MEETING DATE: October 23, 2017 -- Budget Workshop

Duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury and posted at

The Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors held their first budget workshop on October 23, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at the Township hall. Members of the Board present were Mr. Fred Parry, Mrs. Barbara Cohen, Ms. Susan Guerette, Ms. Martha Majewski and Mr. James Morrisson, Also present were the Township Manager, Ms. Mary Bird, the Township Secretary, Ms. Madeline Harbison, the Schuylkill Township Roadmaster, Nick Cinciripino and Chief of Police, Mr. James Fetterman. Mr. Parry chaired the meeting.  Mr. Mark Donovan, Schuylkill Township Planning Commission member, was in attendance.

The budget workshop was called to order at 6:00 p.m.

Supervisor Parry recognized Supervisor Majewski, Treasurer, and asked her to present the draft 2018 budget.

2018 Budget Overview – Supervisor Majewski presented the Board with a balanced budget. The proposed budget does not require a real estate tax increase. A Tax Anticipation Note is not anticipated for the first quarter of 2018.

Disbursements:  The overall 2018 General Fund Budget is $4,814 less than the 2017 budget. The Tax Collection costs show an increase due to the Auditors’ request that the township record the EIT vendor’s collection fees in the township’s balance sheet.  To offset those collection fees, on the revenue side of the budget, the EIT Revenue shows gross receipt of taxes rather than a net receipt of taxes as has been done in the past.  The Trails and Sidewalks line item indicates an increase due to Engineering for the proposed sidewalk from White Horse Road to the Borough Line.  This will not be expended until the Township receives word that the TA Set Aside funding for the construction of the sidewalk has been granted.  Line item General Government– Law is higher due to anticipated legal costs regarding the proposed convenience store.  Engineering shows an overall decrease. The Municipal Complex line item shows an increase because of contributions to the Municipal Complex fund.  The Police budget has increased due to contract items in “Salary.”  There is an overall decrease in Public Safety and Roads.  There is an overall decrease in Stormwater Management. There is a portion of an Oakwood Lane stormwater management project Phase 2 that is being taken out of General Fund.  The bulk of the work will be from the Capital Road Fund. Phase 1 of the project will be completed this year. 

Receipts:  Receipts are slightly higher than last year. Higher receipts combined with lower expenditures has equated to a smaller carryover figure.

The Board reviewed both receipts and disbursements for 2018.  Supervisor Cohen asked a general question regarding the 2017 year-to-date numbers shown on the draft budget and why they were so low.  Ms. Bird explained that the YTD numbers shown were only through August 31, 2017 – that being the cut-off date used in order to start work on the 2018 budget. 

Receipts: Supervisor Guerette asked for an explanation of the Engineering Review Services line item.  Ms. Bird informed the Board that these were engineering reviews performed as part of certain building permit applications and, as such, the costs of these reviews are paid by the permit applicants.  Supervisor Cohen inquired about the $400,000 in the Open Space Receipts Grants line item; Ms. Bird explained this was the $800,000.00 grant awarded by Chester County to the township for purchase of the Freedoms Foundation conservation easement.  Half of the awarded amount was received in 2017 and the remaining $400,000.00 is to be paid to the township in 2018.  Ms. Bird advised the Board that she would confirm this second payment prior to the budget being finalized.  

Expenditures:  Supervisor Guerette asked for an explanation of the Act 537 Plan Update line item.  Ms. Bird advised the Board that under the 1966 Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Act 537, as amended), municipalities are required to develop and implement comprehensive official sewage plans that address existing sewage disposal needs or problems; account for future land development; and provide for future sewage disposal needs of the entire municipality.  The township’s 537 Plan is in need of updating and grants will be pursued to fund the process.  Supervisor Morrisson asked about the $75,000.00 expenditure under Valley Park “Park” Implementation.  Ms. Bird responded that there is a culvert in the park which is unsafe and in need of replacement.  Supervisor Guerette asked why this maintenance cost was not being charged to open space rather than general fund.  The Board asked the township manager to confirm that recent legislation allowing open space funds to be used for open space maintenance will allow this transaction.  Supervisor Morrisson agreed to put this before the Open Space Commission for their information and recommendation.  The large increase in MS4 Compliance was discussed with Ms. Bird explaining that major new MS4/NPDES mandates are being put in place by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  These new mandates will require much more oversight by the township.  The township manager informed the Board that the Township Engineer, Gilmore & Associates, Inc., will make a presentation at the November 1, 2017 Board meeting to update the Supervisors on the new MS4/NPDES requirements.  Supervisor Guerette informed the Board that the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Executive Board is requesting that an additional $25,000.00 be added to the budgeted $100,000 operations funding provided by the township citing increased costs and lack of sufficient volunteer resources.  The Board of Supervisors agreed to this request and instructed the township manager to incorporate the increase into the draft budget.

The Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township agreed that a review of the revised draft 2018 budget would be on the November 1, 2017 business meeting agenda prior to advertising for adoption.

There being no further business before the Board of Supervisors, upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m. 

Next Board of Supervisors Meeting

Regular Board of Supervisors Business Meeting: ........... Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Madeline Harbison
Township Secretary