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10-17-16 Budget Minutes

Board of Commissioners
10-17-16 Budget Minutes



                           BUDGET MEETING                                                                     OCTOBER 17, 2016                            


The following were in ATTENDANCE:


H. Edward Black, President Thomas G. Vernau Jr., Township Manager
Peddrick M. Young, Sr., Vice President Erin Trone, Assistant Township Manager
Richard F. Schin David Holl, Director of Public Safety
Carolyn E. Holtzman Daniel Flint, Community Development
Jack R. Simpson, Jr.-by telephone Leon Crone, Lieutenant, Police Department
David Murdoch, Lower Allen Fire Captain
Josh Keller, Lisburn Fire Captain
Christopher Yohn, EMS Captain
Julie Echterling, Recording Secretary


President Black called the October 17, 2016 Budget Meeting of the Board of Commissioners to order at 6:04 pm.  He followed with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.  He announced that Proof of Publication was available for review.


Commissioner Schin spoke about signs in the right of way.  Mr. Vernau stated he is working with the Complaint Coordinator on taking care of these signs.  He discussed the change in procedure starting in January 2017.


President Black expressed his personal feelings as a long-term resident of the Township and Commissioner.  He asked the Directors to present to the Board programs that will allow the Township to maintain the quality label to which the Township currently subscribes.  He asked the Directors for their input on cost savings along with important elements that can be added to continue to provide quality services to the residents.  He spoke about how he wants to see the Township continue to be a first-class Township.  He stated costs for running the Township will increase.  It would be nice to not raise taxes and maintain the services and quality the Township is known for if possible.  He noted that tax increases assessed at a minimal basis may be needed to maintain the quality of services provided to the Township.  He spoke about the praises the Township and Board receive from our residents about the quality of services provided to them and he would like to see this quality continue.

Mr. Vernau spoke about the different approach to the budget process year.  He stated the budget presented tonight is balanced.  There are a few key items not included in the budget that the Board will need to decide whether to include in the budget.  He discussed the memo he provided the Board.  He stated that the fund balance will allow us to absorb a certain amount of deficit.  He stated that up to $360,000 is the amount that can be absorbed.  He spoke about the self-financing of $413,000 being budgeted.  The limit for 2017 is $450,000.  He stated that Staff increases are in the budget as presented at the last Board meeting.  He stated that no new positions are currently in the 2017 budget.  He spoke about the memo from Mr. Grove that stated that if no tax increases are to occur in the future, the budget must be balanced for 2017 and in all future years.


Director Holl provided a presentation to the Board of the budget for Public Safety.  He thanked his Staff for their input and for reviewing their budgets.  He stated it is a testament to their abilities.


He stated that the 2017 budget for Police rose approximately $229,000 (6.6%).  He spoke about the following items that weren’t in the budget, however he would like to have added to the budget:

  • Part-time office staff – to assist with the CALEA and PLEAC accreditation scheduled for 2017 and to assist with records.
  • 22nd Patrolman – who would be dedicated to traffic safety. He spoke about complaints about speeding and this officer would be dedicated to this issue.
  • CSO-increase hours for CSOs to be available in helping to cover school crossings as well as PM rush hours’ incidents.
  • Sim Tek Fencing -Rear parking lot security enhancements.
    • He spoke about recent incidents with other municipalities police with a stolen shotgun from a squad car and pipe bomb on an officer’s vehicle.
    • He spoke about the advantages of the fencing for the area including officer safety and prisoner transportation.
    • Vernau is concerned with part of a public building being fenced off from the public. He agrees with the fence for the back facing the railroad tracks.
  • Use of Force Decision-making interactive simulator
    • He spoke about how officers are required to make life and death decisions in a split second. A wrong decision can impact lives.  Training saves lives and this is a great training tool.
    • He spoke about how the simulator works with helping the officer know how to react in situations. He showed the Board a video of how the software works. 
    • Commissioner Simpson asked if other municipalities could use it and we could charge them for using it. Director Holl said yes. 
    • Vernau believes this is good training and every department could use it. He would like to see the revenue stream and see it pay for itself before purchasing.
  • Portable light source for latent print identification – for evidence gathering.
    • He spoke about the system as it uses alternative light source for obtaining evidence. He spoke of the benefits of it including replacing an existing 25-year-old argon laser which no longer works.
    • He stated that Mr. Ickler has a demonstration set up in the other room to illustrate how the system would work. He invited the Board to watch the demonstration after the meeting.
  • Mobotix Video Camera Surveillance System
    • He spoke about how lawyers are encouraging custody exchanges to take place at a local police department. He believes a camera for the front parking lot which has visual observation with remote software viewing could be installed.  He spoke about officer safety and positioning for the safety of the office with the front of the building versus the back of the building.  He showed the Board examples of how the system works and can be seen online.  The software can do face recognition.
    • Lieutenant Thomas spoke about how officers aren’t in the building after hours and how it would be better for officers to respond to the front of the building versus the back for safety reasons.
    • Vernau stated he is in favor of the cameras and understands the concern of the officers. However, he is leery about moving exchanges and other police matters to the front of the building with all the various meetings being held in the building after hours.  Director Holl stated there is increased safety for the officers coming down to the front of the building past the fire bay doors versus the back entrance.

He spoke about significant line item changes from the 2016 budget to the 2017 proposed budget.  He stated that the general operating budget is 6% above last year.  Below are the items discussed:

  • Gasoline is down 16.7% due to lower prices and less consumption.
  • Ammunition & Targets is down 16.9% due to cost containment without impacting quality.
  • Operating Supplies – three additional Tasers were purchased. The goal is to have each officer equipped with one.
  • Minor Equipment – Video Redaction Software needed for Right-to-know requests.
  • Communication Expense – increases in smartphone lines with promotions.
  • Training – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design course.
  • Humane Society – is down 13%.

He discussed the following items which are in the 2017 budget:

  • $40,000 to replace Car 1
  • $28,800 Mobile Radio Replacement. He spoke about the issue with County and waiting to see what system they go with in 2018.
  • $29,900 window tablets for mobile data communication for vehicles. He spoke about the issues with maintaining connection while traveling and with the CODY system.


Director Holl stated that the EMS budget is down nearly 60% due to the ambulance purchase in 2016.  He discussed the following items for EMS:

  • Salary – Part-time EMTS
    • He spoke about increasing the part time hours to staff the second ambulance on weekends. He spoke about the 79 BLS weekend calls that were passed on and the net revenue loss of approximately $20,000.
  • Replacement of ballistic vets -regular replacement of six vests
  • Binder Patient Lift Devices – to help lift patients and prevent injuries
  • Sagar splint – helps with femur fractures
  • Rescue Task Force Ballistic Vests and Helmet
    • He spoke about the change in Police situations where EMS and Fire help respond. He spoke about how EMS and Fire help evacuate a building in an active shooter situation and need to be protected. An example of one was available for the Board to see and try on.


Director Holl stated that the Public Safety budget increased less than 1% from 2016.  He spoke about the following items:

  • Rescue Task Force Ballistic Vests and Helmet for PSOs.
  • Emergency Management – $500 to support the TMI Exercise in April 2017.
  • Mobile Data Terminals for PS1 and PS2 to support mobile field reporting and Cumberland County Communications “Silent Dispatch”
  • Public Relations – $1,000 for Public Safety Citizens Academy for Police/Fire/EMS/EMA -and Public Safety Business and Industry Alliance. He spoke about the Alliance and how it would work.  He will make a presentation to the Board later about the Citizen’s Academy.

He spoke about two positions that aren’t in the budget but he would like them to be considered in the future.  Below are the following positions:

  • Fire Captain– This is in the planning stages and information is being gathered to complete the job description. Below are some of the duties that could be assigned to the position:
    • Supervision of the PSOs.
    • Provide operational and administrative support for both fire companies.
    • Act as a line officer in absent of Fire Department line office at scenes.
    • Vernau stated this position would be eligible to be paid through the fire tax. To pay for this position, the fire tax could be increased or the apparatus scheduled would need to be reviewed.  Commissioner Schin stated this makes him nervous as a resident about opening the door to a paid department and needs to see more of the benefits of this position as a resident.
  • Public Safety Planner/Analyst
    • Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program development and oversight.
    • Update the Township Emergency Operations plan
    • Assist Police, EMS and Fire in various reporting and initiatives.


Director Holl reviewed the following items for them:

  • $1,000 for repairing drainage at Station 2
  • $2,000 for a roof saw replacement for an inoperable saw
  • $2,000 for industrial washer/dryer replacement
  • $4,600 to complete unfinished plumbing in Station 1
  • $3,400 to replace 20 sections of 1 1/5 hose that no longer passes pressure testing
  • $1,500 for advertising sale of Engine 2-12
  • Replacement of the 1998 Engine 2-12 at a budgeted cost of $650,000. The trade-in value is approximately $55,000.


Director Holl stated that their budget has decreased 35% due to lower fuel (heating and diesel) costs and audit costs.


The Board of Commissioners recessed at 7:45pm.


The Board of Commissioners reconvened at 7:55pm.


Mr. Vernau stated the 2017 Administrative budget is about the same as 2016.  He highlighted the $1,500 fee for a Windsor playground drawing as new for the budget in 2017. 


Mr. Vernau stated the 2017 Finance Budget is up slightly (4.3%) from 2016.  He stated an RFP is out now for the general audit and the cost for this could change for 2017.  He discussed the change for 2017 with Medicare billing, which includes a transmission fee for transmitting bills through a third party.  The Township is no longer able to send the Medicare bills directly.  Discussion ensued.


Mrs. Trone stated there is a decrease in the 2017 budgeted Human Resources of 15.3%.  She stated this is due to the 2016 budgeted expense ($17,000) for the Public Safety Director position.


Mrs. Trone stated the 2017 IT Budget was up 5.65% from 2016.  She spoke about the server needing replacement and the normal replacement of computers as the increase.  Commissioner Schin spoke about the earlier presentation and asked if the replacement schedule of computers could be looked at to increase budget monies for other purchase.  Mr. Vernau stated it could be looked at, however, if there is an emergency where one needs to be replaced, it could be costlier for the Township.  He asked the Board to see all the departments budgets before making any decisions.  Mrs. Trone spoke about how important the computers are to the infrastructure of the Township.  Commissioner Holtzman stated maybe raises could go away for computers.  Discussion ensued.

President Black asked if the budget meeting on 10/31 could be moved to Thursday.  Mr. Vernau will send an email to the Board and finalize the next budget meeting.


The Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners adjourned at 8:50 pm.