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 18, 2009

 

The regular meeting of the Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Thursday, June 18, 2009 in the meeting room at the Newtown Township Municipal Building .

Members present were Robert Dieterle, Ronald Kaizar, Tom Grace, John Stranford, Matt Benchener, Elaine Gibbs and Mike Gallagher. Excused were Glenn Beasley, Jim McCrane, Andy Salvucci and Brian Wilson.

Also present were John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager/Director of Technology and Kathy Pawlenko, Parks & Recreation Director.

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Stranford called the meeting to order at 7:20 P.M.

MINUTES OF MAY 21, 2009:

Mr. Dieterle moved to approve the minutes from May 21, 2009. The motion was seconded by Mr. Benchener and passed unanimously (5-0).

NEW BUSINESS:

Department Capital Budget Presentations

The Committee discussed their role with regards to the review of the Department’s 2010 Capital Budget requests and the need to prioritize the request.

Newtown Township Codes Department

Mr. Boyle reported that the Codes Department has no 2010 Capital request.

Newtown Township Technology Department

Mr. Boyle, Assistant Township Manager/Technology Director updated the Committee with regards to the Technology Department’s 2010 Capital request; the members were provided information for review. He reported that the Township replaces 1/3 of the computers annually (11 computers) for an estimated cost of $25,000.00. He advised with regards to the switch replacement for four (4) remote sites (Police, Public Works, Firehouse, and Administration) and the replacement of video booth equipment for an estimated cost of $5,000.00.

The Committee discussed the amount budgeted for computer replacement in 2010 and 2009 and what is included in those costs. Mr. Boyle and Ms. Gibbs advised on possible reasons for the amount budgeted in 2009 being lower. Mr. Boyle reported that the PC’s are purchased under a State contract to get a better price. Mr. Gallagher reported that HPT Systems Inc. is the Township’s computer consultant . The members discussed the cutbacks to the budget in 2009.

Mr. Gallagher suggested having the Technology Committee review the cost involved with the computer replacement program. Mr. Boyle advised that he would research the cost further and report back to the Committee.

The Committee discussed the equipment in the current video booth. Mr. Boyle reported that the current equipment does belong to the Township and is older, it will probably not be used in the new building. The members discussed the possibility of selling the unused equipment. The members discussed the new building and that video booth with regards to equipment. Mr. Boyle reported that the cost for the equipment in the new video booth would be included in the bond.

Mr. Boyle updated the members with regards to the Township’s Doc Star system becoming outdated; the cost to purchase a new system is approximately $11,000.00. Ms. Gibbs advised on the type of information stored in the Doc Star system. The Committee discussed having the work done by the Doc Star system out sourced. Mr. Grace reported that a company he has dealt with is Alfa Systems. The members agreed it was worth it for the Township to investigate outsourcing. Mr. Gallagher suggested that the Technology Committee have discussions with regards to the Township’s Doc Star system.

The Committee thanked Mr. Boyle for his time.

Newtown Township Parks & Recreation Department

Ms. Pawlenko, Parks & Recreation Director made her presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Newtown Township Parks & Recreation Department and their 2010 Capital request. The members were provided a memorandum dated June 18, 2009 with regards to the Parks & Recreation Department’s 2010 – 2015 Capital Improvement Program.

Ms. Pawlenko advised with regards to the request for concrete flooring in the barn at the Clark Nature Center for approximately $20,000.00; she discussed the possibility of the Township holding classes in the barn. She advised that CRSD is increasing the fee for renting space and that the Public Works Department could do concrete work. She also advised with regards to the request for the sewer connection for approximately $20,000.00 and for fencing by the stream, needed for liability for approximately $5,000.00.

The Committee discussed the request for concrete flooring and if there would be additional cost involved. Mr. Dieterle questioned the size of the floor. Ms. Pawlenko advised that she did not have that information, but would get the answer and update the Committee.

The Committee discussed the trails on the center and the cost involved to maintain them.

The Committee discussed the possibility of having left over concrete from other projects that the Township has going on in the area (Examples: Woll Tract, Municipal Complex).

The members discussed the amount of money spent on the Clark Nature Center over the past ten (10) years.

Mr. Boyle reported on grant money that the Township received for the property for improvements to the property.

Ms. Pawlenko advised with regards to the request for Roberts Ridge Park being for the composting toilets.

  • Engineering (cost associated with restrooms) $ 5,000.00
  • Restrooms* $41,800.00
  • Autonomous PVE Solar Electric System* $16,500.00

* Includes 10% Contingency Fee

Mr. Gallagher suggested looking into the cost of running an electrical line. Ms. Pawlenko advised that she would research Mr. Gallagher’s suggestion and update the Committee.

The Committee discussed the cost for installing restrooms with running water.

The Committee discussed going green and the availability of grants.

Ms. Pawlenko advised with regards to the request for Chandler Fields for the installation of a drinking fountain for approximately $3,000.00 and paving the parking lot for approximately $50,000.00.

The Committee agreed that the installation of a drinking fountain is a good idea and discussed possible vandalism problems.

The Committee discussed approaching the Little League to see if they would help to pay the cost for the drinking fountain. Ms. Pawlenko advised that she would discuss the matter with the Little League and update the Committee.

The Committee discussed what are core functions of government.

The Committee discussed the request to enlarge and pave the parking lot. Ms. Pawlenko reported that request was made by the Little League. The members discussed the estimated cost for paving being rather high and the use of the parking lot.

Ms. Pawlenko advised with regards to the request for Helen Randle Park for the following:

  • Storage Shed $ 6,000.00
  • Wall Mounted Drinking Fountain $ 2,500.00
  • Seal and Re-Paint Basketball Courts $50,000.00

The Committee discussed the request for a storage shed. Ms. Pawlenko reported that ROCK softball and the Little League use the Helen Randle fields and that there are three (3) sheds at the park and that two (2) of the sheds are used by ROCK softball. She advised on the current situation with regards to storing equipment and on an email received from the Little League requesting a dedicated shed for their use; the shed that they would like the Township to purchase is approximately $2,040.00. The $6,000.00 is a cost received from Mr. Crossland and would be for a larger shed; that would be shared with the Township. She reported that a few years ago the Township did purchase a shed for ROCK softball’s use.

Mr. Boyle apologized to the Committee that Gary Crossland from Public Works was not at tonight’s meeting to help answer questions and reported that ROCK softball does a lot of work on the fields.

The Committee discussed alternatives to purchasing a new shed and agreed that more information is needed. Ms. Pawlenko and Mr. Boyle advised that they would research this matter further and update the Committee.

The Committee discussed the request for sealing and repainting the basketball courts. Ms. Pawlenko reported on programs that will be using the courts. The members suggested researching the cost. Mr. Gallagher suggested for Mr. Boyle to discuss the matter with contractors that are working at the Woll Tract or the Municipal Complex.

Ms. Pawlenko reported on the request to install an in ground irrigation system at Staples Field for approximately $12,000.00. The Committee discussed if other fields have irrigation systems. Ms. Pawlenko reported that currently no other Township fields have irrigation systems. The members discussed irrigating the field being a maintenance issue and agreed that more information is needed from Mr. Crossland.

Ms. Pawlenko reported on the request to install picnic tables and benches at Silver Lake for approximately $5,000.00; she advised that this request is coming from residents. Mr. Gallagher commented on the amount being budgeted and suggested looking into purchasing benches from the Newtown Farmers Market.

Ms. Pawlenko reported on the request to install a playground on the Woll Property for approximately $85,000.00. The members discussed the cost for the playground equipment.

Ms. Pawlenko reported on the request to purchase a new Toro Workhorse for approximately $35,000.00. The members discussed the current Park & Recreation equipment and agreed that more information is needed from Mr. Crossland. Ms. Gibbs advised that the funding to purchase this equipment comes from Recreation Impact Fees not taxpayers.

Ms. Gibbs advised that the Township has not received any Recreation Impact Fees to date and that she expects this funding to go away by 2011.

The Committee thanked Ms. Pawlenko for her time.

OLD BUSINESS:

Discussion/update regarding the monthly construction report and the expected increases in expenses for the new complex

Mr. Dieterle updated the members with regards to his review of the monthly construction report; he provided information for the members to review. Mr. Boyle advised that he would forward the information provided by Mr. Dieterle to Mr. Czajkowski.

Mr. Gallagher reported on the percentage of change orders that have been received.

Mr. Dieterle updated the members on his analysis of the Township’s operational cost; he provided information for the members to review. He advised that he needs to know the current and proposed buildings’ square footage for having accurate calculations and that he is looking for feedback from the Committee with regards to calculating the cost to operate the Municipal Complex. A suggestion was made to contact the architect for information with regards to the square footage of the buildings; Ms. Gibbs reported that she would look into and update Mr. Dieterle. Mr. Gallagher commented with regards to this information being helpful when the Township begins looking into wind and solar power.

Discussion/update regarding variance reporting

Mr. Grace updated the members with regards to the variance report; he provided a copy of the report for members to review. He suggested that the Supervisors and Department Heads review the report. Mr. Benchener questioned the budget with regards to expenses and how many categories are expe ct ed to be on the report . Mr. Grace advised that there would be a lot of categories; he suggested that the Department Heads make reports to the Supervisors regarding the variance report. The members discussed the variance report provided by Mr. Grace and the categories included. A suggestion was made to have Mr. Grace, Mr. Gallagher and Ms. Gibbs work offline together to provide a finished product.

Discussion/update regarding Earned Income Tax

Mr. Kaizar updated the members on his review of the Township’s contract with Berkheimer, his suggestions and discussions with Mr. Gallagher advising on the pending changes in County as to how taxes are collected. The Committee discussed the pending changes with regards to the way the County collects taxes. Mr. Gallagher advised that in 2011 there would be one (1) tax collector in the County. The members agreed that there is nothing further for the Committee to do at this time with regards to Earned Income Tax.

Mr. Gallagher advised that he would still like to have a meeting with Jim Hunt from Berkheimer. Ms. Gibbs requested the members to advise her of their availability and that she would schedule a meeting.

Discussion/update regarding possible vendor cost savings

Mr. Kaizar advised the members on the upcoming meeting on June 30, 2009 with representatives from DVHIT and DVIT to discuss various insurances (worker’s compensation, property & liability, employee health).

Mr. Benchener updated the Committee on discussions he had with Mike Leone from Merrill Lynch. He reported on the fees charged by Merrill Lynch and Vanguard. He advised that he wants to research the matter further.

The Committee discussed Mr. McCrane research with regards to pensions. Mr. Stranford suggested touching base with the Pension Fund Workgroup. Mr. Benchener commented with regards to the amount in the Township’s fund, the future pension payouts and how that will impact the budget.

Discussion/update regarding MuniCast indicators

The Committee agreed there would be no update/discussion with regards to MuniCast indicators. Mr. Gallagher advised that he would speak with Chris Swanson from MuniCast. Ms. Gibbs advised on the recent meeting with the auditors and that she would like to transfer that information to MuniCast.

Discussion/update regarding enhanced revenues

The Committee agreed to table this discussion until the July meeting.

Discuss ways to generate revenue and decrease expenses

The Committee agreed to table this discussion until the July meeting.

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR:

Mr. Kaizar discussed a recent article in the Wall Street Journal with regards to state s’ income tax revenue falling.

ADJOURMENT:

There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:50 P.M.

he next meeting is scheduled for July 16, 2009 at 7:15 P.M. The meeting will be held in the meeting room at the Newtown Township Municipal Building.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Christy Holley, Recording Secretary