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11-2-15 Budget Minutes

Board of Commissioners
11-2-15 Budget Minutes


BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS                                                                 LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP

BUDGET MEETING                                                                                               NOVEMBER 2, 2015

The following were in ATTENDANCE:

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS                                             TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL
H. Edward Black, President                                                 Thomas G. Vernau Jr., Township Manager
Peddrick Young, Vice President                                          Erin G. Trone, Assistant Manager
Richard F. Schin                                                                  Frank E. Williamson Jr., Chief of Police
John T. Titzel                                                                       Dan Flint, Community Development
Lloyd W. Bucher                                                                  Julie Echterling, Recording Secretary

President Black called the November 2, 2015 Budget Meeting of the Board of Commissioners to order at 6:00 pm. He announced Proof of Publication was available for review.

President Black inquired if anyone in the audience would like to address the Commissioners regarding any business pertinent to the Township. There was no response.

Mr. Vernau prepared a memo for the Board outlining new budget items of $5,000 or greater in a memo. He stated each item outlined includes a cost and a reduction. He stated the items in red were the most discretionary in nature. Below are the items discussed:

400-318 Administration -Other Professional-Strategic Planning
Explanation: Mr. Vernau stated this expense for an outside facilitator could be eliminated with Staff being the facilitator for Strategic Planning meetings. Discussion ensued.  Cost: $5,000 Board Consensus:  Remove

406-318 Human Resources – Other Professional – Waters & Company Keep
Explanation:  Mr. Vernau stated this was the balance of the Waters & Company search assuming the Board wants to continue.  Cost: $17,000  Board Consensus: Keep

406-459 Human Resources – Civil Service – Promotional testing
Explanation:  He discussed the need for promotional testing depending upon the outcome of the Captain position. Cost: $5,000  Board Consensus:  Keep

407-318 Information Services – Disaster Recovery
Explanation:  Mr. Vernau discussed the history of this starting back a few years ago. Mrs. Trone stated the disaster recovery is about getting the government back up and running if something happen to the building. Discussion ensued.  Cost:$10,000  Board Consensus:  Keep in for now

407-321 Communication Expense – 311 System
Explanation:  Mrs. Trone spoke about the benefits of the 311system and how it would work but both she and Mr. Vernau stated it is a discretionary item and can be cut. Cost: $5,600  Board Consensus:  Remove

409-710 – Municipal Building – Building & Improvement–Security System
Explanation:  This expense is for the new system for the Building and was discussed in detail at a prior budget meeting. Cost: $58,570  Board Consensus:  Keep

410-132 – Police Department – Salaries, Patrolmen – 21st Officer
Explanation:  Chief Williamson spoke about how two officers in the past would share traffic and safety issues. He spoke about how the 21st officer may not be on the street until the middle of the year. He spoke about the impact of the current officers with special duties and vacations. He stated currently there are 18 with two in the academy. Extensive discussion ensued. Vice President Young would like to see 21 officers. Commissioner Bucher stated the cost of this item is the worst case scenario for cost. The Board agreed to but the salary in half.  Cost: $84,910
Cost:  $42,455  Board Consensus:  Keep for now, but at ½ year

410-730- Police Department – Vehicles & Equipment
Explanation:  Mr. Vernau spoke about the two vehicles and light bars being requested to replaced. Cost: $75,000 Cost: $9,000  Board Consensus:  Keep

412-122 – Emergency Medical Services –ALS– hiring medics for 3 months
Explanation:  Mr. Vernau spoke about the contract with Pinnacle and how the numbers for the new contract aren’t ready as of yet. He spoke about adding two medics for the last quarter of 2016. President Black spoke about Life Team and they should have numbers by the end of the week. He spoke about a change in the supplies and stated they would charge $700 a month for supplies. Discussion ensued. The Board agreed to wait until the numbers are received to determine if the contract or hiring medics would be most financially beneficial for the Township.  Cost: $54,372  Board Consensus:  Wait for numbers from Pinnacle.

421-231, 260, 730 – Emergency Medical Services – Expenses for 3rd Ambulance.                                                                                          Explanation:  Mr. Vernau spoke about the advantages of having a third ambulance. He stated Mr. Grove did an analysis of the revenue lost if one of the two ambulances is out of service. He stated the revenue from a third ambulance doesn’t cover the costs. Chief Williamson stated calls are up 30% and spoke about the maintenance of the ambulances being done on the weekends. Mr. Vernau spoke about delaying the purchase. Discussion ensued. Cost:  $34,069  Board Consensus:  Remove  

415-730-Public Safety Department – Vehicles & Equipment
Explanation:  This is for installing emergency pre-emption devices at traffic signals.  Cost: $20,000  Board Consensus:  Keep

413-131-Community Development – Office Salaries – part-time-MS4 Coordinator
Explanation:  Mr. Flint stated this position would coordinate and complete the required MS4 obligations.  Cost:  $21,510  Board Consensus:  Keep
Office Salaries-Technical Assistant  Explanation: Mr. Flint stated this is for a full-time person for 12 week family medical leave.  Cost: $7,260  Board Consensus:  Keep
Office Salaries – Part-time for GIS Intern Explanation:  Mr. Flint stated they have used paid and unpaid interns in the past. He stated if hope to use an unpaid intern, if they can’t, this would cover the costs. Discussion ensued. Commissioner Schin left during this conversation at 7:16pm. Cost: $4,840  Board Consensus: Keep

413-318-Community Development – Comp Plan update part 1
Explanation:  The last Comprehensive Plan was finished in 2006. It is recommended that a comprehensive plan be updated every ten years. It could be deferred but will eventually have to be done. Discussion ensued. Commissioner Schin returned during this conversation at 7:21pm  Cost: $60,000  Board Consensus:  Keep
Other Professional – MS4 sampling & Modeling  Explanation: This is part of the MS4 requirements.  Cost: $10,000   Board Consensus: Keep

452-313-Engineering – Trail Surveying
Explanation:  Mr. Flint discussed the continuation of the Township’s walkability and the trail system. He spoke about a grant and stated this project would only be undertaken if the County grant is received.  Cost: $16,000  Board Consensus:  Use fee in lieu of funds

452-700-Land & Improvements – NSSR Trail
Explanation:  This would provide access from south of the railroad to Cedar Spring Park. The entire project is $260,000 with a $192,000 grant. Mr. Vernau asked Solicitor Miner about contacting Norfolk Southern as they haven’t received an answer about the trail. Discussion ensued.  Cost: $28,000  Board Consensus:  Use fee in lieu of funds

454-318-Lower Allen Community Park –Fun Fort Renovation Study
Explanation:  The front of the Fun Fort was replaced several years ago following the fire. The back part of the Fort needs to be replaced. There are two options – one hire a consultant for input or have Staff replace the equipment with new. Commissioner Schin likes the idea of a consultant.  Cost: $18,000  Board Consensus:  Use fee in lieu of funds

454-170-Building & Improvements – Fire Protection System
Explanation:  This is for the sprinkler system in the Barn. Cost: $8,430  Board Consensus:  Keep

454-730-Vehicles & Equipment – Toro infield Groomer
Explanation:  A new one is needed as the current one is losing power. Cost: $15,500  Board Consensus:  Keep
Vehicles & Equipment  – Mower Replacement  Explanation:  Mr. Vernau discussed the current equipment and how it needs to be replaced. Cost: $11,500  Board Consensus:  Keep

Mr. Vernau stated the Board has the current deficit down to $68,806 without an answer on the medics. He stated the deficit would be easy to absorb as historically expenses come under budget. Commissioner Bucher believes the 3rd ambulance should be purchased as it would prolong the life of the other two ambulances and should considered.

Public Safety Director
Mr. Vernau stated Mr. Grove did an analysis of the position and stated separating the Public Safety Director and Police Chief duties will cost the Township about $100,080 in extra salary if the Captain is hired from outside. He spoke about the background of the position and how the Board wanted a civilian for the position to spread their time evenly. Commissioner Schin and Bucher stated this is the direction they want to go. Discussion ensued.

Pay Raises
Mr. Vernau provided the Board a list of employees and the potential raises based on the performance evaluations. The baseline raise options provided were 1.25%, 1.50%, and 2%. Mrs. Trone explained one employee’s suggested raise. Mr. Vernau discussed how the scores worked and asked the Board for their decision. Discussion ensued. The Board agreed on the starting raises of 1.50%.

Health Care
Mr. Vernau stated Benecon prepared a sheet on cost-control options. He stated the current deductible is $250/$500. Below are the options suggested by Benecon:
o Option 1 = Increase deductible to $500/$1000 – savings of $12,800
o Option 2 = Specialist copay increases from $20 to $40 and ER from $100 to $150 – savings of $8,545
o Option 3 = Specialist copays increase from $20 to $40, ER from $100 to $150, and premium drugs copays from $50 to $75 – savings of $11,111

Commissioner Schin stated he hates giving a raise, only to be spent on higher healthcare costs. The Board asked how employees would be effected by the proposed changes. Discussion ensued. Mr. Vernau stated he could ask Benecon to prepare another grid and would provide it to the Board before the next meeting.

The Budget Meeting of the Board of Commissioners adjourned at 8:33 p.m.