John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Summary of August 17, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Work Session: New Fire Apparatus, Strategic Management Planning Program, Financial Status Communication Plan

Summary of August 17, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Work Session: New Fire Apparatus, Strategic Management Planning Program, Financial Status Communication Plan

The following is a brief summary of the August 17, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) Work Session Zoom meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. You also can view the video archive here.

Note: No official decisions are made at Work Session.

Newtown Fire Association

Apparatus Purchase Update:Warren Dallas of the NFA explained a committee, including Newtown Township emergency service personnel, was established a year ago to determine options for replacing the 2001 rescue pumper which served the community well for many years.

The committee reviewed and drove up to 20 trucks to get an idea of what would be best for Newtown and were alarmed when the truck design selected came in at $825K; with some design changes the price dropped to $746K and with an early pay discount of 3.8% the total cost will be under $718K. The NFA voted to proceed and is asking the Township for approval to move forward with the purchase. Mr. Dallas said the NFA will pay $518K in cash and take a 2% loan over 25 years for the remaining $200K.

Mr. Calabro confirmed there is no funding from the Township. Chief Forsyth said much thought was put into this decision and the study was considered. He added this truck will provide coverage for next several years for the Borough and Township.

Five Year Financial Plan Update

Strategic Management Planning Program Interim Report: Steve Wray from Econsult Solutions Inc. [ESI] gave a slide presentation of the Strategic Management Planning Program that ESI prepared for the Township. He explained the purpose of the program and its five project steps, saying most of the work has been completed for the first three items and part four is coming. He reviewed activities to date adding that Covid19 caused the need for some short-term adjustments. Mr. Wray covered general recommendations which included introducing real estate tax millage to the General Fund budget beginning in 2021, exploring opportunities for cost sharing, particularly as it relates to the fire services agreements as well as adjusting staff levels. Historic revenues and expenses were charted, and trends reviewed. Comparisons and benchmarking of neighboring communities were conducted, and statistics presented.

[For presentation slides and selected audio, read "Newtown Supervisors Review Interim 5-Year Financial Plan"]

Finance Committee

Communication Plan: George Skladany of the FC presented the proposed communication plan that will provide accurate financial information to Township residents. He said the plan is three phases:

  1. Provide basic financial information of the Township
  2. Review the significant findings of the ESI final report
  3. Review items the Township decides to implement

Mr. Skladany asked the BOS to make any changes so the FC can submit the document for approval at the August 26 BOS meeting. Mr. Calabro asked what happens after the BOS approval and Mr. Skladany said the week of August 24 the tax and financial facts will be posted on the website; there will also be a printed version and arrangements will be made for a press interview with a spokesman for the Township. The week of August 30 the plan is to disseminate the information via additional interviews with local media and later that week have someone from the Township write a guest editorial for publishing. The packets of information can also be emailed to local business organizations and HOA’s as the intent is spread the information widely as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Mr. Skladany asked the BOS to recommend who would represent the Township and said the FC will provide the draft for the editorial and the FC will make the arrangements with the media.

Newtown Financial Status and Narrative

The following was a PPT presentation made by Mr. Skladany. You can also download the PDF version here.

Posted on 31 Aug 2020, 12:31 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

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