The Westfall Township Board of Supervisors convened their first 2012 budget workshop on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm. The meeting was held at the Westfall Township Municipal Building in the downstairs office.
Those present were Chairman, James Muir; Supervisors, Robert Ewbank, Paul Fischer, Raymond Banach; Treasurer, Scott Myer and Secretary, Lisa Green. Also present were Ken Zielazny, Bill Schneider, Luis Bocaletti, Chad Stewart, Shawn Bolles, and three members of the general public. Vice-Chairman, Lester Buchanan was not present.
Scott Myer distributed worksheets to the board, explaining that the first was a sheet showing approved budgets of the last three years. The next shows the Debt Service Budget for 2012. The board reviewed the worksheets.
Ken Zielazny presented the Mill Rift Fire Department budget. Supervisor Banach commented that they are pretty much under budget and questioned if they were still looking for the $10,000 LST contribution to which Scott Myer answered they have already received. Chairman Muir asked Mr. Zielazny where they are at with discussions about consolidating the two fire departments. Mr. Zielazny said they met with Rob Brady from the State Fire commission and they put together a research committee and they will be getting together with the Westfall committee. Supervisor Fischer asked if there was any kind of timeline. Luis Bocaletti said the average timeline is twelve months from start to finish. Chairman Muir said they have done a pretty good job on their budget. Mr. Zielazny said they do need a new truck but they will be looking at something in the 1990’s not something new. He said the budget of $36,000 presented is the minimum that they can deal with. They try to stay within anything the board can give them. Supervisor Banach questioned the $3,200 from RC Lain. Supervisor Ewbank commended Mr. Zielazny on the budget by saying the department could show the board how to do their budget.
Luis Bocaletti said he did a budget with the building and one without. The first page shows where all the township money has been spent. The next page showed calls with fire tax allocation and percentages between Westfall and Mill Rift. Supervisor Ewbank questioned why they compared Mill Rift to Westfall. Mr. Bocaletti said they do so every year to show what they have received. The additional sheets showed the proposed budget for 2012. Chairman Muir commented the new building cost of $507,000. Mr. Bocaletti agreed. Chairman Muir stated the actual cost for ALS service was $7,800 and the projected cost is $15,000. Mr. Bocaletti said the proposals from ALS are $100 per call. Supervisor Ewbank asked what the ALS does other than follow Westfall around. Mr. Bocaletti said its protocol depending on what the call comes in at. It’s mandated by the state. Discussion was held about truck maintenance. Mr. Bocaletti said the reason he separated out the building is because they have saved money for it and they are getting a 2% loan of $200,000. Supervisor Ewbank said it looks like they are going ahead with the building anyway because they have the material sitting on the ground. Mr. Bocaletti said since 2008 they have spent $120,000 on the building. Chairman Muir said he didn’t have any questions and asked the rest of the board if they had any questions. Mr. Bocaletti added that this year is the first year that they haven’t been able to manage expenses. They have been short this year. Usually they are able to make it through fundraising. Supervisor Banach questioned if there are funds available if state mandates the ALS. Mr. Bocaletti said there are matching programs that they have taken advantage of. For example if you buy ten pagers they will pay for half.
Chad Stewart presented the Eastern Pike Regional Police Department Budget for 2012, stating that they are looking at a $41, 358 increase over 2011. Chief Stewart said the township has saved $25,877 from their 2007 budget. Unfortunately everything has increased. There are salary increases and another full time officer added on, this due to the problem with a relief factor such as sick time or vacation time. The FCC has a requirement to be narrowband compliant. Discussion was held regarding the radios. This must be done by January 1, 2013. However comm. Center will not be changing over until June 1, 2013. Grants have been sparse this year. Supervisor Ewbank asked what the percentage split was between Matamoras and Westfall. Chief Stewart answered it is 53% Westfall / 47% Matamoras. Mr. Myer said part of the reason they are asking for more money is because they lost grants. Chief Stewart said yes that last year they lost the Police Chief grant of $30,000. Chief Stewart said the cost per person in Westfall Township to have police coverage is $0.40 cents
per day, or $148.21 per year. Cost per taxable lot is $249.67. Chief Stewart said the total increase they are asking for is $41,358. Unless another township comes in they are not eligible for another grant. Matamoras share is $35,185. Chairman Muir asked how much the 3% increase is costing the township. Patrolman is going from $38,192 to $39,334. Supervisor Banach questioned the Police officers who do not take insurance. Chief Stewart said those that do not take the insurance are offered a $2,000 buyout option which saves the department $8,000. Supervisor Fischer questioned how many guys were doing that now. Chief Stewart answered four. Supervisor Banach asked if they can live without the new patrolman. Chief Stewart said if the new patrolman is in there for the relief factor and if they did not have him then they could not cover the shifts and they will have to go on call for midnights. Supervisor Fischer added that this will increase overtime. Supervisor Banach asked whether the Part timers just handled special events or do they run regular shifts. Discussion followed. Supervisor Banach questioned if it would be worth getting rid of the part timers and hiring the full timer. Further discussion was held. Supervisor Banach questioned how many guys they are running on a shift. Chief Stewart answered three. Supervisor Ewbank stated they may have a guy leaving. Chief Stewart said they may have two leaving but he hasn’t had the word yet.
Chairman Muir asked who was next. Lisa Green said they planned for Fire and Police so it was up to the board what they wanted to discuss next. Supervisor Banach asked Shawn Bolles if he had his budget. Mr. Bolles explained that he doesn’t do a budget, the building department is included in the administrative budget. Chairman Muir asked when the next budget meeting was. It is Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm.
Mr. Myer said he is looking for guidance from the board to prepare the budget. Supervisor Ewbank said before Mr. Myer begins that he will be needing a budget for the EMA, something that he hasn’t had. Mrs. Green said she had a call from Erwin Guberman of Cellular One who would like to compete for our Cell Service and he is going to include a quote for an air card for the computer for the emergency management agency.
Mr. Myer gave a general overview of the previous actual budgets for 2009, 2010, and 2011. Explaining that a mil is worth about $40,000. There has been no mil allocated to the Capital Road fund in two years. Special tax is debt service which Mr. Myer would like to go over next. Mr. Myer said that the proposed Debt Service Budget for 2012 shows three loans outstanding; the $2,000,000 loan, the cash flow loan and the truck loan. When doing the budget for 2011 we had certain mils in anticipation of having to do the pump station. We were not sure if we had to do the pump station so we started to prepare to pay for that and thankfully the Grant came through and paid that for us. In the meantime we had collected $106,000 on those mils. That money can be used on any special service tax. It can not be used in the general fund. There is also a cushion from the delinquent taxes. Mr. Myer suggests using this money to pay the Authority’s line of credit in the amount of $83,333 and the truck loan of $65,500. If that was done if would free up 4 mils.
Chairman Muir commented that the Highway Department will need additional funds in 2012 as there hasn’t been any additional money given to extra projects in years. Supervisor Ewbank asked if Mr. Myer is suggesting lowering the Special Tax Mils. Supervisor Ewbank commented that we could move the tax mils back to fire and road where they were before the supervisors made the cuts. Supervisor Banach suggested cutting the general fund millage so we didn’t have to go to court. Mr. Myer said that the general fund needs to stay where it is at unless other cuts are made. Special tax mils do not impact the general fund at all. Mr. Myer further stated we budgeted $75,000 for legal fees due to the Township Attorney and payments to Pepper Hamilton. Those payments are done now, so there is an extra $50,000 so the additional money for the Police Department is actually a wash. The board was in agreement with paying off the loans but could not make any decisions until having the rest of the budget in front of them. Bill Schneider stated that the highway budget will be increasing about $30,000. The cost of the new employee will be $10,000 alone, the radios will cost about $5,000, traffic signs and supplies will cost $6,000, plus additional costs. There is a problem with the two culverts on Heaters Hill from the heavy rains. Mr. Schneider said back in 2008 HRG recommended that the pipes be replaced within five years. The walls are starting to collapse now. Chairman Muir asked Mr. Schneider how much of a section of Pond Drive needed to be dredged out. Mr. Schneider said he is guessing between 600 and 1000 feet.
Chairman Muir and Supervisor Fischer asked if there is money available stating Susan Beecher said there was funding available for sand & gravel projects. Supervisor Ewbank also said there is going to be money available for Irene and Lee but no one knows when or how much yet. Mr. Schneider said most of that is going to be for communication. Chairman Muir asked realistically if they were to go into the brook and dredge it out how hard would it be to get a permit from DEP. Further discussion followed about the pond. Chairman Muir said he would give the highway department the equipment to use as long as they had the trucks to haul the material out with. Supervisor Banach said we may be able to get an emergency permit by having pictures of everyone’s yards flooded.
Mr. Myer said if you look at the public works department budget it was at $223,000 in 2009 and $186,000 in 2010 and 2011. You are down $40,000 in both years. Supervisor Ewbank asked how far behind are we on our ten year road plan. Mr. Schneider said we did Pond Drive this year and will do Glass House Hill next year and then it will be on schedule aside from the back section of Cummins Hill Road. Chairman Muir said the board looked forward to seeing Mr. Schneider’s budget. Mr. Myer asked what direction the board wanted him to go in for the next budget meeting. Supervisor Banach wants to cut the general budget. Chairman Muir would like to get back on track with the highway department and fire department and Supervisor Ewbank would like to consider the idea that Mr. Dalton mentioned about the Earned Income Tax. Mr. Myer said it can not be put in place for 2012. Further discussion followed. Chairman Muir asked Mr. Schneider to give the board the numbers on what needs to be addressed for the road department and the projects as far as an order of priority and cost. Mr. Schneider spoke about the wall that is coming down on Heaters Hill by the Tonkin property. Supervisor Banach asked if that is something that the department can handle or does it have to be bid out. Mr. Schneider said it comes to a point of it being done safely with only two men. Discussion followed. Mr. Schneider invited the board to take a ride around town with him to see the projects that need to be done.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 8:07 pm.
Lisa A. Green