Supervisors trim proposed 2015 budget
The Nov. 11 meeting of the Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors opened with Chairman Darryl Snover thanking all veterans for their service and acknowledging those who were in the room.
Regarding the proposed 2015 budget, Township Manager Alice Rehrig said a deficit remains despite several attempts to reduce it.
Supervisor Keith Hantz began with the first cut on the list. He asked if the township is comfortable with the proposed cuts for office personnel services.
Snover said he doesn't want to eliminate training.
Looked upon more favorably was cutting the small equipment fund from $750 to $500. Capital purchases for the office include front and rear doors and duct work.
Rehrig also wanted document imaging equipment with the hardware and software costing $16,500. Alternatives were discussed.
Vehicle maintenance supply costs were reduced to $7,500 from $8,000.
Scheduling of police was once again considered; $30,000 is budgeted for overtime.
Supervisor Cindy Miller was insistent that the department go to eight-hour shifts.
Police Chief Scott Fogel said the police association would submit a grievance if that occurs.
Snover said the eight-hour shifts look acceptable on paper but can be problematic.
It was decided the township search for grants for body cameras for the police officers.
Also, a new server is a necessity now for police.
Miller said there needs to be a plan associated with technology.
The maintenance budget the fire company had requested was removed since the department's regular budget was increased to $130,000.
The garage needs a new furnace immediately because the old unit can no longer be turned on.
A new laser transit has been cut, but a plate tamper remains on the list.
A truck struck a traffic light pole but the owner has insufficient insurance. The legal expense of trying to collect the full amount was approved.
The total trimmed from the budget is $68,289. The smaller deficit requires a 0.3-mill tax increase instead of the previous proposal of 0.5 mills.
Snover said the township is where people see the result of government spending.
He also said each department has managed to bring costs down, but that an insurance increase is the largest nonnegotiable item.
Hantz said enough funds have not been reserved for the maintenance building. He thought the raise in taxes should remain at 0.5 mills with the additional revenue to be placed into the building fund.
Cutting services is an unfavorable option compared to a small increase in taxes, said Hantz.
Miller said loan consolidation should provide increased revenue.
In jest, Roadmaster Frank Zamadics said he could save money by reducing snow plowing.
The supervisors held an additional budget meeting Nov. 18 to continue to review the budget proposal.
Also at the Nov. 11 meeting, Engineer Phil Malitsch and Zamadics looked at the maintenance building site.
Malitsch said there are a lot of things to consider, such as drainage, and a sketch plan is needed.
The door placement was studied. Turning areas need to be checked and an awareness is needed of the nearness to the salt shed. Though the land appears to be level Malitsch said there is a six-foot change in grade.
He said it would take approximately 40 hours to create a sketch plan at a cost of $4,000 to $5,000 by Hanover Engineering.
According to Rehrig, there is $4,000 left in the engineering fund but she suggested the amount be taken from the general budget.
At the Nov. 18 special budget meeting the $4,033,807 budget was adopted and will be advertised on a 3-2 vote with a 0.5 mill increase in tax.