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11-3-16 Budget Minutes

Board of Commissioners
11-3-16 Budget Minutes



                    BUDGET MEETING                                                                NOVEMBER 3, 2016                           


The following were in ATTENDANCE:


H. Edward Black, President Thomas G. Vernau Jr., Township Manager
Peddrick 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. Richard Grove, Finance
  Bob Nailor, Public Works
  Bryan Harshbarger, Highway
  Jim Chianos, Parks
  Steve P. Miner, Township Solicitor
  Julie Echterling, Recording Secretary

President Black called the November 3, 2016 Budget Meeting of the Board of Commissioners to order at 6:00 pm.  He announced that Proof of Publication was available for review. 


The Board of Commissioners recessed at 6:01 pm to executive session to discuss the following:

  1. Legal Matter – PUC


The budget meeting reconvened at 6:28pm.

Commissioner SCHIN made a motion to withdraw the application of Lower Allen Township for approval of construction at the crossing where Cedar Run Trail crosses the tracks at Norfolk Southern Railroad and which terminates litigation with the PUC.  Commissioner SIMPSON seconded the motion.  Motion carried 5-0.  Solicitor Miner left the meeting after this vote at 6:29 pm.


Mr. Vernau spoke about the last meeting.  He stated that this meeting would be all the other departments and other funds.


Mrs. Trone stated that the overall budget for the building is down 6.8% for the 2017 budget.  She and Scot Emerson discussed the following items:

  • Rain garden: Needs some replanting.  They stated that the main reason for this is the salt used during the winter. 
  • Hydrant Repair: While Lower Allen Fire was training, they found some issues with the buildings hydrant.  He noted there wasn’t a shutoff valve and would need to be installed.  To fix this issue, a complete replacement would be necessary.  These two capital items are in the budget.

Non-budgeted items:  Mrs. Trone spoke about a request for additional six key-carded doors ($17,350 total or $3,865 for 2017).  Public Safety would like to add card readers to both EMS doors to prevent non-EMS personnel from walking through this area as a short-cut to the kitchen.  A card reader for the bunk house would be helpful to see who is coming and going into this area.  Finally, a card reader door for contractors who need to access the roof to lock the Police Department entrance from contractors.


Mrs. Trone stated that the budget is up 5.2% for 2017. Mr. Ken Rocuskie helped discussed the following budgeted items:

  • New Scan Tool: This tool identifies the issue when the engine light comes on. The current one is out of date and no updates are available.  This tool is used daily. 
  • Highway Vehicle Repair: This was increased as there will be eight trucks in 2017 versus seven in 2016.
  • Under-Vehicle Wash System: This can reduce the amount of rust on the vehicles and extend the life of them by two years. 

Non-budgeted items:  The hiring of a full-time mechanic at a net cost of $28,000 for 2017.  In 1982, there were two mechanics for 24 vehicles.  Currently, there are 77 vehicles being handled by two mechanics.  He spoke about the training and how he would like to get someone right out of Vo-tech to train them.  He stated that if the full-time mechanic was hired, they would let the part-time person go which would have a net effect of $41,955 for 2017.  He spoke about the build out of Arcona and the increased regulations which will require more maintenance on the vehicles.  Commissioner Simpson asked how surrounding municipalities deal with their vehicle maintenance.  Mr. Rocuskie said most the work is sent out with one doing minor things.  President Black left the meeting at 7:01pm and returned at 7:05pm.  Mrs. Trone left the meeting after this discussion.


Mr. Harshbarger spoke about the following budgeted items:

  • Ceiling Fans: Two large ceiling fans to help move air in the summer to replace the six small fans. 
  • Truck wash and salt neutralizer: For the washing off the salt on the trucks.
  • Skid loader trailer and gas powered jack hammer: These would help with the efficiency and safety.
  • New pump: Needed for the brine unit and would replace the 2008 unit. 
  • Dump truck: He spoke about keeping the old truck around to put on the salt route and to use occasionally.  Rocuskie spoke about how GMC parts are becoming obsolete and how he has waited five months for replacement parts.  Mr. Vernau stated that they would like to keep the bigger trucks around to help plow for the bigger storms. 


Mr. Nailor spoke about the following budgeted items:

  • Sign plotter: The current 2008 plotter’s software is out of date.  He spoke about how PennDOT changes the fonts for the signs and how the new one will allow for the PennDOT changes.  He stated that from January to August they made 171 signs which saved over $2,000 versus buying them.  They can make them daily versus waiting 3-5 days to receive them.
  • Hot tape for two intersections. The two intersections planned for 2017 are Hartzdale/Gettysburg and Lisburn/Slate Hill.  He spoke about the advantages of the tape versus paint, including lasting longer.

Non-budgeted item:  He discussed the following non-budgeted items:

  • $25,000 for a sketch plan for the possibility of expanding the Public Works building.
  • $6,000 for new card readers for Public Works. This would allow Mrs. Paul in HR to control the readers and have one person controlling the systems.


Mr. Chianos spoke about the following budgeted items:

  • Sheepford Crossing – tot lot equipment installation as requested by residents in the area.
  • Cedar Spring – playground equipment. This will include tunnels, swing set, climbing rocks and other items not found in regular playgrounds.  Vernau spoke about the budget for the park.  Recreation escrow monies will be used for this.
  • Tailgate Lift – this will make it easier and safer to remove equipment from the truck.
  • Barn Retaining Wall – Repairs are necessary on the 25-year-old wall.
  • UV/Water Testing – DEP regulations now require monthly testing of well waters versus quarterly.
  • Fun Fort– Replace the older part of Fun Fort. Consultant has just been engaged with construction to begin in 2017.
  • Tri-Deck Mower – to replace the 2005 mower. The old one will be traded in or auctioned.  Commissioner Schin left during this conversation at 7:56 pm and returned at 7:59 pm.

Non-budgeted item:  Driveway Paving of LACP.  Mr. Flint spoke about the timing and funding of the paving.  Depending upon the costs of the other budgeted projects, if money is left over, this project could be started/completed. 


Mr. Flint spoke about the budgeted Comprehensive Plan which was budgeted for 2016 and 2017.  He stated that there were no capital items requested this year.


Mr. Grove spoke about the following other funds:

  • Street light – He spoke about the history of the fund. He spoke about the rates and how eventually the rates will need to increase.
  • Sanitation – Mr. Vernau spoke about scheduling an electronic recycling for 2017. He stated that as we get close to the date, the Board will need to decide whether to charge for televisions or continue to have it free for residents.
  • Highway Aid – Mr. Flint spoke about the decrease in the contracted traffic signals for 2017. He spoke about projects completed in 2016 which contributed to a decrease in this fund for 2017. He stated that there will be paving projects in 2018.
  • Capital Improvement Projects – Mr. Grove sated this is the first year this has been used. This fund is saving the Township $50,000 a year.

Mr. Vernau asked the Board to consider what the Directors had presented tonight.  He asked them to consider the items not in the budget discussed tonight.  He stated that items in the presented budget could be kept in or taken out and items not in the budget could be added.  He stated that if the fund balance is spent down, then eventually a tax increase will be needed.

Commissioner Schin asked if they liked the items not in the budget, he asked Tom if they could do them without having a deficit budget.  Mr. Vernau stated that was unlikely, given that the largest expense is salary and the only way to save significant monies would be to cut personnel.  He asked the Board to decide what should be in the budget and they will make the necessary adjustments.


Mr. Vernau spoke about the current situation with the MICU and extending the contract.  He stated that currently, insurance companies are increasing their ambulance copays which are increasing the number of write-offs for the Township for subscribers.  Staff met and discussed some ideas to deal with the increased copays and write-offs.  He proposed a new system for the ambulance subscription which would keep the subscription price the same as last year.  However, it would not be unlimited free trips. 

  • First medically necessary trip to the hospital would be written off.
  • Second trip would be 50% of the copay due and the Township would write-off the other 50%
  • Third trip – the resident would be responsible for 100% of the copay amount.

The Board asked about those who use the ambulance as a taxi ride versus being medically necessary.  Mr. Vernau stated that if the trip is deemed by the insurance company/Medicare as to not have been medically necessary, the resident is responsible for 100% of the copay.  Mr. Holl spoke about the issues they are having with nursing facilities in the area who call 911 when the patient falls off their wheelchair.  To save on their liability, they call an ambulance and we pay the cost for this.  He and Mr. Vernau spoke about having new guidelines for the subscription.

President Black asked about the coding of the ambulance calls.  Mr. Holl spoke about the review and audit done on the sheets used for the EMS staff.  Commissioner Holtzman spoke about her experience on the ambulance and filling out those sheets.  The Board expressed concern about limiting the number of “free” calls with residents who can’t afford the copay and concerns they may not call 911 because they can’t afford their copay.  Discussion ensued.  The Board agreed to think about and discuss at another meeting.


The Budget Meeting of the Board of Commissioners adjourned at 8:55 pm.