NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes for the meeting held on August 20, 2009
The regular meeting of the Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Thursday, August 20, 2009 in the meeting room at the Newtown Township Municipal Building .
Members present were Glenn Beasley, Robert Dieterle, Ronald Kaizar, Tom Grace, John Stranford, Matt Benchener, Elaine Gibbs, Andy Salvucci and Jim McCrane. Excused were Mike Gallagher and Brian Wilson.
Also present were Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager; Don Harris, Emergency Services Director; Lieutenant Glenn Forsyth, Police Department and Jean Tanner, Police Department.
CALL TO ORDER:
Mr. Beasley called the meeting to order at 7:17 P.M.
MINUTES OF JUNE 18, 2009:
Mr. Stranford moved to approve the minutes from June 18, 2009. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously with two members abstaining (6-0-2).
Department Capital Budget Presentations
Newtown Township Police Department
Lieutenant Forsyth and Mrs. Tanner made the Police Department’s presentation to the Financial Planning Committee regarding the Department’s 2010 Capital request. The members were provided a memorandum outlining the request.
Lieutenant Forsyth advised the Committee on the request to purchase three (3) vehicles for approximately $90,000.00. Two (2) of the vehicles would be SUVs and one (1) Chevrolet Impala. Lieutenant Forsyth advised on the rotation of the fleet and on the Department having ten (10) front line vehicles. He reported on the purpose of the SUVs and advised that currently the Department has one (1) SUV as a front line vehicle, the Chief and one (1) Detective also have SUVs.
Lieutenant Forsyth advised that the Department is expecting to receive stimulus grant funding in the amount of $18,966.99 to update the in-house records retention system. He discussed the importance of “real time” reporting. Mr. Beasley questioned if there would be future request for ongoing funds. Mrs. Tanner advised that the $18,966.99 would cover the basic items needed (tower, server, user licenses, training), then it would go into their Operating Budget to maintain the system. She advised that if the funding were not received, the system would not be updated.
Lieutenant Forsyth advised the Committee on the request to install video cameras in the front line vehicles. The cost is approximately $53,000.00 for ten (10) units. He discussed the safety and liability issues. (Mr. Stranford arrived.)
Mr. Dieterle questioned the life expectancy of the video cameras. Lieutenant Forsyth advised that the estimated life expectancy is approximately five (5) years. The Committee discussed making the public aware that the police cars would be equipped with video cameras. Mr. Dieterle suggested phasing the camera system in gradually. Lieutenant Forsyth discussed problems that could arise if the purchase is done piecemeal. Mr. Grace questioned if the Department would be able to use the equipment temporary before purchasing. Mrs. Tanner advised that the Department would look into using the equipment before making the purchase. Mr. Benchener questioned if there are times when the equipped cars could be scheduled. Lieutenant Forsyth advised that could be done and on the problems that scheduling could create.
Mr. Kaizar commented on the Township’s limited funds this year.
The Committee discussed the Department’s final 2009 Capital Budget and the request for 2010 being more.
Lieutenant Forsyth advised the Committee on the request to replace eighteen (18) ballistic vests for approximately $14,891.00. He reported that the federal government has requested to have the old vest. Mrs. Tanner advised that fifteen (15) of the new vest qualify for 50% reimbursement, which is approximately a $9,000.00 refund.
Lieutenant Forsyth advised the Committee on the request to purchase five (5) rifles for the patrol vehicles for approximately $7,500.00, currently the Department has six (6) rifles.
Lieutenant Forsyth advised on the federal government’s mandate that as of January 1, 2013 all radios must have a bandwidth of 12.5 kHz. The Department would need to purchase seventeen (17) mobile and twenty-nine (29) portable units for approximately $250,000.00. The new system will allow communication between all agencies in the five (5) local counties. Mr. Grace questioned if the radios need to be purchased all at once. Lieutenant Forsyth advised that it would be a one-time purchase. Mr. Grace suggested all police departments in the County purchase the radios together. Lieutenant Forsyth advised that is how it would work, he discussed Bucks County purchasing the radios and dispersing them to the departments.
Mr. Benchener commented that according to his calculations the Department’s Capital Budget request is up 13% from last year’s budget. He discussed the shortfall of funds to the Township and suggested that the Department only purchase ½ of the requested video cameras this year.
Mr. Stranford discussed the process for the Department’s Capital Budget requests. Mrs. Tanner advised on the Department’s review of the budget. Mr. Stranford suggested that the various Departments’ advise the Committee/BOS on what are the most important items needed.
The Committee thanked Lieutenant Forsyth and Mrs. Tanner for their time.
Newtown Township Emergency Services Department
Mr. Harris, Emergency Services Director introduced himself to the Committee, he discussed his employment history with the Township. He advised that Newtown Township is the only municipality with a career Fire Department. He discussed the Department’s staff, the services provided and the vehicles used. The Committee was provided a memorandum dated August 19, 2009 showing the Department’s Capital request for the next four (4) years.
Mr. Czajkowski advised the Committee that the Fire Association owns the fire engines.
Mr. Harris advised on the 2010 request for a 10’ X 12’ storage shed. The cost would be approximately $2,500.00. He discussed the Department’s storage issues and advised that could probably go into the Department’s regular budget.
Mr. Harris advised on the requests in 2011 to replace the Fire Marshal’s vehicle and computer systems for vehicles, CAD and Inspections. The cost to replace the vehicle would be approximately $35,000.00. The cost for a vehicle computer and software licenses would be approximately $4,500.00. The computer would be for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Mr. Harris advised on the request to purchase a fire prevention trailer with accessories in 2012. The cost would be approximately $10,500.00. He reported on the use of the trailer.
Mr. Harris advised on the requests in 2013 to replace the special service vehicle and to purchase five (5) additional radios for the Emergency Operation Center. He advised that the purchase of the radios has nothing to do with the federal mandate that Lieutenant Forsyth discussed. The cost to replace the vehicle would be approximately $33,000.00. The cost for the radios would be approximately $25,000.00.
Mr. Harris reported on the radios that will be needed due to the federal government’s mandate.
Mr. Harris discussed the Township having a training facility and applying for grant money to fund it. He advised that currently the staff use training facilities in Doylestown, Bensalem, Montgomery County and Mercer County, New Jersey.
Mr. Grace suggested moving the 2011 request to purchase a computer for a vehicle and software licenses to the 2010 Capital request.
The members thanked Mr. Harris for his time.
The Committee was provided a memorandum from Mr. Czajkowski dated July 10, 2009, which stated that the Administration Department had no request for capital items in 2010, other than items that may be outstanding with regards to the new administration building should the project spill over into 2010.
Newtown Township Public Works Department
Mr. Czajkowski advised the members that Mr. Crossland was unable to attend tonight’s meeting and that he would be making tonight’s presentation regarding the Public Works Department and their 2010 Capital request. The Committee members reviewed the memorandum received from Gary Crossland dated June 10, 2009/Revised August 20, 2010 with regards to the Public Works Department’s 2010 – 2015 Capital Planning Proposals.
Mr. Czajkowski advised that no large equipment is being requested for purchase in 2010.
Mr. Czajkowski advised that the amount budgeted for road maintenance in 2010 is approximately $400,000.00 to $500,000.00 and will come out of the Liquid Fuels Tax. He advised on the amount spent for road maintenance in 2009 and the contractor that the Township has been using. Mrs. Gibbs advised that the funds being requested include engineering costs . Mr. Czajkowski advised the members on the Township’s crack sealing program. The members discussed last year’s presentation to the Board of Supervisors and the information received from Mr. Crossland last year. They discussed the need for the Township to budget for maintaining the roads. Mrs. Gibbs advised that there would be an increase to the Liquid Fuels Tax in 2011 once the census is complete and that the cost to repair curbs and gutters is not covered under Liquid Fuels Funds. The members discussed the Township coming up with alternative funding for maintaining the roads. Mr. Beasley suggested having Mr. Crossland attend the September meeting and that he bring his twenty (20) year road maintenance plan. (Mr. Stranford left.) Mrs. Gibbs advised that she would email the plan received last year to the members.
Mr. Czajkowski advised on the request to update the radios to a new antenna/radio frequency for approximately $6,000.00 to $8,000.00. The cost includes eight (8) new radios, new antenna installation and base station upgrades. The FCC is requiring that the radio frequency be changed. The system is only for the Township’s use; it is not for the County’s system.
Update regarding Newtown Township’s Parks & Recreation Department’s 2010 Capital Budget request
Mrs. Gibbs updated the members and provided a memorandum from Ms. Pawlenko dated August 20, 2009 regarding some of the Committee’s questions at the June 18, 2009 meeting.
The members discussed the history of the Clark Nature Center. Mr. Beasley suggested that the Board of Supervisors review the purpose/use of the property. Mr. Grace suggested having the work being requested done by a community group (example: Boy Scouts). The members discussed the Township having to maintain community projects. Mr. Dieterle requested the Committee to be provided the total amount spent on the center over the years.
The members discussed the house on the Clark property. Mrs. Gibbs advised that the manager of the Main Street Program lives in the house. The members suggested making a recommendation to have the Supervisors review the matter.
The members discussed having the Parks and Recreation Director appear before the Committee again. Mrs. Gibbs suggested inviting representatives from the Parks and Recreation Committee attend a meeting.
Mrs. Gibbs advised that parks and recreation projects are funded from Development and Recreation Impact Fees and that if the money does not come in, the project is not done. Mr. Benchener commented on those funds also being used to purchase open space.
The Committee discussed the General Fund being used to purchase open space.
Mr. Benchener offered to draft the Committee’s recommendations to the Supervisors with regards to Parks and Recreation 2010 Capital Budget request.
2010 Capital Budget request discussions
The Committee discussed meeting with Mr. Crossland at the September meeting.
Mr. Beasley advised that after the September meeting the members would draft their recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Grace suggested that the Departments’ prioritize their Capital requests.
The Committee discussed their role with regards to the Budget and agreed that the Committee makes recommendations and that the Supervisors have to make the final decision.
Mrs. Gibbs reported on a schedule she completed with regards to the Township’s parks and open space, she advised that she would forward the information to the members.
The members discussed the cost involved with maintaining the Township’s parks and open space.
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 expected increases in expenses for the new complex; he advised on the information needing to be reviewed by Mrs. Gibbs and Mr. Czajkowski and that he would discuss the matter further at the September meeting.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR:
Mrs. Gibbs provided the members with the Township’s 2008 Earned Income Tax Audit from H.A. Berkheimer, Inc.
Mr. Beasley suggested ending the meeting now; the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:16 P.M.
The next meeting is scheduled for September 17, 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