Minutes for the meeting held on May 25, 2010

The Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at the Newtown Township Administration Building .

Members present were Joe Barkley, Robert Dieterle, Ryan Gallagher, Jim McCrane, Gaylord Swaby and Brian Wilson. Also present were Matt Benchener and Jerry Schenkman. Excused was Warren Dallas.


Mr. Gallagher called the meeting to order at 7:31 P.M.


The members reviewed the minutes from April 27, 2010. Mr. McCrane advised that he had one change to the minutes. On page 3, the fifth paragraph, the second sentence should read – It was agreed that all Departments should present their budget request in the same format.

Mr. McCrane moved to accept the minutes from April 27, 2010, as corrected. The motion was seconded by Mr. Barkley and passed unanimously with two members abstaining (4-0-2).




Update on the Budget Presentation Process

Mr. Barkley updated the members on the work done by Mr. Dallas and himself with regards to the Budget calendar. He provided the members with a packet for their review and reported on discussions with the Township Manager. The members discussed the Budget being approved by the Board by December 31 of each year.

Supervisor Schenkman suggested getting the draft Budget to the Board thirty days earlier. The members discussed the prior process of how the Departments presented their Budget request and the need for the Department heads to prioritize their request.

Mr. Barkley suggested that the Committee develop a priority process and offering Department heads budget training to advise them what the Committee is looking for.

Supervisor Benchener suggested that the Department heads prioritize their request and that the Committee prioritizes the request from all Departments. The members discussed comparing the Departments’ request to the Capital Budget from prior years. Mr. Gallagher suggested putting together a document for the Department heads explaining what the Committee is looking for. Supervisor Schenkman commented on the Board having discussions and coming up with a policy. Supervisor Benchener suggested that the first step be for the Committee to draft a memo of what is being proposed for the new Budget presentation process to be presented to the Board. Mr. Barkley questioned who does the Township’s revenue projections. Mr. McCrane advised that the revenue projections are done by Mrs. Gibbs, based on advice from Berkheimer. Mr. McCrane commented on his suggestions from last year with regards to projecting revenue and that he advised April of 2010 would be a critical month for the Township. Supervisor Benchener reported that with regards to revenue the Township is slightly above the projection for the year, residential is up and non-residential is down. Mr. Swaby suggested having Mrs. Gibbs document her process with regards to revenue projections. He also commented on using MuniCast for revenue projection. The members agreed that the Committee’s role in reviewing the Capital Budget is to make recommendations to the Board. Supervisors Benchener and Schenkman advised that the Committee’s role in the review process is critical in helping the Board make decisions. Supervisor Benchener suggested that the Committee move forward with presenting a memo to the Board with regards to a new Budget process, getting the revenue projections from MuniCast and compare them to the Operating cost, look at how much money is potentially available for the Capital Budget, and then make a recommendation to the Board. The members discussed scheduling the Department heads to make their presentations to the Committee. It was advised that Mrs. Gibbs normally sets the schedule. The members discussed getting the Departments’ request in advance of their presentation. Some members expressed concerns with regards to making decisions about the Operating Budget. Supervisor Schenkman advised that he would like the Board to know if the Committee sees any problems while they are going through the Budget process. He also discussed the 2011 Union negotiations and documenting realities. Mr. Gallagher reported that would be a priority for the Committee once they are done reviewing the Budget request.

Mr. Gallagher summarized the above discussion and reported the following:

  • The Committee will draft a letter to the Board regarding the budget presentation process. The letter would be forwarded to the members for their review prior to being presented to the Board. (Mr. Gallagher would draft the letter.)
  • He would check with Mrs. Gibbs with regards to the Departments’ presentation schedule and request that the Departments submit their request one-week prior to the meeting.

Update on Variance/Executive Summary Report

Mr. Barkley updated the members with regards to the Variance/Executive Summary Report. He provided the members with a packet for their review and reported on discussions with the Township Manager. The members agreed they like the template.

Mr. McCrane suggested requesting Mrs. Gibbs to dump information from the Township’s accounting program into a spreadsheet. Mr. Barkley and Supervisor Schenkman will schedule a meeting with Mrs. Gibbs.

Update on MuniCast

Supervisor Benchener updated the members with regards to MuniCast and reported that Mrs. Gibbs needs to provide numbers to the representative from MuniCast. It was agreed that the Committee members working on MuniCast would have a conference call with the MuniCast representative once MuniCast receives the information from Mrs. Gibbs. Mr. Wilson offered his help with MuniCast and reported on the work he has done regarding MuniCast since being appointed to the Committee. The members discussed touching base with Mrs. Gibbs regarding the information that MuniCast needs. The Recording Secretary advised the members that Mrs. Gibbs has some personal matters going on. The members agreed to contact the Township Manager.

Pension Investment Policy

Supervisor Benchener updated the members with regards to the Township’s Pension Investment Policy and provided a document for their review. The members discussed the current policy and the recommendations for future pension investment. Mr. McCrane suggested that the Township begin offering a 401K plan to employees and suggested allowing allocations into residential or mortgage backed funds (GNMA, FNMA, FHMC). Supervisor Schenkman updated the members on the status of the Request for Proposal (RFP).


The members discussed their goals for 2010. It was agreed that there should be no more than three goals at a time and that once a goal is completed a new goal would be added to the list. It was also agreed that no new goals would be added until the Committee’s role in the Budget review is complete.


There being no further business Mr. Dieterle made a motion to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. McCrane and passed unanimously (6-0).

The meeting was duly adjourned at 9:07 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 22, 2010 at 7:15 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Christy Holley-Flaherty, Recording Secretary