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 May 22, 2008

 

The regular meeting of the Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Thursday, May 22, 2008 in the meeting room at the Newtown Township Municipal Building.

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

Also present were Township employees John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager/Director of Technology; Beth Leone, Technology Department; Don Harris, Emergency Services Director; Ron Weaver, Director of Inspections and Infrastructure Management; Mike Solomon, Planning & Zoning Director and Bill Wert, Parks & Recreation Director; J. Alan Herr, HPT Systems Inc.

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Beasley called the meeting to order at 7:07 P.M.

MINUTES OF April 24, 2008:

Mr. McCrane advised that he had changes to the minutes. The first change is on page 1, under Old Business, Discuss Municipal Complex Expansion, Boenning & Scattergood, Inc. presentation by Michael Wolf, the second paragraph, the first sentence should read – Mr. McCrane commented with regards to principal and interest; he questioned if the bond would be structured similar to mortgage style level pay. The second change is on page 3, the fourth paragraph should read – The members discussed having a Bond Counsel.

Mr. Stranford moved to approve the minutes of April 24, 2008. The motion was seconded by Mr. McCrane and passed unanimously with one member abstaining (4-0-1).

New Business:

Department Capital Budget Presentations

Newtown Township Technology Department

Mr. Boyle, Assistant Township Manager/Technology Director updated the Committee with regards to the Technology Department and their 2009 Capital request and five (5) year plan. He introduced J. Alan Herr, Beth Leone and Ron Weaver. The Committee discussed the memorandum received from John Boyle dated May 16, 2008.

Mr. Beasley questioned where the Township is now and where they expect to be in five years. Mr. Weaver advised on the Department’s history with regards to technology.

Mr. Boyle advised that Mr. Herr is scheduled to appear before the Technology Committee next week.

Mr. Herr advised with regards to where the Township is now with regards to the Department. He discussed the replacement and security of the Township’s equipment. He advised that a formal inventory of the Township’s equipment has been conducted. He advised on the Township’s goals for the Department. He reported on technical and personnel policies that have been put into place. He discussed areas of growth within the Department and advised that the process will always continue. He advised on the Department’s request for 2009 and the five (5) year plan.

Mr. McCrane questioned if there are any benefits to the Township purchasing the eleven (11) PCs at the same time or to do a bulk purchase with other local municipalities. Mr. Herr advised with regards to purchasing the PCs at one time and a bulk purchase. Mr. Weaver advised that most equipment is purchased under state contract. Ms. Leone and Mr. Weaver advised on how quickly technology can change and how the cost for computers can change over a few months.

Mr. McCrane commented with regards to disaster recovery and if the Township would consider out sourcing. Mr. Herr advised with regards to out sourcing for disaster recovery.

Mr. Herr discussed the services provided by HPT Systems Inc. and the Township managing their hardware.

Mr. Stranford commented with regards to the storage of documents. Mr. Boyle advised with regards to the Township hiring a company to scan documents; he discussed the storage units that the Township currently has and advised on meetings with a document imaging company.

Mr. Wilson commented on the cost of the eleven (11) PCs. Mr. Herr advised with regards to the cost of the PCs. Ms. Leone advised that she handles the setup of the computers and installs the software.

Mr. Gallagher advised that the Technology Committee would be reviewing the Technology Department’s budget request and that he would update this Committee before the June meeting.

The members agreed to have further discussions with regards to the Department’s budget request once the Technology Committee has reviewed the request.

Mr. Beasley commented with regards to seeing a projected five (5) year plan for the Department.

Mr. Wilson commented with regards to the Township having remote access for the Police or employees to work from home. Mr. Herr advised with regards to remote access.

The Committee thanked Mr. Boyle, Ms. Leone, Mr. Weaver and Mr. Herr for their time.

The members discussed the information provided with regards to MuniLogic (created by Carroll Engineering). Mr. Weaver updated the members with regards to the Geographical Information System (GIS), he discussed the base map and the different layers. He advised on who the Township shares the GIS information with. He advised on the work done by Carroll Engineering. He advised that it is the Township’s goal for all employees to have access to the GIS from their desktop computer.

Mr. Beasley questioned the value of the MuniLogic system to the Township. Mr. Weaver advised with regards to the benefits from the system.

Mr. Weaver advised that Horsham Township would be using MuniLogic. He advised that the system the Township is currently using is Cartagraph and that it is not user friendly. He advised that he should have more information regarding MuniLogic before the 2009 Budget is prepared and that the purchase of the system may not fall under capital request.

The members discussed the cost involved with the new system and the cost involved with the old system.

Mr. Weaver updated the members with regards to the 2009 Budget for streetlights and traffic signals. He advised that approximately sixty-eight (68) poles and thirty-two (32) fixtures need to be replaced in Newtown Crossing at approximately $1,500.00 per streetlight.

Mr. Gallagher advised on the money in the Streetlight Fund.

Mr. Weaver advised that he would provide the members with a map of the problem area.

Mr. Weaver advised on the replacement of traffic lights.

Mr. Weaver advised on the replacement and addition of traffic detection cameras with TSA money.

The members thanked Mr. Weaver for the update.

Newtown Township Codes Department

Mr. Solomon, Planning & Zoning Director made his presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Newtown Township Codes Department and their 2009 Capital request. The Committee discussed the memorandum received from Mike Solomon dated May 13, 2008.

Mr. McCrane commented with regards to the Department’s benefit of a new building.

The members discussed how the MuniLogic system could benefit the Department with regards to accessing information.

Mr. Wilson commented with regards to permit fees. Mr. Solomon reported that the permit fees are reviewed annually.

Mr. McCrane commented on the request for information that the Department receives. Mr. Solomon advised on the types of request that the Department receives.

Mr. Wilson questioned the amount of fees collected by the Department annually. Mr. Solomon advised on the money budgeted this year.

The members discussed how permit fees are calculated. Mr. Solomon advised that the fees depend on the project.

The members thanked Mr. Solomon for his time.

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 2009 Capital request. The Committee discussed the memorandum received from Don Harris dated May 19, 2008.

Mr. Harris advised on the request to replace the Fire Marshal’s vehicle. The cost would be approximately $32,500.00. He advised that currently the Department has three (3) vehicles (a 2000 Blazer, a 2004 F-250 Pickup Truck and a 2006 Expedition) and that there is a ten (10) year turnover for vehicles.

Mr. Harris advised on the request for a 10’ X 12’ storage shed. The cost would be approximately $2,500.00. He discussed the Department’s storage issues.

Mr. Harris advised with regards to the purchase of turn out gear, which should be replaced every five (5) years. The Department will need to start replacing the current gear in 2013. The old gear will be used for backup. The cost is approximately $4,000.00 per person.

Mr. Harris advised on the request to replace the self-contained breathing apparatus. The cost would be approximately $15,000.00 for two (2). He advised on the Fire Association replacing their equipment. He advised that he would like to purchase one (1) this year and that the money is already in the 2008 Budget.

Mr. Harris advised on the request to purchase a fire prevention trailer in 2010. The cost would be approximately $10,000.00. He advised that this item was approved for purchase in the past but he pushed the purchase back so that the Department could buy turn out gear. Mr. Beasley questioned if the trailer could be shared with other municipalities. Mr. Harris advised with regards to sharing the trailer and the difficulty of a joint purchase.

Mr. Harris advised on the request to purchase five (5) additional radio’s for the Emergency Operation Center in 2010. The cost would be approximately $25,000.00. He discussed the Township having an EOC once the proposed Municipal Complex expansion is completed. Mr. McCrane discussed funds that may be available from the government with regards to homeland security. Mr. Harris advised with regards to the availability of funds from the government. The members discussed looking into grants. Mr. Gallagher advised with regards to the Supervisors plans for the expansion of the Municipal Complex and the EOC.

Mr. Harris advised on the request to purchase computer systems for vehicles, CAD & Inspections in 2010. The cost would be approximately $15,000.00. He advised with regards to the county and mobile date terminals in three (3) vehicles. He explained the benefits. Mr. McCrane questioned if funds are available. Mr. Harris advised that he would research the availability of funds. The members discussed the availability of grants. Mr. Harris advised that maintenance and installation costs would fall under the Operating Budget.

Mr. Harris advised on the request to replace the special service vehicle in 2011. The cost would be approximately $30,000.00.

Mr. Harris advised on the request to replace the Emergency Management Mobile Command Vehicle in 2016. The cost would be approximately $50,000.00.

The members thanked Mr. Harris for his time.

Newtown Township Parks & Recreation Department

Mr. Wert, Parks & Recreation Director made his presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Newtown Township Parks & Recreation Department and their 2009 Capital request. The Committee discussed the memorandum received from Bill Wert dated May 15, 2008 with regards to the Parks & Recreation Department’s 2009 – 2014 Capital Improvement Program.

Mr. Wert updated the members with regards to the Woll Tract. The cost for developing is approximately $3,235,119.00. He advised on the money that has been put into the Woll Tract Fund. He discussed the Recreation Impact Fees.

Mr. Wert discussed items that are being reintroduced from 2008, he advised that they are marked with asterisks.

Mr. Wert advised with regards to the removal/replacement of playground equipment at Helen Randle Park. The cost for the new playground equipment is approximately $30,000.00.

Mr. Wert advised with regards to the bathrooms being proposed for Roberts Ridge Park. The cost for engineering and restrooms is approximately $178,000.000. The members discussed alternatives for what is being proposed. Mr. Wert suggested taking a road trip to view an alternative facility (example - Peace Valley Nature Center). The members agreed that there would be cost for maintaining the facility.

Mr. Gallagher discussed the proposed cost for developing the Woll Tract and advised on discussions at the last Supervisors’ meeting. The approved level sited by the Supervisors is $2.6 Million.

Mr. Wert advised with regards to the items listed in the May 15, 2008 memorandum, he discussed items that were identified in 1999 Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan. He advised on a grant that has been submitted to the Department of Conversation and Natural Resources to updated the 1999 Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Wert commented with regards to the denial of the renovations to the current Public Works building.

Mr. Gallagher discussed Tyler State Park with regards to the Township using the fields within the park. Mr. Wert advised that Tyler State Park is a state facility. The members discussed the possibility of the Township developing playing fields within Tyler State Park.

The members discussed the cost for developing soccer fields at the Wiggins Tract.

The members discussed Chandler Field with regards to the cost involved for paving the parking lot. Mr. Wert advised that paving the parking lot was part of the agreement of sale.

The members discussed Helen Randle Park with regards to the cost for paving and suggested breaking up the work.

The members discussed the parking lot expansion at Roberts Ridge Park.

The members discussed Roberts Ridge Park with regards to vehicles parking along Lower Dolington Road. Several members expressed concerns with regards to safety.

The members thanked Mr. Wert for his time.

OLD BUSINESS:

Presentation on bond refinancing at the May 28, 2008 Supervisors meeting

The members discussed the presentation to the Supervisors at the May 28, 2008 meeting. It was agreed that Mr. Gallagher would introduce Mr. McCrane who would recommend that the Supervisors go with the auction process for the bond.

First American Municipals – bond proposal

The members discussed the information received from First American Municipals. Mr. McCrane discussed the auction process and advised on discussions with the fellow who is involved with financing for Council Rock School District. The members agreed to recommend the auction process to the Supervisors.

Budget Process

The members agreed to review the outline provided by Ms. Gibbs and discuss the budget process and the Committee’s role at the June meeting.

The members discussed the use of MuniCast with regards to the budget.

The members discussed having the Township Department’s make their budget presentations over a longer time period.

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR:

The members discussed postponing the Police Department’s Capital Budget presentation until July to allow the new Chief time to prepare. Mr. Boyle advised that he would discuss the Committee’s suggestion with the Township Manager and the Chief.

ADJOURMENT:

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

The next meeting is scheduled for June 26, 2008 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