Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Tredyffrin’s 2012 Preliminary Budget + Business Development Advisory Council Announced

I attended the Board of Supervisors meeting last night but based on the notes from Ray Clarke, it sounds like the Finance Committee meeting and the EIT discussion of the school board was more action-packed. Because of the amount of information, I will present some updates from the BOS meeting and then separately provide Ray’s notes from the TESD.

The township economic advisory group that I advocated for on Community Matters in February 2011 has finally come together. Although this new group was approved by the supervisors in April, it has been a long process to finally have the group announced. Supervisors Donahue, Heaberg and Kichline have held meetings with local companies, real estate and leasing representatives, etc. during the last several months to create a model for this advisory group. Once they established the criteria, community members were asked to submit letters of interest and resumes and we were told last night that they received 20 applications for the committee.

The newly formed economic advisory group is to be called Tredyffrin Business Development Advisory Council. The announcement read, “This group was chosen for its cross section of business, strategic, planning and marketing expertise. They are highly skilled citizens who do not currently serve on our boards and commissions and have agreed to take a critical look at all aspects of the Township that relate to business development and business retention. This includes, but is not limited to zoning, transportation and marketing.”

The members of the TBDAC are Dan Fishbein, Eric Kleppe, Stanford Nishikawa, Jim Sanborn, John Susanin and Bill Thomsen. Although their individual backgrounds were not offered, a quick online search reveals this is an impressive group of people!

  • Dan Fishbein, VP of BNY Mellon/Urdang Capital (real estate industry)
  • Eric Kleppe, Director of Client Services at Turner Investments
  • Stanford Nishikawa, former junk-bond analyst who now runs his family’s investments
  • Jim Sanborn, VP and General Manager of Interstate & Ocean Transport Company
  • John Susanin, Partner in SSH Real Estate, brokerage and investment company
  • Bill Thomsen, Senior VP at Urban Engineers, Inc.

In addition to the three supervisors (Kickline, Donahue and Heaberg), the six citizens listed above, there will be four liaison members — Tory Snyder, Planning Commission; Beth Brake and Donna Shipman, Community Affairs and Small Business; and Dave Rowland, Paoli Business community.

As explained last night, the group will meet periodically and present a report in the next 4-6 months. It is intended that following their report, a long term business advisory group will be created.

A major topic of the evening was the preliminary 2012 township budget. Township manager Mimi Gleason presented her yearly budget summary. She forecasts that the general fund balance for 2011 will decrease by over $100,000 versus budget. General fund expenditures are forecasted at $240,000 over budget (due primarily to storms). Overall, Gleason forecasts 2011 to end $377,000 under budget. No surprises that the declining revenues are expected in 2012 and beyond. The general fund revenue is expected to decrease another $130,000 in 2012, for a total decrease of $330,000 versus the 2011 budget. General fund expenditures is expected to remain flat from 2011 forecast and 1.5% greater than the 2011 budget.

With the preliminary draft, the 2012 budget has a $500,000 hole versus the 2011 budget. So how is the budget balanced and what does this mean for the taxpayer? Unless there are reductions in costs or services, this means a 6.9% millage real estate rate increase.

What are the contributing factors . . . the downturn in the economy, decrease in real estate and transfer tax, and $70K decrease in recycling grant from the state all contribute to lower revenue. A number of township residents have had their homes reassessed, which is indicated by the lower real estate taxes paid to the township. But I didn’t think about commercial reassessments and Tredyffrin had two significant companies with property reassessments – Vanguard and De Lage Landen (Dutch company with its US headquarters on Old Eagle School Rd, Wayne). The combined real estate reassessments of these two corporate giants accounted for a major drop in revenue.

Remember this was just the first preliminary budget presentation; it is possible that the mileage real estate rate increase may drop. As explained last night, if no changes are made in the budget, the 6.9% increase is approximately $34/year increase. Don’t we wish that was the increase we were facing for the school district?

Here’s a link to the township’s 2012 preliminary budget.

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