NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes for the meeting held on February 28, 2012
The Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at the Newtown Township Administration Building.
Members present were Joe Barkley, Aaron Borstein, Warren Dallas, Robert Daries, and Neil Poppel. Excused were Tom Dye, Scott Rosenberg and Brian Wilson.
Also present was Supervisor Ryan Gallagher.
CALL TO ORDER:
Mr. Barkley called the meeting to order at 7:31 P.M.
MINUTES OF JANUARY 24, 2012:
Mr. Barkley advised that he had one change to the January minutes. The first paragraph on page 5, the fifth sentence should read – Mr. Barkley requested Mr. Dallas and Mr. Poppel to work together researching the availability of grants.
Mr. Daries made a motion to approve the minutes from January 24, 2012 as corrected. The motion was seconded by Mr. Poppel and passed unanimously (5-0).
Update on Alternative Accounting Software Packages
Mr. Barkley updated the members on his research regarding the Township’s current accounting system (AMS) and alternative accounting software packages. He provided documentation for review and discussed the work done by Township’s IT Committee. He reported that the current system is used by all departments, with the exception of the Police, who forward their information to Mrs. Gibbs for input. Representatives from AMS write the programming and there is the ability to create the financial management report that the Committee was interested in developing for approximately $500. AMS is a local business and gears their product towards municipalities. With regards to alternative accounting software packages Mr. Barkley advised that the Township Manager, Mr. Czajkowski suggested looking into Quick Books, which can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000. He recommended that the Township retain the current accounting system, making affordable improvements and revisit the idea of a new accounting system in a few years.
The members discussed the AMS system and agreed that it is not being used to its fullest capabilities. They also discussed training and employee interest in using the system.
Mr. Daries commented on the use of dashboards. Mr. Barkley advised on the use of the dashboard and reported that the Township Manager favors the idea of dashboards.
Mr. Barkley suggested that he would discuss the matter of AMS creating a financial management report further with Mr. Czajkowski.
Supervisor Gallagher questioned if the Committee has sent any reports/recommendations to the Technology Committee. Mr. Barkley reported on his contact with the Technology Committee and advised that he would contact the Committee’s Chairman to discuss the matter.
The members discussed the AMS system with regards to Mr. Leible and if something were to happen to him or the system. Mr. Barkley advised that he had that discussion with Mr. Leible and was advised that other representatives from AMS would be able to continue running the system.
It was agreed that for the time being the Committee would stop researching alternative accounting software and that Mr. Barkley would speak with Mr. Czajkowski regarding AMS creating a financial management report.
Update on MuniCast
Mr. Daries updated the members on his discussions with Mr. Swanson with regards to the available reports. He discussed the need to choose primary categories/drivers to develop the reports and breaking down the tax income to help with choosing the drivers. He also discussed comparing the Budget to MuniCast reports and the need to breakdown the MuniCast numbers. He suggested that the reports include information regarding salaries, health care cost and taxes.
Mr. Barkley suggested that the Committee work on designing what the final report will look like first, and then figure out the drivers.
Mr. Borstein agreed with Mr. Barkley’s suggestion to develop the final report first. He reported on the research done by Mr. Rosenberg and himself with regards to indicators/drivers. He provided documentation regarding key accounts for review.
The members discussed the reports with regards to the variability of dollar amounts and assumptions.
Mr. Borstein suggested requesting MuniCast to review the accounts and economic drivers for correlation and variability.
Mr. Barkley commented on the Committee’s next step to develop a final product. Mr. Borstein suggested concentrating on figuring out where the Township wants to be. Mr. Daries suggested that the final product be used by the Supervisors to help with projecting the Township’s financial future.
Mr. Barkley noted that the forecasting report should resemble reports that the Supervisors are used to reviewing.
The members discussed the need to keep the report simple.
Mr. Barkley discussed the benefits of a forecasting system and reported that most of the Township’s costs are fixed cost.
The members discussed using the MuniCast system to help with the union negotiations
Mr. Daries noted that the MuniCast system is used by approximately 140 municipalities.
Mr. Poppel suggested contacting other municipalities who are using the system to gather information.
The members discussed requested Mr. Swanson to provide the Committee with sample reports. Mr. Daries commented on all the work already done by Mr. Swanson and advised that he wanted to have more information before asking Mr. Swanson to start running sample reports.
Mr. Barkley suggested that Mr. Daries review the MuniCast website with regards to what other municipalities are currently using the system and requested Mr. Borstein and Mr. Rosenberg to work together developing report suggestions/scope for discussion at the next meeting.
Update on Road Analysis Presentation to the Supervisors
Mr. Dallas updated the members on the road analysis; he provided documentation for their review.
Mr. Barkley questioned the objective of the analysis. Supervisor Gallagher reported that the objective of the analysis is to determine how much it will cost the Township to maintain the roadways and the effect from not keeping up with the maintenance.
Mr. Barkley questioned if there is some type of priority process with regards to maintaining the roads. Mr. Dallas advised he was unsure of how roads are scheduled for maintenance and that in past years the Public Works Director has provided the Committee with a listing of roads scheduled for maintenance, but sometimes that schedule changes due to unforeseen circumstances. Mr. Barkley recommended that a prioritization process be put into place.
The members discussed who would oversee the road maintenance plan and agreed that the next step would be for Mr. Dallas to present the road analysis to the Supervisors.
The members discussed what the goal is by providing this information to the Board. Mr. Dallas suggested that the analysis could help with developing a long term road maintenance plan.
Supervisor Gallagher suggested that Mr. Dallas meet with Ron Weaver prior to making any presentation to the Supervisors.
Mr. Barkley requested the Supervisor’s meeting schedule. The Recording Secretary reported on the upcoming meeting dates and provided the members with a copy of the Supervisor’s 2012 meeting dates.
Mr. Barkley requested Mr. Dallas to meet with Mr. Weaver prior to the March work session, so that the matter could be put on the Supervisor’s agenda for the March 20, 2012 work session.
Update on Research Regarding Possible Grants Available/Alternative Revenue Sources
Mr. Poppel and Mr. Dallas updated the members on their research regarding possible grants available to the Township.
Mr. Barkley requested Mr. Poppel and Mr. Dallas draft a report advising the grants available and forward it to the members. He also advised the members that the Committee may take on the responsibility of writing grant request for the Township.
Mr. Barkley summarized the tasks that need to be addressed prior to the next meeting as follows:
Discuss Goals for 2012 and 2013
The members postponed discussing the Committee’s goals for 2012 and 2013.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR:
There being no further business the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:19 P.M.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 20, 2012 at 7:30 P.M. and will be held in Community Room #1.