NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes for the meeting held on June 26, 2012
The Newtown Township Financial Planning Committee met on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at the Newtown Township Administration Building.
Members present were Joe Barkley, Warren Dallas, Robert Daries and Rick Fuerman. Excused were Tom Dye, Scott Rosenberg and Brian Wilson.
CALL TO ORDER:
Mr. Barkley called the meeting to order at 7:45 P.M.
MINUTES OF MAY 22, 2012:
Mr. Dallas made a motion to approve the minutes from May 22, 2012 as presented. The motion was seconded by Mr. Barkley and passed unanimously with one member abstaining due to absence (3-0-1).
The Recording Secretary advised the members she received an email from Mr. Borstein stating that he would no longer be attending meeting due to resigning from the Committee and that Mrs. Gibbs would not be attending tonight’s meeting due to recently having foot surgery.
Mr. Barkley updated the members on his discussion with the representative from Pennsylvania’s Community Economic Development Department. The representative reported that her department could coordinate an in depth audit/review of the Township’s financial operation with regards to quality and completeness of reports. He felt that information would not be helpful at this time. He reported that he has contacted Mr. Klein, Superintendent of Council Rock School District to schedule a meeting with regards to gathering information pertaining to the Township’s population. He reported that due to traveling he has not met with Chief Pasqualini to review the contracts. He advised that tonight the members would be discussing MuniCast with regards to learning more about how the system works and begin determining the assumptions. Next month the research should be complete and they would begin inputting data to produce the first report. The members will wait to hear from the new Township Manager with regards to reviewing the capital request for the 2013 Budget.
Work on First Draft of MuniCast Forecast
Mr. Daries inquired if Mr. Barkley has met with Mrs. Gibbs. Mr. Barkley reported that he has not met with her yet. Mr. Daries advised that he would like to be present for their meeting. He feels that the Committee needs to work together with the Finance Director to get accurate assumption percentages, once that is finalized provide the information to Mr. Swanson. He suggested using the budget and audit details to help get the numbers. He discussed the use of pivot reports and forecasting how the budget is affected. He suggested main categories include Earned Income Tax, trends and operating costs.
Mr. Barkley noted that the system has data up to December 2011 and suggested adding the 2012 year to date expenses.
Mr. Dallas inquired if Mr. Daries is proposing using numbers or percentages. Mr. Daries reported that MuniCast recommends choosing drivers; he feels that could be dangerous. He explained how the drivers work. He suggested trying multiple things other than choosing drivers and tweaking the system for the Township’s use.
Mr. Barkley commented on needing a CPI indicator. The members discussed the CPI being a driver for EIT.
Mr. Barkley inquired if the Township’s aging population is increasing. Mr. Fuerman responded with regards to the Township’s aging population increasing and recalled discussion at Lower Makefield’s Zoning Board Hearings and that is why a hospital was being proposed in the area.
The members agreed that population information from the School District is very important. Mr. Barkley reported that he will meet with Superintendent Klein and contact the CEO at Aria prior to the July meeting.
Mr. Fuerman commented with regards to the Township and housing permits. Mr. Barkley noted that MuniCast can track housing permits.
Mr. Barkley reported that the Committee’s next meeting is July 24 th. He requested Mr. Fuerman to contact the Zoning Officer with regards to tracking the new construction permits for as far back as possible.
Mr. Dallas suggested reviewing/tracking the Recreation Impact Fees.
Mr. Barkley inquired on the amount of buildable property left in the Township.
Mr. Barkley suggested a future goal for the Commission be to create an economic forecasting page in budget books.
Mr. Barkley questioned if the Township know the communities population.
The members discussed the Township with regards to the following:
Mr. Barkley requested Mr. Fuerman’s research to include the following:
He requested Mr. Fuerman to create an Excel spreadsheet. Mr. Fuerman advised that he would contact the Zoning Officer.
Mr. Dallas commented on the Fire Marshall having information with regards to the inspection of all commercial facilities within the Township.
Mr. Barkley reported that his goal is to determine the economic impact to the Township and to determine what drives economic development.
Mr. Dallas commented on using data from the Earned Income Tax to help with calculating the Township’s population.
Mr. Daries commented on trends, the economic peak, data no longer correlating and public school enrollment numbers increasing/decreasing, he explained how using drivers could create problems.
Mr. Barkley inquired as to whom the Committee felt was a good source for information regarding the population. The members agreed that the School District would be a good source. Another source would be the census. Mr. Barkley assigned Mr. Dallas to gather information from the 2000 and 2010 Census. Mr. Fuerman suggested that Aria Hospital would also have information. Mr. Daries noted that the census could be driven by zip codes. Mr. Fuerman suggested using voter registration numbers. The members agreed that information would not help at this time. Mr. Barkley noted that a Township data site would be an important tool.
Mr. Daries commented on the impact to residents with regards to school pensions being underfunded and the effect to Real Estate Taxes. Mr. Barkley discussed the State’s obligation with regards to teacher pensions. Mr. Fuerman commented on an article he read and the states being hit hard. The members discussed how this will affect the Township. Mr. Fuerman commented on a website that provides information regarding teachers’ salaries and other information pertaining to school employees.
Mr. Barkley discussed reviewing the Township’s three employee contracts. He will contact the new Township Manager. Mr. Dallas reported that all three contracts have pension funds. Mr. Barkley commented on needing the escalators.
Mr. Daries commented on the insurance escalators. He had a copy of the 2010 audit. He suggested getting information from the Auditors (Major & Mastro, LLC) with regards to the assumptions and calculating cost out going forward. The members discussed inquiring about other information such as employee benefits, cost of benefits, worker comp costs.
The members discussed how employee benefits and insurance costs affect the 2012 Budget.
The members discussed how the Chart of Accounts is established
Mr. Barkley requested the members to have their research prepared for July 24 th meeting.
The members discussed the latest version of the MuniCast report. Mr. Daries reported that he has a copy of the file; he would email Mr. Fuerman the latest MuniCast report.
The members agreed that the MuniCast system should be refreshed with the most current data. Mr. Barkley requested Mr. Daries to contact Mrs. Gibbs with regards to getting the most current data to Mr. Swanson. He reported that the members should be prepared to spend one hour of the July meeting entering data into the MuniCast system and requested once Mr. Daries receives the updated file to email copies to the members.
Mr. Barkley advised that he would arrange to meet with the new Township Manager.
Update on Road Maintenance Presentation to the Board of Supervisors
Mr. Barkley inquired on Mr. Dallas’ presentation to the Board. Mr. Dallas updated the members his analysis of the Township’s road and the presentation he made to the Supervisors at the April Work Session; he feels that the Supervisors do understand the issues and that more funds are needed moving forward. He will email a copy of the analysis to Mr. Fuerman. Mr. Barkley suggested keeping the information handy for the Capital Budget review.
The members discussed if the Township has hired a new Public Works Director. They did not believe that the position has been filled, but agreed that whoever takes the position needs to take responsibility of the road maintenance analysis.
OTHER BUSINESS CONTINUED:
The members discussed employee pensions and a presentation made by the Pension Consultant from Dehab Associates at a Supervisors’ meeting. Mr. Daries commented with regards to unfunded pension liability and discount rates. He discussed the need to get that information and suggested there could be a pending problem. Mr. Dallas advised that the Committee was looking into this matter a few years ago, but due to the Township’s new Pension Consultant the Supervisors felt the Committee did not have to review. The members inquired as to how big the unfunded pension liability is and do we know the discount rates on the pension funds. Mr. Barkley reported that he would look into the matter. Mr. Fuerman advised that he would research when the Supervisors’ discussed the matter. The Recording Secretary suggested reviewing the Township’s website for information.
The members discussed Parks & Recreation with regards to revenues and expenses. They also discussed the number of employees in the Department and how the Department has a positive effect on the Township.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR:
There being no further business the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:15 P.M.
The next meeting is scheduled for July 24, 2012 at 7:30 P.M. and will be held in the main meeting room.