Minutes for the meeting held on September 27, 2011

The Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at the Newtown Township Administration Building.

Members present were Joe Barkley, Aaron Borstein, Warren Dallas, Robert Daries, Ryan Gallagher and Brian Wilson. Excused were Tom Dye, Scott Rosenberg and Gaylord Swaby.

Also present was Supervisor Jerry Schenkman.


Mr. Gallagher called the meeting to order at 7:27 P.M.


Mr. Barkley made a motion to approve the minutes from July 26, 2011 as presented. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dallas and passed unanimously with two members abstaining (4-0-2).


Discuss meeting start time

The members discussed changing the start time of the meetings to 7:30 P.M.

Mr. Barkley made a motion to change the meeting start time to 7:30 P.M. The motion was seconded by Mr. Daries and pass unanimously (6-0).


Discuss Committee’s recommendation to the Board regarding the Departments’

2012 Capital Budget Request

Mr. Gallagher advised that he presented the Committee’s recommendations to the Board at their September 21, 2011 meeting. Supervisor Schenkman noted that the Board is waiting to receive a written report from the Committee. Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Dallas advised that they would work together to produce the report for the Board.

Update on Variance/Executive Summary Report (Financial Management Report) and Alternative Accounting Software Packages

Mr. Barkley updated the members on his meeting with the AMS representative. He reported that the Township has been using the system since 1993 and that all departments’ feed information into the system. He feels that the system could generate the variance report. He discussed the ability for AMS to write reports, the cost paid to date in 2011 and the Township backing up the system. He suggested talking with various employees and the Supervisors to gather information regarding the accounting requirements needed. That information would be presented to the Committee for discussion and then to AMS. He also feels that the current system can meet the Township’s needs.

After hearing Mr. Barkley’s update the majority of the members agreed that the accounting system is current and does the required functions.

The members questioned if AMS is able to generate information similar to MuniCast. Mr. Barkley advised that he would discuss MuniCast with the AMS representative to see if that is a report that could be generated. He also suggested having the AMS representative make a presentation before the Financial Planning and Technology Committees.

The members discussed if AMS and MuniCast would be compatible.

Mr. Gallagher reported that the Committee’s goal is to review the Township’s accounting software, see what functions are being served and what functions need to be served. That information would be passed along to the Technology Committee.

Mr. Dallas asked if AMS is able to produce budget reports. Mr. Barkley advised he was unsure and would research.

Update on Road Analysis and Forecasting Project

Mr. Dallas updated the members with regards to the road analysis and forecasting project. He provided information to the members for their review. He reported on his meeting with Gary Crossland and Dave Hibbs from the Public Works Department. Currently the Township has 80 miles of roadway. Work done in-house includes crack sealing and pothole repair. Types of repairs are as follows first crack sealing, second slurry coat and finally resurfacing. Revenue to fund the repairs is received from the State Gas Tax. Public Works estimates the life of a roadway to be 20 years.

The members discussed the data received from Mr. Dallas and the average life expectancy of a roadway being somewhere between 20 – 30 years. The cost to resurface 1 mile of roadway is approximately $210,000.

The members discussed Public Works 5 Year Plan constantly being affected by the winter season.

Mr. Dallas reported on his conclusions showing that the Township’s road maintenance plan will need additional funding. He discussed having a current plan and keeping it updated. He also suggested having a long term plan to be better prepared to deal with maintenance in the future.

Supervisor Schenkman commented on an issue for the Township being long term planning. He noted that all capital projects need a master plan.

The members discussed the Supervisors needing to determine the Township’s priorities and how to deal with the funding problems.

Mr. Gallagher’s reported on his vision for the Committee to include more than reviewing the department’s capital budget requests. He feels that the Township needs long term planning.

Supervisor Schenkman suggested the possibility of the Township establishing an Ad Hoc Committee made up of members from various committees, the Supervisors and Township Administration Staff to discuss long term planning.

Supervisor Schenkman commented on this being a statewide problem and suggested reaching out to the State for free help regarding long term planning. He referenced PSATS annual convention and suggested they may also be able to help.

Mr. Gallagher discussed reaching out to all available resources and thinking outside the box. He suggested having meetings between Committee chairpersons and department heads to discuss planning for the Township’s future.

Mr. Gallagher suggested for members to review the information provided by Mr. Dallas and be prepared to discuss a recommendation regarding road maintenance at the next meeting. He also thanked Mr. Dallas for the work put into the report.

Update on MuniCast

Mr. Gallagher updated the members with regards to MuniCast and suggested that implementing the software be the main concentration of the Committee for the rest of the year. The system is a forecasting tool and the indicators need to be determined.

The members discussed the research done by Mr. Swaby and suggested getting more input from him before getting too involved.

Supervisor Schenkman suggested that the Committee also discuss the matter with the Supervisors before investing too much time.

Mr. Gallagher stressed that he feels the Committee should research the matter further and that the ability to forecast would be an asset to the Township. Once the Committee has finished implementing the software the product would be handed over to the Township and a staff member would be responsible for maintaining. The final product will be able to project out 5 years.

Mr. Barkley advised that he would discuss MuniCast with the AMS representative regarding compatibility.

Supervisor Schenkman suggested having a representative from the Financial Department sit in on meetings where MuniCast is being discussed. He advised the Committee to make that recommendation to the Supervisors.

The members discussed the system being updated quarterly or semi-annually.

Mr. Daries recalled that according to the information presented by Mr. Swaby the setup would be a large investment of time, but once that happens it shouldn’t take too much longer until the product could be handed over to Township staff.

Mr. Wilson volunteered to help with the project.

Mr. Barkley suggested having a one page project charter for the matter.

Mr. Gallagher advised that he would talk with Mr. Swaby regarding him making another MuniCast presentation in order to help the Committee make a decision on how to proceed.




There being no further business the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:02 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 25, 2011 at 7:30 P.M.


Respectfully submitted,

Christy Holley-Flahrty, Recording Secretary