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 October 20, 2009

 

The regular meeting of the Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 in the meeting room at the Newtown Township Fire Hall .

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

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Stranford called the meeting to order at 7:26 P.M.

MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 17 2009:

The members reviewed the minutes from September 17, 2009.

Mr. Dieterle moved to approve the minutes from September 17, 2009, as presented. The motion was seconded by Mr. Kaizar and passed unanimously with one member abstaining (4-0-1).

NEW BUSINESS:

Discuss meeting night

The members discussed the Committee’s meeting night and agreed to meet on the third Tuesday in November (11/17/2009), that there would be no meeting in December unless needed and to start meeting on the fourth Tuesday of the month in January (1/26/2010).

Update on discussion that took place at the Supervisors October Work Session with regards to the Woll Tract (Supervisor Benchener)

Supervisor Benchener update the members on the status of the Woll Tract. He advised that the project is 16% over budget due to change orders. He reported that Gilmore & Associates advised that the contractors hit rock. Mr. McCrane commented on past discussions at Park & Recreations meetings with regards to rock being underground. Mr. Dieterle commented with regards to the site having test borings done. The members discussed the contract with regards to test borings. Supervisor Benchener requested the members to attend the next Supervisor meeting where the matter is discussed. He reported that the sewer and water lines were bid using PVC piping and that the Water Authority wants the pipes to be metal. The members discussed if the change orders have been approved and executed. Supervisor Benchener advised that they had. The members discussed how the change orders were approved without the Board of Supervisors’ knowledge. Mr. Dieterle offered to review the change orders but advised that he did not want to be directly involved due to possible conflicts. Supervisor Benchener advised that the Township is waiting for more information regarding the change orders from Gilmore and will follow up with the Water Authority. Mr. Grace suggested advising Gilmore that the Township is not paying the invoices until getting more information. The members discussed who has the authority to approve change orders. The members discussed having the Township Solicitor review the matter. Mr. Dieterle advised that he would review the information discreetly. Supervisor Benchener requested Mr. McCrane to attend meetings where the matter would be discussed. The members discussed the price the Woll Tract project was bid at. Supervisor Benchener advised that the bid was $2.4 million. Mr. Grace commented on forcing Gilmore to give the Township an explanation. Mr. Dieterle suggested questioning Gilmore as to why this was a problem and who is responsible. Supervisor Benchener reported on the Board’s discussion with Gilmore. The members discussed if anything can be cut from the plan to help reduce the total cost of the project. The members agreed that they are extremely concerned with this matter and would like more information. Supervisor Benchener suggested this matter be a discussion on next month’s agenda. The members discussed reviewing the contracts and identifying who is responsible. Supervisor Benchener advised that he would follow up and provide information to the Committee. Mr. Grace questioned if the contract with Gilmore is public information.

OLD BUSINESS:

Update regarding the monthly construction report

Mr. Dieterle advised the members that he has received an updated construction report and that the project is behind by about three weeks due to the weather.

The members discussed possible bonuses if the project finishes early.

Discussions regarding tax revenue

The members discussed the Township’s revenue from taxes. Mr. McCrane advised that this year’s tax revenue is below what was received to date compared to last year. Supervisor Benchener advised that the Transfer Tax is down 20%. The members agreed that 2010 would be a bad year for the Township. The members discussed the Reserve Fund. Supervisor Benchener advised that the Reserve Fund has 21%. Mr. Stranford commented on advising the BOS that last year’s revenue projections are coming true. The members discussed the possibility of the Township increasing taxes. Supervisor Benchener reported that he suggested to the other Supervisors that instead of increasing taxes that the Township should begin drawing from the Reserve Fund.

Discuss Department’s Capital Budget presentations

Mr. Stranford updated the members on the meeting with Mr. Czajkowski regarding the budget request presentation from departments.

The members discussed the Committee’s recommendation for how the departments’ should present their budget request and how to make their recommended budget presentation format happen. It was suggested that the departments begin using the recommended budget format now, not waiting until next year.

The members discussed their review of the budget. It was noted that the Committee looks primarily at the Capital Budget not the Operating Budget. Supervisor Benchener suggested that the Committee look at both.

Discussion regarding variance reporting

The members discussed the need for the Township to begin using variance reporting.

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR:

The members discussed the length of their terms. It was noted that Mr. Stranford’s and Mr. Kaizar’s terms expire at the end of 2009.

Mr. McCrane suggested that the Board of Supervisors set goals.

The members discussed ways to cut Township expenses.

The members discussed the Committee’s role/charge. Supervisor Benchener advised that he would discuss the Committee’s scope with the other Supervisors.

The members discussed the need for a more uniformed approach to budgeting by all Departments.

The members discussed the Township needing to hire a CFO. Mr. McCrane reported on a prior meeting with Mr. Czajkowski regarding hiring a CFO.

The members discussed the Supervisors and Township Manager using the Committee as the bad guy and agreed they did not have a problem with that.

The members discussed the Supervisors receiving a two page executive summary for review on a monthly basis. Mr. McCrane suggested having Mrs. Gibbs provide information with regards to revenue and expenses to the Supervisors on a monthly basis. Mr. Grace commented on the Township using the ten categories that he provided for variance reporting. The members discussed having the executive summary paired with the variance report.

Supervisor Benchener suggested that the Committee make monthly reports to the Supervisors.

The members discussed the Township Manager attending the Committee’s meetings.

The members discussed the Police Department’s request to the Board to promote four corporals.

Supervisor Benchener reported that he would discuss the following information with the other Supervisors.

  • The Committee’s charter.
  • The Supervisors receiving an executive summary/variance report on a monthly basis.
  • The Committee making a monthly report.
  • The Township implementing the new format for Departments presenting their Capital Budget request.

Mr. Kaizar questioned who is responsible for seeing that the Committee’s requests are followed up.

Mr. Stranford advised that he would draft an email to Mr. Czajkowski and Mrs. Gibbs requesting the Supervisors be provided with a monthly report showing expenses/revenues by department. Supervisor Benchener suggested giving them a deadline and reported that the next Board meeting is October 28, 2009.

ADJOURMENT:

Mr. Stranford moved to adjourn, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:03 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for November 17, 2009 at 7:15 P.M. The meeting will be held in the meeting room at the Newtown Township Firehouse.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Christy Holley, Recording Secretary