussed the preparing of the monthly agendas and having the members more involved.

Mr. McCrane commented on discussions at last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting with regards to residents being taxed correctly. He questioned if the Board would like the Committee to review the Township’s tax structure. Mr. Gallagher commented with regards to the Local Services Tax and last year’s increase and the Township’s taxation policies.

Mr. Gallagher advised that per Mr. Boyle and Ms. Gibbs that when the Budget was prepared the revenue numbers were put together conservatively and the expenditures numbers were put together aggressively.

The Committee members discussed millage.

The Committee members discussed the future of the Earned Income Tax and the Real Estate Transfer Tax.

Ms. Gibbs advised on the increase in building permits for refurbishing a home.

The Committee members discussed the economy and the Budget.

The Committee members discussed the proposed refund from the Federal Government.

The Committee members discussed the current Budget and focusing on future Budgets.

Ms. Gibbs advised that 84% of the Budget is contractual and if there is a short fall, funds will be taken from the Reserve.

The Committee members discussed the new member Ms. Goldberg. Mr. Gallagher advised on what information he had.

The Committee members discussed the format for the minutes and suggested recapping discussions at the end of the meeting.

Ms. Gibbs advised on meeting with the auditors in February, she invited the members to attend the meeting.

Ms. Gibbs advised the members that she would be out of the office until Tuesday, January 29, 2008.

RECAP OF MEETING:

Mr. McCrane agreed to review financial funding options presented with regards to the Municipal Complex. Ms. Gibbs will provide him with the information he needs.

Mr. Dieterle agreed to review the cost associated with the Municipal Complex and make a list of information needed to help sell the building. Ms. Gibbs will provide him with the information he needs.

The Committee members agreed to have further discussions with regards to the long term financing of the Township.

ADJOURMENT:

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

The next meeting is scheduled for February 19, 2008 at 7 P.M. The meeting will be held in the meeting room at the Newtown Borough Fire Hall, 14 Liberty Street.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Christy Holley, Recording Secretary