Minutes for the meeting held on October 26, 2010

The Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at the Newtown Township Administration Building.

Members present were Warren Dallas, Robert Daries, Ryan Gallagher, Jim McCrane, Gaylord Swaby and Brian Wilson. Excused were Joe Barkley, Robert Dieterle and Ian Franklin.

Also present were Supervisor Jerry Schenkman and Elaine Gibbs, Finance Director.


Mr. Gallagher called the meeting to order at 7:25 P.M.


The members reviewed the minutes from September 28, 2010.

Mr. Dallas moved to approve the minutes of September 28, 2010, as presented. The motion was seconded by Mr. Swaby and passed unanimously with one member abstaining (5-0-1).


Discuss 2011 Budget presentation to the Board of Supervisors on November 3, 2010

The members discussed the presentation of the 2011 Budget to the Supervisors on November 3, 2010. Mr. Gallagher advised that he would present the Committee’s recommendations to the Supervisors and invited other members to attend the presentation. Mrs. Gibbs reported that the meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 P.M. and copies will be available that evening for the public’s review. She also provided the members with a copy of the 2011 “Schedule J”, which is a sublimate to the Departments’ requests and shows which accounts the funds are allocated from.

Discuss new projects

Mr. Gallagher discussed the Committee taking on a new project. He reported that projects discussed at the Committee’s April meeting included – Labor/Health Insurance Contracts Negotiations, Vendor Cost Savings, Employee Incentives and the Pension Investment Policy. Supervisor Schenkman reported that discussions regarding the labor/health insurance contracts negotiations begin in early 2011 and the Supervisors would like the Committee’s help to gather the data needed to support the Township’s arguments with regards to the negotiations. The Committee briefly discussed the vendor cost savings project. The members discussed offering incentives to employees for reducing cost and how that would work for union and non-union employees. The members discussed the pension investment policy. Supervisor Schenkman advised the Committee with regards to the pension investment policy, the Township has obtained a new consultant and that the Committee’s help is not needed at this time. Mr. Gallagher reported that Supervisor Gallagher has suggested that the Committee look into grants that may be available to the Township. Supervisor Schenkman commented on grant research/writing being a specialty and suggested that the Township advertise for a grant person. The Committee discussed the need to have an expert when it comes to grants. The members agreed that the next project for the Committee to take on would be the labor/health insurance contracts negotiations. Mr. Gallagher suggested the Supervisors provided the Committee with a list of questions they would like answered. Mrs. Gibbs suggested that the members review the current employee contracts. She will provide copies for the members to review via email. Supervisor Schenkman reported on the information received from the Township’s Labor Attorney.

Mr. McCrane made a motion for the Committee’s next project be to review the Township employees’ labor and health insurance contracts and to help research information for the negotiations. The motion was seconded by Mr. Wilson and passed unanimously (6-0).

Mr. Gallagher advised that he would send an email to the Supervisors requesting them to provide the Committee with an explanation of what they are looking for from the Committee. Mrs. Gibbs reported that she would email out the contracts once she has completed preparing the initial 2011 Budget.

Mr. Gallagher reiterated that the Committee is still working on MuniCast, the Executive Summary and the Budget Presentation Process.


Update on Variance/Executive Summary Report

The members discussed the presentation of the Variance/Executive Summary Report to the Supervisors. Mr. Barkley was not present, so Supervisor Schenkman updated the members on how the presentation went. He advised that the Supervisors acknowledged the need for the report to have footnotes to explain some of the numbers.

Update on MuniCast

Mr. Swaby updated the members on the status of the MuniCast software. He feels that he has taken the report as far as he can with regards to customizing it for the Township. He advised on discussions with the MuniCast representative and the recommendation to contact GFOA for their help implementing the software. It would require GFOA approximately 20 hours of time over a three (3) month period working with someone from the Accounting Department at a cost of approximately $5,000. He suggested having the work done by a government group to ensure accuracy. The members discussed the Township’s revenue and the effects due to the recession. They also discussed the system being maintained, updating quarterly or bi-annually and the usefulness in long term planning. It was agreed that the values would need to be updated once a year. Mr. McCrane questioned if the software can compare projections against the actuals. Mr. Swaby advised he believes it can, but will look into that question. It was agreed that the next step would be for Mr. Swaby to make a formal MuniCast presentation to the Committee. Mr. Swaby will let Mr. Gallagher know when he will be prepared to make that presentation. Supervisor Schenkman commented on maintaining the system and the Township setting a policy for the use of the system. Mr. Gallagher suggested that a Township employee be responsible for the maintenance. Mrs. Gibbs advised that the initial cost for the system was $2,000. The members discussed getting data from the County and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and being able to defend the assumptions. Mr. Gallagher suggested that over the next month the Committee put together a list of questions that need to be answered and advised the list would be discussed at the next meeting. Mrs. Gibbs advised that GFOA is recommending MuniCast.




There being no further business the meeting was duly adjourned at 8:46 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for November 23, 2010 at 7:15 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,


Christy Holley-Flaherty, Recording Secretary