Berwyn Fire Company

Easter Egg Hunt in Berwyn . . . Free Community Event for Children of All Ages!

Free Community Easter Egg Hunt — Children (all ages) Invited to Attend

When: Saturday, March 24

Time:  12 Noon

Where: Frank Johnson Park, 122 Bridge Avenue, Berwyn

Sponsored by: Easttown Township Parks & Recreation Board

Questions: Contact Mary Schultz at mzshultz@comcast.net

Bring your baskets and your cameras for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Thousands of eggs and each filled with a surprise!  Children (all ages) are welcome and gift bags for all participants.

Rain Date: Sunday, March 25, 12 Noon

Rain date information available at: www.berwynmontessori.com

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Reminder — Annual Open House & Fire Prevention Day at Berwyn Fire Company – Today, 4-7PM


Berwyn Fire Company Annual Open  House & Fire Prevention Day

Saturday, October 22, 2011

4 PM – 7 PM

Berwyn Fire Company, 23 Bridge Ave,  Berwyn, PA 19312

 

The Berwyn Fire Company members encourage the public to attend and bring the family.  Fire and rescue demonstrations will be conducted and the fire trucks will be on display.

As a reminder: Bridge Avenue will be shut down between Lancaster Ave and Berwyn Ave beginning at 3:15 PM.  Parking will be available on the Westside of the old Eckerd drug store property directly across the street from the fire station.

Today’s Open House at Berwyn Fire Company signals the end of National Fire Protection Week.  There is a lot of important information contained on the fire company’s website, www.berwynfireco.org including the following tips for protecting your home and family from fire:

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table.
  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.

The following tips will help keep your family safe if there is a fire in your home:

  • Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home (including the basement).
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms in the home so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Test smoke alarms at least monthly and replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond when tested.
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows how to respond if the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible ways out. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.
  • If you are building or remodeling your home, consider installing home fire sprinklers.
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Berwyn Fire Company Could Win $10K . . . They just need a few minutes of our time!

Here is a very easy way all of us can help Berwyn Fire Company and it just takes a few minutes of your time.  The Berwyn Fire Company is competing with fire companies nationwide for a $10,000 grant from Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. 

How does the contest work? It’s easy; the fire company who gets the most people to complete a fire safety survey online by October 31 wins the grant!  If the Berwyn Fire Company wins the grant, they will use the money to help pay for gear and supplies used in firefighting and emergency response every day.

To help the Berwyn Fire Company win the grant, go to: http://www.befiresmart.com/

Take the Fire Safety Pledge (bottom left). They will email you a confirmation message. When you receive the confirmation message, you then click on the link and the Berwyn Fire Company will have the vote registered. 

You can live anywhere in the US and still vote for the Berwyn Fire Company. Please support one of the busiest fire and emergency medical response organizations on the Main Line. Forward this post to everyone you know – let us help Berwyn Fire Company win the grant.  Remember folks, our fire companies are volunteer organizations and a $10K grant can really help their budget!

This morning I received an email from Rip Tilden, president of the Berwyn Fire Company.  Although he reported that the fire company is currently in the lead for the grant, he is encouraging everyone to show their support for our volunteer firefighters by participating in the survey.  I took the survey – 10 questions and less than 5 min. of your time!  I checked and yes, Berwyn Fire Company is currently in first place in the ‘medium fire company’ category but Middleton Fire District from Middleton, Wisconsin is not too far behind in second place!

Much can change in 30 days – let’s not take any chances. If you are reading this post, click on the link above and take the survey – now! You’ve got 5 minutes to spare; help Berwyn Fire Company take home the $10,000!

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Fire Funding Crisis for Berwyn, Paoli & Radnor Fire Companies. . . the ‘real’ story!

I am always appreciative when Community Matters readers send me local articles or links that I may have missed.  I received a great article today – the new edition of Main Line Today contains the article, ‘The Price of Rescue – Financial alarms have begun to sound at area fire and ambulance companies. What happens if the dollars dry up? (Can we afford to find out?).

The well-written article by Jim Waltzer highlights what many residents in Tredyffrin and other local municipalities have known for a while now, and what we have been hearing from our volunteer firefighters.  Our local fire companies are coming up against the money crunching of local township budgets and quickly facing a funding crisis within their organizations. Below are some of the highlights excerpted from of ‘The Price of Rescue’, click here for the complete article. Once again, on behalf of the Berwyn, Paoli and Radnor fire companies . . . please remember our volunteer firefighters (particularly during the holiday season) with a generous contribution. These men and women put their lives on the line every day for each of us!

“ . . . money is as critical as water to firefighting, an essential service built on a powerful volunteer tradition that, hereabouts, dates to Benjamin Franklin. And since cash flow is so uncertain in the current climate of economic tightening, fire companies are transmitting distress signals. A 5-percent reduction in Tredyffrin Township’s portion of fire-company funding triggered a strong response from the firefighting community late last year, though private contributions restored the shortfall. “[But] what happens next year—and the year after?” poses Matt Norris, chief of the Berwyn Fire Company, which fields about 2,000 ambulance and 1,000 fire calls a year.

Rip Tilden, the company’s president, believes the day is coming “when we won’t be able to fund emergency services in the ways we have.”

That day may not be circled on the calendar just yet, but the long-range trend isn’t promising. The growing public perception is that local governments fully fund fire companies, resulting in less-than-robust donations of late. Other culprits include the widening gap between ambulance billings and payment, greater demand for advanced life support, reduced insurance reimbursements, rising personnel costs, expanded training requirements, dwindling volunteerism, increased government regulation, and grant funding that’s been slashed. In short, revenue is flat—or reduced—in the face of rising costs and need for services.

Berwyn’s 13-year forecast spots trouble halfway through. “Based on what we know today, six to eight years out, we’ll be strapped financially,” says Tilden, who estimates that the company will break even this year per its operations budget of $1.4-$1.5 million.

Meanwhile, Berwyn’s capital expenditures have been significant this year. A peek behind the bay doors of the 100-year-old firehouse on Bridge Avenue just off Lancaster reveals $5 million worth of rolling stock that needs periodic replacement: A new $950,000 tower-ladder truck and a $100,000 ambulance will soon join the fleet, and the company continues to repay $300,000 in state loans for two fire trucks.

Construction of a new firehouse is a long-term capital project—one that will require a campaign to raise $7-$10 million. “We’ve done the architectural work,” says Tilden. “We’ll have to buy the real estate.”

The company applied much of its 2009 surplus of more than $300,000 toward the purchase of the two new vehicles. More than half the tab for the ladder truck was paid with Pennsylvania Relief Association funds. The rest is covered by additional state loans and a combined annual capital contribution of $140,000 from Tredyffrin and Easttown townships.

Tilden characterizes last year’s budget surplus as “not sustainable,” attributing the excess to belt-tightening in anticipation of the new vehicle purchases. Berwyn generates more than half its operating revenue from insurance payments for ambulance-related services, while the townships’ contributions account for about 20 percent and public fundraising 15 percent. The company receives $125,000 a year in rental fees from five mobile phone providers for the use of the tower on its property, and another $50,000 from grants and other rental income. Its principal expenses are salaries and benefits for paid personnel; other costs are associated with facility and vehicle maintenance, service delivery (e.g., disposable drugs), and day-to-day administration.

Nine full-time employees—including firefighter emergency medical technicians and paramedics—staff Berwyn, whose workforce is bolstered by 60 volunteers. In providing services, “there’s no line between paid staff and volunteers,” says Norris. . . .

Berwyn typically receives about a 20-percent response to its biannual fund drives, buttressed by a November turkey raffle (which raises about $10,000) and an April dinner at Berwyn United Methodist Church. Fundraisers and other efforts to plug budget gaps can place a burden on fire company personnel who may lack the aptitude. “[Firefighters] didn’t sign up to raise money,” says Norris.

In this economy, even small funding cuts seem ominous, which is why fire and EMS officials protested Tredyffrin’s 2010 budget, in which the township reduced its funding of its three fire companies—Paoli, Berwyn and Radnor—by about $20,000 combined. The 5-percent cut was part of a 15-percent budget reduction, says township supervisor Warren Kampf. A volunteer citizens board assisting the budget process had recommended deeper cuts for the three fire companies. Supervisors and residents subsequently raised more than enough money to make up the difference.

Tredyffrin has tripled its fire-company funding in the past six years, notes Kampf, who adds that “the future is going to include increased contributions” due to rising costs. “In the end,” he says, “fire protection is a critical part of living in our township.”

Tilden certainly shares that perspective. “Maintaining a high quality of [emergency] service has an impact on property values. If insurance company ratings [for a given locale] are high, homeowner’s insurance costs less,” he says. With the proliferation of smoke alarms and sprinkler systems, major fires in this day and age have decreased. But when one strikes, equipment and manpower must be tuned and trained. Every company has a timetable for replacing vehicles. “The average life of an ambulance is three years, because you want a decent trade and have to keep up on technology,” says Norris. And as safety regulations multiply, so do costs. Likewise, service delivery costs are rising, especially for EMS and stepped-up use of paramedics (to provide advanced life support), a trend that Tilden attributes to an aging population and a more cautious approach by county dispatch. Expanding ALS has a direct effect on the bottom line, as companies that offer the service in-house (e.g., Berwyn) must add staff, and those that contract for it absorb a substantial difference between their cost and reimbursement.

. . . So while they all fight fires, Berwyn and Malvern provide in-house basic life support and ALS, while Paoli, Radnor and East Whiteland offer BLS only, and Valley Forge fire only. Some townships—like Radnor and Lower Merion—pay most of the purchase cost of new vehicles, while others pay for a relatively small portion through capital allocations. So the percentages of the budget contributed by local and state government, EMS/ambulance revenue, and public donations may vary wildly. It’s a far cry from the notion that government pays for everything. . . .

. . . . The Paoli Fire Company has six full-time employees (four firefighter/EMTs, two administrative), six part-time paid staffers, and 45 volunteers who mostly fight fires and provide EMS. It makes about 2,000 calls a year and expects to break even in 2010, says business manager Dan Green. He anticipates a $10,000 increase in net income next year—one that may be more than offset by a projected 15-percent bump in medical insurance premiums and additional higher costs.

Beyond 2011, the outlook is murky. Though Paoli does take advantage of 2-percent state loans to buy new vehicles—and Chester County money at a rate that’s a few points higher to help finance site renovations—its funding is always in a state of flux. “We’re teetering on a delicate balance of these revenues,” says John DiBuonaventuro, a Paoli firefighter/EMT and a Tredyffrin Township supervisor.

“These revenues” come from ambulance/EMS reimbursements, local government funding (aside from Tredyffrin and Easttown, Paoli receives a smaller contribution from Willistown), the state’s insurance relief program, and public donations. The amounts and proportions vary year to year. DiBuonaventuro opposed Tredyffrin’s funding cut for Paoli, Berwyn and Radnor last year. “Few politicians have the perspective of responder or victim,” he says. “New residents think their taxes pay for these services.” If volunteer levels continue to fall, says DiBuonaventuro, taxes will pay for firefighting and EMS—additional taxes, that is. Meanwhile, Green emphasizes that the 25-percent response to Paoli’s annual fund drive keeps the company rolling.

Money to the rescue.
How to Help Even if you don’t like hot places and high vantage points, you can help your local fire company level the playing field. The simplest and most effective way is to respond to annual fund drives. This is not, after all, a direct-mail campaign pitching the latest rejuvenating skin cream. Toss the mailer aside now, and one day in the not-too-distant future, it may well come in the form of a fee —with a higher dollar figure. “People can also help by joining the fire company,” says Berwyn chief Matt Norris. While battling blazes and providing EMS require rigorous skills and stoutheartedness, almost all firehouses welcome additional help with administrative and fundraising tasks.

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Asking for Support for Paoli & Berwyn Fire Companies . . . Celebrating 100 Years, a New Building & a Turkey Raffle!

Special events coming up from Paoli & Berwyn Fire Companies.  The community is invited to celebrate the first 100 years of the Paoli Fire Company and the dedication of their new firehouse on Saturday, November 13.  The Berwyn Fire Company is asking the public to participate in their Annual Turkey Raffle on Wednesday, November 17.  I encourage all to support our local volunteer firefighters!

Paoli Fire Company Celebrating 100 Years + A New Fire House!
100th Anniversary & Building Dedication
Paoli Fire Company
69 Darby Road, Paoli, PA
Saturday, November 13
1 PM – 4 PM

Tomorrow’s Open House at Paoli Fire Company marks 2 milestones . . . the celebration of the fire company’s first 100 years + the dedication of their new fire house. The Paoli Fire Company is opening their doors to the community to help celebrate the dedication of their new building and their first 100 years of history!

If you like fire trucks, you don’t want to miss this opportunity. Surrounding fire companies will bring their trucks to the tomorrow’s celebration. It promises to be a special day with tours of the firehouse, food, souvenirs and plenty of fun for the entire family.

If you are interested in the history of the first 100 years of the Paoli Fire Company, George Mathias wrote the article, “The Early Years of the Paoli Fire Company” for the Winter 1978 Volume 16 Number 4 edition of the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society’s Quarterly. (Click here for the full article)

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Berwyn Fire Company
Annual Turkey Raffle Fundraiser

Wednesday, November 17
7:00 PM – 9:30 PM 

Berwyn Fire Company’s Annual Turkey Raffle is the fire company’s largest fundraising event of the year.  In past years, the event has raised as much as $10,000 and we want to make sure that 2010 is no different.  The Turkey Raffle will be held on Wednesday, November 17, 7 – 9:30 PM.  This annual event is a fun family evening with great door prizes and free food.  There are chances to purchase for a 50/50 raffle and 65 turkeys are available for the raffle.  If you are unable to attend but want to help – sponsor a turkey for $25.  The turkeys will feature your name (or company) and all sponsors will be posted on the station wall the night of the event.

Questions:  Kathy Clark, fundraising coordinator, at kpgclark@comcast.net   or call Berwyn Fire Company, 610-644-6050. Visit: www.berwynfireco.org

 

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Berwyn Fire Company’s Annual Halloween Parade – Saturday, October 30th – Public Invited!

You are Invited!

Berwyn Fire Company’s Annual Halloween Parade
When:  Saturday, October 30
Time:  7 – 8:30 PM
Where:  Parade starts at First & Bridge Ave. Berwyn and ends at the Berwyn Fire Company 

The Annual Halloween Parade in Berwyn is this Saturday and the community is invited!  Sponsored by the Devon-Berwyn Business Association, the Berwyn Fire Company is hosting their Annual Halloween Parade for the community. 

Please arrive by 6:45 PM so that the parade can begin at 7 PM.  Open to all ages there will be prizes for the scariest, funniest, and cutest costumes. Following the parade, light refreshments will be served at the fire station – and judging of costumes!

Thank you Berwyn Fire Company and Devon-Berwyn Business Association!

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Berwyn Fire Company Open House Tomorrow, Friday, October 15, 6:30 – 9 PM

Berwyn Fire Company Open House & Fire Prevention Night
Friday, October 15th

6:30-9:00 PM

The Berwyn firefighters are visiting local schools and businesses throughout the month in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of fire prevention and fire safety. 

Tomorrow night, Friday, October 15, the Berwyn Fire Company will open its doors for an Open House and Fire Prevention Event  from 6:30 – 9:00 PM. There will be live fire/rescue demonstrations, fire truck rides, and much more!  The volunteer firefighters encourage the residents to take time this month to practice your escape plan, test your smoke detectors, and check your home for fire hazards.

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Tredyffrin’s Public Finance Workshop Meeting . . . Notes from Two Residents

Yesterday’s financial workshop was the first step in 2011 township budget discussions. This was a public meeting and agenda for the meeting was as follows:

  • 2010 Review
  • 2010 year-to-date revenue/expense review and end-of-year projection
  •  Budget Advisory Working Group implementation update
  • Five-Year Capital Plan (2011 – 2015)
  • Public input about priorities for 2011 budget
  • Unfortunately I was unable to attend the meeting but I understand that it there was a successful open exchange of township financial information between the supervisors, staff and residents.  Knowing the importance of this finance workshop, I asked a couple of friends to provide notes/remarks/comments.  Because I did not attend the workshop, I do not feel comfortable combining the comments of the 2 individuals in to one document . . . therefore, I am providing both sets of comments from Resident #1 Notes and Resident #2.  I appreciate the effort these 2 individuals expended on writing these notes and thank them both!  This is important financial information and I hope that you will take the time to read their notes thoroughly.

    Resident #1 Notes:

    I attended the Financial Workshop held on Saturday at the Township building.  In attendance were all 7 Supervisors, the full complement of Township managers  (Mimi Gleason, Tim Klarich(the new Finance Director), Police Chief Chambers, Tom Scott, Steve Norcini, and Steve Burgo) and 25-30 citizens.  The Township provided a set of handouts, with substantial detail, that hopefully will be available on the Township website.  I’ll try to hit the high points, as the meeting lasted 2 1/2 hours. There were several main topics discussed:

    1.  2010 YTD review and end-of-year projection (Tim Klarich):  The General Fund is projected to finish the year with a small surplus.  On the revenue side, Real Estate and Transfer Taxes are right on target, while licenses and permits are well above budget (building and Aqua America projects).  Unfavorable to budget are the Local Service Tax ($52/worker) and Investment Earnings, which is much lower than had been budgeted ($16,700  projected vs. $131,000 budget).  On the expense side, the largest variance was employee benefits projected at $169,700 less than budget – several expense categories were $30-50,000 unfavorable to budget – specifically mentioned were supplies which were impacted by additional road salt of $60,000.  Mimi did comment that they had budgeted for a lean year and expense control was a priority.
         There was also a review of the Sewer Utility Fund and the Valley Creek Fund (my understanding is that this is the “regional sewer authority”, of which Tredyffrin is the steward).  Sewer fees are right on target, but again, Investment Earnings fell significantly short of budget.  There were large transfers between our Sewer Utility and Valley Creek, which, frankly, I did not fully grasp.  This created an unfavorable deficit for the Sewer Fund and a larger favorable surplus for Valley Creek.  Finally, the discussion revealed that the expenses for streetlights and traffic signals within the Sewer Fund is about $600k annually.
         As for reserves, the total of cash and investments are $50mm+, $17mm of which are unrestricted.  The breakdown of bonds issued is $21mm for the Township and an additional $7mm in Municipal Authorities (presumably Sewer?).
         JD raised the good point that municipal financial statements are difficult to follow and that more traditional corporate-style financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement) would be helpful in decision-making, especially for the Supervisors.  Sounded like Tim may work toward adding those type of reports.

    2.   BAWG update (Mimi Gleason):  A handout was provided listing all of the roughly 130 individual BAWG recommendations.   Next to each was listed its status – a large number of recommendations have been completed and it was noted when, some have been considered and will not be implemented, and a number (maybe 1/3 of the recommendations) which either have not been completed or will be considered in the future.  During this section, in response to a citizen’s question, Chief Chambers gave an update of his Department’s work this year and indicated that they have been able to maintain their service level  and the public’s safety very well, even in the face of the budget cuts and higher call volume.  While there was relatively little other discussion of individual recommendations, in my opinion, the thoroughness and scope of BAWG’s work and the progress made so far is impressive.

    3.  Five-Year Capital Plan (Mimi Gleason): The review of the twenty planned capital projects was divided by category – Economic Development, Infrastructure Upgrades, Quality of Life Improvements, and Property Upgrades.  The total cost of these projects is more than $102,000,000 – about $57mm in the next 5 years and the balance beyond 5 years.  These projects will be financed with a combination of capital reserves, bonds, Sewer Funds, and grants.
         By far, the biggest items are the Paoli Transportation Center ($40 million) and the Route 252 Bridge Replacement in Paoli ($25 million), followed by a new Paoli Library ($7mm), where the $1/year lease on the current building expires in 2016.  Of note, some of the sewer projects are included under the Economic Development category, as an expansion of the current system is required for redevelopment in some areas.
         Editorial comment:  At the meeting, I commented that the Paoli Transportation Center was not under the Quality of Life Improvement category, as I am not at all sure that it will improve, not diminish, the quality of life for Tredyffrin residents.  Further, understanding that the vast majority of the funding for some of these projects will come from state or federal grants, I urged the Supervisors to be equally vigilant in spending grant money, as at the end of the day, it does come from our federal and state taxes – evaluate these projects as if we are paying the entire bill.  I also questioned the Township tax revenue opportunity compared to the incremental Township costs for maintaining the infrastructure, police presence, etc. -understanding that this project is many years from completion, there wasn’t much clarity to the response.  As you might be able to tell, I’m not all that thrilled about the PTC – can’t wait for Paoli to be like 69th Street or Norristown.

    4.  Public input about priorities for 2011 budget: Open forum for public comment.  In response to a question about returning the fire funding to 2009 levels, JD and Bob Lamina updated on the joint T/E Emergency Services Board – it sounds like a positive step, they have had a presentation from Berwyn Fire and a Paoli presentation is scheduled – my impression was that the Township funding will be restored.  One citizen urged that the “Officer Friendly” program in the schools be restored.  Dariel Jamieson urged that the streetlight and traffic signals be removed from the Sewer Fund and be included in the 2011 Township budget.

    All in all, a very constructive session.  A great deal of information was offered, the citizens had opportunity to learn and ask questions, and there was none of the animus that has sometimes been present at BOS meetings.

    The following notes were provided by another resident who attended yesterday’s finance workshop.

    Resident #2 Notes:

    The meeting covered a lot of ground in 2 1/2 hours. All supervisors, Mimi Gleason, Tom Scott, Steve Burgo, Steve Norcini, and Chief Chambers were all in attendance.

    I. 2010 Year-to-date Review of revenues and expenses

    First on the agenda, new Finance Director Tim Klarich reviewed a 7-page summary of revenues and expenses up to 8/31/2010, with projections for the final months of the year.

    He reported that:

    •  The Township Is set to end the year with a projected operating surplus of $175,400.
    •  Real estate taxes collected as of 8/31/2010 are 98% of budget.
    • Transfer tax receipts are $200,000 ahead of last year’s but still about $500,000 unfavorable to budget so far.
    •  Large transfer tax collection to date is $177,000 with $211,000 projected by year-end. This total – $388,000 – has been budgeted to be transferred to the reserve fund at year-end.
    • Local services tax collections are projected to be $82,500 below budget. Why off?  Is the collections rate lower, or has the number of employees paying the LST dropped more than anticipated?
    • Spending for salaries, insurance, supplies and professional services went over budget this year.
    • Employee benefits were less than budgeted by $169,700- due to employee changes in plan options.

     
    Supervisors made comments and asked numerous questions:

    • Bob Lamina asked that more effort be made to keep supply and professional service  within budget in 2011
    • John Di Buonaventuro questioned the accuracy of a projected $395,000 surplus in the sewer fund revenue. Though the Township received a 1-time unexpected refund of $667,800, it has a projected operating deficit of $201,100.
    • Mimi explained that streetlight expenses are included in the sewer fund, including $140,000 for a new traffic light and $600,000 for maintenance of street lights.
    • Phil Donahue asked why salary expense was more than budgeted. Mimi explained the $38,500 difference was due to overtime for “unanticipated weather events”. FEMA has agreed to reimburse $85-90,000 for storm-related expenses but has not yet done so.
    • Phil also asked about real estate tax collections, projected to be $61,700 below budget. Mimi explained that current R.E. taxes were on budget but that past year taxes due and penalties were below budget.
    • Bob Lamina thought the $600,000 in transfer tax projected for the final quarter of 22010 was too optimistic.
    • Mimi commented that “we will not need to tap our reserve fund if we end the year as projected.
    • The year-end position: $17 million in unrestricted funds.
    • Investment returns were budgeted for $131,000 but are now forecast to be only $16,600. Why the big discrepancy?  The twp. kept its money in “safe, secure investments” that virtually earned nothing. However, the Township is restricted in how these funds can be invested.
    • Did the Township budget incorrectly? According to Tim Klarich, no one could have anticipated the drop in returns at the time the budget was prepared last year.

    II. BAWG Review – presented by Mimi Gleason

    The township has implemented more than half of the BAWG recommendations.

    • HR changes – personnel evaluations are being done though budget constraints prevent merit pay from being awarded.
    • The township has been more diligent in its  tax collections; it hired a consultant to look for businesses that are not in compliance re the LST.
    • There will be more efficient tax collections system by mid 2011. The Twp. Is still using an older system and needs to update software.
    • Bob Lamina suggested organizing a “purchasing summit” with area townships and school districts. Mimi replied that TT is already a member of several co-ops e.g. they buy salt at a discount.
    • The Twp. Is looking to combine service contracts with other municipalities; however, according to Steve Norcini, some areas like paving do not provide the same savings opportunities bc of timing differences
    • Coordinating purchasing with other entities will “take several years to fully get in place.”
    • TT belongs to a number of professional organizations and municipal groups; cost-sharing is discussed regularly.
    • Changes take more time bc of reduced staff and restricted overtime. Staff workload is high, and in some cases, extremely high.
    • Chief Chambers reported that there were 3000 more police calls in 2009 than in 2008;  from July 2009 to July 29, 2010 there has been an additional increase of 4,600 calls over the 12-month period before.
    • Budget cuts eliminated the  DARE and Officer Friendly programs; this allowed two more officers to be put on the street full time.
    • Police overtime is not entirely predictable. Chairman Lamina assured residents that there was no restriction on OT when needed by PD.
    • Property crimes and domestic disturbance calls up. In other areas, crimes are down over years past.

     
    III. Five-Year Capital Plan (Mimi Gleason)

    • An important consideration: How many projects can the Township handle and manage well given limited personnel.  The Twp. may need to hire consultants and/or contractors.
    • Projects  are categorized as 1) Providing economic development, 2) Infrastructure Upgrades, 3) Quality of Life Improvements, and 4)Property Upgrades
    • $4,606,355 is forecast to be spent on capital projects in 2010. (Only 1.3 million was spent in 2009).
    • $10,226,500 is scheduled for  capital projects in 2011 including:

    –         $437,500 for a feasibility study for widening of Rte 252, and design for reconstruction of the bridge in future years; to be funded by bonds and grants

    –         $505,000 for planning and design  for Paoli transportation center

    –         $1,500,000 to upgrade Wilson Rd sewer pump station

    –         $308,000 to increase capacity of sewer line in Berwyn area

    –         $4,200,000 for Sewer treatment plant upgrade

    –         $600,000 for 4 miles of road resurfacing in twp.

    –         $120,000  for street light upgrade to LED

    –         $100,000  for storm water management improvements at Trout Creek

    –         $150,000 for storm sewer replacements/drainage improvements

    –         $120,000  to replace lining of sewer pipes in Valley Creek and twp sewer system

    –         $2,000,000 for Tredyffrin Library renovations including new roof and HVAC

    –         $186,000  to complete HVAC controls and ductwork in TWP Building

    • Primary source of funding for capital projects:

    –         Capital Reserve Fund

    –         Bond funds

    –         Grants

    Supervisor DiBuonaventuro asked that township reporting change to reflect standard accounting practices i.e. provide monthly profit & loss statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. Reporting for capital spending should show depreciation schedule, gain/loss on sale of asset etc.

    • Note: the lease of the Paoli Library expires in 2016. Plans for a new library are preliminary; $7,000,000 is budgeted from 2013 – 2015. A capital campaign will be organized to raise at least half of the funds.
    • Willistown will share in costs; currently they account for 22% of library usage.

    IV. Community comments

    • Mike Heaberg questioned planned spending for Paoli Redevelopment project.  JD noted that much of it would come from state and federal sources. Bob Lamina expressed  his view that the project would be a net gain for Paoli and the township.
    • Bill Schwarze asked why street lights and traffic lights are carried in the sewer fund and not the general fund. No one answered. In the past, it has been “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
    • Paving miles are not expensed from taxes; spending is equal to the liquid fuels reimbursement from the state  since those funds  have declined in recent years, fewer miles are being paved annually. However, Steve Norcini believes nothing essential has been put off. The Twp uses guidelines to decide where to pave: FHWA guidelines, the number of potholes a road has, and its traffic volume. Paving work is supervision- intensive and requires frequent inspections – seen as another limiting factor.
    • Radnor Fire Co, President Jim Kelly requested that the Twp. contribute $50,000 toward the purchase of an $875,000 ladder truck. Bob Lamina acknowledged that the Township had  never contributed to Radnor FD’s capital needs in the past but would  consider the request in preparing the 2011 budget..
    • Margaret VanNaerrson requested the reinstatement of the Officer Friendly program. Bob Lamina suggested that TESD would be asked to reimburse the Twp for any use of police time (estimated $20,000, according to Chambers).
    • Mike Heaberg urged the township to continue implementing the BAWG suggestions for more expense reductions. He suggested the need for a 5-year strategic plan.
    • Laurie Elliott asked that fire funding be restored at least to the 2009 levels.
    • Barbara Morose suggested that the fire companies be funded from direct private contributions; she reported she had personally increased hers and asked that others do the same.
  • Ernie Falcone asked that libraries be opened 7 days a week if transfer tax revenue increased.
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    Devon Resident Bill Bellew’s Remarks at Monday’s Board of Supervisors Meeting Appear as Letter to the Editor

    In a post yesterday, I provided a YouTube link for Bill Bellew’s comments at Monday night’s Board of Supervisor meeting.  Several people have asked me if I had a ‘hard copy’ of his remarks so I was delighted to see that Bill submitted his comments in a Letter to the Editor in this week’s edition of the Main Line Suburban Life newspaper.  Bill’s words provide a powerful statement. (see below).

    I agree with Bill that we (supervisors and residents) need to be looking ahead to the 2011 budget.  Mid-year provides an excellent opportunity to review the actual vs budgeted expenses and revenues of the 2010 budget to date. (the next supervisors meeting in June marks the halfway point).  In addition to a mid year 2010 budget review,  work needs to begin on the 2011 budget.  The 2010 township budget required major cuts across the board, including personnel, fire and library funding, etc.  If you recall, by this time last year the BAWG was  in place and well underway in 2010 budget discussions.

     The 2011 budget cannot wait until November or December; delaying the discussion does not demonstrate fiscal responsibility. 

    Tredyffrin drama must end

    To the Editor:

    Day after day, Tredyffrin seems to be bombarded with political drama without an end in sight. Now in May of 2010, the budget “play” leading up to the 2010 year is still out there. A personal opinion might be that the Board of Supervisors might have told the firefighters serving the township ahead of time that a cut in funding had to be made. Added to that might have been a suggestion that together, the BOS and the firefighters could join forces to fill the void.

    The reality is that filling the void was not on the BOS’ minds beforehand. Only when the “people of all walks of life” rose in a concerted chorus to point out what impact the “modest 5-percent” cut would have on the three fire companies (our leading volunteers) did the BOS see the dilemma they created for themselves.

    For some unknown reason, the BOS has been unwilling to share where the $24,000-plus in contributions to fill the void came from. Let’s end the political drama three of the BOS members created. Here is what I know to be fact:

    1) The Republican Party spearheaded the effort to acquire the funding.

    2) They did it ahead of schedule and raised more than they thought they would.

    3) The party did not write a check – their members wrote individual checks in excess of $5,000 – or approximately 20 percent of the total raised.

    4) Six large donations from companies, trusts, and law firms totaled $5,500 – or approximately 23 percent of the total raised.

    5) Eight present or former members of the BOS contributed $2,800.

    6) One present board member contributed $5,000, which is not part of other contributions listed here. Yes – five thousand dollars.

    7) The remainder came from other sources solicited by the Republican Party.

    8) Now that is political purpose!!! Hats off to the party for this work. Thank you from all of us.

    What many citizens do not understand is why the BOS has taken courses of action that have stirred controversy and raised the hair on the back of our collective necks for no intelligent reason. The two examples to be mentioned are the cutting of the fire-company budget without sharing that with the firefighters beforehand, and the totally unbelievable vote on the sidewalks near Mt. Pleasant.

    Transparency in this township is starting to disappear. Some of the present board appear to be turning what happens in Tredyffrin into a back-room game to be run by political hacks.

    A few weeks ago, the chair of the BOS wrote his second major article since Dec. 9 of last year explaining himself and his actions. Why? Why is it necessary that so much effort be put into all of this when – if the BOS had been up-front and open – we could be talking about the future and not the past?

    What were you thinking? We are not stupid people. My personal feeling is that the BOS has brought the dysfunctional politics of Washington to our community. Ladies and gentlemen of the board – respectfully – knock it off.

    We are looking for leadership – not a “bully pulpit” approach to township business. We are looking for progress – not a drama. If the chair thinks “we’re doing what we believe is the people’s business” by the present-day actions of this board, then he is sadly mistaken. The political game is exactly that – a game. The BOS was elected to govern. do it !!!

    We have too many important issues in front of us – the largest of which is how we will fund 2011 and beyond. How do we partner with each other to raise funds both privately and collectively? How do we encourage the volunteer spirit to continue across the entire township playing field? How do we make the necessary changes in the budget process?

    Keep your eye on the ball, members of the board. Serve the constituents who elected you – all of them. No more surprises. The people of Tredyffrin are watching.

    This is indeed a great place to live, and the BOS has helped make it that. Don’t go backwards.

    Bill Bellew , Devon

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    “Dysfunctional Politics of Washington Brought to Tredyffrin” . . . so says resident Bill Bellew

    During the citizen –  new matters portion of the supervisors meeting last night, township resident Bill Bellew delivered a well-written, measured statement to the Board of Supervisors concerning their actions over the last few months.  His remarks primarily addressed the cut in fire funding and subsequent supervisor fundraising efforts and the St. Davids sidewalk decision. 

    Bill’s comments specifically addressed chairman Lamina’s recent letters to the editors in the paper and the leadership of the Board of Supervisors.  At one point, Bill suggested that the Board had brought the “dysfunctional politics of Washington to Tredyffrin”

    In closing, Bellew remarks that ” . . . We are looking for leadership; not the bully pulpit.  We are looking for progress; not drama.  If you, Bob [Lamina], think you are doing the people’s business by the present day actions of this board, you are sadly mistaken. The political game is exactly that,  a game.  The Board was elected to govern, just do it. . . “

    I believe that Bill’s remarks last night represent the concerns of many of us in the community.  Listening to Bill’s statement,  I would love to think that some of our elected officials would do some soul-searching . . . what’s the saying,  if the shoe fits, wear it?  But I fear that like myself and others who have raised similar concerns and questions of the Board, Mr. Bellew’s remarks will simply be dismissed.  Or . . . will Lamina’s response be another letter to the editor?

    Please click here  to review see all of Bill’s comments captured on YouTube — his remarks are powerful!

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