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10-30-17 Minutes

Board of Commissioners
10-30-17 Minutes



                    BUDGET MEETING                                               OCTOBER 30, 2017                            


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. Leon Crone, Captain, Police Department
  Greg Thomas, Lieutenant Police Department
  Josh Keller, Captain Lisburn Fire
  Christopher Yohn, EMS Captain
  Richard Grove, Finance
  Julie Echterling, Recording Secretary


President Black called the October 30, 2017 Budget Meeting of the Board of Commissioners to order at 6:09 pm.  He announced that Proof of Publication was available for review. 


There was no response.


Mr. Vernau stated that the departments have presented their budgets.  He stated that if all the requested items, pension and healthcare costs were included in the budget, there would be a deficit of $809,770.  He provided the Board with a memo of the items removed from the budget which resulted in a $148,000 deficit.  Vice President Young arrived during this discussion at 6:12 pm.

Mr. Grove stated that the current financial goal is to maximize the standard of living of the Township and residents and businesses.  He spoke about attracting residents and businesses and helping to enhance property values.  He asked the Board to keep this in mind as they make decisions.  He spoke about inflation which is on the rise and is expected to be 2% for 2018.  The employment cost index forecast is 3% for 2018.  He spoke about revenues remaining strong but the growth rate slowing.  He stated that the fund balance and the policy for the Township.  He discussed the seven-year expenditure graph which show pay/benefits being the highest expense, which is expected.  He discussed the trends over the years by department and years.  He stated that the Board should consider the following things:

  • Revenue will grow, but not as fast as expenditures.
  • The economy is strong with little chance for a recession in 2018.
  • Fund balance is near its non-recession minimum recommended by Staff.
  • May want to consider a tax increase if the budget deficit exceeds $300,000.


Mr. Vernau stated that, as discussed last year, with the hiring of the Fire Captain, the fire tax mills would need to increase from 0.44 to 0.49.   Below are the options discussed:

  • 2020 replace Engine 3 – mills increase to 0.62 – about $28 increase for $160,000 assessment.
  • 2023 replace Engine 3 mills increase to 0.59 – about $24 increase per $160,000 assessment.

Director Holl spoke about the resale value going down after 20 years and the potential maintenance issues.  Discussion ensued.  The Board decided to go with Engine 3 being replaced in 2020 and a tax rate of 0.62 mills.


Mr. Vernau discussed his memo outlying the essential budgetary items which are either mandated by law or are essential to the continuation of existing services.  Below are the items discussed:

  • MS4 Technician -$71,440
  • MS4 – Goods and Services – $105,600 – He spoke about the mandates and study needed to implement a stormwater fee.
  • Pension Subsidy – $81,734 – This is the excess of our pension MMO over state aid.
  • Health Insurance increase – $68,972 – 10.4% premium increase for existing employees.
  • Software/Server licenses – $16,540 & $13,500 – Current licenses need to be renewed.
  • Phone Maintenance – $4,725 for maintenance agreement for phone system. The first two years were at no charge.


Mr. Vernau provided the Board a memo outlining a list of new capital and personnel made by Staff during the budget meetings.  He and Staff discussed the following items:

  Cost Addition to 2018 Budget


Administration:   400-318 Other Professional. Branding Consultant

This concept was discussed during strategic planning and was to occur following the Comprehensive Plan. This consultant would help Lower Allen develop a “brand” that we could use to attract desirable development and redevelopment.  Mrs. Trone spoke about redoing the Township’s logo and working to brand the Township.

$20,000 $20,000


Municipal Building:  409-141 Salaries, Part-time. Summer labor:

This summer help would work from May through August on the landscaping and the outer appearance of the campus. President Black believes it is important to have the Building be an example to the residents.

 $6,000 $6,000
409-250 Bldg. Maint. Supply. Motion-sense faucets:

Five faucets for the public bathrooms on the first floor. Would replace the spring-loaded handles currently in use, which sometimes stick.  We could keep the current faucets; any wasted water would be minimal.

$1,500 $1,500
409-260 Minor Equipment.  Exhaust Fan, Storage Bldg.:

This would be installed in the storage building bay that houses the Use of Force Simulator.  Director Holl stated that this is rented out to other municipalities.

$3,700 $3,700
409-231 Gasoline & 409-352 Auto Insurance:

This would be the additional gasoline and auto insurance costs for keeping the old PS-2 truck for use by the MSC maintenance staff.

$1,300 $1,300
409-700 Land & Improvements.  Landscaping:

Various areas around the MSC, including the rain gardens, building-side landscaping, and police parking area, have not fared well with maintaining healthy plants and keeping out weeds.  This would come out the CIP Fund.

$10,000 $2,100
Police 410-130 Salary, Office Personnel.  Compliance Specialist:

This is a new position, one needed to manage the CALEA accreditation process.  The difference between Cost and Addition to the budget is due to the reduction of $10,500 in part-time help. Captain Crone & Director Holl spoke about the requirements for CALEA and the difficulties with part-time staff.  Commissioner Schin asked about PLEAC and CALEA.  They spoke about the differences and the importance of CALEA.  Commissioner Simpson asked about other municipalities with CALEA.  There are 10 in the state.  Captain Crone stated that he spends 20-25 hours a week on this.  Director Holl spoke about the benefits of CALEA.

$34,500 $24,000
410-133 Salary, CSO. Add 18 hours of CSO coverage:

Propose increasing CSO hours Monday-Wednesday evenings. Added CSO hours frees up sworn officers to address more important issues.

$11,120 $11,120
410-195 OPEB Funding.  Post-employment health funding:

The OPEB Fund is much like a pension fund. It accrues money, through deposits and interest, for the payment of future health insurance premiums for retired police officers. There are two options for paying these premiums; pay as you go, or pre-fund. We are currently not pre­funding because of the large expense, but pay-as-you-go will become the more expensive option in the future.  Commissioner Simpson asked if we could pay ½ of this amount.  Mr. Grove stated that he believes it is too late to put ½ as it is not going to get cheaper and will become a crisis.  President Black suggested seeing how the negotiations go and pay as we go.  Commissioner Simpson agrees.

$342,550 $309,330
410-312 Service Bureau. Crimewatch software:

Crimewatch is a public facing crime reporting program that posts cases, arrests, warrants, most wanted, and incident blotter information.  Director Holl spoke about the benefits including issuing bulletins at shifts and how it is better the current system.  Dashboard costs $2,200

$4,000 $4,000
410-318 Other Professional. Trafficcloud software: 

This software package takes all the data stored by our radar signs and compile it into a manageable database.  Captain Crone spoke about the current manual system and the benefits of this software.

$3,000 $3,000

410-421 Training.  Northwestern Police Management:

Police management school for Sgt. Doug Foltz.  Captain Crone stated that they may be able to do this out of the training budget for 2017.





410-730 Equipment.  TRACs e-ticketing & reporting:

Director Holl spoke about the advantages of the system and how it would speed up the process.  Lieutenant Thomas spoke about the reporting of crashes with the state.  Mr. Vernau’s memo stated that the time savings might allow us to review our records office staffing, which is currently 2 full-time and one part-time.  Captain Crone disagreed with the possible reduction in staff as there would be an opportunity to catch up on items not being completed now.  Commissioner Simpson thought the one part-time person could help with the Compliance Specialist.

$14,000 $3,000

412-421 Training.  JEMS Conference for 2 people:

Journal of Emergency Medical Service conference in Baltimore, MD.  Director Holl and Captain Yohn spoke about the benefits of the training they receive at the conference.





412-730 Equipment.  RAD-57 CO Oximeters:

Current Pulse Oximeters cannot read the CO or CO2 levels in the blood.  Captain Yohn spoke about the advantages of these meters.

$6,000 $1,260


The budget meeting recessed at 8:18pm.


The budget meeting reconvened at 8:26pm.

Public Safety – 415-132 Salary, Public Safety. 2 additional PSOs:

Director Holl stated that he went over this in the budget process and could answer any questions of the Board.

$53,560 $53,560
415-149 Stipends. Live-in firefighter stipend:

This includes 50% of the first semester and 75% of tuition for 2nd semester for four live-in firefighters, plus annual living expenses of $4,732 per person. Director Holl discussed the competition out there and their duties as a live-in.

$21,260 $21,160
415-242 Emergency Management.  Smartboard for the EOC:

Director Holl discussed the advantages of the Board including printing out the pages before erasing.  Commissioner Schin spoke about the current system in the school district. 

$2,800 $2,800
415-730 Equipment.   Traffic signal pre-emption device:

Originally scheduled two intersections in 2018, but cut that back to one.

$10,000 $2,100


415-710 Building & Improvement.  Fire bay floors:

Director Holl stated that this is a safety issue as there have been two falls with injuries on the current floor.

$30,000 $6,300

434-145 Salary, Mechanic. Additional mechanic:

The new person would be a Vo-Tech co-op student who would begin working after the school year ends.  Mr. Vernau stated that they two full-time staff have a hard time keeping up with all the repairs.  An alternative to hiring an additional mechanic would be to begin leasing vehicles.





440-710 Bldg. Improvements.   Building expansion study   

 As discussed previously with the Board, the Public Works Department is out of room and looking to expand the PW building. This amount would be for a sketch plan.

$80,000 $2,500
440-710 Bldg. Improvements.  Gas island manhole:

The manhole covers around the fuel tanks are settling and the asphalt around the covers eroding. This has caused the covers to sink several inches, and the concern is that if this continues it will become a hazard to vehicles driving over them.

$9,800 $2,100
440-710 Bldg. Improvements. Shed replacement:

This would replace two 20-year old sheds that were relocated to Public Works from other locations. One has already been torn down due to deterioration, and the cost to repair the other one would be near the cost to purchase a new one.

$5,800 $1,200
452-373 Maintenance of Buildings. Water fountain-Pete’s Field:

This is a relatively low-cost improvement and has been requested by the Rec Board, but is not necessary.

$3,000 $3,000
452-700 Land Improvements.   Allendale Park fence:

Replacement of the fence at the Allendale playground. The fence is intact but old, and is rusted and unsightly. This could be moved to a future year.

$7,500 $1,575
Lower Allen Community Park

454-710 Bldg. Improvements.  HVAC upgrade for the Barn:

The current units were installed in 1995 and are past their useful life. We could get better efficiency with modern units.

$39,500 $8,300
454-700 Land & Improvements. Fun Fort replacement:

The replacement of the back portion of the Fun Fort.  The remaining “old” section will either need to be replaced or removed as a safety hazard.  There is a grant application in to DEP that would fund $190,000 of the cost. This would reduce our cost to $210,000, which financed over 15 years.  Mrs. Trone discussed the issue with the current state budget and how the grant can’t be awarded until there is a state budget. 

$400,000        $12,420

Mr. Vernau asked the Board to look over these items and let him know what items they would like to include in the budget.  There is a meeting next Monday where the items can be added back in and the budget can be reviewed.  Mr. Grove stated that if the budget deficit is over $300,000, then the Board is going to have to consider a tax increase.


The Budget Meeting of the Board of Commissioners adjourned at 9:05 pm.